Bryan Lindenberger

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Art beyond self-absorption?

Has gone on for years, listening to NPR to and from work. An hour each way in Florida, 11 minutes each way in Georgia. Six minutes in Nebraska.
Often some artist on, and always the same. "This is his/her or [most often] MY most deeply personal work."
About their lives, their loves, their loss. But always: "So-and-so's most deeply personal album [book, art exhibit, poetry collection] yet."
By being "personal" we assume the art is more genuine. Self-reflection is deep.
Then I suppose American pop culture would expect the deepest thinker, the truest artist in all time, to be Narcissus.
Wait...what?
The tale of Narcissus has lasted a very long time in popular because there is a truth to it.
One of the better popular phrases to come along since "narcissism" is probably "virtue signaling." No other word or phrase cuts it, and I sure as hell do it too. The US flag in my Facebook moniker, for instance. There's certainly no political divide when it comes to virtue signaling. Or narcissism.
I think we have plenty of "personal" art. Political art too. That's never been an approach I've favored, and we've got a glut of self-absorption in most art, all media, and across the aisle.
If the market is full of something, spilling over the brim, if anyone with merely the means can do it, it's no longer art.

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