By Anna Sadovskaya, Daily Fine Arts Columnist
Published September 24, 2013
Everyone is talking about the Emmys. Some are concerned it was full of melancholy; some are still wondering why Jeff Daniels won Best Actor in a Drama. But the amount of furious and fanatical live tweeting last night proved that, no matter if terrible or terrific, award shows leave a distinct mark on society.
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For film, it’s the Academy Awards; for music, the Grammys award the elite. Musicals live and die by the Tonys and modern art has … not many people really know.
Has there ever been a time when the fine arts have been applauded and awarded on such a mass scale as film or television? Have millions of viewers tuned in to watch painters, photographers, poets or pianists accept accolades from peers and critics?
In short, the answer is of course not. Fine arts are, unfortunately, not universal enough to draw in the same crowd — not enough people follow the works of contemporary artists to have an award show that could carry as much weight and authority.
And, regrettably, it makes sense. The feeling I get after I watch a particularly great piece of film is so distinct and powerful, it rarely compares to anything a painting can evoke. Watching a master violinist perform Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D is awesome in that I could never recreate it, and so I stare transfixed at the artist.
But with albums, film and TV, the concept is simple: Create a piece of art that will allow the viewer or listener to feel they’ve experienced the emotion portrayed. Without that critical connection, all would be lost. The reason people enjoy going to the movies is to understand characters. Whether through complex thought, through dramatic storytelling or through comedy interlude, the underlying goal is to achieve mutual appreciation and recognition between storyteller and listener.
Plots vary vastly — very few people watch “Homeland” because they’ve been in either Carrie Mathison’s or Nicholas Brody’s shoes. In fact, because TV is often an escape from reality, whether or not shows perfectly complement the general population’s lifestyles is irrelevant — what matters is the underlying emotion. Everyone has felt fear, uncertainty and the tugging pull of indecision. This is what draws people in.
It’s no wonder audiences want to celebrate the amazing performances put on by people — it’s a way of saying congratulations for acknowledging how real and complicated human emotion is.
It’s not that the finer arts are stagnate and touched out from daily life. Plenty of contemporary artists beautifully depict reality through a lens or a paintbrush. Rather, it’s that there is no exchange of information between artist and viewer. Sprawling behemoths, films, TV shows and albums are thousands of paintings, photos and violin performances put into one, unifying piece of art. It’s the constant movement and flow of art that allows people of all backgrounds and experiences to appreciate and understand it.
Sadly, this truth would leave any potential fine -rt award show with a small crowd and little national, widespread coverage.
Fine and visual art don’t hold the same appeal. Whether photographs can incite fear or sadness, they’re still a snapshot of an otherwise constantly changing world. Paintings don’t interact with their viewer. Piano concertos can’t captivate the same way angsty lyrics can. In their own way, the fine arts are more showpieces — accolades of their own accord, achieved only by the craftiest of craftsmen.