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Thread: Why do people get Rothko but not Stockhausen?

  1. #16
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    Well yeah, "get" is entirely the wrong word. I'd dispute that there's one single idea or collection of ideas to be "gotten", drawn out of, obtained from any work of art or music. Like reaching in and pulling out the secret truth. Nah. On whose terms? The author's "intention"? Historical context? Ideas of the time? What's wrong with today's ideas?

    There are no right answers in interpretation. Stubbs should probably have used "appreciate" not "get".

    McDonalds put their own spin on it with "Arbeit McFries" http://www.bbc.co.uk/spanish/special...7_chapman5.jpg

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tentative Andy View Post
    Yeah, I'm def in the same boat, and my impression is that the percentage of the population who would fully 'get' either or both is rather small, so the polemic seems a bit misplaced.
    tate modern gets five million visitors per year (if this is a decent source - http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/art64312), and had a massive rothko exhibition recently which was advertised heavily all over london on public transport, newspapers, tv etc for months

    what the author thinks it means to 'get' either stockhausen or rothko is presumably something he goes into a bit deeper in the book
    Last edited by UFO over easy; 06-05-2009 at 02:02 AM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by UFO over easy View Post
    what the author thinks it means to 'get' either stockhausen or rothko is presumably something he goes into a bit deeper in the book
    That's the thing - he doesn't really specify "get" in the book, or the processes of appreciating Rothko or Stockhausen clearly or thoroughly enough. Throughout he seems to imply that high numbers at the free-entry, top 5 tourist attraction Tate Modern seems to indicate that "people get Rothko", and yeah as a casual visitor you can enjoy his work fine in that way. But you can't then compare that to Stockhausen: something you need a musical concert or a recording for, which is a more difficult, committed and expensive process than wandering into the Tate Modern.

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    does he talk about the way the arts council distributes public money?

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    No he doesn't. But in a section called 'The Corporation' he does talk briefly about big-business capitalism sponsoring art and then talks about the BBC for a couple of pages - he's generally complimentary and mentions how the BBC attempted to encourage listeners to try more dissonant music in the twenties and thirties, which I wasn't aware of. Most of the book though is a random history of twentieth-century art and music.

    Arts Council would have been a good way to look at it actually - do you know anything about how they distribute funds? (fairly?)

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rouge's foam View Post
    One of the latest ideas in the psychology of music is that with any music, the distinction between subject and object is much more blurred than with experiencing traditional art objects (paintings, sculptures). People often imagine versions of themselves reflected in or enacting the music, so with music the psychological stakes are higher.

    That's why I say that music is a socio-cultural ritual and not an art object. In a lot of 'world music' music is something you DO, not something you listen to. You sing it, perform it or dance to it. This was still the case in Western classical music up until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when suddenly music was an artistic object you contemplated in silent reverence - but the ritual still applies psychologically even if physical participation was diminished. The illusion that music is an autonomous object is a very recent one particular to our culture. Music is a different game to art - it involves and possesses us in a way that art doesn't.
    good stuff: music is indeed ritual, and art, sacred objects.

    i dont know why i hadnt connected those dots before, but of course art and music played different roles in the initiation of modern humans to the symbolic order via shamens and the first warriar-artist-priests. and surely the ways these practices have evolved bears traces of their original functions. also i think no early social history of these disciplines can exist without also examining the rise of organized religion and centralized government as they were all connected...

    "recorded music is canned music" - another quote i dont remember the author of... a jazz musician...

    Quote Originally Posted by rouge's foam View Post
    Just saw this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009...music-children which would seem to offer a different analysis to Stubbs at least as far as 'new music' goes.
    his account of younger people getting into 20th Avant-C is only one side of the story of what is happening to "new music" these days... i witnessed first hand New Music programs get shut down due to limited funding, so that the symphony can play the Magic Fucking Flute for the 50 millionth time.

    yes i blame the bourgeois death-philes who uphold bullshit outdated heirarchies through their suffocating cultural programs for... basically everything.

    i want to shout at my girlfriend's sister who is a concert cellist: that Top 40 Classical BULLSHIT was created as entertainment for the obscenely rich, and you think it is "serious" music whereas everything else is frivolous?!?!?!

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomadthethird View Post
    Lots of hip-hop artists talk about being influenced by European electronic innovators.
    and Miles answered "Stockhousen" when asked what he listens to during the electric 70s. which i always thought was the coolest thing ever...

    but of course Kraftwerk owes much to Motown, Funkadelic, and various other African-American pop music which preceded them. the idea (of their mature electro-pop incarnation, not the hippie early period) was to make the funky, emotional music which they grew up with, except with machines.

    truth of the matter is: Kraftwerk would not have existed if Motown, Soul and Funk did not come before. but Hiphop would still have thrived if Kraftwerk never dropped out of Art School.

  8. #23
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    Sound is a process, visual art is (traditionally) an object? Something like that?

    If its strength as an image is anything to go by, Stockhausen was right about 911. I never understood why people got so angry about his observation regarding the power of the image of the falling of the twin towers. He never said he admired it or condoned it, as far as I know.

    (How can anyone not like Stimmung? It's just totally fucking amazing innit.)
    ** pandemonium ad asbo **

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHAOTROPIC View Post

    (How can anyone not like Stimmung? It's just totally fucking amazing innit.)
    one of my faves. but people object to the nasally voices i imagine. and the unusual tuning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    Also, Stockhausen serves imperialism.
    good point

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    Quote Originally Posted by rouge's foam View Post
    David Stubbs's new book "Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen" was released a couple of weeks ago, and I know people were looking forward to it (I certainly was). Has anyone else read it yet? What do you reckon? Why do people seem more at ease with Rothko than with Stockhausen?
    because music is more important
    painting you go and look at and then you go away again
    whereas music is part of people's everyday so they have more idea what they want
    and stockhausen isn't it

  12. #27
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    Yeah, Zhao, I don't think hip-hop wouldn't have existed without Stockhausen, but the influence is definitely there. Def for Miles and the afrofuturists, too. (Ugh you're so right about classical music being entertainment for Kings...I mean, I love it, but still it's not the absolute standard for greatness or "genius"...)

    I was thinking about it and I realized that the music you grow up listening to ends up being something your brain cells differentiate around...so maybe people have a harder time with avant-garde music because the tonal system (with all of its built-in melodies and harmonies) is so ingrained in everyone's brains. I think for the average person Stockhausen just sounds very jarring and non-musical--most people tend to have an easier time "seeing" abstract "beauty" in colors and shapes, because it's less of a break from their normal experience of art as an abstract system of shapes and colors. Some people don't understand that music is an abstract (and conceptual) system...

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomadthethird View Post
    I was thinking about it and I realized that the music you grow up listening to ends up being something your brain cells differentiate around...
    Yeah, I remember reading psychological research that said that early (pre-adult) musical experience creates deeply ingrained templates/schema through which subsequent reception of music is filtered. In fact, I think it mentioned that one can almost be blind to aspects of music that lie outside of these schema - you just wouldn't hear it.

    Identity formation may also be a higher priority when younger, so associations made with music or musical scenes would be stronger and longer lasting - viz the enduring strength of many Dissensians' love for old rave music/any music of their teenage years.

  14. #29
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    I don't get Rothko really (apart from the environmental art stuff, like the chapel in Houston - not sure if there is any more stuff like that actually - mind you, I markedly prefer street/environmental art to (most) galleries).

    Following from subvert47's comment, more people like Rothko than Stockhausen because people don't know many painters compared to musicians. So yeah, Stockhausen isn't what they want, because they have a far wider array of alternatives to choose from. AND, crucially, people don't have as much confidence in what they like when it comes to visual art - people feel stupid if they don't 'get it', and so if they're told Rothko is good, they'll study it until it makes sense in some way to them. Whereas music has been more democratised - if I think it's good, then fuck it, it is.

    What I don't understand is this... many people readily absorb avant-garde music when it is allied to something else (eg soundtracks to horror films, or indeed lots of other kinds of films), but on its own, they often reject it.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mixed_biscuits View Post
    Yeah, I remember reading psychological research that said that early (pre-adult) musical experience creates deeply ingrained templates/schema through which subsequent reception of music is filtered. In fact, I think it mentioned that one can almost be blind to aspects of music that lie outside of these schema - you just wouldn't hear it.
    This is a very interesting area, but I do think that people will still accept incredibly avant-garde stuff when it is 'packaged' in the right way. This leads me to suspect that it is partly contemporary social pressures, as well as something hotwired into people's brains, that makes them reject things that lie outside typical templates.

    What about children who are exposed to comparatively radical (to UK or American ears) schema?
    Last edited by baboon2004; 06-05-2009 at 11:46 AM.

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