Picasso insisted that artists needed to be chroniclers of their time. He felt the responsibility to let people know his thoughts about events—even at the global level—for those who were contemporary to him AND to those who would come after Picasso’s time. The American philosopher and writer Cornel West takes up Picasso’s staff of the artists responsibilities and refines the vision to the human condition within the art of living. West exclaims: “You can’t talk about the struggle for human freedom unless you talk about the different dimensions of what it is to be human. And when you’re talking about art you’re talking about meaning, you’re talking about love, you’re talking about resistance, you’re talking about imagination, you’re talking about empathy. All of these are part and parcel of what it is to talk about human freedom. And so art is about those who have the courage to use bits of reality to get us to see reality, in light of a new reality. So it’s about vision by means of imagination, it’s about empathy in terms of looking through this world and seeing the possibilities fo a new world, a more decent, a more compassionate world. And so be one a painter, musician, sculptor, dancer, in fact, be one a human being who aspires to learn the art of living, because in the end I think that’s what the arts are really about, how do we become, all of us become, artists of living? Which has to do with courage, which has to do with love, which has to do with justice, which has to do with leaving the world better than we found it.”
So, what are your thoughts/insights/comments on human freedom as evidenced in the cry for freedom expressed by Southern California artists after WWII? Do the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions that popped up within the Getty/Hammer collaboration embrace Cornel West’s philosophy about being human and about being an artist?