Ilya Shambat

Ilya Shambat
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
November 21
Adda Enterprises
Born in Russia, family moved to America when I was 12. Got a degree from University of Virginia at 18. Worked for Oracle, translated four books of classical Russian poety, was part of San Francisco and Washington, DC poetry and music scene. Good friends with San Francisco's own Persephone's Bees and acquainted with Patch Adams. Currently married with children, residing in Australia and working on a clean energy technology implementation.


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APRIL 26, 2012 3:50AM

Why America Should Have Time for Art

Rate: 2 Flag
There are many people who justify an anti-artistic stance by saying that the modern world, or America, does not have time for the arts. This argument is completely bogus. If America has the time for right-wing talk shows, for political correctness, for tele-evangelists and for psychiatry, then it most certainly has the time for the arts, which take less resources to create than the preceding and demand less time from the audience to view.

Arts also happens to be a positive influence on society. The same needs that people fulfil through drugs and alcohol, can be fulfilled in a much more wholesome manner through art. Unlike things such as drugs, art does not destroy the brain; and unlike things such as SUVs it does not pollute the environment. With the exception of a few huge sculptures, the resources expended on producing art are minimal; whereas utility realized can in many cases be exceptionally high.

Art gives expression to what people feel and helps them to understand themselves and be healthy emotionally. Art gives people an experience of beauty that shows what is possible and that vastly enriches people's lives. Art becomes a flower of civilization that lasts long after the present era is over and by which civilizations become known. Friedrich Schiller said that art possesses the beauty of nature but none of its cruelty. This makes art a valuable addition to any civilization and a valuable addition to people's lives.

So if America has the time for - right-wing talk shows, political correctness, psychiatry and tele-evangelists - then it most certainly has the time for a pursuit that takes minimal resources to create and realizes vast utility to the viewer. The more art is produced and viewed, the less is the need for much more expensive things such as drug addiction treatment and psychotropic medication. And the more the civilization is beautified to make it the best place that it can be.

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Considering all the arts from the various design fields to music and TV and film the arts form a muli-billion dollar business sector. The concept that the USA which is a leader in the arts has no time for them makes no sense.
Jan: Visit America sometime. You may find a lot of things there not to be quite what you expect them to be. I would be happy to provide you a route for seeing the best parts of America, it would take one to two months to visit all the nice spots.

We are in many ways just a large adolescent refusing to grow up. Great Potential and yes, on the whole, great instincts but a petulance against seeing both sides of issues and recognizing that it will take time and steps to reach the dreams. This is one of the great lessons in true Art- the setting of a theme (beauty of the dream) and then the periods of tension, of descent, of slow building-or opera, or ballet, or true drama. We, like high school students, prefer the movie, television show, pop lyrics maybe musical.

But I do not mean to say the potential is not there but artists need to work to be inclusive, to be patient and see the potential, reach out in love so that all may awaken. It is a joy to be in europe where children feel free and able to ask incisive questions about a painting and I feel sad when friends apologize that they don't know how to come to a gallery- "Come as a friend, stay as long as it pleases, if you want beer instead of wine, we'll have beer..."
Ilya, I was born in Manhattan, grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, took two years of engineering at City College in Manhattan, graduated from The School of Visual Arts, and took a degree in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, spent two years in the US Army Air Force in WWII and worked as a designer and artist in Manhattan, New Jersey, Oak Ridge Tennessee and several countries in Europe and the Middle East. I have a pretty good handle on both the USA and the arts of the country.
Jan, Finland is an interesting choice of a place to settle. How is it over there?
Regarding Americans thinking they have no time for arts, I mean fine arts. I know a number of people who produce fine arts. Some are on this group.
The weather is not all that different from New York except the summers are a good deal cooler and more pleasant. The people are more reserved and much more sane and honest. The government is much more sensible and a great deal less totalitarian. From here the USA appears to be sliding rapidly into third world status culturally, psychologically, economically and governmentally.
There is a very active art and design sector and the general education level is demonstrably higher. There are many people from Europe and Africa living and working here. The language is a bitch and I am not good at it.

Insofar as the arts in general are concerned there are two general aspects. Fine arts have gone off the deep end worldwide and seem to me to be impossible to categorize. Financially I am lost as to what and why some stuff that looks like garbage to me is worth a fortune. I am not conservative in the matter, just confused and do both representative and abstract fine art myself with reservations. There is a great deal of both here in Finland and some fine museums and galleries to bear witness to that. I am very familiar with the museums and galleries in New York City and have known several successful and unsuccessful artists there and am at a loss as to why some succeed and some don't. It's probably a matter of luck and merchandising.
The skills that go into many of the science fiction films seem to me to easily qualify as fine art of a very high caliber and I cannot disqualify what might be considered commercial art from fine art status.
Damn right! More Art--less Fox News!

I've always disliked science fiction. Fiction should be fiction, and science should be science. How much better it would be if the resources that go into movies about space travel actually went into space travel. Although I see your point that some of what comes out of Hollywood is in fact very artistic - check Lovely Bones for example.

With fine arts, I've known people who were able to pay their bills with it, and yes it was the matter of merchandising. One thing I kept hearing was that one did not just have to be an artist; one also had to be a businessman. Of course this combination is rare, and most people involved are either good at business or good at arts.

It's not surprising that there's higher education level in Finland than in America; this has been going on for a very long time. The weakness of America's primary education system is a major problem and also a bonanza for conmen.
Picasso once remarked that art lies to tell the truth. Fox has taken that to heart and seems to very successful at the art of lying but somehow misses insofar as the truth is concerned. Hopefully their artistic capabilities may improve in the future but from President Obama down through the worst despicable behavior of the Republicans it seems to be a losing game so far.
Many of the technicians, engineers and scientists working at NASA grew up inspired by science fiction to promote interplanetary technology. There is a clear line of development in that area and some of the best scientists also write science fiction. Many of the gadgets proposed many years ago in science fiction are now being realized in current technology.
It is the ignorant and stupid politicians that are killing science.
Jan: Yes, ignorant politicians do pose danger to science. But it's not just them. There are a lot of regular people who buy into the lies that militate against science, and it's important to remind them occasionally of just how much their lifestyle owes to science and scientists.