Friday, July 20, 2007
simplicity versus minimalism
The Ramones give me a certain feeling that other bands cannot quite reach. I am overwhelmed by all that can be expressed by simple chords and beats. I wish phil spector and graham gould would have died before 1980. I am currently listening to the demos from the dated sounding "pleasant dreams" album of 1981 and um.... The Ramones were still writing amazing sounding songs. The demos are raw and uncontrolled by festering 60s icons trying to remain involved with the sound of the future. I don't think you understand. Without the Ramones we wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't be in any bands and America would still be trying to recover from the British Invasion. Their music was simple but textured perfectly in the context of the aesthetic tapped by the history of the Velvet Underground/Stooges/MC5/New York Dolls etc. John Lydon can run around all day and pretend the Ramones were just a joke. Ha. Between them and Richard Hell the sex pistols would not have had anyone to rip off anyway... but I digress. Minimalism remains an establishment of the American cop out art scene, but I think there needs to be a distinction between this movement and Simplicity. Basically, Simplicity towers over Minimalism in terms of authenticity because the same goals of technical production are still reached with an effective simple approach. The difference can best be expressed by the relationship between the art movement called Stuckism and Duchamp's legacy of "found art." A stuckist is equal to a found artist in training and "skill" (loaded word), but a stuckist painting expresses a whole narrative while conceptual art lacks any meaningful context unless it is supplied by the conceptual artist. Minimalism begs the important question of what qualities allow something to be considered art, but fails ultimately at answering.
There remains a concern that rock n roll should not be considered art anyway. It is a very interesting place to draw the snob line, but I do not think that it fits. More is said about the state of the world in a Ramones song about sniffing glue than in 30 or 35 Rothko paintings. Now, compare Kandinsky with Rothko and realize how unnecessary the latter seems. Kandinsky, through simple shapes and colors, created beautiful landscapes and textures concerning the post World War I feelings about the wasteful loss of life. Once again, Minimalism remains a redundant buzz word from the 1950s while simplicity in art continues to inspire generations toward authenticity through entirely new works and actions within the art world and beyond.