Friday, April 15, 2011
That Is Not Art.
I just watched the scariest music video known to man: A mash-up of Justin Bieber's "Baby" with Slipknot's "Psychosocial". It is so scary, I kept turning around and looking over my shoulder toward the door, until I finally just situated myself so that no one could sneak up behind me with a butcher knife. I am 100% serious.
It's weird, because the actual Slipknot song is not that scary. Possibly because their brand of music makes me automatically dismiss the band as crazy-suburban-screwups-with-daddy-issues (whether or not it's true doesn't matter, it's just what I tell myself so I can move on)(But they ARE from Des Moines)(Just saying) and I don't feel so affected.
But the video combined with the pop beat and the innocent, flaxen Justin just makes my skin absolutely crawl. I'm going to embed it here, but I warn you: if you're the kind of person who, like me, has to shut your eyes during horror movie previews, you're going to want to skip it and I am in no way joking.
The problem I have with heavy metal is the same as with modern and contemporary art: It's that whole, "THAT IS NOT ART/THAT IS NOT MUSIC" mentality. I have a really hard time accepting that you GROWLING into a microphone is still allowed to be called 'music.'
I guess this happens through every period of time. A new wave of music comes out, and everyone scoffs. My mom loves telling us about the time her grandma heard Bob Dylan and demanded, "Who told that man he could sing?"
So I guess that's it, is it? Just because a lot of people probably hated "I Am The Walrus" once, I'm supposed to accept that screaming into a microphone is classified as music now? And if so, how about the guy with the portable mic outside Old Navy, informing us that God hates when we put things in our butts? (Yes, I have actually heard him say that.) Is that music too, now?
I actually consider myself pretty open-minded about what classifies as art or music. Sometimes things are more about experimenting or about ruffling up your ideas, not about emulating beauty or realism. I get that. Monica, who works at the Museum of Contemporary Art, has had to educate me now and again in WHY something is art. And I think I generally get it.
Why I believe weird modern/contemporary art can be defined as "art":
1. The Overly simple
You created a completely green canvas and sold it for millions of dollars. You showed that you can put paint evenly on other stuff. ART.
2. Social commentary disguised as art
You put a dress in the middle of a room and shellacked newspapers to the wall. I didn't think to do that exact thing, so it must be original. ART.
3. Found items you didn't make
You put a toilet in an art gallery, forcing thousands of snotty people who think they know everything about art to harrumph (like this: "rubrubrubrubrubrub"). ART.
And so in that same vein:
4. Yelling instead of singing
I can't imagine being able to do that for more than 5 minutes, let alone doing this for an entire concert multiple times a week. You have vocal chords of steel...ART.
It's the only thing I can think of. It's the only thing that makes it acceptable in my mind. I guess to me, in order for you to create true, popular, notable music, you have to be able to do something that I couldn't do. And I couldn't yell that much.
Unless maybe someone forced me to watch that mash-up again. Because I think that might make me scream for a REAL long time.
(I'd love to know: What do YOU think? Art majors and Slipknot fans, I know I'm wrong. But just HOW wrong am I?)