Re: Evaluation and more

Philly the Kid (
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 17:56:27 -0500

>> I know when I THINK I have encountered bad art. But it is so personalized
>> my particular history and state of mind even that brought me to that
>But how do you know, you may think it is, but by the standards of the
>person, or group that produced it, it may be ground braking stuff.


I am the first to admit, that context is all important, but to just say
"everything is relative" seems too easy...

How bout the guy who is able to replicate a Rembrandt painting precisely.
We might admire the skill, or find it intrguing or impressive but we don't
value his work like the orginal. Why? It could be "ground breaking" for him
right? Because this style and way of looking at the world reflects another
time and place. Its been invented already - we know about it. Its now an
exercise and displaced from its orginal meaning.

We do live in broader contexts than just ourselves and immediate associates.

Bad art to me, can be for instance, when I feel I understand what the
artist/composer is trying to do and I think it falls short. One particular
problem I have has to do with proportions. Many pieces I feel have lots of
interesting elements or concepts and at a point I was satisfied I felt "it
worked", and then the piece goes on too long - and in some cases totally
ruining the experience. I have also experienced a lot of pieces in which I
call it the "demonstration effect". Where someone has generated some clever
moments or cool sounding material but the piece ends up being nothing more
than iterations of the material. Nothing inventive or particularly
purposeful in the assemblage. I have listened to pieces that felt "clear"
to me, I could see what the composer was dealing with and it was crafted
well - proportions were comfortable and ideas clear but they just were
boring - I had visited this world too many times before or they presented
me with styles of music and methods of organization that were common place
or derivative from history. Rhytymic and harmonic language that presented
nothing "new".

I;d rather listen to the origianl in most cases than derivative copies.

Lots of people talk the talk and try to walk the walk - and many people
just don't have good ideas. Being expressive may be a valuable experience,
maybe it provides a person with growth and catharsis - gives them a space
to reflect or invent - but it isn't all worthy of my attention. I may
support the efforts but not want to invest much of my time on it. This is
one of the problems I have with "free improv". The experience is a lot
different for the performer than for the audience member and too often the
performer loses sight of that.

And just because someone is having a personal breakthrough with their
writing, compostion of painting doesn't mean that breakthrough transcends
to the greater world at large...