GLOBAL WARMING Vermeer’s Method of Observation
Jan 042014

Many of us feel the need to make things. As a sculptor I am something of an addict. I certainly exhibit withdrawal symptoms after a few days without this addiction. It is sad that machinery has speeded and perfected so much hand work that mankind has become very short of these soul soothing activities.
Cookery, music, dance, gardening and art have to stand in for  all those useful crafts that we once did but are now done elsewhere or mechanically. Only thirty years ago there were little workshops in every village in Italy making shoes , garments, even hand made cars, most of them have disappeared leaving only the disappointed traces in creative humans with no outlet. This lack of opportunity will have to be addressed as western culture falls apart. Passive entertainment is no substitute.

Art has been recognized as a useful therapy and I am the last to wish to cut off this safety valve. The democratization of art has undoubtedly contributed to the sum total of human happiness. But it has had the negative effect of reducing our expectations from a work of art. It comes as no surprise that the average time spent looking at a work of art is now 20 seconds. I have often spent less time myself. Art has become a private matter.  Abstract art does not lead to the sharing of vision in the way observed art used to do.

Artists in their great moments have been the helmsmen guiding human perception; they spend their lives looking and comparing what they make with what they see in nature. But their tentative perceptions have been drowned out by the loud-speakers of a mass-media, entirely subservient to a fashion for art so meaningless that it requires no response or study.

We need an elitist art again based on observation to keep the pathways to perception from being lost. There are very positive signs that the human race is very much less responsive to its own body language than it used to be. The long running demotion of Rembrandt’s vision by the “experts” is an outstanding symptom of this disorder. It could prove fatal to humanity in the long run.

One Response to “Democracy in Art”

  1. nkonstam says:

    “There are very positive signs that the human race is very much less responsive to its own body language than it used to be.” Interesting – what is the evidence for this?

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