At Art’s Pointy End of the Spear

Art's Point End of the Spear

As an artist, by which I mean anyone who creates artistically in any medium, do you ever use your art as a down in the trenches, fight fire with fire type of weapon in the never-ending battle against the forces evil; or is your art reserved only as an expression of beauty and love and hope for Art’s sake with the ancillary hope that it will be so uplifting that the forces of evil will expire from the weight of love’s suffocating abundance?

I ask because, as some of you may know (since I’ve whined about it here, here, and here, among other places), I have had a difficult time arting, so to speak, ever since Trump’s election. I felt both depressed mentally and suppressed artistically.

And I blamed it all on Trump and his supporters.

But after a while, I realized the blame for my problems wasn’t with them, but with me…

Of course.

And once I realized that, I’m happy to report I got back into the writing groove of things.

Now, an issue I face with my art is that I want to turn everything I write into a weapon against all that I see is wrong.

And this is a thing, apparently.

An important (at least to me) article regarding Art’s response to Adversity was published online yesterday by The New Yorker entitled Making Art in a Time of Rage. In it, it questions the famous Leonard Bernstein remark made not long after President Kennedy’s assassination that essentially said artists should respond to violence by arting more beautifully, more devotedly and more intensely.

Basically, artists should keep doing happily what they’ve always been doing but do it harder.

One response from the article to Bernstein is:

…not only are intensity, beauty, and devotion insufficient to halt violence, they can become its soundtrack. Wilhelm Furtwängler’s renditions of Beethoven during the last years of the Nazi regime attained a fury of expression that few performances have matched. The conductor’s apologists argue that these recordings convey an unspoken resistance to the Nazi regime. But they could have served—indeed, almost certainly did serve—to bolster a sense of national fortitude in the face of an advancing enemy. At heart they were mute, noncommittal, open to appropriation. The same may be said of any form of artistic expression that fails to make its political convictions explicit (emphasis mine).


I’m not here to tell anyone how or what to do in regards to their creativity. Regardless however one does her or his art, I can guarantee that Evil will still and always persist.

Unfortunately, in light of today’s persistent evil, I cannot make the same guarantee that Art will persist

Therefore, what matters most is that it’s done for as long and as hard and as purposeful as it can be done.

Art on, my friends!



15 thoughts on “At Art’s Pointy End of the Spear

  1. As a former teacher of literature, I believe art is most often a reflection of the society in which the artist lives. Consequently, I’m not surprised that many of us who engage in artistic endeavors find the focus of our work changing to reflect these scary and dangerous times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whenever i enter into a picture or prose with an idea of saying something & making it meaningful–it always comes out flat. i have to let the art or story tell itself & trust that there is enough inside of me to show up in the finished product.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. recall Neil Gammon’s? universally quoted graduation speech for – some university in NEW York I think it was — a long list of hypotheticals like: ‘your cat blow up? Make good art.’ with the drum beat of the final assertion beating, beating, beating relentlessly. good show. then there’s guenther grass with his little drum. keep beating it, I say. Art thrives on the dung heaps of civilization’s ideological cesspools. Ever watch a dung beetle proudly and blissfully rolling his dung balls? Inspiring! Uplifting!!! Orgasmic! If you can channel your empathy energies – superabundant in any substantial artistic sensibility, I’ll venture to assert — into a little creature like that…. you’re bound to make the best art! and will be primed and ready to tolerate whatever might emerge from the daily stock of verbiage from house trump. bing. bing. rolll rolll ROLLLLLL!!! roll your art the way Trump rolls his. he too has a place under the sun. Look at us all rolling our thoughts together into delightful little balls. It’s amazing when you ‘come to bloody think about it’. Ecstacy channel is on. I’m in for the ride. ANd art, of whatever caliber, is the necessary biproduct! Amen.



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