Berlin Culture & Some type of Art Culture

Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer from rodgezooi on Vimeo.

I have respect for this guy's style. I don't know him personally, but we've met a few times in passing. And generally I like some of the artists who are featured in his gallery, and sometimes I like their work too. At one point he seems to discount the perception of Berlin as an art capital of the world, citing the fact that many people are just bumming around going to parties while saying that they're artist. I feel that, in a sense, "artist" (in Western culture) denotes a lifestyle, and laying claim to such a title seems natural in a culture that commodifies lifestyles.

I would just like to add to that something I feel he would agree with. New York in the late 70's and early 80's (perhaps back to the 50's even?) was similar in that many young people, also bumming around, would claim to be artists. Now if I ask myself "why is this?" I find that both cultures as city-spaces enabled people to live cheaply, and when humans have the ability to take care of their basic concerns (food, water, shelter, community life, etc) and have time to spare, their natural ability to do great works - in whatever field attracts them - will manifest itself.

Today, Berlin is one of the cheapest capitals to live in and the city is home to the most Nobel Prize winners (or it was a year or two ago). So, I conclude that it is the "art capital" of the world. And like New York, if you actually live through that time, that little renaissance of art, you are able to see it for what it is and it is often nothing special to one endowed with eyes that see. Only in hindsight does history seek so blindly to glorify itself. It is my feeling that Berlin will be remembered, although briefly, as the art capital of the world. Now, when you realize that "art capital of the world" may only mean "city with the most kids with free time bumming around" what then? What does that say about humanity and our history? Personally, I find it a bit funny - if not sad - and totally in keeping with the rest of this bizarre planet's inhabitants' attitudes. But when I ask myself, "What does that say about art today?" Well, I know that I'm not going to answer that here and I'm not going to find the essence of everything that is wrapped up and bogged down under the crushing weight of concrete and coal-powered lights. But, I may very well find a beautiful human response to a world out of balance.

Now, as I write this, I sit and imagine a world in which everyone has time to devote themselves to greater means of expression. A world where energy is free and clean and basic needs are met for everyone. Then we will start to see great art and, in a sense, what we are truly capable of.

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