In Favor of Complex Symbols

The little dialogue between myself and Matt Stevenson on artrecess2 yesterday (on Pink Floyd's "Meddle") brought up an interesting point. The fact that a work of art is essentially a symbol is something I've been waiting to bring up for some time. Some symbols are simple and some complex. American culture, even American haute culture (to the extent that it exists) has always espoused simple symbols and symbolization- not just Warhol's soup cans and silk screens, but the entire edifice of American popular culture which has become fair game for higher artists to cannibalize. Complex symbols and symbolization has an association with European haute culture, and with an illustrious past which may or may not be necessary for us to embrace now. In a new century, there are distinct advantages to embracing complex symbols and symbolization- the down-turn in the economy of the West has created so many complexities in the lives not only of artists but of the general populace that a symbol (or emblem) of the times which isn't complex must, to a greater or lesser extent, be fraudulent. The complexities of material collapse outweigh the complexities of material ascension- narratives of atrophy are more complex than narratives of successful culmination.