This is the inaugural post of what will become a consistent part of The Curator’s content. In addition to our normal offerings, we are going to begin publishing short reflective links, basically reblogging. One of the primary hopes of The Curator is to foster conversation, and so much good work and good discussion is happening elsewhere—we feel The Curator should highlight, extend, and ruminate upon this content in a helpful way. We hope you enjoy this new aspect of the magazine.
This past week in the New York Times A.O. Scott and other artists had a panel discussion on the question: “Is our Art Equal to the Challenges of Our Times?” With the financial crisis and Ferguson in mind, A.O. Scott says: “But we are in the midst of hard times now, and it feels as if art is failing us.”
The thoughts provided by the wide range of panelists are imprecise, human, and needed.
But they also raised a host of further questions for me. What is art and what is its responsibility? Is it an antibiotic? An escape? Is it the answer or the question? If art has failed, what sort of failure is it? Has the world outpaced art, or has art’s social muscles atrophied?
Justin Simien, director of Dear White People, says the following when asked if artists have a responsibility to engage social issues like race and class:
“The best stories hold a clean mirror up. They take the chaos in our experiences, strain them through the point of view of a storyteller, and give context and insight to our lives. Race and class issues especially need this mirror, as more and more of culture seems reticent to even admit these issues still exist, let alone address them.”