Good Art Gives–But Doesn’t Always Sell

Posted by Melvin Bray on July 22nd, 2008 filed in Home-Training

published on God’s Politics…

I’ve been on a real art binge of late. Reading, watching, listening to, experiencing and creating as much as I can. Good art isn’t just creative, it’s generative, that is it inspires creative acts in others. It gives us hands to shape the world in new and living ways. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how much this world we share needs more of it.

Like any other act of love, I believe art is fundamentally contributive, not transactional. It’s not an if-you-do-this-I’ll-do-that proposition. By my experience, as soon as it becomes transactional, art more often than not simply becomes entertainment. The difference is the bottom line. The bottom line in entertainment is to perpetuate the transaction. At least they’re honest about it, those who transact in performance art. They call it “the biz,” show business: business being the operative word. I was chatting with an Atlanta-based artist friend of mine, Patdro Harris, who used to choreograph for Stevie Wonder. He mentioned Stevie once noted that the great thing for him was that when he broke on the scene in the ’60s the industry and the public were transacting for the very art that was stirring inside of him. Sadly, that is not often enough the case. More often, people transact for (give back to) that which affirms and leaves them right where they are, good, bad or indifferent. Art—love—says, “Even if you don’t give back to me I’m going to give to you, and it’s going to be an attempt to seek your best.”

read more on God’s Politics blog>>> Part 1 / Part 2

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