Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mass Appeal, part 2: the Whole Hockney

Nan sends the full quote from David Hockney's THAT'S THE WAY I SEE IT, edited by Nikos Stangos (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993), pp. 170-171.
There have been very few really good artists throughout history and the great artists always perceive life positively by offering us through their art different forms that delight us, in a way like great religions. That is why, to someone saying that art is not for everybody, I would answer that if a religion were only for the few, it would not be a great religion, it would be a mere cult. Any great religion has to be for everyone, no one excluded. It cannot be just for bright people, it has to be for all humankind. Christianity is like that, Islam is like that, Buddhism is like that. Even in religions which are hierarchical, like Hinduism, everybody is included.

Art has never excluded anyone from understanding it and enjoying it in the past. If the art did not work for most people, the artists were not considered to be much good. (On the whole, what we call bad art is dishonest and tries to deceive the spectator.) So-called primitive art had a purpose and it had to work. The artist couldn't just make figures which, when carried in procession down the street, made people ask, What's that bit of wood he's holding? If they asked that, it would mean that the art hadn't worked. The art had to be read in a certain way or it was not thought to be any good. Good art is invested with a certain universality of feeling and meaning--this is one way of defining it--and that is why it can come from anywhere in the world as well as from any time. This is why even things made in civilizations we know little about work on us, because they hit on something universal.
So, nu? What do you think?

3 comments:

Brother Roy said...
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Brother Roy said...
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Brother Roy said...
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