Literature in time
Sven Birkerts at LitHub:
"Can the 'Literary'Survive Technology?"
Sven Birkerts has been depressing me--stylishly so--for many years. Here's a recent clip:
...I don’t see the literary as we have known it prevailing or even flourishing. With luck, it will survive for some time yet at the present scale, which is, in terms of societal influence and prestige, already much diminished from former times. But we should keep in mind that those were times when the seemingly sedate verbal art was not yet beset on every side by the seductions of easily accessible entertainment. In the future, literature will likely not command enough marketplace attention to make it commercially viable at any corporate level, but might rather become (and this is not a bad thing) an artisanal product that functions either as a vital inner resource or else as a status marker for its reduced population of consumers. What we might think of as old-school “serious” literature may come to function as a kind of code among initiates. At that point charges of elitism will not have to be defended against—they will have been fully earned.Elder artists, 2
clips from Art News
Here's more on artists (sculptors and painters in this case) continuing to work well into old age:
A historical look reveals that a striking number have been highly productive and turned out some of their best work late into old age, including Bellini (who died at 86), Michelangelo (d. 89), Titian (d. between 86 and 103, depending on your source), Ingres (d. 86), Monet (d. 86), Matisse (d. 84), Picasso (d. 91), O’Keeffe (d. 98), and Bourgeois (d. 98).
“Working becomes your own little Eden,” Thiebaud says, while acknowledging the challenge of overcoming the traps of what others think and say. “You make this little spot for yourself. You don’t have to succeed. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to be obligated to anything except that development of the self.”
Obliterating the past
"The Anomaly of Barbarism":
John Gray at Lapham's Quarterly
And here is a clash between ancient art and year-zero desire:
The destruction of buildings and artworks, which ISIS has perpetrated at the ancient site of Palmyra among other places, has several twentieth-century precedents. Vladimir Lenin’s Bolsheviks razed churches and synagogues in Russia. Mao Zedong demolished large parts of China’s architectural inheritance and most of Tibet’s, while the Pol Pot regime wrecked pagodas and temples and aimed to destroy the country’s cities. In these secular acts of iconoclasm, the goal was to abolish the past and create a new society from “year zero”—an idea that goes back to “year one” of the calendar introduced in France in 1793 to signal the new era inaugurated by the French Revolution. Systematically destroying not only pre-Islamic relics but also long-established Islamic sites, the aim of ISIS is not essentially different.