File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1996/96-11-03.013, message 120

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:45:02 -0700
Subject: Re: Art is Speech: Open Letter to N.Y.C. Officials (fwd)

i don't know about these paragraphs. emotional appeals have a tendency to deafen ears at city hall, not to mention essentialist rhetoric. remember, these are lawyers you're dealing with.


>What the Times editorial and most City officials fail
>to understand is that artists are not vendors. Vendors
>buy and sell merchandise, most of which is also
>available in hundreds of stores throughout the City.
>The measure of their success is how many items
>they've sold. Their connection to what they sell is
>impersonal. One product is interchangeable with any
>other and whatever sells best is their ideal product.
>Artists on the other hand, are engaged in
>communication. An artists' ideas, beliefs and feelings
>are communicated by creating, displaying and selling
>their art to the public. The public views and buys art
>as a dialogue with the artist. Every person who stops
>at a sidewalk art display asks, "Are you the artist?
>What inspired you to create this picture? What were
>you trying to say?" People don't usually ask a vendor
>of batteries or sunglasses what message they are
>trying to communicate or what moved them.
>Art has the power to inspire, to challenge and to
>change people's lives. While most interactions with
>artists don't end in a cash transaction, the measure of
>a street artists' success on any given day is in the
>quality of their communication, not merely how many
>sales are made. Besides the few individuals who buy
>a piece of art, every person who stops even for a
>moment and looks at an artists' display is affected by
>their unique vision. This is the very essence of
>communication and cultural exchange.

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