Newton Knew It
One of the great minds of the 17th century’s Scientific Revolution, Sir Isaac Newton, was already a notable physicist and mathematician when he expanded the human experience with his discoveries in optics, motion and mathematics — the principles of modern physics.
But it was the essence of Newton’s Third Law of Motion that would define the entire world of art. He was thinking about the physical world, but every time an artist steps beyond the accepted, pushes the limits of interpretation and defies the simple ease of the comfort zone, there it is — “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
The dancer, the painter, the writer, the director, the actor, the composer, the singer, the choreographer, the photographer, the sculptor, the potter, the architect must redefine their existence no matter the consequence. They have no choice. It is instinct and as essential and non-negotiable as breathing.
The archaeologists who discovered the Paleolithic cave paintings of the Dordogne in France shared the same startle response that would occur when the art of graffiti first exploded on the urban landscape.
The Impressionist movement burst forth when 19th century artists took their easels and palettes outside the academy. Scorned by outraged traditionalists with “That is not a painting, it is just an impression!” these artists opened a door that would never close.
Jazz, the genre of music born in African American communities in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, immediately left the boundaries of this country and became the artistic universal donor to the world. Jazz broke all the rules. Jazz kicked in the door, messed with the structure, turned to us and said “Step on in. It’s gonna be just fine.” Rap music, another flashpoint of our culture, shares the same DNA. Jazz was ‘an outrage’, ‘a moral offense’ ‘a corrupter’. One day, the words ‘jazz’ and ‘standard’ would appear in the same sentence.
Fear No Art
George Balanchine, Raven Wilkinson, Jacque D’Amboise, Hope Boykin, Agnes DeMille, Georgia O’Keefe, Jean-Michele Basquait, Dr. Dre, Keith Haring, Agnes Martin, Ahmad Jamal, Louise Bourgeois, John Szarkowski, Andy Warhol, Kiki Smith, Nan Goldin, Ray Charles, Nora Ephron, Jenny Holtzer, Gloria Steinem, B. B. King, William Shakespeare, Angelina Jolie, Lenny Bruce, Ai Weiwei, Gene Krupa, Kara Walker, Queen Latifah and everyone who ever has or ever will grab us by our senses and change our perspective forever, we honor them and will keep their archives intact as we continue to bring the next move, the next note, the next dialogue, the next image into our brilliant tapestry.
Here’s to the coming year and all of the glorious art centers, theaters, museums, galleries and libraries in the world. It’s all there. It always has been and it always will be.
Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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