Tag Archives: art

Free Online Content, and Its Discontents

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Does anyone else worry that the proliferation of free online content has increasingly devalued the sorts of artistic media (writing, videos, pictures, music etc.) that can be freely and easily distributed online to the extent that it is going to ultimately discourage creative people from going into those fields (i.e. getting liberal arts/journalism degrees and other education in those fields) since they can’t really profit from doing those things– which is going to degrade the quality of that content overall until it’s really not even worth paying for anyway?

AKIE BERMISS: Free online content. While many have moved on the practical solutions to this new state of things this is a question of — still! — grave importance to me.  iIs been over a decade since the mp3 was introduced to the world and still the music industry is reeling from the blows of that technological leap. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Twitter as Art Form

HOWARD MEGDAL: Serious question: is a Twitter feed a potential art form in the making?

AKIE BERMISS: i followed that feed. it was absolutely brilliant. absolutely. probably one of the best, most timely, humorous and smart twitter feeds ever. imagine if more smart and funny people were on twitter?! it could be like heaven. like HEAVEN.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Which feed are you talking about? I just went to Twitter for the first time in months to search for Contemporary Haikus and the top
Trending Topic was #BlackPeopleMovies. Which turns out to mean taking movie titles and twisting them to reflect racist stereotypes. WTF Twitter, why do you always make me feel sad and gross? Continue reading

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AKIE BERMISS: We, twenty-somethings! They speak ill of us. Our youth, our beauty, our unbridled exuberance. They are jealous of us, of course. It was ever thus. To be old is to be cynical — and much of that cynicism is aimed at the young. Of course, dependents are off-limits. Even 18, 19, and 20 are still considered childhood (mostly) in our society. Soon as you his 21 — that magic number — suddenly you are no longer above (or is it beneath, perhaps) reproach. Everybody knows how to do it better and everyone thinks you’re doing it wrong. That’s fine — that’s what being 20 is all about. Gotta let all the old-timers take pot-shots at you.

NAVA BRAHE: For those of you who are of my generation: born in the late 60s, screwed over in the late 80s, prosperous in the late 90’s – until the bottom fell out 2 years ago, you’re probably wondering what all this “emerging adulthood” business is about. Let me put it in a somewhat generational perspective for you, reminiscent of Gilda Radner’s beloved Saturday Night Live character, Emily Litella: “What’s all this I’m hearing about ‘emerging adulthood?” Well Emily, it’s just the 20-somethings’ way of postponing the inevitable; winding up like me.

THOMAS DELAPA:: I agree that generational generalizations can be simplistic and even misleading, but it’s one way (of many) of grappling with and understanding social trends… A lot of what we’re discussing seems to involve the changing American Dream for ordinary workers, young and old, if not its collapse. The financial stress and crushing foreclosures many people are experiencing mirror the monstrous national debt the country is facing. Individuals spent all that money on whatever (SUVs, big homes, home theaters, college, stuff) without thinking about the consequences, betting their home prices and wages would continue to rise. Likewise, the US of A. $1 trillion for a war in Iraq? No problem. Just borrow it. Whatever you do, don’t tax anyone to pay for it. In fact, lower taxes to get (re)elected. Continue reading

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The Value of Grad School Art

LAURA ROBERTS: As someone who has two Bachelor degrees (both in Liberal Arts majors, making me doubly unemployable and totally insufferable at cocktail parties), I did at some point ponder the age-old question of grad school. A student of Literature and Creative Writing, I went over my options for a fine-sounding MFA, and even took at stab at acceptance, applying to the University of Texas at Austin—mostly because their MFA students receive the handsome sum of $25,000 a year with no teaching strings attached. I didn’t get in, and while I was briefly upset by the news, it occurred to me that the only real reason to attend an MFA was to be paid to write.

I already get paid to write, so why bother with the MFA?

ERIC NUSBAUM: The very title of this discourse displeases me. For one, asking what the value is in “Grad School Art” supposes that art produced in graduate schools should be somehow stuck with a separate category or classification. Art, in my mind, is art. And since we’re discussing literature, writing is writing; regardless of whether it’s produced in a sidewalk café in Paris or a library at the University of Iowa. Continue reading

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Is This Photo Racist?

STEPHON JOHNSON: It comes around every year: a potentially racially-charged photo spread in a fashion magazine. But it doesn’t make Interview’s spread any less worthy of discussion.

AKIE BERMISS: Shock value — that’s all it comes down to. I don’t know anything about fashion or photography, but I do know about shock value. I do know about the social mores of the 20th and 21st centuries in America. I do know about the objectification of women and the theoretical hyper-masculinity of the black man. How one is the embodiment of purity, innocence, and beauty and the other is the paradigm of savagery, carnality, and evil. And that even when that innocence or purity is somewhat sarcastic (or, over the top, if you will) and even when that beauty is not really all that beautiful, and even when the savagery and the evil are meant to seem dangerously seductive — I know that the basic morality play is the same. This (good) versus that (bad). And who can resist so compelling a dichotomy?
Continue reading

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Creating Art

STEPHON JOHNSON: It’s a beautiful thing to create art. It’s even better if you’re getting paid for it. You know…with money.

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: I write for a living. I can sometimes even manage to choke out the words, “I’m a writer,” when folks ask me what I do. It’s a lie, but it’s a lie I’ve been trained to tell. After all, I’ve spent the past decade as a public relations professional. I’m a sell-out, but I’m one with her best foot planted firmly forward.

EMILY SAIDEL: Even as a child, I was the crafty sort. I like beads, and jewelry making, and activities with pipe cleaners. But there was no one activity that I was passionate about, that I loved, or missed when I wasn’t doing it. As I got older, I joined the DIY bandwagon and learned to crochet and knit. I’ve always considered these artistic outputs, even as middlebrow culture tended to classify them with the craft category of arts and crafts. Ancient Greek supports me in grouping them together rather than separating them with the term techne. Through techne the artist shapes the world, whether through painting, pottery or cobbling.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The thunderbolt hit me when I decided that, as a ‘creative’ person, I should have a ‘creative’ job. “Huh,” I thought. “Maybe I should go into marketing. That’s a creative job. That might be good for someone like me.”
Then I thought, “What IS marketing, after all? When you get right down to it, isn’t it just trying to make people want to buy things?”
Then I thought, “What in the hell is creative about that? Why did I think that was a creative job?”

AKIE BERMISS: Creating art has got to be one of the all time most difficult things to write about. All too often, one either comes off pedantic, impersonal, and haughty or unintelligible, scatter-brained, and impassioned. Before I descend into incoherence, I hope (this time!) that I am able to write something that at least begins to get the ball rolling in this wild arena of art-making.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Just a point I think worth considering: while creativity that is channeled through another person’s impetus may or may not be art, I do think it is inherent in art itself to create it for another, not merely yourself. In other words, commissioned work gets a bad rap. Continue reading

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