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Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=896
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Author:  audrey [ Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

I hate to disagree but I do not think baroque contrapuntal music is an acquired taste (except possibly sarabandes,) which are too slow for most modern ears. The faster movements seem pretty accessible to me if they are played with a lilt and not slogged through like a scale book.

Lots of our kids liked them and whistled them in the shower without any training - both 16th and 18th century counterpoint have movements that are pretty "catchy".

Actually come to think of it our youngest really likes Palestrina, and he is only ten and I have never taught him anything about counterpoint.

Author:  georule [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

RobertJames wrote:
College professors choose works that require their presence to understand; works that are accessible don't produce tenure.

Accessibility does not equal literature, as a result, in most college courses.

Hemingway barely hangs on; Steinbeck is gone, except in history classes.

Depressing, but true.

Robert


Well, that goes to my point that more often audiences are consciously and deliberately elitist (in the sense of trying/enjoying to be deliberately exclusionary) than artists.

I started my participation in the thread noting that an artist *trying* to be inaccessible was the anomaly, and I still believe that --tho I'll grant you Joyce could certainly be one of them based on that quote.

As to the point about the rich, that's a whole different kind of "accessibility" than I had in mind. . . clearly the art of the Sistine is accessible in the context I had in mind, whether it was accessible (your useage, based on physical access) to access it (mine, based on ability to understand/appreciate the art once physical access to it has been achieved), or not.

As to "popular", I defined it in my second as to accessibility --can it be understood by the average intelligent person without a great deal of special training?

If an artist takes a cross, and hangs it upside down in a mixture of urine and feces. . . . then its "unpopularity" will not be based around an inability to understand the finer points of the art, even if the artist exclaims "But the cross is made of *rosewood*! Get it?" and his acolytes nod knowingly around him at the excellence of his point.

Author:  PeterScott [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

georule wrote:
As to "popular", I defined it in my second as to accessibility --can it be understood by the average intelligent person without a great deal of special training?

To what extent is understanding important? Isn't the aim of art to move someone? Intellectual appreciation is an independent axis, I would say. But perhaps I am picking unjustly on one of your words.

Author:  georule [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

PeterScott wrote:
georule wrote:
As to "popular", I defined it in my second as to accessibility --can it be understood by the average intelligent person without a great deal of special training?

To what extent is understanding important? Isn't the aim of art to move someone? Intellectual appreciation is an independent axis, I would say. But perhaps I am picking unjustly on one of your words.


Peter, I'm sorry. . . I hit the wrong damn button (Edit instead of Quote) on your post and mauled it inadvertently. . . losing your second point after I hit submit and saw what I'd done. You should be able to edit it back in. My apologies. I've been modding a goodly number of years at this point, and I still do that one. Arrgh.

As to this point:


Oh, I'll accept emotional impact as a form of understanding.

It seems to me there are two kinds of teaching of art --one that helps you understand why you like what you like (or even why you hate what you hate), and one that helps you understand why you should at least respect (and, possibly, but not necessarily, also like) what you didn't previously understand or possibly even like at all.

Broader exposure and historical context is part of teaching too, of course, but it seems to me that function is part of both forms of teaching.

Tho it does raise a related point --a lot of artists, particularly of the written word, consider the highest form of art the ability to hit at multiple levels, and reward even more with greater understanding. . . but without closing out a "popular audience" entirely from enjoying the work.

Author:  PeterScott [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

georule wrote:
PeterScott wrote:

Peter, I'm sorry. . . I hit the wrong damn button (Edit instead of Quote) on your post and mauled it inadvertently. . . losing your second point after I hit submit and saw what I'd done. You should be able to edit it back in. My apologies. I've been modding a goodly number of years at this point, and I still do that one. Arrgh.


I've nearly done that a few times meself. All I had was an "Amen, Brother" in response to your final paragraph. Art that is deliberately crafted for the sake of pissing people off is nothing but cheap marketing, and it doesn't deserve to shelter behind the skirts of artistic freedom. South Park was great when they were just being funny... when they got into this kick of deliberately pushing every boundary they could, daring Comedy Central to censor them, I no longer found it entertaining. I'm not being a prude, some of their early stuff was just as crude; but it was not crude for crudeness' sake.

Author:  georule [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

Well, sometimes people need pissing off, and I'm not going to sit in judgement on that generically. I accept in the macro sense that can be a legitimate aim of art --given the history of sf, how could I not?

But I will say the more it is done in a cheap/easy way, the less respect I have for it *as art* --and the more I assume that controversy for controversy's sake, rather than an honest attempt to change hearts and minds thru the power of art, is the goal.

Author:  georule [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

BillPatterson wrote:
"Accessibility" in the sense of "is it even intelligible without special training" wasn't even a question until the middle third of the 20th century, and there is something fundamentally pathological, I think, about attempting to rest the entire valuation of a work on narrow technical issues . . ."


<snip>

It's the "guild" paradigm of a mature society as applied to art, is what it is. And I still insist it is much more often the conscious function of the audience rather than the artist --at least if the artist isn't just another hack.

An artist who says,"I will not compromise for the sake of the audience", to me, is not saying he doesn't want them to understand him. He may have given up hope that many of them will, but it can't possibly be his aim if he aspires to greatness.

Author:  georule [ Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

Or said another way, if an audience of twenty insists that an artist is great, and they are the only ones who understand why. . .

. . . then without foreclosing the possibility they are correct, I really have to ask myself to what degree what they are really doing is celebrating their own greatness for having (they say) figured him out, rather than celebrating the artist's greatness.

But I am confident that the artist, likely long dead, would have been much happier if far more than twenty had grokked him to fullness (assuming he wouldn't have just been appalled by their analysis in the first place).

Author:  BillPatterson [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

audrey wrote:
I hate to disagree but I do not think baroque contrapuntal music is an acquired taste (except possibly sarabandes,) which are too slow for most modern ears. The faster movements seem pretty accessible to me if they are played with a lilt and not slogged through like a scale book.

Lots of our kids liked them and whistled them in the shower without any training - both 16th and 18th century counterpoint have movements that are pretty "catchy".

Actually come to think of it our youngest really likes Palestrina, and he is only ten and I have never taught him anything about counterpoint.

Hmmm. Interesting. I was remembering my own learning curve, lo these mumblety-mumble years ago. Learning to hear and grasp two or more contrapuntal lines simultaneously was a definite effort.

But -- that was in the late 1960's, at the very dawn of general availability of Baroque music on records. Nonesuch was just starting up.

It may not be such an effort for people who have grown up with the abundance of Baroque music now available. And it may also not be such n effort for people who grow up with a wide variety of music in the home. In my case, Johnny Cash and Gene Pitney, while good in their own right, don't conduce to counterpoint.

Author:  RobertJames [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Heinlein as pop artist/flaming genius god

I obviously heard classical music prior to college; one could hardly avoid it in commercials and movies.

But I never chose to listen to it until I was in college, and took one of those classical music appreciation courses; 30 seconds of Bach and I was addicted.

Counterpoint was immediately accessible, but then I was 20....

R.

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