James – this is for you!
Art is good. Art is, literally, what seperates us from the animals. When not wokring for the man, I am writing or playing music. So, I take art extremely seriously. For the purpose of this piece, I will break ‘Art’ into two divisions. There is true art, self expression. Then, there is ‘art for the sake of art’. This is what I am going to call ‘art for a-holes’. I like that, it is catchier than ‘art for assholes’ according to my market research.
You know what art is. Art is Salvador Dali and the Beatles. Art for A holes is stuff like two composers suing each other over the musical rights of silence. Read that again, it’s an old story.
In 1952, composer John Cage put out a song called ‘4’33’ that was silence. Good for him, right? Kinda arty, and fun. Except, this is now a published, and so protected work. Can you own silence? Well, you can’t, but John Cage can, and does. How do we know he owns silence? Well, a band called ‘the Planets’ put out a song called ‘One minute of silence’ on a record.
What happened next? Well, they went to court to battle for who owns silence… literally. The dude who came along second said
Before the start of the court case, Batt had said: “Has the world gone mad? I’m prepared to do time rather than pay out. We are talking as much as £100,000 in copyright.
“Mine is a much better silent piece. I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds.”
Dude lost. Dude had to pay “an indisclosed six figure sum”. What this means is the courts ruled the second guy covered silence.
This reminds me of a story my buddy told me about John Cale who played an 18 hour piano show. Wanna know who else was at this 18 hour piano thingy? John Cage… silence boy.
This also reminds me of Andy Warhol making a 6 hour film of some dude sleeping. This isn’t art. This is art for a-holes. Just like silk screening cambells soup cans. That isn’t art, it is art for a-holes.
So, you are waiting for a Yoko joke here, right? Tell you what. I don’t think Yoko’s art is art for a-holes. Why not? I believe that she genuinely feels this is valid and deep self expression. So, I respect that. The ‘art’ itself is terrible. Just… terrible. But… it is not art for a-holes. There is a difference, believe it or not.
Wanna know what is worse art than 4 minutes of silence? every single Neil Young guitar solo.
Now, you might be reading this and thinking ‘its all art’, or ‘you are an elitist asshole’ or ‘you are what is wrong with America’. Well said, and agreed!
Now, since you are all uppity and ready to defend all art, why don’t you run over to Amazon and buy that Joe Pesci sings the classics while swearing at you.
This is art for aholes, from aholes!
also file under attention whoring, or David Blaine
* in closing, below this paragraph is about four inches of blank space. It’s published, and now I own it. Anytime you hit the space bar, I am going to sue your ass!
If I owned silence… I would be willing to share it with everyone. Otherwise people would just walk around screaming all day.