THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ART
IN THE 21st CENTURY - Revision 2.0

I. THIS IS AN UNFINISHED AND EVOLVING DRAFT

   A. It is presented in outline form.
    1.  Many of the statements are in note  form  or 
  are incomplete sentences.
    2. A final finished draft will correct this.
   B. I feel that artists and thinkers should  offer 
  unfinished  works  to the public as  long  as  the 
  works are labeled as such.
   C. I am doing this in the spirit of the following 
  ideas.
   D.  Although  considerable work and  thought  has 
  already been devoted to this statement, it is  not 
  unchangeable.
   E. We invite comments.
   F.  We especially welcome suggestions about  what 
  to call this kind of art movement.
    1. Please e-mail us your suggestions.
    2. What would you name or call this kind of  art 
  movement?

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This article is an unfinished and evolving draft. I feel that artists and thinkers should offer unfinished works to the public as long as the works are labeled as such.

II. INTRODUCTION

   A.  Up  until  recently  (about  100  years  ago) 
  painters painted directly from nature.
    1.  Now most painters tend to create from  their 
  imagination, from subjective inner needs and inner 
  impulses   or   they  paint  based   on   abstract 
  principles or conceptual ideas.
     a)  Instead  of drawing from  nature  directly, 
  some painters draw from their inner nature.
      1) For example, Jackson Pollock used to  point 
  out that he, himself,  was nature.
    2. Painting has become mostly studio oriented.
   B.  Painting has removed itself from  nature  for 
  the  same  reason  that  the  society  itself  has 
  removed itself from nature.


People are no longer subject to the same devastating forces of nature that controlled their lives a mere 200 years ago.

 
    1.  People  are no longer subject  to  the  same 
  devastating forces of nature that controlled their 
  lives a mere 200 years ago.
    2.  Civilization has overcome nature to a  large 
  extent.
     a) People live much longer.
      1)  In just 200 years our life expectancy  has 
  almost doubled.
     a)  People  live more  secure  and  predictable 
  lives.
      1) For example, many lethal diseases have been 
  wiped   out   or  can  be  easily   treated   with 
  antibiotics or prevented with a vaccine.
      2) Both long distance travel and travel  close 
  to  home  can be reliably scheduled (most  of  the 
  time) without being subject to the weather.
      3) Communications are effortless 
       a]  e.g.  the phone, faxes, and e-mail  on  a 
  personal level
       b] e.g. TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, and 
  the Internet
      4) We have a reliable and cheap supply of food 
  and energy.
   C. Painting in this century has merely  reflected 
  the  break with nature that the civilization as  a 
  whole has experienced.
   D.  Human beings are a part of nature  and  until 
  recently  lived  close  to nature  for  better  or 
  worse.
    1. For hundreds of years the goal of  technology 
  and science was to conquer nature, to subdue it to 
  serve the need of humans.
     a)  This  has largely  been  accomplished,  for 
  better or for worse.

The old relationship that humans had with nature has been broken and we can never go back.

   E. In short the old relationship that humans  had 
  with  nature has been broken and we can  never  go 
  back.
   F.  However,  in  the  near  future  we  will  be 
  confronted with the problems that we have created.
    1.  The  UN estimates that in the  next  century 
  world  population will reach the maximum that  the 
  Earth can sustain.
    2. According to the Larousse Desk Reference  the 
  Earth will run out of many essential materials  in 
  the next 100 -200 years. 
     a) Lead, zinc, mercury and tin are expected  to 
  run  out in the year 2015, copper in 2035,  nickel 
  in 2060, iron in 2160, and aluminum in 2220.    
    3. In addition there may be global warming which 
  is a consequence of civilization.
     a) The weather and sea levels may be affected.
    4.  Further  the  destruction  of  hundreds   of 
  species and the destruction of the rain forest may 
  affect us in ways we do not yet realize.
   G.  In  short,  we  must  learn  to   understand, 
  confront, and manage our own nature because it  is 
  our  nature that has created the world we live  in 
  today and will create the world of the future.
    1. Our own nature is now our greatest danger.
   H.  In addition because we have become  so  large 
  and dominant as a species, we must also manage the 
  planet,  become the custodians of the  nature  and 
  the Earth from which we came.
    1. At this point we have no choice.
    2. Because of the immense power we have achieved 
  and  which we will never relinquish, we must  also 
  learn to manage the Earth itself.
   I. The goals of the New Art will be to:
    1.  To explore and understand our own nature  in 
  relation to the Earth.
    2.  To  explore a new relationship  with  nature 
  since the old bond has been broken.
   J. This is a heroic task in the best sense of the 
  word.
    1. there is no guarantee of success, but that is 
  the nature of heroic tasks.
    2. Painting and art is well suited to create new 
  images and icons that can serve as touchstones and 
  guides to our future
    3.   Since   this  is  where  the   future   and 
  civilization  is  leading us, it is  only  natural 
  that  painting and other arts would also  move  in 
  that direction and be in the vanguard
  

In short, we must learn to understand, confront, and manage our own nature because it is our nature that has created the world we live in today and will create the world of the future.

III. PRINCIPLES

   A. The word human comes from "humus" meaning soil 
  or earth
    1.  human  means  "from the earth"  or  "of  the 
  Earth"
    2.   humans  must  constantly  seek  to   renew, 
  recreate and celebrate their relationship with the 
  Earth from which they came
   B. Our goal is to create a new art which explores 
  the  relationship between humans and the Earth  on 
  which they live. 
   C. Our goal is to also understand human nature in 
  relation to the Earth.
   D. To create symbols, icons, and experiences that 
  guide and help humans in this understanding. 
   E.  Works should explore modern  expressions  of: 
  myth,  vision,  story,   dreams,  desires,  wants, 
  ideals.
   F.  In  order to achieve the above  there  should 
  always be an emphasis on the human scale.
   G. Works should create or evoke a sense of place. 
  A  sense of place is important to a human's  sense 
  of belonging.
   H.  Since  humans need to feel that they  are  "a 
  part of things" or "a part of the world," works of 
  art  should  help  people bridge  their  sense  of 
  dislocation.
   I. In order to help create a sense of  belonging, 
  works  of  art  might refer to,  derive  from,  or 
  relate to previous art forms. By previous we  mean 
  the  entire  history of civilized art as  well  as 
  primitive, prehistorical, folk, and naive art.

Humans must constantly seek to renew, recreate and celebrate their relationship with the Earth from which they came.

   J. In order to help create a sense of  belonging, 
  works of art might include the natural rhythms  of 
  the Earth. 
   K.  This art should often (but not always) be  an 
  inclusive  art. By inclusive we mean an art  which 
  has wide appeal and is accessible to people. 
    1. Too much of modern art has appealed to in  an 
  in-crowd  and deliberately put many viewers  at  a 
  distance.
   L. This is not a New Age philosophy 
    1.  It's  fundamental tenants are based  on  the 
  best predictions by reliable sources
    2.  i.e.  that  humans are about  to  reach  the 
  limits  that  this Earth can provide in  terms  of 
  population,    ability   to   extract    essential 
  resources, and the ability of the Earth to  absorb 
  and accommodate human by-products and pollution.
  

IV. THOUGHTS

   A.  Humans have a fundamental need to belong  and 
  to  feel at home and to also feel a part of  their 
  world. This cannot be reprogrammed or removed from 
  the human psyche without serious consequences.
    1. One consequence could be that humans  destroy 
  the life sustaining power of the Earth which would 
  doom the human race.
    2.  Humans  are  not machines  whose  needs  and 
  desires can be replaced and redesigned at will.
     a) While changes can be made, they must be made 
  within  the  limits of what the human  psyche  can 
  accept.
    3.  Humans must come to terms with their  animal 
  nature
     a)  Much  of  what  we  do  is  hardwired  from 
  100,000s of years ago.
     b) Humans must recognize and come to terms with 
  their   animal   nature  before  they   can   make 
  meaningful changes.
  

The word human comes from "humus" meaning soil or earth.

 
   B. Art which includes the natural rhythms of  the 
  Earth could include: 
    1. the weather
     a) e.g. why not installations that are designed 
  to be looked at in rainy weather or cloudy days or 
  sunny weather?
    2. day and night
     a)  e.g. why not art forms that take  advantage 
  of  the point in time that happens  each  twilight 
  when  artificial  light and natural light  are  in 
  balance?
    3. the seasons
    4. the landscape
    5. the moon
    6. the stars
    7. the tides
    8. the summer and winter solstice
     a)   The  summer  solstice  has  been   largely 
  forgotten.
      1) Stonehenge and other ancient monuments were 
  built to mark and possibly commemorate this event.
     b)   The   winter  solstice   is   marked   and 
  celebrated,  essentially  by  Christmas  and   New 
  Years.
      1)  One of the reasons that Christmas and  New 
  Years  are such powerful ceremonies is  that  that 
  human participate in an ancient ritual.
       a] such as
        i]  lighting lights at the darkest  time  of 
  the year
        ii] bringing a tree into the house
       b]  Much of the ritual of Christmas  involves 
  pagan and Roman rituals
        i]  Gift giving and a week long  celebration 
  up  to  New  Years is from  the  Roman  Saturnalia 
  festival
       c]  Christmas  is also  powerful  because  it 
  involves the all the senses
        i] church ceremonies
        ii] music
        iii] food
        iv] smells
        v] group gatherings
        vi] color
        vii]  And  of course  involves  the  deepest 
  religious needs
         ~ the birth of Christ
    9. the fall and spring equinox
     a)  the  fall equinox is largely ignored  as  a 
  celebration
     b) spring is celebrated by Easter
    10.  there were also mid-season festivals,  some 
  of which we celebrate today
     a) e.g. Halloween
     b)  Mid-season festival were not celebrated  at 
  the  exact mid-point but rather  approximately  at 
  the mid-point.
   C.  Although  this  is a heroic  effort,  it  may 
  involve  cooperative  efforts  among  artists  and 
  involve  artists  and  others  from  a  number  of 
  disciplines.
    1.  An interdisciplinary new art may  work  with 
  and include other arts such as poetry, literature, 
  song,   dance,   theater,   music,    photography,  
  sculpture and especially architecture, plus  other 
  art forms.
     a)   Artists   should   at   times   work    in 
  collaboration.  This  kind  of  cooperation   will 
  create  new  art  and  art  forms  which   involve 
  synthesis and multiple disciplines.
     b) This kind of cooperation will create an  art 
  which does not emphasize the individual artist  as 
  much as the partnership or a cooperative effort. 
     c) Examples in the past
      1)  the ballets of Stravinsky  which  included 
  famous choreographers and painters
    2.  The individual artist may be a  little  less 
  important than he or she has been in the past.
   D.  While  much modern emphasis has been  on  art 
  that  springs  completely new  from  the  artist's 
  mind, our emphasis is quite different. Art  should 
  often  evoke,  refer  to, pay  homage  to,  or  be 
  related to earlier art or art forms. 
    1. In the history of art this has been the  rule 
  and not the exception.
     a)  It's  only recently that artist  felt  they 
  must create something completely new.
    2.  Even radical modern art has been related  to 
  earlier art forms
     a) There are dozens of examples but here are  a 
  few:
      1)   Picasso  studied  African  masks   before 
  creating  the  landmark  modern  masterpiece  "Les 
  Demoiselles d'Avignon."
      2) Paul Klee studied primitive and folk art of 
  his country.
      3)  Henry Moore drew on Pre-Columbian art  for 
  his sculptures.
      4)  Jackson  Pollock referred  to  the  Navajo 
  Indian  sand paintings as partial inspiration  for 
  his drip paintings.
      5) Bartok used Hungarian folk music as a major 
  part of his musical compositions.
   E. This new art should include an exploration  of 
  the  myths and ideals that have guided  humans  in 
  the past.
    1.  For example, some feel that  modern  western 
  civilization has been primarily guided by the myth 
  of Prometheus.
     a) Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave 
  it to the humans.
      1)  This  gave humans untold  power,  so  much 
  power  that  the Gods themselves  were  angry  and 
  punished Prometheus for doing it.
   F.  The particular construction of  these  images 
  and symbols can be quite flexible.
    1. In particular, it can draw on the history  of 
  art  of  the  last hundred years  -  the  numerous 
  experiments  that have left us with a rich  legacy 
  to work with in creating a new expression.
   G. It should at times be less studio oriented and 
  more involved with the outside and Earth itself.
   H.  Architecture should include the  outside  and 
  create  transition  areas from outside  to  inside 
  (such as the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright). 
    1. The buildings in which we live, should not  be 
  walls against nature with windows that don't  open 
  and  air that becomes sick because  it  circulates 
  within the building.
   I.  The  change we are going through  may  be  as 
  profound  as  the change that  humans  experienced 
  when    they   learned   agriculture    and    the 
  domestication of animals.
  

The change we are going through may be as profound as the change that humans experienced when they learned agriculture and the domestication of animals.

  
  
    1. This change allowed civilization to  flourish 
  because  there was a surplus of food and the  food 
  supply was more predictable.
   J. Knee jerk political reactions and  environment 
  political correctness are not welcome. The purpose 
  is an open inquiry and free dialogue. 
   K.  An art which was less commercial  would  help 
  attain these goals.
    1.  An art which you could not buy,  or  possess 
  (at least in the usual sense) might be helpful.
    2.  For  example, images created  just  for  the 
  Internet  which display best on computer  monitors 
  would not have commercial value and they could not 
  be  hung  on the wall. Although a print  could  be 
  made, the effect would be quite different that the 
  image seen on a monitor.
     a) My, Rick Doble, digital images of "Woman  in 
  Motion" are such an example.
     b) also images projected onto buildings
   L.  Some  modern  art has already  moved  in  the 
  general  direction  of our New  Art  principles  - 
  outlined above.
    1. The "Land Art" movement
     a) Christo's wrapped landscapes
     b) The Lightening Field by Walter DeMaria 
    2.  Picasso's Chicago sculpture  which  contains 
  wires that emit sounds when the wind blows through 
  it.
     a) It is very appropriate for the Windy City
     b) It is a sculpture with a sense of place  and 
  a  sense  of  the environment into  which  it  was 
  placed
    3.  Jackson  Pollock's dripped  paintings  which 
  were  inspired in part by the Navajo  Indian  sand 
  paintings.  These sand paintings were  created  by 
  shaman  who poured colored sand into the shape  of 
  figures. Later the wind blew the sand away.
    4. Brancusi's endless columns
    5. The realistic sculptures of people. 
     a)  These  sculptures are on the  human  scale. 
  They  are  are so realistic that people  react  to 
  them as though the sculptures  were part of  their  
  space  not  like  the  usual  sculpture  that   is 
  separated from the viewer.
    6.  Rick  Doble's  digital images of  "Woman  in 
  Motion."
     a)  My  own art has concentrated  on  realistic 
  images of humans (they are based on  photographs), 
  that emphasize the human scale and yet the  images 
  themselves are iconographic and somewhat symbolic.

Because technology has changed, the roles of men and women are different.

   M.  Because technology has changed, the  roles  of 
  men and women are different.
    1. Women and men will be full equals. 
    2.  This is one of the most profound changes  in 
  human nature.
    3. The nature and role of women has changed.
     a) Women now have control over their bodies.
     b)   Woman  can  now  earn  a  living  and   be 
  independent.
    4. The role of men has changed.
     a)  Men need to find new models, new heroes  to 
  inspire them.
      1) The hero who subdued nature, protected  and 
  provided  for his wife and children may no  longer 
  be valid.
      2) The male structures of hierarchy, chain  of 
  command  and pecking order may need to be altered.
      3) The muscular male hero who defeats all foes 
  may need to be revised.
    5.  There needs to be stories and myths  of  the 
  heroic that apply to both men and women.
   N.  While  this is an inclusive vision,  it  does 
  find fault with some modern trends.
    1. Pop art legitimized advertising in a way that 
  has made it much more acceptable. Advertising  now 
  enters every corner of our lives. 
     a) In particular advertising has intruded  into 
  our   most  sacred  and  important  holidays   and 
  festivals.  It has even started creeping into  our 
  personal  anniversaries  such  as  birthdays  with 
  mailed   advertisements  designed  to  reach   the 
  consumer just before his or her birthday.
    2.  Architecture, that creates canyon  walls  in 
  the  modern city, has ignored the human scale  and 
  the environment into which buildings are placed.
     a) Buildings need to be more than boxes  placed 
  on a grid.
      1)  This  destroys  our  sense  of  place  and 
  creates anxiety.
     b) In many of these buildings you cannot open a 
  window or get fresh air, hence the frequent  "sick 
  building" syndrome.
     c)  Architecture  needs  to  be  created   that 
  provides transitional areas from inside to outside 
  and which does not set the building and the inside 
  environment completely separate and apart from the 
  outside environment of the world.
      1)  For  example, buildings should  have  some 
  balconies, roof top gardens, and other points that 
  open to the outside.
    3. We believe that this movement will be opposed 
  by  a number of people because it is not  business 
  as usual.
     a) Some people will dismiss it as naive, or try 
  to paint it as a another new age philosophy.
      1) This is flatly wrong.
      2)  Those who think this are themselves  naive 
  because it is clear that the Earth and human  kind 
  will go through major changes in the next century.
  

Some people will dismiss these thoughts as naive, or try to paint them as a another new age philosophy. This is flatly wrong.

      3)  The warnings and basis for our  philosophy 
  are  based  on the best  current  information  and 
  predictions by the most informed sources.
     b)  While we do not oppose commercial  art,  we 
  would de-emphasize it.
      1)  This is bound to upset people who  make  a 
  living from the buying and selling of art.
       a]   they   will   try   to   belittle    its 
  implications.




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Copyright 1997 by Richard deGaris Doble
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