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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Form and Substance

"There is no substance wihout form; but there is much form without substance." Vishnova.

We visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pitsburgh mostly because we wanted to see the exhibet of Corita Kent that was on display.  But after devouring the Corita works, we walked through the life, times, and works of Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol plays with forms without much substance. He has us cast our eye on a society, ours, that is more concerned with form over substance by mirroring it. In contrast Corita Kent also considered a "pop artist" like Warhol shows that, for those who can see, substance is everywhere even in empty forms like commercial ads, ugly structures, and banal propaganda. We frame always. But when we conscientiously frame, we can get beyond the frame that we are using and change it. We become masters of our forms rather than manipulated by them.

In politics and religion, in markets and urban streets, in science and ordinary discourse, in all of culture, can we free ourselves of the frames which are being foisted upon us through media, talk shows, pundits, politicians, and preachers who pretend to be telling us the news, the facts, the truth?

Both artists help us notice the forms by which we frame so that we can free ourselves of them. Not absolutely. For we are never without form. But transcendently we can choose anew.

Both Andy and Corita, one using form to empty himself of bland and course substance, the other using form to fill herself and us with exciting and creative substance, show us a way to free ourselves, to become ourselves, to lift ouurselves thrrough and beyond form to greater and greater substance.