Are you one of the many visitors on our planet who suffers from apathy, without even knowing what this popular malady is? Do you drag yourself around, day after day, going to bed fighting sleepless nights, while searching for meaning in your life?
Sounds like something out of the preacher on horseback’s message in the early years of the United States. Did you know that John Wesley (1703-1791) rode over 250,000 miles, rain or shine, as a saddlebag preacher? Now that is passion and fervour. Did you know that the whole New Art Examiner team is made up of volunteers? Only with the September/October 2019 issue have we been able to pay our writers £25 per print issue, not much, but something (Jody Cutler told me it came to $20 in the US, sad to hear). All these volunteers, over 30 of them, work passionately to bring you reviews and articles of what’s going on in their corner of the world.
Apathy is not a commonly used word in the English language, though it means a lack of feeling, a lack of emotion towards something, with various forms of passivity. It comes from the Greek “pathos”; however, with the negative alpha “a” in front of it, it becomes the opposite of pathos – it’s a dangerous condition of our times though, which is increasing, as people become less and less engaged with their physical world and more engaged with their virtual reality. Becoming the norm, I wonder why we don’t hear this word more often. A-P-A-T-H-Y, apathy.
The Alzheimer’s Society says that “Apathy, depression and anxiety are common conditions experienced by people with dementia”. Are we all going down the drain towards dementia, since most of us suffer from one of these? It’s a worrisome thought, but it might help to start lighting a fire in our lives, to wake up from the fog of antidepressants, alcohol, drugs, social media and over-working. Have we really stopped caring about what goes on around us? Has it become too much to bear, too much to hear about? Who wants the daily diet of hypocrisy, lies and wars, etc.?
Apathy is kind of like hibernation. We skip the news, at least the hot news. Who wants it anyway? The same for art; who cares who won the Turner Prize, or who’s exhibiting in the Hirshhorn, at the Tate, at the MoMA, or at the local gallery down the street? And who cares about the community artists or even the rich and famous ones? Is the artworld all one mess of junk, ‘canned’ as Andy Warhol told us? Is this what it’s all become? Has it all been done before?
As we condition ourselves to the tune of Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying, by eliminating all that is superfluous, folding our clothes carefully in half and then in thirds, throwing out that which doesn’t give us joy; we are numbing ourselves to all the rest. Enough is enough!
I write with passion about the lack of involvement in our magazine and in the visual arts in general. A few people comment, but not many. We don’t offer many articles of scandal or of heated political commentary, but we write about the visual experience around us. The architecture, the mass media, the movies, the galleries.
Art is about passion. Life thrives on passion. It is often said that the artist’s work is the words not said aloud, nor written in text, but in images. Images are powerful transmitters; they can soothe, stimulate, question, beautify, embody, annihilate, disturb, provoke, and awaken feelings that we keep tucked inside.
However, if you’ve read this far to the end, I ask you now, what truly inspires you? We want to hear your thoughts and also who the artists are that turn on the lights for you. Become one of the voices from among the 47,000 online readers we had in the month of September, by letting us know in the comment area here below.
Volume 34 no.2 November/December 2019 p 4