Musea Extra: Summary of the Revolution in Art (Visual Arts)

Nobody much cares for modern art anymore. And why should they? It’s become the ‘salon art’ of our day – the dried-up art that the Impressionist rebels fought against over 100 years ago in 19th century France. Painting, drawing, and all its offshoots have become cold, impenetrable, shallow, and at this point in time, they have no connection or relevance to your life or mine. It’s a wonder anyone cares about modern art at all. But I do.
I care about it so much, I want to end it and replace it with something great again. This issue is all about that.
* * *
First a reprint from Musea #108 about the exact moment when modern art ended on 1/08/02. Then in part two I offer a manifesto of the newer art I suggest should replace modern art. And finally I talk about my world of art, art projects, and more (with 2200 works of my own completed over the years).
Art lovers rejoice (the few of you that are left). There is hope for great art yet!
* * *
THE LAST MINUTE OF MODERN ART
Can CONCEPTUAL ART be used to end the abuses of conceptual art? It all began this way. I was walking home from a taco place and thinking about Martin Creed and his Art Prize. He won the annual Turner Prize that goes to the best art work from a British artist younger than 50. The prize was a check for $31,500 that was handed to him by Madonna.
And what was his art? Now this is hard to even say – even let the words sputter out of my mouth. The reason being I, too, am an artist. I have been one for decades, have studied and copied the masters, done work in almost every media (pencil, acrylics, and colored pencils are my favorites). And I worked hard to have some scope to my art whether portraits, landscapes, still lifes, abstracts, or just about everything in between. I love the stuff. I breathe art. I love to know everything there is to know about art and artists.
So what was HIS art? He got the yard-wide novelty check from Madonna (representing a couple years of my income) for his exhibit of flashing light bulbs in an empty room! (His previous works include a scrunched-up piece of paper and a ball of clay stuck to a wall). British art curator Simon Wilson notes: “He wants to make art where he is doing as little as possible that is consistent with doing something. The fact that many people find his work so baffling indicates that he’s working on the edge.”
Oh I see. Now I am getting it. Now I am figuring out the “NEW” rules. Creed himself comments, “If I can make something without adding any objects, I feel more comfortable.”
And then it DAWNED ON ME. I would bring modern art to its end. I would suggest the ultimate. The ultimate in baffling minimalism. I would get the ‘plastic’ check from Madonna.
So on TUESDAY 1/08/02, at 1:30-1:40 PM, as I, Tom Hendricks, was walking home from the taco place, I took art to its ultimate. This was the last minute of modern art. It could go no further. Where Creed had flashing lights in an empty room, I would … IMAGINE A GALLERY IN MY MIND THAT WOULD HAVE NO LIGHTS ON AT ALL! And that moment marked the end of modern art.
* * *
NEXT
My suggestion for the art that replaces modern art.
Well then, what’s to replace modern art? Generally speaking its art that has relevance again – that touches the lives of the entire world – that enriches the world.
1. I suggest first an end to the gallery system of art. There is a trio of elite insiders that are keeping art out of the world and into goofy-land. They consist of the gallery owner, the artist, and the buyer. The general public isn’t rich enough, trendy enough, or ‘well versed enough’ (I say foolish enough) to play the ‘art’ game. So, what initially began decades ago as enlightened gallery owners respecting new and innovative art work – has turned into a shell game with three nuts vying for art as worthless as the pea they chase!
2. Make use of all the tools of art, all styles, all genres. The new art has scope again. It is not a one-trick-pony. It’s not a pigeon-hole. And its artists are not locked into one style or format or subject mater. Finally any painter can explore in all the styles from realism to abstraction. (It’s taken the art world hundreds of years to go from realism to total abstraction. Now we are the first generation able to use the full range of those styles. Let’s make use of that privilege). And add all subjects too: portraits, landscapes, still lifes, abstractions, illustrations, surrealism, and all the rest. The new painters strive for wide ranging skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, as well as many other modes of art expression.
3. Painting and Drawing Reproduction. Technology has also given our generation the first chance to mass-market paintings on canvas (and drawings too). Let’s make use of that. And (as I have mentioned this many times in past issues) exact canvas reproductions of paintings allow copies to travel, to exhibit anywhere in the world from the largest city to the smallest hamlet. It allows painting copies to travel the world while the original works are safely ensconced in well protected modern museums. It allows paintings to be sold and become best sellers. It fires artistic competition and allows artists to make royalties on canvas copies while retaining control of the original work. It shifts the emphasis from galleries and museums to town halls and art centers anywhere. It takes art out of the hands of elites and puts it into the hands of all. Look what mass marketing has done for books and recordings, and films. Now its art’s turn.
4. It’s art that communicates without added explanation. Great art has never needed manifestos to explain it. Sophisticated art and art ideas are certainly challenging. but sooner or later the world catches on. The people speak, debate, and consider the art, and in the end the majority of art lovers like it. And all along the art piece itself communicated its message loud and clear. Only bad art doesn’t communicate clearly. Great art always does.
5. Art is put back to work. The new art works. It illustrates a novel or a kid’s book. It adds a mural to a public building. It expresses religious fervor. It reflects an event in history. It’s a design for a building or a pattern for a dress. It’s a landscape of a treasured spot on earth. It’s a protest against abuse or an expression of political beliefs. It’s a picture of the future. It is an expression of our lives here and now. Art’s indolent days are over.
6. The emphasis switches back. The emphasis of art is switched from the diva artists – back to the art work itself. It’s the quality of the art not the novelty of the artist’s life that counts.
7. Shift from public subsidy to the public. Instead of government subsidy to artists or art groups, it is invested in city art centers. These multi purpose centers allow for all local or visiting artists of any kind to show their work, or perform, or talk, or anything else the community wants to do with its art center. Promote all art not specific artists, art groups, or art agendas.
8. The New Art celebrates all art. Along with the new developments in art, the new art celebrates, preserves, and protects all art from the past. It also promotes art education for everyone everywhere. It enriches every life with art.
9. Technical skills. The new artist has enough technical skill so that lack of technical skill is not an issue of contention. Also the new art critics have enough skill to tell the talented from the trendy, and enough courage to challenge art abuses in every aspects of art.
10. Art in Schools. And finally the new art suggests that a part of all student’s study is the ability to draw. We have schools that teach reading/writing skills (one of the two hemispheres of the brain) but little to no teaching of visual language skills. The new art, teaches art, respects art and goes one step further. It brings back fun, excitement, relevance, and ultimately a world full of great art.
* * *

Nobody much cares for modern art anymore. And why should they? It’s become the ‘salon art’ of our day – the dried-up art that the Impressionist rebels fought against over 100 years ago in 19th century France. Painting, drawing, and all its offshoots have become cold, impenetrable, shallow, and at this point in time, they have no connection or relevance to your life or mine. It’s a wonder anyone cares about modern art at all. But I do.

I care about it so much, I want to end it and replace it with something great again. This POST is all about that. It contains three pieces:

1. Snake Oil – A Conceptual Art Piece/Video/Event that uses Conceptual Art to Attack the Abuses of Conceptual Art.

2.. The Last Minute of Modern Art Conceptual Art Event

3. No-isms, or Postmod Art. What the new art may look like.

* * *

1. SNAKE OIL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WneXAHfuvwc

===================================

2. THE LAST MINUTE OF MODERN ART (This is a reprint from Musea #108 about the exact moment when modern art ended on 1/08/02.

Can CONCEPTUAL ART be used to end the abuses of conceptual art? It all began this way. I was walking home from a taco place and thinking about Martin Creed and his Art Prize. He won the annual Turner Prize that goes to the best art work from a British artist younger than 50. The prize was a check for $31,500 that was handed to him by Madonna.

And what was his art? Now this is hard to even say – even let the words sputter out of my mouth. The reason being I, too, am an artist. I have been one for decades, have studied and copied the masters, done work in almost every media (pencil, acrylics, and colored pencils are my favorites). And I worked hard to have some scope to my art whether portraits, landscapes, still lifes, abstracts, or just about everything in between. I love the stuff. I breathe art. I love to know everything there is to know about art and artists.

So what was HIS art? He got the yard-wide novelty check from Madonna (representing a couple years of my income) for his exhibit of flashing light bulbs in an empty room! (His previous works include a scrunched-up piece of paper and a ball of clay stuck to a wall). British art curator Simon Wilson notes: “He wants to make art where he is doing as little as possible that is consistent with doing something. The fact that many people find his work so baffling indicates that he’s working on the edge.”

Oh I see. Now I am getting it. Now I am figuring out the “NEW” rules. Creed himself comments, “If I can make something without adding any objects, I feel more comfortable.”

And then it DAWNED ON ME. I would bring modern art to its end. I would suggest the ultimate. The ultimate in baffling minimalism. I would get the ‘plastic’ check from Madonna.

So on TUESDAY 1/08/02, at 1:30-1:40 PM, as I, Tom Hendricks, was walking home from the taco place, I took art to its ultimate. This was the last minute of modern art. It could go no further. Where Creed had flashing lights in an empty room, I would … IMAGINE A GALLERY IN MY MIND THAT WOULD HAVE NO LIGHTS ON AT ALL! And that moment marked the end of modern art.

===============================

3. NO- ISMS or POSTMOD ART. My suggestion for the art that replaces modern art.

Well then, what’s to replace modern art? Generally speaking its art that has relevance again – that touches the lives of the entire world – that enriches the world.

1. I suggest first an end to the gallery system of art. There is a trio of elite insiders that are keeping art out of the world and into goofy-land. They consist of the gallery owner, the artist, and the buyer. The general public isn’t rich enough, trendy enough, or ‘well versed enough’ (I say foolish enough) to play the ‘art’ game. So, what initially began decades ago as enlightened gallery owners respecting new and innovative art work – has turned into a shell game with three nuts vying for art as worthless as the pea they chase!

2. Make use of all the tools of art, all styles, all genres. The new art has scope again. It is not a one-trick-pony. It’s not a pigeon-hole. And its artists are not locked into one style or format or subject mater. Finally any painter can explore in all the styles from realism to abstraction. (It’s taken the art world hundreds of years to go from realism to total abstraction. Now we are the first generation able to use the full range of those styles. Let’s make use of that privilege). And add all subjects too: portraits, landscapes, still lifes, abstractions, illustrations, surrealism, and all the rest. The new painters strive for wide ranging skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, as well as many other modes of art expression.

3. Painting and Drawing Reproduction. Technology has also given our generation the first chance to mass-market paintings on canvas (and drawings too). Let’s make use of that. And (as I have mentioned this many times in past issues) exact canvas reproductions of paintings allow copies to travel, to exhibit anywhere in the world from the largest city to the smallest hamlet. It allows painting copies to travel the world while the original works are safely ensconced in well protected modern museums. It allows paintings to be sold and become best sellers. It fires artistic competition and allows artists to make royalties on canvas copies while retaining control of the original work. It shifts the emphasis from galleries and museums to town halls and art centers anywhere. It takes art out of the hands of elites and puts it into the hands of all. Look what mass marketing has done for books and recordings, and films. Now its art’s turn.

4. It’s art that communicates without added explanation. Great art has never needed manifestos to explain it. Sophisticated art and art ideas are certainly challenging. but sooner or later the world catches on. The people speak, debate, and consider the art, and in the end the majority of art lovers like it. And all along the art piece itself communicated its message loud and clear. Only bad art doesn’t communicate clearly. Great art always does.

5. Art is put back to work. The new art works. It illustrates a novel or a kid’s book. It adds a mural to a public building. It expresses religious fervor. It reflects an event in history. It’s a design for a building or a pattern for a dress. It’s a landscape of a treasured spot on earth. It’s a protest against abuse or an expression of political beliefs. It’s a picture of the future. It is an expression of our lives here and now. Art’s indolent days are over.

6. The emphasis switches back. The emphasis of art is switched from the diva artists – back to the art work itself. It’s the quality of the art not the novelty of the artist’s life that counts.

7. Shift from public subsidy to the public. Instead of government subsidy to artists or art groups, it is invested in city art centers. These multi purpose centers allow for all local or visiting artists of any kind to show their work, or perform, or talk, or anything else the community wants to do with its art center. Promote all art not specific artists, art groups, or art agendas.

8. The New Art celebrates all art. Along with the new developments in art, the new art celebrates, preserves, and protects all art from the past. It also promotes art education for everyone everywhere. It enriches every life with art.

9. Technical skills. The new artist has enough technical skill so that lack of technical skill is not an issue of contention. Also the new art critics have enough skill to tell the talented from the trendy, and enough courage to challenge art abuses in every aspect of art.

10. Art in Schools. And finally the new art suggests that a part of all student’s study is the ability to draw. We have schools that teach reading/writing skills (one of the two hemispheres of the brain) but little to no teaching of visual language skills. The new art, teaches art, respects art and goes one step further. It brings back fun, excitement, relevance, and ultimately a world full of great art.

===================================

Main Problems with Most Modern Art

1. Cold 2. Disjointed 3. Can’t communicate it’s message 4.Weird. 5.Elitist 6. Technically poor  if there is technique at all 7. Pompous and inflated, often takes up a room 8. Non functional, not useful, not integrated into life 9 No breath or scope. From Five Doors to the Art Revolution, video #2.

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11 Responses to “Musea Extra: Summary of the Revolution in Art (Visual Arts)”

  1. Artista Eli Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article especially the part discussing the redefing of what contemporary art could be in the future. As a teacher, I also feel that drawing and painting are key skills which should be taught by the education system. Visual communication is, as stated, often neglected and yet everything we see around us was designed in some way, mainly though the use of drawing. Just look around the room you are in now and think about how many artists/designers were involved in creating all your possessions. This gives you an idea of why drawing, at least, is such an important skill.

    • musea Says:

      Eli, I could not agree more. We have two brain hemispheres – and we only teach the language side. We don’t teach the drawing/visual side.
      I think that everyone that learns to speak should also know how to draw. Why teach only half?

  2. musea Says:

    This post originally suggested post-modern art as the term to describe these new ideas. Now I suggest an alternative name, “No-ism” That stands for no limiting formats, and we open ourselves to all types of art. That helps not limiting what artists can do and what art we can support and promote.

  3. musea Says:

    Here’s a solid response from Gregory K.H. Bryant.
    In fact, we are seeing a huge outpouring of powerful creativity in the world today, but it is not in the galleries. Most of the work supported in the various biennials is recycling the lessons of a century ago. Duchamp reworked.

    Somewhere along the line, it seemed that the notion was to come up with a theory of some sort, and then to use the artwork to illustrate that theory. So the artwork came to be secondary to the intellectualizing. And that is what the art schools and the galleries seem to be seeking – first the intellectual justification, then the work that illustrates that theory. Which is all pretty moribund by now.

    But outside that gallery system, we are seeing, as I say, a huge outpouring of works from all directions, work that does indeed dazzle, work that is not weighted down with sophistry or the pompous moralizing of moral midgets.

    And they are working all outside the restrictive prescripts of the professors and the gallery owners who stopped thinking about what art is somewhere in their third year of art school.

    It’s those, the so-called `outsider artists’ (a term I despise – let’s call them the free artists, instead) who are producing the strongest and most visionary work today.

  4. musea Says:

    Modern art
    you’ve lost your way.
    I’d rather see
    a comic book,
    fashion drawings,
    or children’s art,
    an illustration,
    or anything but
    Modern art
    you’ve lost your way!

  5. Thomas Spencer Says:

    I agree with almost every point made, but I have some reservations about point 3 under “3. POST MODERN ART. My suggestion for the art that replaces modern art.” Unless the piece is specifically designed for reproduction (so the the reproduction IS the original, as in an etching) then I do not believe that a reproduction, no matter how good a copy, can perform the same function as the original piece. An original painting records the history and struggle of its development within its paint strokes. The copy merely records its final appearance. The copy can publicise the original but cannot replace it.

    • musea Says:

      But that is like saying I have to hear the original master of a song, I can’t just own a copy of the recording, or I have to read the original manuscript, I can’t just own a copy in the form of a book, or I have to see the original film that was shot, I can’t just own a film copy of a classic film. We’ve got to get the art out of ivory towers and into people’s lives. That means allow paintings to be seen through exact copies. For example, I think kids would benefit from seeing an exact copy of all Van Gogh’s paintings all at once. That can’t help but bring his work to life to million who would never ever see it in it’s entirety. Van Gogh deserves that. We allow books with photos of paintings and that’s OK. How much better to see exact replicas that are so true to the original, that should you hang the original and four copies you couldn’t tell which is the original.
      We need to safeguard our original paintings, while at the same time allowing copies out to all. Finally think of this – by allowing exact copies, you allow contemporary artists to keep their original, while making money on copies. Artists need a fair way to be compensated for their work in the same way as writers, and musicians. – Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Tom.

      • Thomas Spencer Says:

        Not at all! The master of the recording or film is simply the means of producing the copies, which ARE the intended final products! When I taught art (I am now retired), I was very interested in computer aided graphic design. A lot of preparation went into the design process. But the final product was a digital image. No matter how many times it was copied, each was still the original image. It could be argued that seeing the preparatory work would deepen your understanding of the final piece – which is why the examiners always needed to see the preparatory work of pupils – but it is not normally necessary in order to appreciate the final product. Preparatory work it not normally intended to be seen by others.

        However – a painting is frequently built up in stages on the same surface. Images can be revised and even obliterated, but leaving traces behind, sometimes in the texture of the surface. Mistakes are made and accidents happen, all part of the process, all leaving their own traces. You cannot reproduce these, you can only copy appearanceof the final surface.

        Is there a place for high quality copies of original paintings. Certainly! Just don’t confuse that with the same thing as seeing the original. I remember being introduced to the original of a Modigliani that I thought I was familiar with from reproductions – and it was a revelation for me! If I had seen even better quality reproductions, that could possibly have prepared the way better, but I do not believe that it would have substituted for the experience of seeing the original!

  6. musea Says:

    Thomas Spencer, as one of those artists myself – I welcome exact reproductions. Then I can safeguard the original and sell copies for a royalty. For those that want the original, they can journey to the original – IF IT IS NOT PRIVATELY OWNED AND HIDDEN AWAY. With reproductions you have opened the door to millions seeing the art, and you still have the option of hundreds or thousands seeing the original wherever it is. Making copies helps all and hurts no one. What it will also do is make painting a mass market art – and it will take it’s place alongside books, music, and film – all art forms that are way more integrated into life than painting is now. That is why. Mass marketing opens the door to all. Art is not about pleasure for the elite few who are rich – but for the world.

    • Thomas Spencer Says:

      I agree with almost all you say. Good reproductions are an effective way for some artists to increase their own income whilst improving accessibility to their art. But much art will always be privately owned. Why not? I would like to see MORE art privately owned. In fact I would like to see every household capable of displaying pieces of original art which have been purchased because they are valued by their owners – and not simply because some critic or gallery owner has promoted them and whose opinion has been valued over that of the client. Paintings SHOULD be part of a mass market – but because there is a mass of art, not because there is a mass of reproductions of a relatively small number of pieces! Yes, some pieces of art have become famous and now command high prices, beyond the possibility of ownership by most. And I dislike the thought of such pieces being shut away so that only a very few can see them. Reproduction may well be the only way that most will ever get to develop an appreciation of such pieces and so reproduction is a valuable resource. Art is NOT about the pleasure of a few elite rich, it is for everyone. But that does not mean that it can only be done through the use of copies. The danger of that is that it develops a new elite, that of a relatively small number of artists whose work is reproduced. Better that it is done through a large number of artists, a large amount of artwork – and an improved appreciation of original art by the public!

  7. usethebrainsgodgiveyou Says:

    Intellectualizing and ego…are of the left brain, and empathy, is of the right. The right brain is one with the universe, and speaks to ALL peoples of all cultures who recognize beauty and skill, it is encoded into their DNA. That is why the Chinese love Shakespeares work…it translates! Work that needs explanation isn’t of the right brain. It’s kind of like mental gymnastics, but it does not translate. I wonder if when the last translator dies, if the art will, too. Then again, did Durer need translation? He is still going after 500 years.

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