Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Subjectivity of Art

Okay, folks. Here we go.

I didn't like Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars.

Deal with it.

I will acknowledge that maybe my initial posting was a bit harsh, but hey... give me a break. It was past 11:00pm, the show was grating on my nerves, and for many reasons best left unexplained, Gaga was trampling on an area of musical theatre which I hold sacred. But because of my exhausted state, the vast number of people who called me out on my opinion, and the fact that I am apparently in the slimmest of minorities on this subject, I went back and re-watched her performance. And you know what?

I still didn't like it and I am comfortable saying so.

I am also very happy that so many of you were so very passionate about it and that you felt it necessary to express your opinions.

Why? Because that is what art is supposed to do. It is supposed to spur conversation. And emotion. And spirit. And enthusiasm. And heat. And ardour. And fervour. And dissent.

Many years ago on a trip to Rome, The Husband and I found ourselves face to face with Michelangelo's La Pieta.

It occupies a place of enormous stature and honour inside The Vatican. There were throngs of people trying to get an up close and personal view of the great masterpiece. Many of them were brought to tears by its beauty and image.


 I was underwhelmed.

There are many reasons for this reaction, not the least of which is that I have little feeling for the religious fervour that it so obviously invokes. But as a piece of art? It did little for me. I had the same experience upon my first in-person viewing of Mona Lisa. (Cute smile, pretty girl. But, meh!)

And guess what? That's ok. It is ok that these great works of art didn't speak to me the way they so obviously do to so many others. I am certain if I gave a list of the many artists that I consider geniuses in their fields, most of you would scoff at my choices. (Pssst...Much to the consternation of The Husband, I loathe Bob Dylan the singer. Bob Dylan the songwriter is a savant, but the singer....OY! I am certainly not on the side of the angels on that one either.) But, that is one of the best things about art. We are given the freedom of critical debate, and encouraged to engage in it.

There is irony in this particular conversation. I actually like Lady Gaga. I think that she is enormously talented and an incredibly brave performer. I just didn't enjoy her Oscar moment. But I have enjoyed the spirited debate accompanying it and through it, I certainly have enjoyed watching people become more passionate about the arts. It is a whole lot more invigorating and exciting to me than is politics.

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