The aim of this blog is to create a forum of discussion on the present state of art in Britain. Britain seems to be leading the world in the charge of the Gaderine swine.
I am aware of two forums where resistance to “State Art” is strong: the Stuckists and The Jackdaw. But while I salute the splendid spade and foot work both have done in drawing public attention to the gross dishonesty and self-interest of the present regime at the Tate, I feel there is a great need of a third forum where an alternative evolution can be discussed and eventually put in place.
As a former student at Camberwell (1955-7) I look back on that training as a golden age compared to what is available to art students today. I have been revisiting Roger Fry, his Last Lectures, as I regard him as the grandfather of the particular philosophical ambience that distinguished the Camberwell tradition in my time. His influence on Coldstream (head of Camberwell before he went on to the Slade) was crucial to that ambience.
Fry’s insistance on the importance of the abstract or architectonic aspect of a work of art was most apposite to the art of 1900 but I feel that the pendullum of fashion has swung so far in that direction that it is high time to give it a good push towards Humanism. Fry could not have foreseen the depths to which this aspect of his doctrine has sunk: I see the present state of art in Britain as a colossal insult to the intelligence of the majority of us who work or suffer in the dark shadow of the State Art’s massive publicity, so rightly dubbed “Art Bollocks” by The Jackdaw.
Old “Humanism” was the driving force of the Italian Renaissance. It was based on a recognition that Greek art and philosophy had much to teach them about the human condition. I have chosen “New Humanism” as a name in the hope it will bring about a similar renaissance. I mean it to include any art based on observation. The survival of the species depends to a large extent on our ability to see and understand what is going on out there.
Artists tend to be politically naïve or lazy. We have allowed art historians to step in and direct the public face of art, with the result that The Turner Prize, for instance, is only of interest to a favoured few who dominate the public face of art in Britain thereby. I hope this blog will become a forum where alternatives can be intelligently discussed and eventually replace the present horrors. Any ideas?
Please participate and inform your friends.
Yours truly, Nigel Konstam
ALSO available is Nigel’s 5 minute film on The School of Adrea Verrocchio – Renaissance Sculptor who “restored worth and value to Florentine art at a time when those qualities were on the point of extinction”.