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Posts tagged with the category Art and Existentialism

Mark Rothko
In The Courage to Create (1975), May stated: In human beings courage is necessary to make being and becoming possible. An assertion of the self, a commitment, is essential if the self is to have any reality.… Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values.… It is the foundation that underlies and gives reality to all...
I am willing to admit that I live in a “bubble”—a liberal bubble. I live in an East Coast city and agree with most progressive political and social positions. Most of the people I associate with share similar views and opinions. It takes concentrated effort, therefore, to understand views diametrically opposed to my own. One...
Jello Biafra. Photo by Catherine Andersen.
“Last call for alcohol; last call for free speech; drink up; happy hour is now enforced by law.” --"We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now" On a drive home from a recent family reunion, my daughter and I popped in the Dead Kennedys' (1980) Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It’s an album that for me marks an...
“The eyes are the window to your soul.” Variations of this quote have been attributed to Shakespeare, Cicero, and Matthew in the New Testament. But no matter who said it first, this quote has found its way into common parlance, and has almost become a cliché, at least as far as barroom pick-up lines are concerned. But we...
Photo by Jennifer Rensel.
I was an art major in college. I studied painting. I was immersed in the New York art scene, as my school was just two hours north of the city. The small, liberal arts school I attended encouraged this involvement. We were to go down and see the shows, go to openings, see what was out there. It was the New York art world of the 80’s, before...
Painting by Richard Bargdill.
One of the things I have marveled at is how many humanistic existential folks have found art to be an important part of their self-care. I understand that we are “amateur” artists, poets, painters and musicians, but I think that in itself is beautiful because we are, in a sense, truly making art for art’s sake. Or maybe even...
Steal a Pencil for Me (The Movie), 2007
Last spring, I heard a reading of the opera Steal a Pencil for Me at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. The opera, composed by Dr. Gerald Cohen, with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort, is based on the book and memoirs, Steal a Pencil for Me, by Jack (Jaap) Polak and Ina Soep Polak. I had originally met Jack and Ina in 2004 at another...
Le nozze di Figaro. Photo by Gunnar Wrobel.
In my last blog, I wrote about a beautiful moment of cinematic creation in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Since presenting this western movie to workshop participants across Asia, I since found out that this is one of the top ten movies for male audiences in China. The movie is a cinematic classic that inspires us to move beyond...
Last week, I bought a hat. For the record, I do not normally buy hats, nor do I normally shop in the kind of fancy one-of-a-kind SoHo boutiques in New York City where I bought this one. But my friend Carmen was visiting from Spain—her first trip to the United States—and saw the interesting collection of fabrics in the window and...
Unconditional love. Is it possible for humans—or even desirable? We sometimes talk about the idea of unconditional romantic love. This seems the least likely of all loves. Romantic love necessarily discriminates. You love him because of who he is. If he were transformed into a whole other person, you'd not love him any more—at...
Photo by Bill Nicholls.
I recently watched a Korean movie entitled 3-Iron. I am reliably informed that the original Korean title is Empty House, somewhat more evocative. The movie follows a young man who breaks into empty houses or apartments and lives in them for a day or two. While there, he repairs small appliances, does laundry, and generally leaves each place...
Every act of creation is also an act of destruction. The creation of something new and different, something that has not yet been, demands the destruction of the old and the typical, what is now and what has come before. The presence of destruction is at the core of the creative process itself. Our most serious difficulties with being creative as...