01 02 03 Eleanor Greer: on the FUTURE of art. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

on the FUTURE of art.

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I picked up a $1 copy of a small book, published in 1970, titled "on the Future of Art," a collection of lecture based essays supported by the Guggenheim, NY on the condition of art right around the 1960's. The first of the selection is "Art: Communicative or Esoteric?" by Arnold J. Toynbee.

Toynbee is most evidently an international historian and scholar and begins this essay with the social condition; that being that men, human beings, are social. That we do and must communicate with one another, whether directly or indirectly, as a necessary condition of human living. After a careful unpacking of this statement, the author dives into art, its history and why it exists in such a social society as ours in which thrive many other functional means of communication (especially in more contemporary culture with the rising power of technology). Now I am intrigued as Toynbee describes the primitive-ness of extrasensory perception and it's replacement by modern language, man's ability to communicate with words instead of action. (What will happen when we decide that language is too primitive? And have we already declared it so?)

Toynbee writes, in the later half of his piece, that artists are not as "esoteric", that is to say removed and isolated from society, as we, the society, make them out to be. It is true that artists, of all genres, tend to be ahead of their time and therefore are seen as a threat to the whole-heaven forbid that we change anything! Toynbee: "they (the avant-garde) were trying to express an attitude to life, a state of feeling, and a yearning that were common to them and to a majority of their public, and in this the artists were truly representative of their public, though they were in advance of it and were giving it a lead, in virute of their artistic gift." And this is from where the concept of the mistreated, misunderstood, pensive, reclusive and depressed artist figure emerges. There is a written solution given to us, the readers and that is to become a generalist and to not merely restrict ourselves to a specialty. With holding a general interest, while still being particular to your field, you will be able to remain socially and culturally involved, not promoting this individualistic ideal, and allow others to be interested as well...to be introverted is to be isolated from the whole.

Anyway, I was just thinking.
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