Benjamin Solotaire - Benjamin has had opinions for a very long time. Early on he determined that he liked the ocean, horses, and theatre. Since then most creatures great and small have been added to the list as well as a love of all aspects of the visual arts. Two things he loves to offer opinions about are his children Matthew and Anya. And he greatly enjoys the opportunity to express all his various opinions in Gooch! magazine.


For Photo's of Fluxus Olympics Rutgers University 2003 click here.


Active Art
Published in Gooch, Holiday, '05


You go to a museum and walk around and look at paintings and sculptures. They’re beautiful, you’re moved, and you’re out in the world being cultural. You feel good because you’ve done this. Then you go home in time to catch that night’s episode of ‘Lost’. And you spend the next day talking with your friends about what happened on the spooky island. Which experience is more socially relevant or even more relevant to your life? These days at best they’re equal, most likely it’s the episode of ‘Lost’.

We’ve become complacent. We see art because we’re supposed to. Sure we enjoy it, but it’s in our lives for 30 minutes and then we go back to magazines and TV’s and our friends and our To Do lists. We used to be important to art, our lives our existence, now art has made itself important to itself.

Let’s go back a little. Cave paintings. No one knows really why they were done, but you can guess it had some ritual quality, summoning the beasts for the hunt or paying homage to them before killing them. Greek pottery, depicting mythical events and commemorating accomplishments in sports and war. Europe in the Middle Ages, (pardon my ignorance of what was happening in Asia and Africa, as much a part of the problem as anything) and you have works depicting their saints and saviour. Multiple events and images on one surface that were shared experiences and understandings. Then we come to the Renaissance. We discover, or rediscover, perspective. Nature studies. The act of painting supercedes the subject matter. Watch us as we capture the brilliance of our surroundings or the beauty of our features. We can depict the highs and lows of life around us. Now we move ahead to the 1900’s and we realize we can also paint and sculpt the thoughts in our head. Abstraction we call it. Isn’t it really just the reality of our minds?

All right, art history in a paragraph is more then a simplification. But my point is that art as become more about itself then about the world around us. Mass media gives us something that art used to give us. Shared experiences. If art is to be relevant to our lives we need to rethink what it is and how we experience it.



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