[Dixielandjazz] Re: Art & Jazz & Audience

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 23 17:23:15 PST 2003

> From: Steven Holzer <slholzer at iquest.net> (polite snip)
> Even if the audience consists only of the artist, art still depends on
> the audience. A better question is whether art that appeals only to the
> audience of one has any significance to the greater world.  I submit
> that it does not.

Careful., now.

Vincent Van Gogh had virtually no audience while he was alive yet he continued to
paint. I believe during his life he sold one painting for a very small amount of
money to someone who felt sorry for him, and his work which was roundly vilified
back then.

Now a century or so later we find his paintings selling for upwards of 100 million
dollars each when ever they come to market.

Was it art when nobody but him liked it? It certainly did not entertain anyone.

Is it art now that most collectors in the world would give their right arm to own
a Van Gogh?

If the answer to the first is "no" and to the second is "yes", when did it make
the transition for junk to art and who decides which is which?

Perhaps that is why art seems to be defined as "anything created by mankind."
regardless of the audience size and/or approval.

Don't like my music? Don't listen etc. All of us who create music should therefore
be secure that what we are doing is to be valued regardless of outside opinion.
Kind of like "Don't like my music? Don't listen". We should be aware that critical
opinion is meaningless, except perhaps to our monetary success.

Musicians everywhere should tell the critics to bug off if their ears aren't ready
for what musos create. So, Critics of the world, record reviewers etc.: Don't like
it loud? Tough noogies. Don't like it soft? Tough noogies. Don't like  modern
chords? tough noogies. Don't like ODJB? Tough noogies. All of that is YOUR problem
and not the musicians.

However, Steve Holtzer may be quite right about the "significance" of art. In the
overall view, it probably does depend upon the size of the audience. If Van Gogh's
audience remained himself and brother Theo until this day, what he created would
have virtually no significance. However, his audience expanded to other artists
who he influenced, as well as the general "artistic "public which now adores, and
will pay dearly, for his works. After his death, his art has become very

Steve Barbone

Musical Content: "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You."

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