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The Beauty of Mixing: Hybridization in Advancing Art - Assignment Example

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The Beauty of Mixing: Hybridization in Advancing Art

The hybridization in art can, far from being damaging to either society, allow each of them to deal with the consequences of contact with a new culture, critique the interaction occurring between the two peoples in a way that would not be possible if not for such hybridization. One of the most common critiques of hybridization is that it comes from a negative place – a place of appropriation in which one society seeks to make another society subservient to its own by taking what makes them culturally distinctive and integrating it into the dominant society. This is especially true when societies regard each other as “others” and this “otherness” is one of the main reasons for interest between societies, as was certainly the case in Japan during the era when hybridization of art began (Meech 27). This brings up understandable concerns about issues of colonization, appropriation, and cultural destruction – all things that should be avoided. However, avoiding these things does not necessarily mean avoiding hybridization. Many works owe formal debts to other works despite the fact that they are incredibly original and do many good things to the world of art. James McNeill Whistler’s Princess in a Land of Porcelain, and Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen, for instance, clearly owe a formal debt to Japanese culture. Almost the entire subject matter of the works are Japanese, from the clothing to the panelling, and though it is certainly an identifiably western painting, the flat nature

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of both works recalls something of Japanese art. While not necessarily as flat or elegant s Hosada Eishi’s The Geisha Itsutomi, it is quite apparent that Whistler was drawing on this style of work in concocting his paintings. I would argue, however, that far from being appropriative, they serve as a critical analysis of the way in which the west had been engaging in contact with the East. They show western women adorning themselves with all manner of Japanese trappings, but without an actual understanding of Japanese culture – the works depict women playing dress-up, a scathing critique of the way that people had engaged with Japanese culture at that time. James Tissot’s Young Women Looking at Japanese Articles shows that such critiques are possible without resorting to hybridization. This painting depicts two women dressed in Western style peering at articles of Japanese culture. All at once this painting cleverly critiques the way that Westerner’s had been interacting with Japanese culture – from a distance, as a curiosity, to be taken in to and made part of Western culture, or ridiculed from a distance. The fact that the Japanese largely looked at Western culture through a similar lens (Sullivan 122) does not change the fact that this is not a proper appreciation of a different society. Thus hybridization is not required for this type of critique necessarily, which weakens the argument for hybrid art. I would argue, however, that they hybridized counterpoints are more poignant. They not only critique forms of appreciation that are damaging in terms of inter-society communication, but also demonstrate a form of communication between societies that can be more productive. They must demonstrate some appreciation for the other culture’s art in order to be able to use some of its language in their own
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Your Name Prof’s Name Date The Beuaty of Mixing: Hybridization in Advancing Art There are many people in the world who are devoted to cultural purity. These can range from the hateful (Neo-Nazis and white power people, for instance), to the more thoughtful and concerned, such as people who want to protect indigenous cultures from being overwhelmed by the societies with which they coexist…
The Beauty of Mixing: Hybridization in Advancing Art
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