My interest in sincerity came from trying to understand seemingly sincere moments that came out of cliches, tropes, and popular culture. Yea, these things are ironic, but what happens when an honest moment of understanding comes out of them? My thoughts on sincerity are not fully formed at the moment, so I will rely on what I have read.
In an article in Wired magazine titled Sincerely Ours: Glee’s Success Cements Age of Geeky ‘New Sincerity’ author Angela Watercutter claims that “Irony is out; Sincerity is in.” Although the TV show, Glee (about a high school show choir) is the start and end point of her arguement, she covers a broad range of theory and culture to provide a context and examples for her argument. Like many others writing about sincerity, she mentions the September 11th attacks as a possible start of the end of irony saying “Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, there was a brief period during which the detached, sarcastic smartass stance just didn’t seem appropriate.” Again similar to other authors writing about new sincerity, she said irony did not end there, but it planted the seeds for a new “engaged irony”. Theories about New Sincerity seem to rely not so much on irony verse sincerity, but on the two working together, sincerity built out of irony. Watercutter says “ Looking for irony in everything makes the ironist see nothing at face value…Neo-sincerity is a move away this brand of irony — a mindset that can just say, ‘Well it was a catchy song’ and move on.”
In 2006 an exhibit titled “Neo Sincerity: The Difference Between the Comic and the Cosmic is a Single Letter” was shown atthe Axpeart Gallery in New York. The exhibition text has been especially useful in my consideration of sincerity in art:
“Irony as it has been practiced in art and popular culture in the last half-century has been a distancing device. Unless you want to be taken for a born-again or a talk show host, forget about wearing your heart, let alone your principles, anywhere visible.”
This statement gets right to the point of my conquest: What, then, does it mean now to make sincere art? What is sincere art?
Throughout my next blog post, I will explore a variety of examples that present interesting questions in regards to Neo-Sincerity or New Sincerity. In doing so, I hope to discover further exactly what New Sincerity is.
Future Blog topics that have been spamming my mind with sincerity concerns:
The Daily Show and the Rally for Sanity
Musicals, specifically Spring Awakening
Artist, Mike Kelly
Drake, Nicki Minaj, and other pop singers