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The loss of appreciation of Art

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

The loss of appreciation of Art explains the hatred of life or the hatred of people

I saw the film 'The Momnuments Men' last night and was surprised with how long it message has stayed dominant in my mind. A 'B' movie with 'A' list actors demand of us to advocate 'Art must never yield', and that there is never a time when Art is ring-fenced.

Briefly the film is about rescuing priceless Art treasures from the thieving ignorant and despicable Nazi's during the last war, and reminding us of the procrastination and disruption of their return to their Jewish owners today. Ripping-off occupied national collections as well as private Jewish collections often symbololized anti-semitimic plundering of taste,beauty,wisdom, truth and refinement, and there is little wonder why Nazi's tried to erase a people but to hide 'the crimes of a common criminal' rather than a 'superior race'. The film shows the calculating evil of barrels of golden teeth presumably extracted in the death camps - how cheap and vulgar a barrel of gold can become.

Saving Art from centuries of Empires made and battles fought etc reveals how perilous are the journeys of survival that priceless antiquities have been on. This film understood how how fragile Art and life is, but enabled me to feel proud to be an Artist and revisit what a responsibility it is to do those the world lost proud. Yet Art is a survivor and I'm quietly reassured that had Britain lost that terrible war,my work would have been seen as 'degenerate modernism' by the Nazi's. But had my work been burned I would have shared that same fate as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth .......Yet why would I want those fantastic Artist's to share such a fate with me? People would have died to save their work, By being able to work today tells me that those monumental greats of Art in Britain did not put those with a more nervous disposition like me on the spot by asking: Would I have laid down my life for something as cherished by the British people as Hepworth and Moore?


Of course Art should be free to all to see, and Artist's need to be describe the world without fear. All an artist should need is a roof over your head, enough food and drink and a ticket to see the world to describe what you see. But many have sacrificed for our contemporary freedom's, and we mustn't give into forgetting their sacrifice. Living by experiencing all is their great legacy.

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