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Editorial: From the Edge

 by Megan Irwin  published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Irwin<br>Editor in Chief/issues/arts/695527
Irwin
Editor in Chief
 

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Phoenix is a weird place to live. It's a place where people were never meant to live, and it certainly should never have gotten as large as it has. Yet for all the miles of pavement its citizens have laid across the Valley, they've failed to produce a real cultural center.

At least that's what conventional wisdom and the Valley's many naysayers would have us believe. But after five years here, I've learned that between the storage centers and box-shaped superstores, there actually is some culture to discover here. You just have to know where to look.

In other cities, New York for example, if you want art all you have to do is leave your house. It's there in the street for you. Or if you prefer your art in a frame, you just have to hop on the uptown subway and in minutes you're at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But what if you want art that's a bit more interactive? After all, there's nothing more frustrating than those tiny yet firm "do not touch" signs hanging all over museums.

Which is why I appreciate what the artists in this week's cover story (Different Strokes, page 8) are doing. In the very traditional sense, these art forms are a bit taboo. But art is at its finest when it's challenging the status quo.

What suprises me is that these art forms are still considered shocking. The women who artist Mark Greenawalt paints represent the female form as beautifully as any John Waterhouse nymph. The difference is that Greenawalt's women are alive, and right in front of you. The viewer can interact with the art, talk to the art, and watch the creative process. The experience is more than pure aesthetic pleasure; it encourages human-to-human interaction. You can't frame it and hang it on the wall, but it's beautiful. And it's just what this conservative, concrete-covered patch of land needs.

Megan Irwin is the editor-in-chief of SPM. Reach the reporter at megan.irwin@asu.edu.



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