Apr 082010

I apologize for not answering my critics sooner, I have only just become aware of them. Allow me to explain my point of view more fully on Serota.

Our way of life is changing more rapidly than ever before. Art has to change as life changes. But the white-hot revolution which Harold Wilson (once Prime Minister) foresaw as a great leap forward in opportunities for leisure has in fact put a great deal more stress into human existence; life has speeded up rather than slowed down. Advances in medicine have certainly prolonged life expectancy with the result that the care of the aged now requires far more expense than the pension funds can stand, so pensionable age has to go up. The world population explosion is upon us much sooner than Malthus foresaw. The human population is overwhelming all other species and the planet’s ecology. Climate change etc. etc.

I mention these very real challenges to point out that it is not that easy to predict the future. Yet in art we have allowed Serota with no particular qualifications to dictate the course of art. His “challenging art” does not remotely correspond to life’s challenges as I see them. On the contrary his “cutting edge” is an absurd diversion from what we should be focusing upon.

I see art as an education in seeing what is out there. The more one observes the more one becomes aware of the mental obstacles to seeing. Our survival as a species depends more on the sense of sight than on any other. Serota and his team live in a world of fantasy that does not amuse, it frightens me.

He is a great propagandist but then so were the Nazis, who proclaimed that if you are going to lie, make it a big one. Serota has learnt that lesson well. (see The Jackdaw). He has initiated the most disgraceful episode in the history of art, anywhere. I want to stop him in his tracks. Unfortunately there are a lot of people making a lot of money temporarily out of this financial bubble, so instead of seeing the disgrace, the art establishment is considered a success!

New Humanism” is my answer to what has gone wrong with art. I respect the Stickists for what they have done to bring about change but I long for a different direction of change, one in which observation figures big again.

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