Friday, September 19, 2008

Axelrod: Artists and American Identity

Another thought-provoking post by Laura Axelrod, this one on "Our American Identity." Declaring that "we have lost sight of who we are to each other," Laura asks all of us, artists and otherwise, to relinquish the tendency toward demonization and caricature in favor of seeking out the similarities we share as human beings. She concludes, "it is vital that artists and writers step in to act as witnesses. We have the unique ability to remind people of their humanity. We don't need to be spokespeople for them. Instead, we can inspire people to lead themselves." I like Laura's choice of verbs: "remind," "witness," and "inspire." She presents a more humanist view of the function of an artist, the purpose of art that reminds me of the vision Jill Dolan describes in her marvelous book Utopia in Performance.
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