I Be Postin’
So Karina has been puttin’ the screws to me, so I figured it was time to buckle down and make my first post for the blog. So here goes!
My name is Kyle McCloskey, a fresh-faced college graduate who majored in English and minored in Film Studies. To blatantly steal from Karina’s first post:
- I’ve spent most of my life overseas (that’s what happens when your dad is in the Marine Corps!)
- I have always preferred tea to coffee (a fact that leads to drama between Karina and myself)
- Buster Keaton is my film hero
- I spend far too much of my time watching TV (current obsessions include The X-Files and Downton Abbey… an odd combination)
- I always hold my breath when driving through tunnels.
- And finally, I have an unhealthy obsession with parantheticals (in case you couldn’t already tell).
I think Karina’s initial post about the relevance and importance of art in society is a very interesting one, particularly because it makes me think of a quote from the preface of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that is always rattling around in the back of my head anyway: “All art is quite useless.” While it is unfair for me to remove the context of the quote (in my defense, that preface wraps around itself so much that it becomes nearly inscrutable), it does set up an interesting contrast between the role of art in society and how we perceive it.
Art, to speak in incredibly broad terms, has often been seen as superfluous. Throughout my time in high school, I often found myself engaged in debates about the merits of literature and art (an occasional consequence of having friends who loved science!) which usually boiled down to “Yes, art is often inessential, but it can make life worth living.” I’ll give you a second to roll your eyes. Done? Great.
I now know how wrong I was back then (on multiple levels… stupid cowlick hair). If anything, art is more important to livelihood than anything else man has created because art has the ability to convince you of something without you even realizing it. Propaganda during World War II shaped public opinion about things like rationing and industry so much that many companies used the same tactics after the war ended to maintain the same level of workmanship. Cartoons helped take down machine politics in New York (suck it Boss Tweed!). Images have become so ingrained in our culture that we have become largely unaware of how much of an effect they have on us. What makes art truly amazing is that it can be a mirror that reflects society, a hammer that forcibly shapes it, or a little voice in your ear that tells you how it could be changed. Its versatility is its greatest asset. So, in conclusion, institutions that investigate art’s effect and increase its accessibility for people, like the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), where Karina and I are currently working, and Haverford’s Humanities Center, should totally get more money.
I’ll get a bit more technical for my next article, I’ll talk a bit about the project that I am currently working on, which involves the work of Seth Tobocman and Peter Kuper, two artists who use elements of comic book and street art to make political statements. Hopefully, it won’t take me nearly as long to ready this next post!