Just Because It's Called Art Doesn't Make It Special
June 3, 2016
A few of us were talking this morning about "The Emperor's New Clothes". Remember that story? Where the emperor ordered a new suit, but his tailors pulled a fast one on him, not making anything at all....They made him NOTHING, actually, and took a long time to do it. And charged through the wazoo for the privilege of their service.
Then when they were letting him try on the NOTHING they had created, they told him that only wise people could see it.....that is was special cloth....and he played right into their hands. Because along with most of the city, he pretended he could see something that wasn't there. He was afraid he would appear un-wise, and the people would laugh. Today we might say, un-cool, or worse yet, behind-the-times?
Well, a visitor to an art museum got the idea recently about conducting an experiment with an "Emperor's New Clothes" exhibit. This fellow began to wonder why some of the exhibits deserved to be called, "art". He didn't see what was so special about them. In fact, he thought they were downright terrible. And thus began the setup.
He took off his glasses, and placed them on the floor next to a wall. Just a pair of glasses, next to the wall, in an ART gallery. Nothing else, no hoopla, no fanfare or artificial hype. Pair of glasses, on the floor, next to the wall. And then he stepped back to see what would happen. It worked better than he could have ever imagined.
One by one, people started going over to the glasses and looking at them, staring at them, commenting on them, and began to take PICTURES of them....thinking they were one of the art exhibits. And because they were "art exhibits", and an "artist" had created this display, then it was determined that it was "cool". A crowd formed around the "exhibit". It became a focus point in the art museum. And people began to share their interpretations of what the artist was trying to say.
A few words come to my mind. I'll start with, "Oh good grief!"
You know.....just because everybody likes something, or says it's good, or the latest cool thing....or even the latest, greatest, hippest, most well-financed new musical artist.....doesn't make it good. Doesn't make it art. And it doesn't make us have to like it.
Just like that little boy from the Emperor's New Clothes story....sometimes, we just need to stand up and shout, "Hey, the emperor doesn't have any britches on! He's nekkid! Get that man a quilt, and cover him up!"
We'd only be saying what everybody else has been secretly thinking, anyway....right?
Wouldn't you have loved to see the expression on their faces when the guy walked over, put his glasses back on, and walked out of the museum? Even then, I bet there would have been folks unwilling to admit they'd been had.
"Stop! Thief! Come back here with that art exhibit! Security! Somebody get security! A man is getting away with 'Vision'. "
Yep. It had even been awarded a title, made up and shared as fact within the group of onlookers, all within about 15 hot minutes. One guy even added that the artist lived down the street from his flat. And was one of the hottest new talents around. SMH. LOL.
Nekkid. Butt nekkid. Sometimes the emperor on parade is simply not. He's a complete fabrication. And sometimes, he's legit, worthy of our attention and fanfare.
We just need to be sure we are able to recognize the difference, and be willing to stand alone in the crowd when necessary.