1/14/09

Art. And Americanism.

I try not to be an art snob, but really, I am one. Tonight, while watching white Missourians perform a traditional Japanese dance they made up, I thought, "I'm such a snob." "But then," I replied to myself, "You recognize art and have good taste, so you deserve to be." "Good point," I thought.

Still, a little goes a long way. The first real story the Bungraku puppeteers told--the one about a princess whose Samurai lover must kill himself for honor because of his master's failure--seemed to transcend their showyness and Americanism to become art. The puppeteers, dressed in black robes with black hoods hiding their faces, seemed to disappear; only the beautifully adorned princess puppet existed on stage. Flakes of confetti snow fell and princess' worry and fear and hope and quest became real. The Japanese opera seemed to use its music to connect me with the stage. For a moment, only a small moment, that feeling of humans reaching each other's souls through an art existed. That was enough.

I came home (though still laughing at the shameless capitalism of the troupe's leader,) with a piece of that feeling. I can't put it into words yet, but I don't think I need to. I'm learning that the best communication, real human understanding, doesn't need to be verbalized.

8 comments:

Sky said...

Nice post. I felt the same way. Art is such an important--overlooked--part of our lives that bad art can have a negative effect on us even when we don't realize it. Last night, like you, I saw the inklings of a good show (maybe in another six years), but I worried that the show had been billed with JAPANESE as it's center, and that BYU-I students might not recognize that this was Americanized with a capital "A." The only things Japanese about it were the music and beautiful puppets. Watching Americanism, capitalism, and a wanna-be stand-up comic on stage taking away from the art form they were trying to pay tribute to annoyed me greatly. But, at the same time, I realized AGAIN that great art almost has to be "without ego"--an incredible difficult feat.
However, I agree. Just to watch the puppets almost became alive for a few moments here and there and to see the intricate carvings and costumes made it worthwhile.

Britt said...

I read that first paragraph twice because it made me laugh. Then I showed my best friend, Mary, and she laughed. And the next time I need a pick-me-up I'm going to read it again. Thanks Matt.

Chan said...

Rarely, I perceive a book or a song or just what someone is saying in such a way that I feel like I see through whatever the story or words into who they are, into the springs that produce their "art," as convoluted as the art may or may not be. And then I'm okay with whatever the thing is. It doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy it, but I perceive the producer and the reasons, so it is somehow edifying.

Maybe good art is art where you don't have connect in spite of what the "performer" does, but because of what they do.

Sky said...

What? . . . Say that again, Chan? (Plus, sorry for misspelling "its" in my comment. Oops.)

Dan said...

I don't feel like I necessarily have "good taste" in art. I'm not even sure what that means. What I used to think was good art, I don't anymore; and what I think is good art now, I used to not.

Kaitlin said...

Well, I am a little mystified by a couple of the comments here, but I think I understand at least some of what has been said...misinterpreted or not, here are my thoughts...

I have recognized a tendency I have to be critical when I attend any sort of performance. Having performed myself once upon a time, I still yearn to be on the stage, so when I sense that someone is performing for the sake of being acclaimed or appreciated or admired, I immediately discredit the performance. If, however, a person performs out of love and respect for what he is performing, I deem the performance as a credible success.

Eric James said...

I know I am not good enough to be on a stage singing or dancing. I know I am not good enough to be in a movie or compose a symphony. However, I know I am good at recognizing talent, whether I enjoy it or not. I love critiquing art, all types. And I think it is pretty safe to say that I critique properly, separating their talent and my taste. My favorite thing to look for is directing. Maybe someone should pay me to do that for a living.

jacker said...

liver25800
longing25800
muse25800
icicle25800
fife25800