On Addiction/Art

On Addiction/Art

 

In regard to Shirley Clarke’s 1961 film about a quartet of jazz musicians and their addict friends waiting for their heroin dealer in a run-down loft (based on Jack Gelber’s play “The Connection”), Richard Brody asks the following question:

            Does an apt aesthetic response to a fucked-up world begin with getting fucked up?   (New Yorker; May 7, 2012)
 
Film still from The Connection
     Like the peasant girl in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Red Shoes” whose magical, enchanting slippers dance her most spectacularly toward her own doom, many of my favorite artists from present-day to times long past have whirled their own stunning dervishes of addiction/creation. Of course, just as many brilliant artists eschew the red shoes…and yet the dance undeniably continues between artistic expression and mind-alteration; self-revelation and self-negation; the Siamese twin-demons of identification/alienation; the spiritual quest for transcendence and the self-destructive path of abnegation.
 
Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes”

 

One must be drunk always if you would not feel the horrible burden of Time that breaks your shoulders and bows you to the earth. You must intoxicate yourself unceasingly, but with what? With wine, poetry, or with virtue, your choice. But intoxicate yourself.
                                         –Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen, 1869)
Dance on…

 

 
Film still from The Red Shoes (1948)