Jan 4, 2013

Appreciating Art

With the release of The Hobbit and Les Miserables, I have found myself surrounded by people who deem themselves movie critics.  They talk about the issues that each movie has, what was right, what was wrong, how they would have done it different, correct, better.  I also hear professional movie critics talking about certain actors or actresses or directors who never do serious roles, and will never be Oscar contenders.

In the book world,I have heard these kinds of conversations about Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, Tom Clancy a bit, John Grisham a bit- people who want to take the work of art of someone and put them down because it isn't serious, or it isn't hard to read, or the plots could be comparatively the same and so on.

Why can't we just sit back and enjoy the ride?

I have loved Les Mis for decades.  I know almost all the words to all the parts of everyone who sings, have seen both the 10 and 25 year productions on PBS and I loved the movie.  Yes, I acknowledge that not all the singers were as strong as those who perform this year round on Broadway  but I didn't care.  Not even one little bit.  The story is captivating, the music amazing, and to see some of the world's best actors bring their take on roles we know by first names only had me in tears more than once. It is art - emotional and meant to show a depiction of the world according to someone.

My Current Favorite Artist
I get that people want to bag on Stephanie Meyer, there are those who say they would rather be poor and destitute than known for writing that. Really? She created characters in a world that had women from 12-62 clamoring to get their next book, the bought memorabilia, waited in line for tickets to the movies.  Why?  Because they found someone who let them escape, whose writing brought to life a happiness and imagination, for many, that was probably lost for a long time.

It is too easy to become hyper-critical in our society.  Everyone has an opinion and, thanks to social media, every single opinion on everything can be shared.  I think there is some value in having a critical eye, especially in what we are doing - to see what is out there, why what works works and why what doesn't doesn't.  But in that awareness, let's not forget how fortunate we are to experience someone else's art. And these experiences are invaluable because they let us learn and develop our own tastes, expand our awareness, trigger our own imaginations. You think of societies past, those who never experienced any form of art, and recognize how many opportunities we really have to expand our understanding of the world through art.  It really is amazing.

What art/artists have had an impact as you as a person or a writer? Who can trigger your imagination?

14 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Know what you mean when it comes to movies! Yes, I can see and appreciate the quality of movies like Lincoln and Argo. Enjoyed both very much. Enjoyed the heck out of The Avengers and John Carter as well. They required just as much effort and are just as worthy.
Les Miserables will have to be really good though when I watch it on NetFlix - I've seen the original production in London.
The ones who can tell an epic tale, whether in movie, book, or music form (which is why I like progressive rock - for it's complexity and epic storytelling ability) are who I enjoy.

JeffO said...

Great post, Tasha. Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown in particular are flogged almost continuously for their writing; don't people have enough to worry about with their own writing?

S.P. Bowers said...

I do tend to dissect things a little but it's generally in a non-critical way. I want to explore why and how they did things so I can learn more about craft.

But I can also put aside issues and enjoy the show/book for what it is.
I can't wait to see Les Mis.

Julie Luek said...

I think one of the beauties of art is its ability to ignite our critical thinking skills. Rather than watch passively, good art engages our senses and mind-- it's a natural follow to think about the implications, the cinema or writing skills. Honestly, the better the production-- whether it be writing, movies or music-- the more we analyze it. Simple forms of art-- a fluff novel, chic-flick or candy-pop music usually don't spawn much critical thinking and analysis; it's usually too easily dismissed.

But your point is well-taken. Here's to entertainment for the sake of pleasure too!

Andrew Leon said...

I'd like to agree with you, but I just don't. Critical analysis is necessary. Not all art is created equally, and not everything that people want to say is art actually achieves that goal.
Otherwise, we're right back to the point of where I was told by someone, "I wrote a book, so you should give me a good review." As if the fact that he wrote it made it good, which it did not. If we're just going to decide that because someone did something that that in itself makes it worthy, then there's no reason to experience it.

As for Les Mis, I thought Crowe was awful. No emotion at all, and he couldn't sing. Jackman, on the other hand, made up for weaker singing by filling it with emotion and was wonderful.

Jenna Cooper said...

I think it's a balance. It's ok not to like something and give your views on it, but there are times when you need to let things be as they are or just accept that what the author's goal was might not be your goal as a reader/writer.

sydneyaaliyah said...

Hi Tasha, I am doing the Daily Writer this year which gives you a prompt a day to write about. The second day was a prompt to think of your favorite painting and write a scene in the painting. My favorite artist is Van Gogh. It was a great exercise and now I have so many other ideas springing from some of his other paintings. Never even thought about this. Great post.

Jess said...

I agree with you about society sometimes jumping straight into critiques when it comes to art/artists. When it gets to the point where some people are embarrassed to admit liking something because it's "too commercial" or "not REAL art," that makes me sad. Everyone's entitled to an opinion and if they get enjoyment from certain art, then that's great~ no harm done, no need to tell them why their opinion is "wrong" to you~at least that's what I think :) I'm all for lively debates on technical issues, but I don't like to see people putting down the interests of others by insinuating that they're just not educated enough to know better. Sometimes you like what you like, and that's that. I personally still get wrapped up in the magic of Thomas Kinkade paintings and I know some people don't take them seriously. I also am drawn to Norman Rockwell images :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I agree with you about the criticism that I sometimes see as envy. Not all entertaining reading or movies are great works of 'art' but if they provide escape or in the case of Twilight, bring thousands of reluctant readers to enjoy books, I say the world is better for it.

Kelley Lynn said...

This is a great post, Tasha. I think it is important for all of us to have our own opinions (sometimes we just don't like something) but not to put someone down. We should all respect each others crafts because, as writers, WE KNOW how hard this is. To put ourselves out there. We might not agree, might not fall in love with something. That's what makes the stuff we do fall in love with that much more special. But it takes blood, sweat and tears for every type of artist to create what they have. And they deserve our respect for that.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I completely agree. It's almost like people get embarrassed that they liked something and then have to bash it. Or, because so many people like something, they refuse to look at it and bash it. What's with all the bashing?

J. A. Bennett said...

Crazy, I totally saw that guy's art for the first time yesterday and fell in Love! And I couldn't agree with you more. We are too quick to judge. Love the new blog design!

Livia Peterson said...

I love Les Mis too! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we have the right to speak out or not. I know how you feel here and about Les Mis. Awesome blog design! :)

ilima said...

I agree with you 100% on all points. And I love the new blog look!