Everyone is an artist…

So says Joseph Beuys, via Ben-Ami Scharfstein; I’d never heard of Beuys until I started reading Scharfstein’s Art Without Borders, which is a tremendously exciting book for an number of reasons but especially because of the above premise: everyone is artistic all the time, we are constantly creating and interpreting, always using artifice, nothing “as it is” because we are fundamentally incapable of “as it is,” as Scharfstein puts is, “nothing made by human minds or hands, nor any human act, is without its aesthetic origin or aura.” We recognize and appreciate great art because we recognize the action of our own beings within it, and in recognizing and appreciating, we collaborate in an ongoing act of creation. Not a new idea, of course… might well be the oldest idea. That’s why the delivery system matters, why seemingly arcane hipster dithering like this essay actually do mean more than they appear to, because the way we learn to engage art shapes how we are artistic on a daily basis; if someone learns that only art that emerges from corporate massaging is worthwhile, then they are likely to make their own daily art the same way, they will move through their lives the same way an idea moves through a corporate boardroom. I remember reading an interview with the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine who answered the very valid critique that their band sold political revolution through the marketing of a multi-national corporation by saying something like, “well, they’re just like an investment bank, we take their money to make our music and they get a return on their investment, and because we are anti-corporate, we are subverting them.” That’s why you should not ask rock stars to speak. In any case, it does matter what gallery your work is in, what journal, what boombox, what ballfield, and not just because some charge more. Corporate art makes for people who live corporate lives, which are not lives at all.

Oh yeah, and more CDs:

232) Captain Sensible: The Best Of

“Jet Boy, Jet Girl.” Ha. And yes, “Wot” and “Glad It’s All Over” and “Happy Talk” and the rest, but “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” always makes me smile, so rude and catchy… I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t replaced “YMCA” at sporting events.

233) Van Morrison: Veedon Fleece

Ok, “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” makes me laugh, this CD makes me glad the wind exists, that wine exists, that I got to spend some time in this world. Van has about 6 or 7 CDs that do this for me…

234) Sparklehorse: It’s A Wonderful Life

Not sure why Sparklehorse hasn’t come close to making a recording this good since; even the collaboration with Dangermouse is not so striking as this. Perhaps they only have the one idea? It works here, anyhow–I mean, check out “Little Fat Baby”:

235) Beastie Boys: Check Your Head

Checked. It ain’t Paul’s Boutique, but then neither is Paul’s Boutique.

236) Sham 69: Best Of

Some good punk songwriting, some throwaway junk, plenty of opportunity to bellow and throw pint glasses at your best friend.


  1. Richard

    Great post.

  2. admin (Post author)

    Wow, a comment that isn’t spam! Thanks, glad you liked it. I gotta send you some links…

  3. terena

    I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea; that we are all inherently creative. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that book.

  4. admin (Post author)

    I’m thinking lately that creativity is the mutation that allowed our species to survive, evolutionarily speaking.

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