File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 234


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:25:33 GMT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] politics


Linda. THANK YOU for pointing out that references are important in art---in poetry it is called allusion. In Christian religious art, you get more of a message if you know WHICH saint is depicted---hence the development of ICONOGRAPHY---St Catherine with her wheel, St Sebastian with the arrows. Some old "Lives of the Saints" illustrated books are like Mme Tussaud's wax museum horrors since so many saints were martyrd in gruesome ways.  But these depictions in paint, fresco, or print were also studies of the human figure, and can be enjoyed just on that level alone as art. But a sense of CONTEXT adds understanding.

"Amadeus" was fictionalized history of Mozart---it rewrote history for dramatic purposes, making up its own context. But it still helped to know who Mozart was & what he did.

I just saw "School of Night" at the Mark Taper Forum (theater) in Los Angeles---the whole first act has to explain who & what is going on in a fictitious rendering of the life of Christopher Marlowe. Shakespeare is one of the characters (before he has achieved fame). An underlying theme is how can a human achieve full potential when the freedom to think and doubt, to explore art and science, is resricted by political and dogmatic religious conformity (and in the historical time frame, Protestantism & Catholicsm were at cultural war in England). The parallels to Prop 8 politcs were obvious. Politicized religion interferes with our lives and the lives of others.

Anyway, the first act felt like an illustrated lecture (to provide the fictitional context so you could understand act 2). In our day, most of us are removed enough from Shakespeare's time, that college lectures on the meanings of the plays, can add to our understanding of what is going on. A knowledge of history adds to the understanding of Picasso's "Guernica"---but if you are old enough, you don't need the lecture---you lived it IF YOU WERE PAYING ATTENTION. The generation which survived WW II is disappearing, so their history is important if future generations are to understand the art of the 1930s/40s..

"Guernica" can impell an observer to study the history behind the artwork

Again, life is not lived in a vacuum. We cannot ignore politics.

ALAN COOK


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