Gimmicks and Art
THOUGHTS ON THE 3–D SHORT STORY
IS the 3-D Story a gimmick? Yes. Most arts innovations at first are gimmicks.
A classic example was the change from silent movies to sound ones, which began in 1927 with The Jazz Singer. In that Al Jolson flick, sound was used strictly as a gimmick– intended only for the musical numbers. That Al Jolson ad-libbed a few lines of dialogue created (according to this video) a sensation and signaled the upcoming end of silent cinema.
CINEMA in its early years progressed through continual innovation. Most of them when they were tried were considered to be gimmicks. (As movies themselves at the outset were thought to be a gimmick and not art.) Among developments: Technicolor, introduced in the 1930’s and becoming widespread by the 1950’s. The 50’s also saw the rise of wide screen film processes like Cinemascope, Vista-Vision, and Todd-AO, culminating in triple-screen Cinerama, most famously used for 1963’s How the West Was Won. The ultimate movie gimmick of course, in the 1950’s and more recently, was 3-D.
All of them began as gimmicks, but some were perfected and became standard part of the film art form.
Sound became so dominant, the making of a silent film in 2011, The Artist, was– let’s face it– a gimmick
GIMMICKS have sustained the world of painting since the late 19th century, beginning with the impressionists–
(Claude Monet, “Impression, Sunrise.”)
–then expressionists, cubists, Dadaists and surrealists. Abstract art, fluxus, op art, pop art. Was not Andy Warhol a genius of gimmicks?
Only recently has the art world run out of new ideas.
What about music? Rock n’ roll— though it sprung from authentic American roots music– was definitely a gimmick, promoted by carny barker hustlers like Alan Freed, Colonel Tom Parker, and Dick Clark.
(Little Richard and Elvis Presley.)
Some might say that hip-hop began as a gimmick as well.
(Run DMC and MC Hammer.)
ONLY ONE arts field has displayed no gimmicks– and no progress– for sixty years: literature.
Our task is to change that.
(We’ll be ready to preview our innovative new story in one month.)
BONUS: “You Gotta Have a Gimmick” from Gypsy (1962)–
Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS