Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art in Tough Times

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

These Are Boom-times for Art

On October 19th, I went to Twitter and tweeted, "Thinking that art of all sorts, including comedy, will become more interesting during this tumultuous time." Some of the best music I ever loved emerged when my dad was unemployed during the recession in the '70s. "Saturday Night Live" was at its peak then, too, and rose like a phoenix during this unparalleled election season.

What a huge consolation-prize for having less money in our pockets or 401Ks -- to have artists be inspired by the calamities of this cash-crunch. (A colleague of mine created a Facebook group about his "201K," which I almost joined, but I became a Facebook fan of Suze Orman instead.)

This morning, I read about a "New Yorker" cartoon exhibit on money based on the collection of Melvin R. Seiden. The critic loved it, but wished the collection of cartoons had not ended with those of two years ago. The critic reminded readers of the hilarious/tragic cartoons that have been emerging in the magazine lately, including a recent favorite of mine, where a teacher tells the class that since the school can't afford Halloween pumpkins, the students will be carving raisins this year."

Gorging Won't Be an Option, But Feasting Selectively, Surely

Don't hard times beg for laughter? For escape from self-absorption, whether into transformative or easy entertainment? From an art standpoint -- including works like those of my friends Aimee Hertog or Allan Chapman or Saydi Kaufman or Riva Lehrer or Amanda Mathews -- during this period of economic famine, I think we're in for a treat for which we hunger!

Coincidentally, exactly a month after I first tweeted about art as a topic, I tweeted again: "Wondering who buys art in challenging times like these. Does art give comfort, and so more people buy it, or is it seen as a luxury?"

More of the people who follow me on Twitter responded to that tweet than to any other so far. The consensus was that they buy less volume, but that art, above all in times like these, gives them comfort and pleasure that they need to survive.

No comments: