“The Failings and Failures of Current “Art” – One Song and Dance Man’s Philosophical Observations”-John Murry
We are delighted to begin our series of posts written for us by John Murry. The following introduces the series and is part one of a twelve-part series. 2012 saw the release of ‘The Graceless Age’, an album full of pain and struggle, yet also an album of enduring hope and beauty. An album as timeless and breath-taking as they come.
Words: John Murry, Illustration: Craig Carry
Part One of Twelve:
An Introduction to “The Failings and Failures of Current “Art” – One Song and Dance Man’s Philosophical Observations”
(Typed From Handwritten)
12:21 P.M PMT
Oakland, CA, U.S.A.
Why I feel I must, in order to be transparent and honest, still write first with a pen, I do not know. Please forgive the neurosis.
Is it not to be expected, though?
Do read what I’m asking Fractured Air to allow me the space to write about. For twelve weeks. For even considering it, may they be thanked deeply (and if they do choose to post this as-is and go with the idea, may they be beatified!). I say post it as-is, just to ask Fractured Air that, if they do choose to allow me this, in order to properly write it as a cohesive twelve part piece (and unfortunately that’s the minimum number of parts I could envision), I would like all my “proposed rants”, as well as actual ones, be published so nothing is “hidden” from the reader’s eye.
I hope you will remember, dear reader, that while I’ve perhaps read a great deal, just like my famous relation, I never graduated from high school, though did attend college. I am untrained. In everything I do. I have chosen to extensively read some things and ignore others all together. What does that make me? An expert? In what? Well, what every one is an “expert” in: whatever degree in whatever subject matter to which they understand that singular subject and it’s correspondence with the rest of the world-at-large and all other information.
It is in this concept that I intend to show why Heidegger and Freud were misunderstood due to simple semiotic errors and logical (albeit talling) mis-readings of their works by using both their thought and a few others’ to examine the decline of what has been, I believe, grossly deemed “post-modern art” when it is not, for the most part “art” at all. I propose the vast majority of what is deemed “art” is utter rubbish – almost by logical default. In addition, I propose innumerable reasons for its’ decline in music since the early post-punk era in rock and roll and it’s rise in hip hop at the subsequent time. I’d argue two things, just for the sake of positing meaningless-but-terribly-meaningful-to-me-subjectively arguments:
This is one of the finest live rock and roll guitar solos of the last 30 + years, and it’s Prince:
This is one of the best rock and roll songs of the last 30 + years, and it’s Outkast:
I posit these two to point out a reality not being faced: rock and roll – it’s “Saviors” are wolves in sheep’s clothing – is dying and, as it does, we must thank God hip hop exists to keep it alive (along with a cavalcade of great “rock and roll” artists whose numbers, in my very personal and limited opinion, are quickly and sharply dwindling).
Tonight begins my (for lack of greater personal integrity, I suppose, but the curse of knowing that one must fight in life for beliefs in order to lead anything resembling a moral existence in this current era of utter ethical confusion and societal narcissism). I believe I justifiably now can, for reasons of commerce and not true valuation of the art I create in any measurable manner, write down in good faith what I am capable of offering as purely written word – without sound – as I wanted to at one point in life when I thought I might enjoy teaching (that time was brief).
Commerce, sadly, is all that we know to value anything by as a culture today. I feel that, as what I think can now be reasonably called the standpoint of one making money (though to an incredibly small degree – you’d be shocked, I promise…) by creating and engaging my own “art”, I have a perspective I was not allowed before. It’s these observations and opinions I’ve formed that I’d like to share.
I’d like to ask Fractured Air, over the course of this and the subsequent 11 installments, for the space to discuss, using primarily Continental Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Theory, the decline of art in our modern western society and who’s to blame for it.
What gives me the nerve, you ask?
At this point, having seen the music business for what it is: my dignity. And the realization that, by making money – or appearing to – solely by artistic means, the art necessarily suffers. Sometimes I feel I know why; that we all do, but refuse to face it.
The next piece, if Fractured Air is interested in allowing me this, will introduce the concept ultimately in question ( and why): The art of the thing itself as about myself in relation to it. The grammar is intentional. I will attempt to further elements of Nietzsche’s argument in his “Case of Wagner”, Terence Malick’s succinct examination of Heidegger’s “Essence Of Reasons”, and a few of Montaigne’s and Unamuno’s essays as starting points.
Ultimately, the only rightful critique granted me under God is that of myself and, by default, my art and, by extension, art-at-large (though subjectivity will always reign as we are not automatons, though many may act as if we are).
Illustration based on ‘Thorntree in the Garden’, taken from ‘The Graceless Age.’
If you would like to read our original review of ‘The Graceless Age’, see here.
‘The Graceless Age’ is out now on Bucketfull of Brains.