Art, Business and Legacy of Beauty
There are many people in America who believe that they do not have time for art. My response to them is that, if America has the time for - right-wing radio talk shows, tele-evangelists, political correctness, personality psychology and global warming deniers - then it most certainly has the time for art, which consumes much less resources than any such things and affectuates far greater utility.
The Renaissance Italy, with a population of 3 million and per capita GDP of $1,000 a year, had the time and the resources for Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Cathedral, and any number of timeless masterpieces. America, with a population of 300 million and per capita GDP of $45,000, has the human and material resources for 300 Sistine Chapels. Why then do we not see works of similar caliber being produced?
Much of it is a result of anti-artistic thinking. There are people in America who believe that there is no value for art. Yet these same people think that there is value in things that are much more expensive than art and that are ultimately destrucive - things such as right-wing radio talk shows, tele-evangelists, political correctness, personality psychology and global warming denier industry.
Another contributing factor is a hostility that we see between some in art and some in business. A lot of artists see businessmen as scoundrels, and a lot of businessmen see artists as bums. That does not have to be. Art and business should work together; and when it does work together - as was the case in 1920s - the result is a legacy of embodied beauty. In 1920s, there were any number of beautiful buildings and machinery produced, such as the Chrysler Building and the Packard. Are we less talented than the people in 1920s? Absolutely not. There has just been a lot of stupidity on this issue, which stupidity it falls up to people like me to address.
If people in 1920s, or during the Italian Renaissance, could produce great works of beauty, then so can the contemporaries. There is more wealth now in the world than at any time in history, and some of this wealth should go to creating beauty. Beautiful buildings, beautiful machinery, beautiful paintings, beautiful interiors, beautiful literature, beautiful film, beautiful music, beautiful software, are all things that people today can easily afford. Much more so than either during the Italian Renaissance or in 1920s.
The more beauty is produced, the less resources need to go to psychologists, preachers and practicioners of political correctness to destroy people's longing for beauty. The more money is saved, and the greater benefit is achieved. Not only does this make sense aesthetically, it also makes sense economically. For what is a pittance in terms of contemporary wealth, can be created an enormous legacy of beauty. And that would not only benefit the contemporaries; it would also benefit the memory of the contemporaries in the minds of the future generations. They will look at all the beauty that has been created and thank the people who have created it. We will have achieved a proud legacy.
Instead of fighting each other, the businessman and the artist should work together. Every time they did in the past, the results have been spectacular. Ultimately both the businessman and the artist are a part of the same pursuit: To create benefit and add to life. The businessman actualizes humanity's productive potential, and the artist actualizes humanity's creative potential. And it's time that both parties see that about one another and learn to get along.
When the creative and the productive work together, the result is embodied beauty. And that will not only benefit the contemporaries. It will create a glorious legacy for the contemporaries that future generations will honor and seek to rise to the challenge that it sets.