Re: evidence re-issues

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#1 Thu, 1970-01-01 00:00
Ben Opie
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Re: evidence re-issues

You wrote:

I am also intrigued by what Ben said about the painting he liked so much and how by seeing it "in context" altered his thinking. My opinion is that having seen that painting first it inevitably altered how he saw it when he saw it in context. It meant that he placed more emphasis on its importance by having seen it first. If the process had been reversed would he have felt so passionately about the first painting? Relating it to music, I do believe that what we hear first profoundly affects our judgement of what we hear subsequently.

Okay, since I'm being challenged (I was going to be quiet otherwise), let me put it this way: the deKooning painting in question is neither better nor worse as an artwork based upon seeing it with other works by the same artist. It does, however, take on greater meaning when considered as a portion of a larger body of work.

There are very few artists who have that one masterpiece, that "golden moment." However, as we look back on an artist's life accomplishments, we can see some highs and lows, trends, interests, techniques, tendencies, which either move to the front, or recede. Sun Ra's output is not exactly linear in nature,but as we look back on it, we can draw inferences and see where he was heading from one year to the next, one recording to the next.

When listening to WASOL, I not only appreciate the performance itself...I know where Ra has been (Angels and Demons at Play, When Sun Comes Out, etc) but I hear where he'll be going (Heliocentric Worlds, The Magic City). I'll be willing to admit that this categorization is partially me imposing my opinions on his work. It was probably not such a conscious decision on his part ("I think I'll be more far-out.").

Which, in the long run, makes all of this more interesting to me personally. I don't want to consider a single work by an artist; when I take interest in someone's work, I usually want to know what they were doing earlier on, during their "maturity" (if it is the case), what they were doing in their later years.

Having heard as much Ra as I have, I am unable to NOT place it in a greater historical picture. Perhaps I am interpreting the arc of his work in my own way; so be it. I made my interpretation of what I heard, for better or worse.

Ben