Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Next Big Thing
The powers-that-be who ran the music industry back in 1962 didn't realize it, but the revolution was coming. By the early sixties, Rock and Roll was pretty much dead. Elvis had lost his edge after going into the Army, and was making horrible movies. Little Richard was a preacher, Chuck Berry off the charts. Were you to turn on your radio, you would hear songs from folks like Acker Bilk, Bobby Vinton, and Connie Francis. Not hard rockers to be sure. Oh, sure-- there was some good music that year. "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers, Dion's "The Wanderer", and Booker T and the MG's "Green Onion" were big hits. But so was "Moon River" by Henry Mancini. Music was all over the place. Then came a little old band from Liverpool named the Beatles in early 1964, and everything changed.
It wasn't just their "long" hair, or that they were from the exotic country of England, or that they made different sounding music. Truth was, they did a lot of covers. So it wasn't any one thing, but all those things combined. They were a band! They played their own instruments! They swapped lead vocals! They made great music! Who else did that? By 1965, a ton of Beatle-wannabee bands did. The Beatles have influenced music to this very day because no one else has had the same impact.
Like the music industry in 1962, I think the current art industry is ripe for a revolution. The old guard that dictates who gets hung in museums may still be stuck in the abstract art nightmare that was the twentieth century, but the meteor is heading their way. Like the dinosaurs, they just don't know it. Traditional painting-- classical realism, impressionism and representational styles are gaining more and more popularity and acceptance with both the average joe and high-end galleries. The old (modern) views will fade away, letting the new (traditional) take over.
The problem is, who are our heroes? Where are the great artists who will finally put the remaining nail in the coffin that holds Modern Art? Nearest I can tell, they're all dead. John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Claude Monet, Winslow Homer, and William Bouguereau to name but a few, have long turned to dust. Their art, though, has inspired and reinvigorated the current art scene to a huge degree. But therin lies the trouble, don't you think? It's one thing to emulate the great artists, quite another to imitate, and right now imitation is winning. Is there someone out there painting right now who has the technical brilliance of those great masters, but is producing something so breath-takingly new and unique as to take their place and form a whole new school of art that one hundred years from now will be just as revered? Can realism be taken to a level that has yet to be seen? I think it can.
But it won't be me, that's for damn sure! I don't know when that artist may appear, or what their paintings will look like, but I hope to be around when they emerge. Too bad they won't have Ed Sullivan to introduce them.