Once upon a time art meant many things, painting, sculpting, carving, drawing, acting dance and even talk. Now we say art and all we are thinking about is the kind of art which hangs out on museum walls, two-dimensional, flat, painted Fine Art.
But have things really changed so much that only painted art can be understood as Art? Certainly in the beginning, art was magical and flat or at least as flat as the cave walls it was reverently applied to. This was Big Magic, to take animals and men from The Wild and capture their image and place it on a wall. That was big-time, secret, powerful, dark magic stuff.
And given the materials the first artists had to work with it was. I'm not at all certain I would have ventured into the bowels of an ice age cave with nothing but a bowl of burning bear fat, and that's another thing the first artists did not go to Art Connection and but a bottle of refined bear fat for their media, they had to get that bear to give it up and I'm pretty sure that most of those bears did not give up easily, so after killing the bear and rendering the fat the artists still had to go into the dark spooky cave and I'm not wild about going out on my own street after dark so the innards of a cave is pretty much out of the question but the first artists did and that is why they left their mark and I didn't.
But before they went down that dark and spooky cave they sat around the campfire with Mrs. First Artist wearing the latest fashions from the recent hunt, animal prints I'm pretty sure and boldly baring one or both breasts cause there was no Velcro or snaps and it is hard to get the proper off-the-shoulder hang without snaps and so there in the dark and damp cave with Mrs. First Artist provocatively offering a much more enjoyable evening plan, that ole cave guy picked up his paints and his bear fat and went off into the darker reaches of the cave to do his prosperity sign and leaving Mrs First Artist to create the story line for Shonda Rhymes next ABC Thursday night soap opera.
But before he did any of that and she did any of that they listened to the witch doctor, or sage or shaman tell tales of Gods and heroes and might deeds and that is why ole cave guy left Mrs First Artist to her own devices and went away to paint.
So you see the whole impetus for all of the prosperity making was not Mrs. First Artist and her daring animal print nor was it ole cave guys desire to express his inner self but it was the magic of the witch doctor's tales and that is why we still pay the Big Bucks to folks who can manage a story and get all of us to get out of the Baracalounger and out into the cave doing God only knows what and so you see it isn't flat, two dimensional art which makes the nights burn a little brighter but it is the sound of the human voice spinning tales in the light of the fire and holding off the things that go bump in the night.
So why then have we decided not to value the magic in the words of the tale teller?
Our own museum the Coos Art Museum has collected a motley crew of tale tellers for your evenings around the fire and they will certainly hold back the things going bump but they ought to have someone around the campfire to do it for.
Now the Ole Trawler did one of these tale telling lectures and I am happy to report that I had a goodly number verdure away from the bright glowing tube in the middle of the living room and maybe it was just because the BAAA meeting was scheduled right after so some of the guys might have been Baaaers but they still sat still and let me run on and maybe they heard a word or two and maybe they got something out of the time they spent away from the Tube and why aren't you doing it more often and not just on the nights when there is a BAAA meeting?
The wonderful, intel;ligent, educated and gifted Anne Sobbotta did the first one and sad to say there was a terribly limited turn out for such a well-delivered lecture. So we are one for one.
But that's just not good enough.
Tonight you have another chance to go to the Museum and hear a wonderful talk about the art of the folks we stole this property from and we probably should at least listen to their stories since we swiped their fish and trees and water and all that other good stuff and that was even before there was an iphone so we could tell everyone onTwatter and Faceplant and instaPhlemg.
Turn off the TV, put on your big guy pants and go to the Museum for the lecture series and gain back some of the brain cells you have so gleefully killed off watching Survivor and the Real Housewives of Bugtussel. And just maybe the next time someone trues to tell you art is only good for hanging on the walls you can set them straight.