The question was, "are heavy metal and hip hop 'art'?" In order to have evaluated the artistic merit in these two genres, it became clear that I had to first come to terms with some working definition of what art is.
Exploring the Western development of arts across cultures, continents and centuries (ancient Egyptian scribes, Industrial Age English poets, WW2 era Spanish and Canadian painters, and the 20th-century American muckrakers) two important conclusions emerged: it was clear that artists have been critical catalysts for social progress for thousands of years; and that, without a doubt, heavy metal and hip hop display very high artistic merit.
The Essential Artist: Necessary Voice in Every Age demonstrates that the arts must remain an integral part of society, government funding, educational curricula, civic planning, recreational outlets...if we want life to remain humane and livable.
[This book deals with mature subject matter, does contain material that will be offensive to some, and is not appropriate for children].
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The Essential Artist sample reader