Well in the difficulty of writing novels or poetry. The tradition has always been [to describe things that have happened] you imagine them of course but nowadays everybody all day knows what is happening and so what is happening is not really interesting-does not really thrill anyone, it excites them a little but it does not really thrill them. The painter can no longer say that what he does is as the world looks to him because he cannot look at the world anymore, it has been photographed too much- now he does not want to say it because seeing it is not interesting. This has something to do with masterpieces and why there are so few of them but not everything.
Here is an explanation of why masterpieces are so few, now-due to familiarity. There was once ‘awe’ in the unknown; so we have religion and spiritualism-past and those existence still influencing millions at present. There was once interpretation of reality displayed artistically. A display drawn or painted to reveal nature as a deconstruction, an alternate reality or even as an absence. So on and so forth with examples that describe what Stein was stating in her time that it may be difficult for generations to construct something beyond generations to come.
What is a masterpiece? It is most importantly a writer or an artist best expression of their self and mind. The work of art is highly revered, imitated, even displayed in a different artistic manner. For example, a book turned into film for a wider audience to appreciate the words visually enacted. However, this is all subjective. One person adoring Little Women may not enjoy No Country for Old Men. I must say that I enjoy the latter over the former.
Onto the point of subjectivity: what Stein is stating that artist now-still relevant to our own time, are not as inspired to create the best expression of their art. As a result these artist are not as intriguing as they could have been in another time, environment and so forth. As well, critics may say the artist subject, interpreted in any fashion, still cannot captivate imaginations that are exposed to all there is- it seems. Therefore, masterpieces are so few.
So I ask how do we inspire a new wave of eager minds ready to interpret what we all see and know too… This is a hard one as I agree that films are too uninspiring despite the technology to prove realism. We may laugh more at the finer details of CGI effects ‘so terrible’ of a horror film that we know are to display fictional imagery. The point being we were not made to forget that it was simply as it is-technology. Just as artist once made audience forget that ‘Little Women’ is simply a story of ordinary lives of female siblings of a point in time remote from our own. Just as ‘No Country For Old Men’ is another drug crime film. Or Vincent van Gogh painting his world as he saw it best. It is nature that he saw, a room, basically that he painted. It was himself, we know that he painted. However, someone that deemed any one of these listed above as a masterpiece was made to forget-instead became intrigued or even inspired.
It’s a trick of the mind that we seek-to take the world as Stein stated or to take from what we know to then create. To create more until the peak of one’s performance has been mastered. The art reflecting the best version of ourselves, then our art.
However, this should not be the point of creating something. Though it’s becoming a demand by all critics that all works of art must be worthwhile their time- short in attention and appreciation.