Greg Gossel, Bye Now

“[T]he affection which many younger artists and intellectuals feel for the popular arts is not a new philistinism (as has so often been charged) or a species of anti-intellectualism or some kind of abdication from culture. The fact that many of the most serious American painters, for example, are also fans of “the new sound” in popular music is not the result of the search for mere diversion or relaxation; it is not, say, like Schoenberg also playing tennis.

“It reflects a new, more open way of looking at the world and at things in the world, and at our world. It does not mean the renunciation of all standards: there is plenty of stupid popular music, as well as inferior and pretentious “avante-garde” paintings, films and music. The point is that there are new standards, new standards of beauty and style and taste. The new sensibility is defiantly pluralistic; it is dedicated both to an excruciating seriousness and to fun and wit and nostalgia. It is also extremely history-conscious; and the voracity of its enthusiasms (and of the supercession of these enthusiasms) is the very high-speed and hectic.

“From the vantage point of this new sensibility, the beauty of a machine or the solution to a mathematical problem, of a painting by Jasper Jons, of a film by Jean-Luc Godard, and of the personalities and music of the Beatles is equally accessible.”

-Susan Sontag, One Culture and the New Sensibility (1965)
Advertisements