Slapstick and the Sublime
Issue

5.5 / Slapstick and the Sublime

July 9 2014

Introduction

This issue of Art Practical offers observations on the current relationship between art and entertainment. Although this relationship has been evolving for some time, it’s become increasingly apparent to me over the past few years as more and more artists embrace elements of entertainment in their work. They are investigating entertainment and its uses  from the gallery as well as from Hollywood. These are artists who are taking on the medium and working to push beyond the traditional art exhibition, the all-too-trite blockbuster, or the indie romance plot structure. They aren’t simply adopting the standard entertainment format; they’re examining its structure. They are also broadening the audience and asking more of them. They are asking: Is the purpose of entertainment escape or invigoration? Or is it both?

The art world that we operate within is shrinking, and even that audience is already incredibly small. Without any sort of larger support of the arts from a national standpoint, we are more or less at the whims of society, which is to say the whims of a capitalist society that consistently asks, “What is the value of what you are producing?”

The contributors for this issue are writers, artists, filmmakers, and actors who have a stake in the conversation. Some of the pieces are traditional essays and conversations, and some of these are projects commissioned for Art Practical. You can view it as a sort of mash-up of art and entertainment, or a distraction from reality. But it's also quite possible to read them as a call to action.

Features

Slapstick and the Sublime

Slapstick and the Sublime

By Jonn Herschend

How we view ourselves and our own narrative is shaped by the films we see, the art we champion, and the books we read.

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Art and Film

Art and Film

By James Franco

I don’t even take credit for Alien. He is Harmony’s. As he says, Alien is a gangster–mystic. A clown, a killer, a lover, the spirit of the age.

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State of the Cinema Address

State of the Cinema Address

By Jonathan Lethem

For what astonishes me about my life as a moviegoer is cinema’s staggering capacity to collapse the decades of my life into one continuous responsive daydream

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Artist Project: Live Radio Auction

Artist Project: Live Radio Auction

By Wonderment Consortium

We’d like to give voice to that used bike pump, that box of office supplies, and those dusty silk flowers that so rarely get center stage. Who knows, the next deal could be yours.

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Artist Project: Notes for a Treatment

Artist Project: Notes for a Treatment

By Anne Walsh

Today I’m wondering if I should be in one of the casts? Or in every cast? If so, whom will I play? I think the wolf-headed goddess Anubeth, who speaks only wolfish but understands ten languages 

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Michelle Grabner with David Robbins

Michelle Grabner with David Robbins

By Michelle Grabner

Balancing the experimental ethos of art with the accessibility of entertainment, an approach I’ve dubbed High Entertainment: that’s the future I want to explore and reinforce.

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