How does our work as artists relate to our national identity? Or should it, even? At Gasp!, Laura Axelrod explores the artist’s role in a troubled country.
(The) main question has to do with how we, as Americans perceive ourselves and how we, as artists see our country. It is larger than how we perceive our audience. It incorporates how we approach them. Do we declare war on them to “wake them up?” Do we comfort them and validate their status? Do we see ourselves as parasites, living off the scraps of mainstream society? Or have we quit on America entirely, turned our nose up and looked to other countries for “real culture?”
These are important questions that artists and writers must ask themselves. How we see each other, individually and as a whole, will determine our role in seeing this country through its troubles. Perhaps our work can even play a role in healing it.
Speaking of troubled countries… even though it appears tonight’s presidential debate WILL happen after all, LA Times art critic Christopher Knight doubts arts and culture will be among the topics presidentially debated (but feels they should be).
Martha Mason, Artistic Director of the late, great Snappy Dance Theater (recently featured on ArtSake here), seeks to spark a conversation about funding for small performing arts companies, at Geoff Edgers’ The Exhibitionist.
Image: Sandy Litchfield, DOWNPOUR (2005), oil, acrylic, ink on canvas, 42 in. x 48 in.