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What is art?
The segment about a series of illustrations for the book "The Divine Comedy", to me is one of the most fascinating passages in the movie. As they scroll through various proofs and prints for the book, Milton remembers using the monoprint technique for the illustrations. Monoprinting is traditionally an art form reserved only for framable prints simply because by their nature, each one is unique.
We learn quite often, Milton would select what is considered a fine arts media or technique to express the message in a certain way. From painting to crayon sketches to scratchboard the medium would suggest its use as the appropriate way to achieve a certain look and feel.
Works that are too preconceived tend to go dead -- they become inert and less lively. Work that responds to the peculiarities of the moment tend to be more energized.
Pondering the meaning of art, and the role it has played in society over the centuries, Milton reflects on this aspect, once again drawing from his vast knowledge of history...
There's a wonderful book I've quoted most of my life, by Lewis Hyde called 'The Gift.' Basically, it says this gift giving which occurs in primitive cultures, one tribe to another, is a device for pacifying others and establishing relationships -- is what artists do. They basically create the commonalities, the symbolism, so that people feel as though they have some relationship to one another. When people don't feel they have that relationship, they kill each other. So, that role of providing common ground is absolutely essential to civilization.
To Inform & Delight
The truth is, I've been looking for a definition of what art is, all my life -- without fully understanding exactly what it encompasses. But in the course of doing a speech I found several references -- on by Horace, who was a critic and poet back in Roman times, 1st century. He had this great line: 'The purpose of art is to inform and delight.' Wow. You can't get much better than that.
Get the film because you'll want to watch it more than once. If you have a studio, or an agency, get the film because you'll want to share it with those you work with. If you are in education or training, get the film because you will want to make it an integral part of the student's experience. At the very least, watch it -- enjoy it and learn from it.
You'll be glad you did -- I guarantee it!
Purchase the movie DVD at New Video : To Inform & Delight
Purchase the movie DVD at Amazon.com
Watch it now at Amazon Pay Per View
Watch a trailer at: www.metacafe.com
See a slideshow of some of Milton Glaser's most notable works
Dig into a feast of visual works by Milton Glaser on Google
And, thanks for reading
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Arthouse Films is an independent film production and distribution label based in NY and LA and acquires, produces, co-produces and distributes 20+ titles per year. Upcoming and current titles include: HERB & DOROTHY by Megumi Sasaki, MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM & DELIGHT by Wendy Keys, BEAUTIFUL LOSERS by Aaron Rose, REM KOOLHAAS: A KIND OF ARCHITECT by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch, THE UNIVERSE OF KEITH HARING by Christina Clausen, OBSCENE by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor, PAINTERS PAINTING by Emile de Antonio, and the HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON DVD Boxed Set. Arthouse is currently in production on a feature-length documentary on Jean-Michel Basquiat by Tamra Davis.
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