During the 20th century to the present time, artists have been very cognizant of the fact that they have an opportunity to comment on the human condition. One of the great contributions of the Pacific Standard Time (PST) exhibition we have been focused on this Fall 2017 semester is the range/depth of curating an installation of Southern California artists many of whom took the responsibility of being contemporary commentators. These highlighted artists in PST have accepted what Pablo Picasso said some years ago about what an artist is. “What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.”
What are your thoughts/insights/ideas/comments regarding Picasso and his clarion call to be a commentator of one’s era? Is art decorative and meant to be placed over the couch? Or is art far more significant and substantial within the cultural context of its time? Your thoughts please.