Fine Art on YouTube

by ttucker23 on October 5, 2006

Terry Teachout, the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal, has effectively created a cultural video-on-demand site from material uploaded on YouTube. Read his article about it at WhoseTube? ArtsTube – WSJ.com. Quote:

YouTube, like the other new Web-based media, is a common carrier, a means to whatever ends its millions of users choose, be they good, bad, dumb or ugly. You can use it to watch mindless junk — or some of the greatest classical and jazz musicians of the 20th century. . .

Seeing these artists, most of whom are now known to us only through their recordings, is an awe-inspiring experience. To watch Art Tatum rippling through a bristlingly virtuosic version of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays,” or Richard Strauss conducting his tone poem “Till Eulenspiegel” with a cool detachment that borders on the blasé, is to learn something about the essence of their art that no verbal description, however insightful or evocative, can supply.

By posting this list of links, I have, in effect, created a Web-based fine-arts video-on-demand site. The irony is that I did so just as network TV was getting out of the culture business. Not only have PBS and its affiliates cut back sharply on classical music, jazz and dance, but cable channels like A&E and Bravo that used to specialize in the fine arts are now opting instead to show “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” This abdication of cultural responsibility has created an opening for entrepreneurs who grasp the new media’s unrivaled capacity for niche marketing.

This post on his blog explains how to access the list of videos he’s aggregated – scroll down to the ‘Video’ links on the right hand bar. The ‘Audio’ links below this are also great for those interested in literature and poetry.

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