This is in response to today’s Daily Post, entitled “Invitation.”
If you go to the theatre, turn on a movie, stand in front of a work of art, switch on the radio–do not let me entertain you. If you do, you are being tricked, you are missing the point, you are closing off a part of you due to fear, misunderstanding, the anxiety of truly looking at yourself. Each piece of art–from the loud, frivolous musical to the subtle, abstract painting–evokes something in you that wasn’t there before, it creates. It creates joy, nostalgia, anger, confusion, wonder, and perhaps even inspiration to change. And whether the art pleases or angers you, it makes no difference. What matters is that you went from feeling nothing–from moving along in a neutral day, from following the rhythm of the world, to distracting yourself by your own inner world—to stopping, to looking at the mirror that art provides for one moment, and challenging yourself to listen, to look.
With all the confusing anger around Meryl Streep’s speech and Hamilton providing a “safe space” and other misrepresentations of my field, I see the opportunity not to quiet these incorrect views of art, but to challenge them. If these people, the ones who believe that art and artists are literally only meant to delight them, to make them feel more comfortable in their already comfortable states, well then I say, great! I dare to you come to something truly challenging and try to leave simply, “entertained.” I dare you to listen to an artist’s “unwelcome” opinion and walk around with it for one day before responding.
I keep reading, “We go to see theatre for an escape, do your job.” But I ask you, if you only see art as an escape, what are you escaping? Even asking yourself that question means that art has proved your thesis as incorrect.