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File this under: Changing the Culture
Please follow this link to my blog: http://joshsantacruz.blogspot.com/2012/1...
I'm an artist who feels that it's time to use my talents to promote the country that I want to live in. My latest piece is a portrait of Alexis de Tocqueville and his famous quote about socialism.
Although I make art of all types of subject matter, I have been compelled to make more politically oriented art. Please visit the blog and share this piece with anyone and everyone that you know! If the liberals can use art to push their social justice agendas we can certainly make a statement with art too! Who's with me?
Brilliant!! You need to direct your art and messages to those on the high school and college campuses! They are passionate and misguided. You have a gift that can inspire and energize!
Amen to that, Annette! Josh, you can really make a difference! Go for it!
(Regarding art in a free market) I have a little essay I wrote a couple weeks ago. I hope you don't mind its headiness and length. In my essay I compare the lives of two composers from the last century, one free and one a subject of USSR:
Why I think the survival of the arts depends upon the free market: A response to the young man in Chicago celebrating President Obama’s victory Nov. 2012 (he was projecting an era of support for the Arts through government endowments.)
Compare Shostakovich vs. Stravinsky
Shostakovich lived in the USSR his entire life and Stravinsky escaped to western Europe in the early part of the 20th century, eventually living in America. Both were Russian-born classical composers. Both died in the 1970's.
I remember my music history teacher at Kansas U stated in 1982, that in his opinion, Shostakovich was just as talented if not more so than Stravinsky. But his pieces are not as well known as Stravinsky's pieces. He never truly reached his potential and it was a tragedy. Shostakovich was a state paid employee who was instructed what sort of compositions he would write. He would adhere to the restrictions set up by some moderately knowledgeable bureaucrat as to how he would present his music. When he did stretch the boundaries of composition, such as his piece, "Lady MacBeth," Pravda and the USSR-run media would vilify him. He was warned about the inappropriate style, subject and presentation of western composers such as Mahler. Still he managed to write some incredible pieces. He also survived a “cultural revolution" in the 30’s called the “Great Terror,” which took the lives of his fellow artists and composers.
By comparison, Stravinsky had a reputation for stretching musical norms with his ground breaking ballets of the 1900 decade. He wrote symphonies, songs and pieces for chamber groups. Through out his lifetime he kept re-inventing his style, trying one concept after another. He lived in Pre-Revolutionary Russia, then Switzerland, Paris France and eventually in California. He had artistic freedom and a certain amount of popularity among classic buffs, due to his innovative compositions. His compositions were not without criticism but he had a considerable following. He was able to support himself with his art. He spent a lifetime pouring out amazing music. That is the free market.
Consider the era that these two composers lived in. The western world was exploding with audio inventions that brought music to the ears of millions--phonograph 78's and LP's, radio, TV, reel to reel, and tape. The western world was communicating music. New ears were hearing Stravinsky and liking his music or not. Stravinsky's music was heard around the world. And some if it along with other western music was smuggled behind the Iron Curtain to those ears who longed for creative freedom.
Shostakovich's music was heard as well. But, perhaps, in a controlled pathway by the Stalinist regime. He sometimes received accolades by Soviet government only to be denounce for the next composition. Unlike Stravinsky, who could move through the market’s ebb and flow, Shostakovich was dependent upon the Soviet hand for his sustenance.
The young man in Chicago, who thought that the Obama presidency and the NEA would sustain his artistic endeavor, may know little of the history of government supported and eventually government controlled Art. Is it my imagination, I don't think it is. The executive office has already shown a zealous drive for regulating business, energy and education; will art be excluded in that regulated future? Is it possible executive orders will control the communication of art so that it can only show the positive effects of government and the evils of capitalism just as the USSR controlled its artistic message?
The young and hopeful artist may not know of history’s heavy hand when government supports the Arts. He may not realize that a thriving economy, with a flow of expendable currency and the option of leisure pursuits, allow for greater flexibility, greater discovery and more avenues of support for creative expression.
I pray that we can reverse this hellish race to government entitlements and sanctions for it will cripple Art.
I admit I am not a music historian and have not studied the lives of the composers extensively. I attended my history classes some three decades ago. Perhaps a person more knowledgeable may report with better findings. Yet I remember the lessons from those years ago and the websites I found today support these memories. Music and other arts flourish with freedom.
Two quotes in closing:
Nicholas Nabokov, on meeting Shostakovich in 1949 in New York
“To me he seemed like a trapped man, whose only wish was to be left alone, to the peace of his own art and to the tragic destiny to which he, like most of his countrymen, had been forced to resign himself.”
In contrast, Stravinsky said, about his love of composing, in a series of lectures called The Poetics of Music... :
"How are we to keep from succumbing to the irresistible need of sharing with our fellow men this joy we feel when we see come to light something that has taken form through our own actions? Thus the consummated work spreads abroad to be communicated and finally flows back toward its source. The cycle, then, is closed. And this is how music comes to reveal itself as a form of communion with our fellow man—and with the Supreme Being."
These statements show the differences between a tool of the government and a free soul.
Bravo, Joshua! As in your namesake's Biblical passage:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
Best to you and your future works!
Thank you all for your support! I'm just waking up to this wealth of ideas and subject matter that is the truth. I don't know where the Spirit will lead me. I must admit that I have always struggled with reconciling my art with my faith. It's a challenge but it's not impossible.
Annie, you're absolutely right about the relationship between liberty and art. When there is freedom you have art that speaks to the soul. When you have tyranny you have art that cannot speak on its own, and the government speaks for it. It's incredible how many people I've known over the years who truly believe that socialism is the best thing for art. Since we are living in the twilight years of freedom I have noticed that the truth has become portrayed as a matter of opinion.
Annie, you're absolutely right about the relationship between liberty and art. When there is freedom you have art that speaks to the soul. When you have tyranny you have art that cannot speak on its own, and the government speaks for it. It's incredible how many people I've known over the years who truly believe that socialism is the best thing for art. Since we are living in the twilight years of freedom I have noticed that the truth has become portrayed as a matter of opinion. Truth in art is no longer universal. This is why there's no clear message being communicated any more. I intend on changing that, but I can't do it alone.
I just found a site for science and christianity.
Science and art are close cousins.
Also there is a group here of artists but I don't think it is very active. the larger groups seem to overwhelm the site.
It starts out: "Calling all artists, authors, poets, and musicians..."
Your support keeps freedom alive!