Rick Bass

A Quote by Rick Bass on art as activism and activism as art

'Paint me a picture or tell me a story as beautiful as other things in the world today are terrible. If such stories and paintings are out there, I'm not seeing them.

I do not fault our artists for failing to keep up with, or hold in check, the world's terrors. These terrors are only a phase, like a fire sweeping across the land. Rampant beauty will return. In the meantime, activists blink on and off like fireflies made drowsy over pesticide meadows. Activism is becoming the shell, the husk, of where art once was. You may see one of them chained to a gate, protesting yet another Senate-spawned clear-cut, an think the activist is against something, but the activist is for something, as artists used to be. The activist is for a real and physical thing, as the artist was once for the metaphorical; the activist, or brittle husk-of-artist, is for life, for sensations, for sense deeply touched: not in the imagination, but in reality.

The activist is the emergency-room doctor trying to perform critical surgery on the artist. The activist is the artist's ashes.

And what awaits the activist's ashes: peace?'

Rick Bass

Source: "Fiber", from "Off the Beaten Path: Stories of Place", a collection of short stories sponsored by the Nature Conservancy.

Contributed by: queenofspades

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