In 2002 I had two solo shows going. One was at my work, at the library on the McNichols campus of the University of Detroit Mercy. The other was at the late, great Zeitgeist Gallery and Performance Venue.
This second exhibit was titled Art Therapy for a Sick World. I wrote this statement in connection with that. Wow, it was eleven years ago now.
I decided to put this out again, without many corrections or updates. There are more (parenthesis) than I’d use today. It was an experiment with that, stylistic flourishes?
If anything, the world is far sicker than it was in 2002. I still believe that art could have an important part to play in the healing. Sometimes, a cure must be provoked. The heart of the sickness has no idea how sick it is.
this introduction: June 21, 2013, the first day of Summer
ART THERAPY FOR A SICK WORLD
April 25, 2002 from Maurice Greenia, Jr.
Many “art critics” have always discounted the power of art to make a difference in the real world, to change things for the better.
To them, art is a happy paradise, a child’s “fairyland” or a little sweetness off-setting the sourness of this so-called reality.
To me though, art does have an important, even urgent part to play.
What’s more, it’s not being permitted to play it.
If it’s not “entertainment” or if it’s not (otherwise) a good “financial risk” it’s often swept under the rug, “ghettoized” and otherwise ignored.
Yet the thing about being “ostrichsized” is that the ostrich may have a temper.
Many critics find themselves influenced (consciously or unconsciously) by how the creative works they judge relate to/fit in with the MARKETPLACE.
I judge my work (and other’s) in regard to dream content, the potency of the imagination, the residue of deep and complex thinking, absolute awareness (without filters or blinders), the amount of LOVE which is visible in the work (heartfelt) and (finally) the mysterious and even magical element (the old “X factor”).
These are not things often in the mind of the critics or in the minds of those who rule our nations, start our wars, exploit the poor, terrorize and so on and so forth. (Is politics the criticism of reality?)
This is not to overly criticize our needed cultural critics and observers.
Yet (so far as the rulers, legislators, fat cats, bigwigs, generals, kings, queens etc. are concerned) things do seem to be off, out of synch and in a mess.
Who believes that all (or most) is right with the world?
If those in power were open to the creative spirit (love, deep thought, imagination, energy, enthusiasm) perhaps this would help inform some of their choices and plans. What is art’s true place in the world? What should it be doing that it (largely) is not?
Is art the criticism of reality? (Or can it be?)
It should be part of life, deeply CONNECTED with life in a living, near primal and organic way (not just electronically or as possible PRODUCT). It could be similar to how it is (and has been) in so-called “primitive-tribal” paths. The artist can sometimes be like a shaman, gathering forces and then letting them re-emerge in healing forms.
To try to find ways to have art, TRUE ART really have an impact on an expansive REALITY, to touch people and make them more awake, more alive-this is a constant challenge. Art could explode into a new renaissance, evading traps and pitfalls aglow & alive.