Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Favorite: Loving your City: A prerequisite for art?

From back in August 2006.


I'm feeling a little philosophical tonight, so bear with me.

Recently I heard the Beastie Boys' An Open Letter to NYC, and it has just stuck with me the past few weeks. I know it is a post-911 song and all, but there is still a lot of love doled out to the individuality and character of the city and I realized that I've never lived someplace that I enjoyed enough and was so interesting to immortalized in an love song to the seemingly inanimate yet breathing entity that is a city. I sort of envy that feeling.

Perhaps it is my own fault, as I may be closed off to some of the things that make my mildly cosmopolitan place of residence interesting, but love is probably the one thing that I don't feel. Or it could be that I indeed live someplace that has some problems. I mean, for a few years we had our art gallery at the mall to make way for a casino, which is weird in a sad way.

Now a lot of people love New York (if they didn't, they wouldn't buy the t-shirts, would they?*), Chicago (oh how I want thee), Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle... the list goes on and on, and of course a lot of laudatory work has been produced about most of them along with a fair share of derogatory works of verse, fiction and non-fiction. So I guess the more general question is this: can great art be derived from a locale that the creator is apathetic towards or outright loathes?

* I know they are for tourists. Really, I do.


John said...

I've always wanted to go to New York City to see the museums, but I don't think that I want to live there.

I've lived in small towns, too. I'm never doing that again.

Now I'm in the suburbs of Houston. It's about the right size. I like big cities; I like the anonymity and opportunity. You don't get that in small towns.

Megan said...

Los Angeles is such a sprawl these days, it's hard to read (for example) Chandler and get a vibe off it.

Unless you have a-studied its a-history. Which I have...

MC said...

John: See, I live in a town off a city, which is then close to a major American metropolis, so I get the best of all worlds really.

Megan: See, the way I always thought of L.A. was it used to be a series of communities, but now those individual areas are all starting to blend together.