Nugget #1: As We May Think

“Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by now are totally inadequate for their purpose. If the aggregate time spent in writing scholarly works and in reading them could be evaluated, the ratio between these amounts of time might well be startling. Those who conscientiously attempt to keep abreast of current thought, even in restricted fields, by close and continuous reading might well shy away from an examination calculated to show how much of the previous month’s efforts could be produced on call. Mendel’s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and extending it; and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us, as truly significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential.”

This passage really helped me realize just how much information, useless and revolutionary, there is on the Internet. The Internet has become so unwieldy that anyone from anywhere in the world can post their thoughts on the Internet. This leaves the possibility for greatness, or a “mass of inconsequential.” Right away I thought of the similarities to art. Hundreds of thousands of people create art, even call themselves artists, but only a small fraction becomes recognized in the world. “Exit through the Gift Shop” is a documentary on street art, featuring a man who becomes famous for his work almost literally over night. He works among dozens of street artists who create art no differently than he does, but he somehow reached the few “who were capable of grasping and extending it” to become significant.

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2 responses to “Nugget #1: As We May Think

  1. I’m intrigued with your comment about all the people creating art, even calling themselves artists, who are never recognized. How important is recognition to being considered an artist? I live in a very small town in Virginia whose one big claim to fame is that a local business man became a famous folk artist. Miles Carpenter was a wood carver who was eventually discovered when someone in the art world saw his work: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Carpenter_Miles_Burkholder_1889-1985. That discovery moved him from just being the local quirky carver to a “real” artist and part of a movement of self-taught artists.

  2. As a Sculpture student, I don’t even want to begin to think, let alone talk about the politics and nonsense of the art world. I do really enjoy this association that you made between Banksy’s documentary and the essay, it’s an interesting end to arrive at!

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