What do you think of this cover for Reich’s piece? If you don’t listen to much Reich, maybe read an article to catch up on what’s going on. I have an opinion for sure, but it’s not a popular one. The image and my opinion are below after checking out some other links if you want.
First, the designer Barbara de Wilde, is a brilliant cover/sleeve artist for books and music whose covers are art. In a time where LP covers have faded almost completely into oblivion, and shoddy graphic design abounds, it is refreshing to see an artist with so much passion in something few have ever thought of as being an art form. So, as far as to how I judge this cover, based on the designer/artist’s and the composer’s intentions, I must first judge this image as a piece of art.
Secondly, since I am judging the image as art with intention from its artist, I find its creation completely valid, and regardless of my own personal taste, should respect its creation, even if not its content. It is seemingly not vulgar, pornographic, or in some way purposely detestable for the sake of shock value, which again means I should judge it with some sort of respect.
Thirdly and finally,
I love it. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t love it like ice cream, or hot wings, or movie night with my wife, but I love it like I do all art that moves me, especially art that reaches deeply inside my being and its experiences (like the Pulitzer Prize winning piece written for the same event that WILL haunt you if you give it your full attention with the lights off and speakers up.) You cannot look at the image though, especially as someone who watched this happen, and think about something else. You cannot look at the image and find room for other thought material or have a flashback to another moment. You are immediately taken to an emotional or even spiritual place remembering an event as culturally changing as the Atom Bomb. It is stunning, but not like a sunset, but like an aggressive surge of lightning only meters away.
And isn’t it funny? The underfunded, under-attended, slowly bleeding-to-death classical music world has a problem with it. It’s like classical music wants to be edgy without a risk of getting cut. They don’t want to sell out to celebrities and collaborations with “lesser musicians,” but want to be “serious art” without taking the risks it takes to make serious art.
Not only do I love it, I think we need more marketing inspiration like this. Many classical composers (like David Lang) have benefited from this type of emotional branding to emotional music. Why should we fail to use art for the benefit of art just because it makes people uncomfortable? Isn’t that fearlessness of stirring emotions what makes us artists in the first place?
What do you think?
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