Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I am a cultural theorist

I will now attempt to briefly explain why 20th and 21st century visual art is so much more popular than new classical music from the same period. My theory is that this is down to how "easy" visual art is. If you visit an art gallery and there is some crazy piece of abstraction or conceptual art there, you will probably just look at it for a minute or two and then walk on. But if you go to a concert of contemporary music you are stuck there listening to those far out sounds for an hour or more, much harder for someone who is not really that forward thinking to take. What consequences flow from this? Well, I suspect that it means that contemporary music will never be anything other than a minority pursuit. Such is life.

An inuit panda production


Brian Duguid said...

Only a paragraph? David Stubbs managed an entire book out of the same topic ("Fear of Music: Why people get Rothko but don't get Stockhausen"). I had most sympathy for his argument that the ability of visual art objects to acquire a sense of mystique through their price is one reason why punters will queue to stare at things they find incomprehensible, but won't sit still and listen to the musical equivalent.

ian said...

there might be something to that, but a surprisingly large number of people will wander around modern art museums showing stuff that isn't really worth that much.