Monday, February 29, 2016

possibly pedantic distinction

I don't know who that is (probably an admission of my staggering ignorance), and I don't want to make a judgment of either his artistry or Beyoncé's. But can we make a distinction between artistry and virtuosity? Humans like to watch somebody who is good at something (that's part of the attraction of professional sports, for example). Sometimes it's entertainment, sometimes it's skilled work.

That's virtuosity. But mere virtuosity doesn't make art. There are better draftsmen than Miro (or Botticelli, one of my faves), and better pianists than Gershwin.  But those better draftsmen and pianists, like actors and athletes (and others) over the millennia, are forgotten, because for all their virtuosity, they did not create something that stood the test of time, that spoke to people on a level to make their works memorable.

(Great artists are often virtuosi, which, I think, is part of why we conflate the two.)

I have little use for modern art; the stuff that people like is not liked by critics (and vice versa), and I think there are artists who create for critics. I don't think the stuff that was created for critics will still be around in a couple centuries. But I still go back to look at Botticelli.

Pic from today's Oddman.

Edit March 1 2016: I've been told it's Geddy Lee, the technically proficient bassist from the band Rush. My distinction, however, still stands.

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