Prologue Artists’ reaction to the invention of photography has probably had a greater effect on the course of art than any other factor. The camera can fix an image of nature very quickly but photography is no substitute for painting. The act of observing and recording from nature opens channels of perception from eye to brain. Those channels are becoming clogged through disuse, as a culture our vision is dimming.

Furthermore, we have been fed the idea that only the avant-guard are worthy of interest in Art. This is a comparatively new notion, founded uneasily upon Darwin’s ideas about evolution. New ideas deserve consideration but surely we have to judge them by Darwin’s criterion : do they help or hinder the survival of our species? By this criterion it seems to me that today’s avant-guard and their ‘concepts’ constitute a real danger to mankind.

Wise old Cezanne reminds us to honour our perceptions above all else. When I was at art school in the mid-fifties, we were cautioned “beware of preconceptions” it seemed sensible advice if we were ever to develop original thoughts of our own. Concepts blinker.

Traditional art is a way of examining one’s perception of colour, form and space – postponing the inevitable moment when perception hardens into immutable concept, to be parcelled away in categories in the left side of the brain. Today’s critics seem unaware that the act of observation needs constant vigilance. They can no longer distinguish between original observation and fabrication. Vigilance has been overlooked in the scramble for saleable novelties.

For the moment Art has lost its way, it has been reinvented by today’s art-promoters who are looking for headline-catching ‘art objects’ for sale, objects whose sole interest lies in their inflatable resale price, promoting further enthusiasm in the market. While the market holds up the king-makers are king. It may be great fun for them but it is very bad for us, for civilization generally. Human values are undermined. Thousands of years of visual evolution are being squandered.

Traditional observed art allowed one to explore and educate instinctive responses; it opened the channels of perception. It was an important process of human evolution. The art recently promoted presents us with a series of brain-teasers whose answers do not amuse, stimulate or civilize. Our vision is being degraded by it. New Humanism seeks to rebuild and extend the mental architecture that sharpens our perception of the world about us.


The piecemeal destruction of Rembrandt, the most evolved artist humanly, and today the least understood by our “experts” is proof enough that our culture can no longer respond appropriately to the feelings of our fellow humans. Conceptual art, far from being the cutting edge of evolution is yet another step in our steady descent into barbarism.


Manifesto – Put humanism back where it belongs – at the top of the artistic agenda.

Nigel Konstam (a New Humanist sculptor) tel.0039-0577-948312

One Response to “Manifesto”

  1. admin says:

    On aesthetics as discussed by Schopenhauer in Bk 3.,The World as Will
    and Idea:

    “In calling a thing beautiful, we thereby assert that it is an object
    of our aesthetic

    contemplation……” ( Section 41)

    and by Benedetto Croce in The Aesthetic as the Science of Expression

    “Aesthetic activity is, therefore, a matter of giving form, and
    nothing other than a matter of

    giving form.” (ch 2 Intuition and Art; Content and form in the

    With best wishes, Mark Churchill.

    Comment uploaded by Admin. Author: Mark Churchill

Leave a Reply