Every so often, I catch myself browsing the archives of YouTube.com, when I should be productive in other ways. Cheap laughs and pure bafflement of humanity, is usually the motivation. Lately however, I've been fascinated by old movie clips and shorts.
Maybe I crave something nostalgic. Maybe I feel as though I missed something by an age default. Or maybe there was a purity in film then, that I just don't see in this modern age. Whatever it is, I feel more of a connection to the older clips, than the lastest YouTube showcases.
This evening I came across a clip entitled, Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger, and though the idea of it just seemed completely boring to watch (regardless of who it was), I was still intrigued.
If you viewed this clip in its entirety, without scrolling the timer ahead, I am impressed. About half way through the clip, as I watched Andy dip his burger without a crack in expression, I anxiously held the mouse, tempted to click forward. But "What if I miss something?", I thought. What if he drips ketchup on his shirt and curses? Or complains that the fries are missing? Or launches into some social commentary about commercialism? I will never know what I missed out on, because I was too impatient to sit and watch.
This blog is less about YouTube and more about something that existed then. When the image of an icon eating a burger, was art, and the people who understood the language of art, appreciated it. Today, a man eating a burger, is just a commercial. And that was Andy's point; this was where our society was headed then and this is where it is today.
Art has always been created in pockets of society. In the past they were intellectual circles, where people traded ideas, theories, and inspirations. Today, I see artists as a more disconnected bunch, in constant competition for a market, for the spotlight, or for fame.
In the 1920's, when Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, Pound, Cummings, and Steiglitz, got together amongst bottles of wine, a creative energy was fueled from their camaraderie. They were avant-garde and challenging. The Post-Fauves. The Modernists. It was "Art for Art's sake!"
In the 50's, it was the Beat Generation; Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bukowski, and Burroughs. They were hip and non-conformists.
In the 60's, it was Warhol and the characters of his Factory. They were full of love and peace, and wanted beautiful things.
The 80's saw the tale end of art as a group endeavor or ideal. The Neo-Expressionists like Basquiat, Salle, and Cucchi tried to keep the circle together, but the future was inevitable.
Something real existed then, something pure, something insightful. And I feel like I really missed out. That I was born in the wrong time. It is true that being an artist is a lonely path, but sometimes I long to be connected with others who follow a similar path, who know a certain language, who can offer wisdom, inspiration, and understanding.
To know that there were "golden times", that there were circles that will never form again, and that there were "movements" would never get the same momentum these days. It's all a bit sad, I guess.
"Everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see..." - Andy Warhol