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Feb 9, 2012

Art v.s. Entertainment

"Challenge", guache & ink, 20 x 26 in.
My younger and wiser sister Krys says “Entertainment is the pursuit of false meaning.” In some ways our economy has become one where a lie works just as well as the truth (i.e. the financial crisis). It reduces the truth to short supply since it is more expensive. So the truth is often outpaced by its entertaining version.

One can see how the owner of a news outlet would gravitate toward the stories that sell regardless of how truthful or important they may be. This has a cumulative effect that worries me. What keeps news from becoming a list of items that fascinate us- a mythology that speaks more of our repressed fixations than of outer events? That is perfectly fine, as long as we know we are massaging our psyches, but this is not news– it's art.

Every artist is tempted to create entertainment. Where art really sizzles- the place where you can feel the earth move– is when the artist's hair is on fire! (Mozart's Requiem, Van Gogh's work, or those soviet artists who painted their visions at the cost of their actual lives.) There is no doubt in that case what is real; there's no chance that they were selling out. But where the rubber hits the road is not in the artist's process but in the viewer's experience. Viewers of today look at the great sacrifices of the burnt-headed artists of the past and are transported. By that and, oh yeah, Jeff Koons, who must be great or he wouldn't be so famous! Inside the viewer's heart maybe there's no difference, since truth is where you find it.

If you could take your novel and make it entertaining without losing the value of the compelling original truth, it might  be a great hit. But that risks elevating the values of popular success above truth. The only answer is to follow the heart- which always leads to a place of isolation, not by choice of ends, but by choice of means.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.