Yareah magazine next issue (29), October 2012, is going to be titled “Democracy & Art”. Then, “Democratic art”, although it does not have exactly the same meaning.
Art must be for everybody, for sure, because it’s a human necessity, the fact that sets us apart from higher primates.
From the very beginning, children start to paint or to model little figures (times ago in clay, today in plasticine…) and every shoemaker, cook or housewife has desires of making something creative, something unique.
Once, Picasso said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” He had reason, not everybody can earn its life as an artist, but everybody has the right to enjoy it and to walk across the border of reality and fiction.
Yareah magazine has already studied different “democratic” artistic movements: “naïf”, “Folk art”, “Visionary art”, “graffiti”… Artistic movements (each one with a different connotation) which emphasize the idea that whatever person, with guts and feelings, can express itself in a metaphoric way and to transfer an emotion to an audience. Of course, this includes autodidacts and outsiders of the Academic rules. We like to join all these movements under the term “democratic” art. And we can add to them: “Underground art”, “Poverty art”, or even “Pop art”.
“Democracy & Art” would need a more historical explanation. The Greek meaning of “democracy” is “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Therefore and speaking about art, a democratic society must guarantee access worldwide to art, and to every kind of artistic manifestations. It has not always been this way. It’s true that the democratic Athens (5th- 4th centuries B.P.) made sculptures and built temples to be seen and enjoyed by everyone, but after Alexander the Great, that egalitarian society ceased forever and artworks used to be owned by an elite, powerful and rich. Anyway, Hellenistic sculptures are even more beautiful than those of classical Greece (“Victory of Samothrace”, “the Venus of Milo”, “Laocoon and his Sons”…). Same happened during the Renaissance and Baroque, great artists (from Michelangelo to Diego Velazquez) worked only for Popes or Kings but their masterpieces are today (no then) admired and understood but whatever audience.
In fact and in our opinion, politics and arts have separated ways, and no dictator has been able to extinguish the flame of art (see the example of Malevich vs. Stalin). But what Yareah claims is that “Democratic art” is so art as “Fine art”. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For example and after the elitist Baroque and Rococo periods, with the emergence of industrial society and middle classes, started general exhibitions, Universal Expos, art auctions, and art dealers: it was the Impressionism period (smaller sizes of the artworks, popular topics, faster execution and less costly). Thus, thousands of homes could have a marvelous painting on their walls or an awesome sculpture in their gardens. That’s good, but “Las Meninas” by Velazquez are also good (very good!!) but painted at a time outside democratic ideas.
“Democracy & Art” or “Democratic art”. Two interesting topics to study and express opinions. As always, artists, authors, philosophers, thinkers… are invited to collaborate in the next issue.
You are welcome!
YM Video: “Pop art” = “Popular art”