Art Under Fire

Ever since it was installed mid-December, the massive Lenin Head sculpture in Richmond has stirred up all sorts of controversy. Titled Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head, the piece has residents calling for its removal, claiming that it celebrates the ideals of Lenin and Mao. To all the critics, fuck you and your war on art.

Jeff Groat [Entertainment Bureau Chief]

Since the dawn of civilization, there have been thousands of thinkers who devoted their lives to the idea of art. Philosophers, scientists, critics and patrons have all attempted to define and shape what art really is.

As we are more able to peel back the layers of dust and dirt that cake over our pre-history as a race, we find little pieces that point in the direction of who we really are. Interestingly, some of the earliest archaeological  finds of art correspond with the first stirrings of a coherently developing societal structure.

Art was there from the beginning.There is the Venus of Willendorf, depicting an idealized feminine form and the cave paintings of France showing great figures of ancient wildlife. In European art through the Middle Ages, most works are of religious nature, highlighting the church’s influence on society.

Then, of course, with the enlightenment of the Renaissance, mathematics, science and philosophy swept the world at that time and dripped from the artist’s brush. In ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica, art served as a means of communication, not only with the citizens, but with later generations and even the gods themselves.

Art speaks to who we are. It is a reflection of our times, our needs, and our deepest desires. Aristotle said, “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Art is the heartbeat of our culture and the measure of our progress, the rule of our science, and the hands pointing on our clock. “What we play is life,” said Louis Armstrong.

Luis Valdizon/The Runner