How many Street artists can we come across on a daily trip in D.C.’s metro? The answer might be: ”too many to stop.” What if there was a real prodigy? One’s got to get to work.
On January 12, 2007, Gene Weingarten-columnist for The Washington Post- decided to do an experiment described in the article as “a test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would recognize genius.”
At L’Enfant Plaza station, rush hour, a fiddler began to play standing against a wall; nothing too special about him –besides his irrefutable technique. That man was Joshua Bell, who made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 17 and is a Grammy Award-winning artist. One would think that he will get noticed performing six of the most challenging pieces ever written. Even more so if he was to play a 1713 handcrafted Stradivarius, one of the finest violins of all times.
Seeking some expert opinion, Mr. Weingarten asked Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. He assured that a crowd will gather and that Bell would make an estimate of $150.
That never happened.
In 45 minutes, only 7 people stopped, and the musician that had played full house at the Boston Symphony Hall the night before got $32 and change for the same performance.
So what are our standards for truly good or “genius” art? Oh, it depends on so many things from the staging to the looks of the artist down to one’s own mindset in that moment.
We should always be open to art in all of its forms; you never know what you could encounter.