“… even society’s general notions about artmaking confront the artist with paralyzing contradictions. As an artist you’re expected to make each successive piece uniquely new and different – yet reassuringly familiar when set alongside your earlier work. You’re expected to make art that’s intimately (perhaps even painfully) personal – yet alluring and easily grasped by an audience that has likely never known you personally.”
I found the truth in that paragraph hilariously bang-on. The contradictions within our artistic expectations are nothing short of absurd and we have no one to blame but ourselves when we find ourselves disappointed with our favorite artist’s new work. We cannot expect the impossible from our favorite artists and then be disappointed at their attempt to balance our contradictory expectations (especially when you add in their personal expectations of what art they want to make).
And we have no one to blame but ourselves when we find ourselves critical of the music we sing in church. We cannot expect songs rich in theological and emotional depth wrapped up with unique and original music and language and then complain that the songs are “unsingable” or “unintelligible”, unable to be connected to and sung by a church body.
Maybe it’s time we see our expectations for what they are (preference and opinion) and allow the artists to do what they do and appreciate it for what it is. What is it? Maybe we need to be clear about that as well. Looks like I may have shot myself in the foot too…