Proceeding from 29,12.07, I have a theory that more than basic intelligence is imparted in the genes, it includes advancement for us to have arrived technically where we are to day. My great grandchildren handling construction toys, telephones and other modern gadgets, with a rate of assimilation so great, I cannot but believe is to be merely copying their parents. These comments also refer to Art, its derivation in the mind of the artist, our reaction to it, and its artistic value as an abstract. Does the gene theory allow a shift in what is taken, generation by generation, as being high art, or is it just fads generated by the artists, and publicised by themselves and their entourages.
The one yardstick for the individual is his own conception. I quote a substandard picture accepted in an open, accredited exhibition, while one which had received considerable praise was rejected – QED. I think in art, the accepted standard for centuries was work like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the sculpture, the Pieta, by Michelangelo which must have had a damning effect on the self-esteem of any artist who saw them, as would work at that time by other great artists.. The concept of the Pieta, with the body of Christ removed from the cross, lying in the arms of his mother, has such poignancy, delicacy of portrayal, and such surety of carving as to be riveting. In any regime there is within most, an unacknowledged driving force, to compete. If the race is won before the off, then the rules must be changed, which has been done in all spheres of art.
Take Jackson Pollock, I believe his work is decoration arrived at by unusual means, a bicycle on one occasion I’m told, through luck, circumstance, and an innate sense of the aesthetic, which we all have to some degree. His success could only have been through publicity of a high standard. That oft portrayed side of raw beef by Chaim Soutine, is another case of being different for its own sake. Why it is so popular I fail to understand.. The Impressionists, the Cubists, Feininger in particular, Franz Marc with his wonderful horses, were often successful in breaking away from the traditional form, and Picasso led his own revolution. However, the trick was not to be just different, one had to be excellent as well – see the draughtsmanship of Dali.
How much of our aesthetic judgement has been modified by out-side influences until we are no longer able to assess dispassionately? When I see the cheap films issuing from the States, with their excessive violence, their cheap cutting, and the paucity of that necessary level of consideration for others which is akin to love, that keeps us sane, together and oils the wheels, I despair. Wham Bam at every opportunity; rutting, if you like, is substituted as intimate love, which has no need to be expressed so graphically. I’m bored with it, but I don’t count, it is how it is affecting the young, changing their values on all levels not only aesthetically, which worries me.