Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Words of Wisdom

The inscription over the back entrance to the Saint Louis Art Museum reads "Art still has truth. Take refuge there." Do you buy it?

Here's my take: art has no direct connection to truth and everything to do with the individual experience. It is the indispensable way to share the subjective. For the hard stuff, the testable, approximately reliable, we need science. Our National Public Radio network has a weekly essay feature called "This I Believe." If I ever wrote one, I'd call it Arts & Sciences.

What's your view?

TOMORROW: Eyewitness News


Knoxville Girl said...

I think every person speaks their own "truth" through their experiences and life filters. What makes art interesting for me is seeing someone's art (perhaps one of your photos) and interpreting it through my filter to arrive at meaning, then trying to see what the artist (you!) may be trying to tell me about another "truth". Oy, I need more coffee after that brain dump.

p.s. - I like how you framed the columns on an angle - more interesting to view.
p.p.s. - you should submit an essay to NPR!

Virginia said...

I just woke up and haven't had my coffee yet either. I agree we need both, but I lean towards the art side (notice I didn't use right or left), like your columns. Now you have seen enough of my photos to know that these columns are right up my alley. They are beautiful and of course you put your twist on them by
shooting at an angle. I tried that with a building top the other day and it looked like the Titanic going down. C'est la vie.

Lily Hydrangea said...

Yes, I buy it, but I am an artist who believes science is similar to art so perhaps I am biased! This is an amazing and timeless quote you have posted here. A great artist is one whose work reflects something deep within themselves, like something from their heart or soul. This I believe is how they are able to connect with other people or even at times bring people together, like at a concert.

Bibi said...

I am too overcome with Belgrade's heat to think deeply just now (assuming I ever do), but I am an art lover, but also believe art does have to do with individual experience. So, I'm not too profound, but I do like your photo. Lovely columns and angle.

Ming the Merciless said...

Art is an expression, like music and dance. Truth is relative, depending on one's state of mind and sanity.

So Art is NOT Truth but Truth can be an Art. :-)

Jackie said...

I veer to the art side too - and don't forget, the statement is that art has truth, not that it has *the* truth. Personally (and I'm a touchy-feely qualitative social science researcher, so I would say this), I'm more comfortable with positing an interpretation than declaring an indisputable fact. Maybe that's because (somewhat ironically) it's harder to dispute a personal interpretation than a statement of fact.

PS Tomorrow, coincidentally, I have a picture of a provocative statement on my blog too. This one looks grander than mine though - the Glasgow one is a bit tatty!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful inscription supported by noble Corinthian columns, which I've just discovered represent the feminine, and, apparently, Toth, the father of wisdom, buried his books beneath pillars as symbolic of the bridge between heaven and earth. I loved reading and thinking about this blog and your ideas about art and truth. What do you think about the notion that science is art (as is war and history, etc)? It seems that our human brains find ways to make testable, reliable, scientific data conform to our definition of truth, but I wonder. How often has our scientific "truth" been tested and reformed throughout history as we delve deeper into the minutia of our truth. Not sure, but I do take refuge in beauty, and I find the arts endlessly beautiful. Maybe that's the only truth we need.

Nathalie in Avignon said...

Completely agree with you that art and science are two different things and have two different roles.

Truth is a word I would personally avoid. As science advances, what we take for true changes.

Art enables us to connect in a wonderful way but no Truth in there.

I hope you get to read Gaelle's answer to your question in Grenoble today. It's interesting.