Talking Point

People shouldn’t trust artists and they shouldn’t trust art. Part of the fun of art is that it invites you to interpret it.

Tony Kushner

8 thoughts on “Talking Point

  1. well duh…what’s any art without interpretation? varying interpretations = varying opinions = communication. and that to me, is a great piece of art.

  2. oops…I certainly didn’t mean ‘well, duh’ as in ‘you’re a dummy Tony Kushner’…I just spent all weekend watching Angels in America (thank you Simon) and a dummy TK is not.

  3. It’s true, the individual interpretation of art is self-evident, I just like how he phrases the first sentence: “people shouldn’t trust artists”, it has a ring of challenge to it that I think is ballsy.

    Perhaps the audience needs to engage with the artist as much, if not more, as the art.

  4. It’s a good point. I think many viewers are put off art because they feel that it contains some universal truth that is being handed down to them from on high. If they don’t get it (or if they think they don’t get it), they feel alienated.

    Viewers with more experience, or with a more natural “eye” for art, understand that the art object is simply a phrase in the argument. It is not the answer – it’s a question.

    Ideally, a big part of how we measure the value of art is based on the strength and the nuance of the questions it asks.

  5. And wouldn’t it be great if more people came up and said “I don’t get it”, unabashedly. Maybe that should be a question on a post-show questionnaire: “did it make sense to you?”. This is part of the discussion of considering the audience in the art, I think, which isn’t to say create to the lowest common denominator or keep it simple, but rather to make sure that the artistic vernacular we use doesn’t reek of exclusivity.

    The language of art should be kept universal.

  6. ok…don’t reek of exclusivity, I’m all for that; exclusivity, elitism and entitlement don’t belong anywhere in art…but create art for both trained and untrained? experienced and inexperienced? how would that work without just spoonfeeding audiences the message?

  7. I think going back to the original talking point,

    ‘Part of the fun of art is that it invites you to interpret it.’

    if the message were understood by everyone after the first view, wouldn’t there be less conversation? because everyone ‘got it’? When some get it, and some don’t, that’s where interpretation comes in.

    I dunno…you guys are much more fluent in the realm of theatre, and much better at forming your arguments, but I always enjoy pondering them :)

  8. “…spoonfeeding the message”, that is a great point, as something to be avoided at all costs. Blech. Where’s the line between true artistic expression and pretension? Is there a line? I’ve wished so many times that I could ask the artist directly where they’re coming from with a particular piece of art. That’s why I’m mad for behind-the-scenes features, I love being privy to the process.

    Mind you, I believe that the art is in the process.

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