Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fear and Loathing

Hieronymus Bosch

For the past months, watching the progress of the American presidential election words, my words, any words, about art seemed trivial. To say that I am heartsick over the election results is an understatement. It is like watching a grotesque horror movie in slow-motion.  Many of us felt that money and the banks compromised one side and the other side, riven by fear and hatred, was fed Hitlerian promises of "Make America Great Again" and scapegoated minorities. Many of the problems of blue collar America were indeed poorly addressed by the liberal elite and the whole country, if not the planet is going to pay dearly.

Friends of mine are in fear of losing their health-care- a very real possibility. The young black man at the meat counter of a store I patronize told me he was scared. His co-worker saw frighteningly aggressive displays of Trumpism in New Hampshire after the election. My grand-niece sobbed for days. There will be no relief or help for college tuition for her and her friends in her lifetime.

My present model, a young man from Moldova, perhaps Europe's poorest country, cannot understand why this great and powerful country cannot educate and have healthcare for its people. He has a Romanian passport, many Moldovans do, and as part of of the European Union he can ( except now for England) go, study and work anywhere there. His older sister after being educated at the Sorbonne (free of cost) is heading for a job in Romania. He said that if he wasn't married and to an America woman, he would go there right now.

Yet I am an artist. That is what I do, I feel imagery can address the pain of difficult and untenable situations yet I am loathe to weaponize art to address political grievances. Some of the most transcendent art on the planet was created by people whose lives and times were far more difficult than  ours. I have stopped the car to listen to Mozart on the radio.and  right now I long to be in a room filled with  Monet's waterlilies. How many dreadful paintings must have been done of the Twin Towers that are now moldering in the basements of homes and art galleries? Goya, Bosch and  Kollwitz are among the few artists, in my opinion, that can paint human pain and make it timeless. All too many exploit human trauma - cheap tricks designed only to appeal to jaded critics.

I tell myself that Monet lived through the French Commune, but I fear this may be much worse. I hope I am proven wrong.

Trump is not my president.

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