I have a weird relationship with art. Specifically that which exists to make a statement. I always feel that art for spectacle was made for someone else, and it very likely is. I have a hard time resonating with a lot of art, not because I can’t see it as art, or that I feel too smart or cool to acknowledge it as such, but more just because it doesn’t invoke within me the emotions I know that artist was trying to elicit. Maybe it’s for this reason that this reading was difficult for me. Environmental art is by no means necessarily a spectacle, but it does have a definite purpose for existing. The artists are trying to either raise awareness, or pressure change in the way they know how. A painter’s talent would be wasted trying to make a documentary, so I absolutely admire how they act in their own ways.
The book mentions how art has been around since the dawn of man. Art is such an integral way for humans to express themselves that there are surviving examples of it from millennia ago. Beliefs and values of long dead civilizations can be discovered through the art of the time. All of this is to say I get the deal with art. Last week’s reading mentioned how science was restricted to the upper class for a very long time, whereas technology was furthered by the lower classes. Art is somewhere in a happy balance between the two. The famous sculptures and paintings of the renaissance were all commissioned by the very wealthy. Poor people of course still made art, but comparatively little survived to the current day like the ceiling of grand churches or Greek statues. To me the most striking environmental art is that of photographs. Nothing else captures the reality of the situation we are all living in. Nothing else shows the beauty in the rays of sun beaming through the lush rainforests. And nothing else depicts the heart wrenching feeling when you see those same forests burning to make way for the thrumming heart of industry.