Art is the expression of a personal point of view, intended to provoke an emotional reaction. (That’s my working definition, and I know it includes too much, like setting fire to a courthouse in order to enrage the public. I think “art” is a made up word in search of a definition.)
Lots of work goes into developing the craft that permits clear and robust expression of that point of view.
So how do you tell someone you care about that you just don’t like their work? And do you do so?
My precocious 32 yo nephew was the side man for years in a successful Danish pop group. They have had hit records and have toured on at least three continents. He is also a composer, and has music degrees from Belmont and USC. But I flat don’t like his songs, all instrumental. They are too esoteric, and they have become sadder as he has aged, which of course reflects personal trouble, maybe despair. He has plenty of work in Nashville.
His anxious father (my sibling) sends me his creations, and I am worn out lying about how great his son’s music is. I mean, it really is great in some ways, but it bums me out in the way much modern jazz does. And the ones in minor keys? Aye-yi-yi.
So, are you honest with your friends and family about this kind of stuff? Or do you lie or remain silent to keep the peace and spare feelings?