Monday, July 06, 2015

Why Don't Young People Care About the Visual Arts?

It was a rocky week, last week. Word ricocheted about NYRA's changes for the upcoming season. I'm one to roll with the rumors, however, when it was verified that there would be no open house this year, I was deeply disappointed.

When an artist encounters stress while in the midst of a decent painting, it detrimentally affects the project. I just about ruined what I thought was a very strong piece. Losing concentration and focus is deadly for inspired production.

To start off the week fresh, I headed out very early to one of my favorite plein air destinations...Yaddo, right here in Saratoga. To those of you not familiar with Yaddo, it embodies a rich history of support and retreat for artists and writers. Click here for the facsinating story. Yaddo has hosted over sixty Pulitzer Prize winners and a Nobel Prize recipient. You can check out the roster of impressive alumni on Wikipedia.

For this local yokel, I love the exquisite gardens that are open to the public. Although the extreme winter and hungry deer have challenged the roses, they still present their ephemeral beauty with determination. I have never painted flowers other than colorful dot dot dots in a field and today I thought I'd give it a whirl. Give me some slack...I've never done this before AND I forgot my cadmium orange. My artist friends will know that mixing cad red with cad yellow should yield a cad orange but no, the manufacturers have the cadmium orange market authoritatively cornered.

As I immersed myself in exploration, a young woman in her 20's walked by...her face tuned in to her electronic device. Remember, it's about 7:00 am. She didn't seem to notice me set up by the yellow roses but strode directly to, ironically, the sun dial. There she sipped her Stewart's coffee (local favorite convenient chain) and stared intently into her device. All the while, the roses struggled to put on their glorious show, the birds sang their repertoire and the butterflies gracefully fluttered. The groundskeepers arrived to feed the koi. After her last upturned coffee gulp, she left just as she arrived...never looking up from her hand-held device.

I accept that it's a new world and while I don't have to like the distracted changes, I know I have no choice but to accept them. They're never going to go away and I can like it or lump it. I try not to judge the new shiny generation...but I wonder about the simple aesthetics of a straightforward gift from nature that they seem oblivious to...

My painting gear is to the left of the front column.

View from the main rose garden.
Koi enjoying breakfast.
No doubt you've seen this photo that went viral recently. 'Nuff said:
So, this got me thinking: is this the reason that young people have no interest in the visual arts? Is it because their attention is so limited that they no longer have any field of vision? Are they at all aware that life is happening around them? At quantum speed? Do they know that their hands are holding a device that is not only buzzing with electricity but also possesses sub-atomic particles with cool names like bosons and quarks and leptons that are swirling around with their DNA and hold the answers to...everything? Can they ever be intuitive...pick up vibes...experience that inner knowing of the present moment?

Love to hear your thoughts...


Karen Thumm said...

I wonder that too, Sharon. They are missing out on so much and don't even know it. I wonder if in their later years they'll wake up to the world they've been missing. And, what kind of parents will they be?

I almost gasped when I saw what they WEREN'T looking at; one of the greatest paintings ever by one of the best artists ever. I've seen it in person. How could you not stare and study it?

Sharon Crute said...

It's annoying, Karen. I watch these young people who cannot do anything without their phones. It's hysterical when they text their friends who are at the same table!