Turbulent times seem to give rise to great art, new art.
For those who complain about the lack of anything new these days, how we just keep recycling the old and making due with the dim cast of newness that comes from yet another time around, I suggest that we as a culture (America 21st century) have become too complacent, too satisfied, too content. Do we need an economic crisis, a war that affects our daily lives, a rift in the social fabric or any other upheaval of the status quo to create an environment in which something real can be born?
New York City in the '70s. A social disaster that nonetheless spawned both punk rock AND hip-hop.
Weimar Germany. Hyperinflation and burgeoning fascism. A golden period of expressionist art, Bauhaus, film, cabaret.
Please add to the crises.
Hey, at least we've got SARS.
I used to say this all the time, but I don't think I buy this theory anymore (that things/one’s surroundings need to be screwed up to create great art), for one, I think we can be complacent as a society, while not necessarily as individuals, secondly, it's a matter of degrees/perspective/time, I'd say NY in 2000s is more F'ed up and full of fear/tension than it was in the 70's, which in turn was incomparable to the Civil War, which was nothing to say, The Black Plague, and so on... I do think oppression (pressure) can be conducive to making an art that is a radical form (enactment) of freedom, but so can boredom or too much complacency, excess (a lot of great art has been born from the rich and privileged just writing about that insulated world, w/ the faces of the poor just outside the door), but at some level every act of art is a form of revolt/liberation. And I believe art, at its most elemental source, comes from within, so you don't need the world or your neighborhood to be burning, just your inner life. Besides, the world is more F'ed up right now than it's been in a long time, try watching the news, or talking to suburban kids, it's terrifying. What I think more artists need is solitude, to be left alone with one's thoughts, hopes, fears and desires for a sustained amount of time. Of course, a SARS outbreak would certainly help get the ball rolling.
-S(a)RS, a walking crisis since 1976