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Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art 376

eldavojohn writes "Art critic and University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia Camille Paglia has written a book that not only claims George Lucas is the 'World's Greatest Living Artist' but also that 'Revenge of the Sith' is our generation's greatest work of art. That's right: Titian, Bernini, Monet, Picasso, Jackson Pollock and ... George Lucas. If you thought you understood art but you hated Episode III, it might be difficult to understand how her book 'Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars' ends with 'Revenge of the Sith.' There is a possibility that the art world remembers this generation by examining that movie."
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Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art"

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  • Amen! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @09:41AM (#42129013)

    Jar jar is the character that defined a generation of Americans, not my generation mind you, but a generation. I suppose that Bella defines the current youth.

  • Re:Copies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @10:09AM (#42129259) Homepage

    My definition of how "arty" something is, to counteract all the shite that I see pushed as art, is thus:

    "The amount of skill needed to reproduce the piece given the same time, materials and techniques."

    So a square of splatty paint on a bit of canvas that the artist pondered over for a decade isn't very arty at all. 5-year-olds could copy it. Michaelangelo's David? That's a serious piece of art that's incredibly difficult to make. Sure, you could mould it or 3D print it or laser-scan it and then even CNC it, but it would take an artist (a proper one!) to make it using only the same methods / materials as it was originally produced with.

    Similarly, splatting a bit of moondust or graphite sheets on a canvas and calling it art is stretching it because GIVEN those materials, the arrangement of them isn't anything fabulous. They *can* be highly-skilled art, but there the art is in the skill, not the materials, and the higher-skill, the harder to reproduce given those materials, no matter how rare they are.

    This (to me) helpfully eradicates all of the shite that pretends to be art (especially the "interpretive" art where you're supposed to appreciate the message more than the delivery - pretty much everything since Picasso) while keeping all the classics, the masters and the geniuses firmly in their age-old deserved places.

    By that definition, given a budget as large as the movie had, given the computer technology and everything else that was there, how hard would it be to generate something like that movie (or so similar as to be indistinguishable)? I don't think it would be as tricky as George Lucas would like to make out. Maybe *I* couldn't do it, but certainly any director of merit probably could pull it off quite easily.

    The best artists I see today are putting work online for free, scrabbling for space on street corners, and selling things that must take them FOREVER to make for a few pounds on etsy or from their back yard or similar.

    The best artist I've seen lately was some old guy I found living in a house in the Highlands (a turning in Erogie, near Inverness, Scotland, marked as "Art Gallery" on a scrap of paper by the side of the road, you can't miss it - there are about four houses in the town, and after you've driven 2 miles following those signs off-road through fields, over bridges, past farms, etc. and there's NOTHING else but those signs until you end up in front of his ramshackle house with a yappy little dog excited to see ANYONE, that's the guy!), who sells some beautiful "classic" paintings of things like stags and deer for a pittance out of his back bedroom.

    Out of the thousands of "galleries" around that area, his was the only one that wasn't mass-produced, didn't have 10,000 prints of an actual nice painting (being the only thing really worth the money in most places, in my opinion), and had things that you actually had to whistle in disbelief when you saw the skill and time that had gone into it.

    I can't believe people will spend an hour in some posh art gallery down the road, spending thousands while looking at the millionth print of a photograph someone took of the local scenery (it's really NOT that hard to take a photograph of nice scenery in that area, and then print it out) and the crudely Photoshopped to remove the huge electricity pylons that were in it, rather than go look at the old guy at work (hell, just his conversation is worth the price of the paintings).

    It's not how many people copy it, it's not how long it took you to make, it's not what name it has on the bottom, it's not even how much it cost. It's how hard it would be to reproduce using the same material, techniques and time as the original creator did.

    And by that definition, the "first" episode of the Star Wars trilogy (chronologically) is probably more arty than all the newer prequels put together. But where they come on the same scale as everything else is probably floating around the same rating as The Blair Witch Project.

  • Re:What a load. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by znanue ( 2782675 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:01AM (#42129751)

    George Lucas blows Shakespeare out of the water in a couple of ways. He engages the imagination in a way that Shakespeare just doesn't. Imaginative panoramas, gadgets, events, forces to the universe, and all that is the cluttered sci-fi visuals of his movies. He doesn't have Shakespeare's wit, nor his ability to tell a tale of someone else's sound and fury in a way that makes it personal, etc. But, now I think we're comparing one type of artist to another. People are comparing Lucas to writers and to painters, which is a shame. I wouldn't even compare him to most other directors, because his achievement, and it is one, is not related to most of that.

    Another comment suggested that only 5 year olds and those that think like them would appreciate Lucas. Are we not supposed to retain a childlike portion of our identity growing up into adulthood? Isn't there a reason for this? Shakespeare most often pleases the adult in me, but very few have engaged the child in me and its sense of wonder in any close to the degree of Lucas, and I do not think it was an easy feat.

    Lucas is a phenomenal artist, but not in the way that we laud most artists. And, not in some obscure academic way either. He created an intriguing universe where I want to spin my own stories.


  • Re:Paglia's a crank (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mephistophocles ( 930357 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @02:48PM (#42132915) Homepage
    Someone (don't remember who and too lazy to look it up) in the 90's called her "Ayn Rand on 'shrooms." Funny, but "irrelevant hawker of gibberish for the shock value" might also be applicable.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman