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. Post Modern Art. What the new art may look like.
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1. SNAKE OIL
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. POST MODERN 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 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.
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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.