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May 9th, 2011     by Laura Krahn     Comments

Works of Art: An Intro

Hello to all the Shameless!

I’m here to share some thoughts, rants and maybe even an occasional insight on arts and culture with you. It’s going to be lots of fun, I promise, and I’m super stoked to be here. I have a firmly established penchant for works of art of all types. From poetry slams and lit readings; photography and fine art exhibits; rock concerts and nights at the opera; classical dance to performance art weirder than Lady Gaga’s newest video; you name it, I love it. Hard core, big time, ketchup-to-my-scrambled-eggs type LOVE.

I’m not sure that I can explain where this love comes from. I was a lucky kid; I got to go to theatre shows and concerts and to take dance and music lessons. I was writing before I could write, when I was all scribbles and no discernible letters. Eventually, I grew up, learned to spell and spent eight years in university studying art, usually literature but film and visual art too, trying to figure out the whats, hows, and whys art does what it does. I’ve spent plenty of time making my own art as well, and, along the way, I’ve come to believe that, fundamentally, we are art-full beings, driven to create and express. Art is essential to our being human.

Being human is beautiful and complex and chaotic, and art helps us makes sense of all that stuff. For me, art is about stories. Sure, they aren’t always stories we understand, but those stories are always in there, in our words, movement, pixels and paint. Each of these mediums transforms what we experience, our thoughts and feelings and all of the great but gooey things in our lives, into some sort of shape to work with (no wonder lots of art is about love and sex, eh).

This idea of the work of art is key, I think. Making art is work in many ways. Firstly, creating something is usually hard, taking time and effort and sometimes long nights, heartbreak and extreme agony (yep). Secondly, doing art is hard because society makes it difficult even when you’ve been struck with the blessed lightening blot of inspiration. Arts funding is still being slashed left, right and centre (well, mostly by the political Right…). Society that acts as though art is a privilege and a luxury rather than something enriching in itself, something we need to survive. Or perhaps art is stereotyped as frivolous excess, undeserving of attention and funds, because it can be such a threat to dominant systems; art must be controlled and suppressed by the big guys precisely because it can bring about change. This brings me to the third way in which art is work: it does something.

Feminist art especially does something. Remember when I said art is fundamental to our being? Well, feminist art is fundamental to our being human in the world. Feminist art exhibits an awareness of the structures in which we are embedded and the ways in which those structures are misogynist, homophobic, racist, classist, ableist and otherwise oppressive. Feminist art critiques and challenges our relationships with others, questioning how those relationships can be (re)created in order to achieve a better world.

How that’s for optimism? Art! Change! Feminisms! Better world! Woots. It’s probably because I can’t wait to explore some awesome feminist art and artists with you. I can’t wait to hear what YOU think and to get into the nit and grit with y’all, too. I also totally want to know if you hear of any exciting shows or events coming up and if you want us to talk about anything in particular here. Reviews, profiles, musings, wherever inspiration takes us: here we go.

Tags: all about shameless, arts

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