Essay Page 18

Yes, it does have to be presented simply in order to be appreciated. That simplicity, however, does not mean that the art is a lesser art; on the contrary, that's where I think the real aesthetic challenge lies -- reconciling the simple and accessible to the novel and unexpected. You have to write music that people can understand on an emotional level, but you can't just repeat what has been done.

Now let's say that you've done this successfully, and your work has been appreciated by large numbers of people.

That appreciation will nevertheless be largely unconscious, as the elements of music, drama and cinematography work together in a seamless whole throughout the movie.

In this sense, art does become like decoration -- some-thing we appreciate but don't really pay any attention to in a direct and technical sense (unless we also are artists).

Unless you're in the decorating profession, you're not likely to ask someone about their decor. You'll just say, "Nice place" and leave it at that.

So I would say that the artist as someone who stands out is a feature of Western culture that has been overstated. And that overstatement might be largely responsible for a lot of the bad art that is out there. Bad art that is mistaken for good art because of a clever alibi. The alibi that the artist who is promoted from the servants' quarters to the salon in the rich man's house can always give by claiming that he is getting his due because his genius is ahead of it time.