Thursday, May 31, 2007

Will the next Diaghilev please stand up!

Is there an impresario out there that has the vision and balls to champion new American art?

Is there an impresario out there with the creative skills to market it to the public?

Is there a public in today's repressed times that wants its art to reflect contemporary culture?

Is there a public that wants to be challenged with new art, or do they just want to be comforted?

Diaghilev is, in my opinion, responsible for some of the greatest art ever created. Without him there would be no Stravinsky or Ballets Russes. Diaghilev championed new art and gave the world Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Cocteau, Picasso, Fokine and Nijinsky to name a few. In his time the emphasis was on creating the new.

As I walk across the street I see a Lincoln Center poster for the world premiere of “Romero and Juliet” also there is a world premiere of "Sleeping Beauty". Am I on drugs? Wasn't this been done before, maybe one was 70 years ago and the other over 100 years ago in Russia? Are we going to be doing the same things over and over and over again until the next generation comes along and laughs at our reluctance to move forward?

In medieval times there were powerful forces that stunted art, all forward thinking and managed to stifle progress. In the early twentieth century Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes corrected that problem, at least in the arts. Now once again the circle is complete and we are back to the medieval way of thinking. If Diaghilev came back in a time machine and saw what was filling the concert halls today, he might think he pushed the backwards button.

David Chesky