Sunday, April 13, 2008

Art Is Not Chaste

Art Is Not Chaste

I have spent most of the day thinking off and on about Picasso's comment - "Art is not chaste..."  (online I have seen it as both "not chaste" and "never chaste"). I am not sure where my thoughts are going surrounding it, but they are slowly spinning around it.  I will probably wonder about it for the duration of the week.

Is there such a thing as chaste art?  Yeah, I would think there has to be - despite Picasso's observation or wish.  Art itself is simply too large to be defined by any restrictive statement.  In my mind art is all and art is beyond all.  There is a breed of art that embraces the unchaste with vigor - and I appreciate that as art as well.  The realm of human experience is broad - far broader than we usually imagine.  Short of the strictures of good conduct in a society, all experiences have within them that delightful tangle of virtue and vice.  To deny the sensuality of virtue is the same as denying the sensuality of vice.  Both are essential parts of the human experience.  Both are relative experiences and subject to interpretation. 

What one rejects as a vice another may embrace as a virtue.  What one embraces as a virtue another may reject as a vice.  I wonder at the things that we have rejected as either virtue or vice that we have yet to experience?  Blake's road of excess immediately pops into my mind.  I know that in my excesses I have stumbled upon some wisdom.

The core of all wisdom is, I think, to keep it simple.  Not simplistic.  Not to succumb to magical thinking.  But to pay attention to the details.  This is especially true of our relationships with other people.  If we take just one extra moment to pay attention to the simple things about each other - the simplest things - how great a change would we see in our lives?  In their lives?

This was actually a surprise revelation to me as I wrote this entry.  I was primed to agree whole heartedly with Picasso.  I like the sentiment.  I agree with the sentiment to a great degree.  We, as humans, need to embrace that in ourselves which is unchaste.  If we reject it, we deaden ourselves to the world around us - to a huge aspect of it, we cut it off, we shut it down.  We deny the full range of experiences of life.

Now, we all have our free will, so we can engage in those behaviors we determine as virtue or vice, to the degree we wish.  We should always use and trust our own judgement and our own instincts and our own choices.  Embrace the art that is not chaste as easily as we embrace that which is chaste.  Embrace each in it's moment.  Find the edges of your experience and push them, as far or as little as you are comfortable with.  You may reinforce your opinions and your judgements. You may discover the palace of wisdom.  You might just have one hell of a good time.

Life is Art.

Art is not chaste.

No comments: