The more you realize that Kennicott is right–it is disaster when four of the five Kennedy Center honorees are avatars of centralized, corporatized, for big profit popular culture. Only one, Carmen de Lavallade represents classical, non-profit art forms.
It’s not that popular art forms don’t belong in what is, at least by default our national theater, it’s that KC should not become a pawn of the faux-elitist witch hunts.
And it’s time to disabuse ourselves of the fantasy that something like hip-hop, at this stage of its development, remains some kind of demotic, folk art form, for all that it may have begun that way.
It’s fine with me to put hip-hop into the KC pantheon, but not at the expense of other things, and not because KC has decided to play defensive.
KC should be reiterating that it is championing art forms that the public does not get to see enough of–that have been crowded out by our insanely marketplace-driven corporate entertainment behemoths. These art forms comprise an essential role in America’s cultural legacy and identity.
Kennedy Center remains a great institution that hosts an enormous range of cultural offering. I love seeing ballet there because the stage is relatively big and the auditorium not too big–the perfect balance.
But Kennicott identifies dangerous policy capitulation that seems to be gaining momentum there.