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The Foundation for the Advancement of Art: A Forward
The mission of the Foundation for the Advancement of Art is to establish innovative representational painting and sculpture as the alternative to postmodern art in the world's leading contemporary art museums.
The primary activity of the Foundation will be to host an annual lecture conference.
The Foundation will aim to influence the decision-makers of the art establishment by promoting critical awareness and creative solutions through:
The Foundation for the Advancement of Art is an adventure to put back meaning into "high" art; something that you can "look up to". It is a balance that will weigh and judge the aesthetics of postmodern nihilism. It is a small group of dynamic people. It is tax-free. And its vision of a benevolent and positive humanity could not come at a better time.
The Lay of the Land
Since the arrival of Marcel Duchamp on the art scene at the dawn of the 20th Century postmodern thought and practice has dominated the contemporary art establishment. If you do not know what it is, you can read Stephen Hick's summary of the history of postmodern art, Post-Postmodern Art, or my articles Terrorism and Postmodern Art, and Romantic Nihilism, and they should give you a good idea of what postmodern art is about. If you prefer unguided discovery, type "Postmodern Art" into a search engine, like Google, and it will open up avenues of human pathology that I doubt you have ever imagined.
For a refreshing contrast to Postmodernism, type in "Contemporary Still Life, Figurative, or Landscape Art" in a search engine and hundreds of thousands of web pages devoted to representational artists will pop up. If you narrow your search to "Romantic Realism" or "Objectivist Artists" you will still find a large number of pages that would be impossible to get through in a week. Of course, the quality of all these artists ranges from the hobbyist to contemporary masters, but a common element runs through their attitudes: a lack of pretentiousness or, more positively put, they project sincerity, enjoyment, and a sense of discovery in drawing, painting, and sculpting.
The number of living representational artists is enormous but it is a paradox that even the best of them are not represented in the museums of contemporary art. This problem is acknowledged by several sites with different viewpoints: Art Renewal with its focus on the revival of 19th Century Academic Realism; Quent Cordair with its artists who share philosophical outlooks; Art for the 21st Century Renaissance; Wet Canvas with its open discussion and obvious sympathy towards painters; and countless other individual web sites. Admirably, their aims are to create havens for like-minded artists, critics, and collectors. Implied throughout their sites is that cultural change will occur through a grassroots movement in which excellent representational artists will join forces and overtake postmodernism.
Complementary to their aims but significantly different in approach and content, the Foundation for the Advancement of Art aims to directly influence the elite of the art establishment by identifying the problems inherent in their postmodern aesthetics and offering them positive alternatives. The Foundation could be seen as the diplomat that approaches the postmodern leadership literally face to face and conveys to them that revolutionary developments are occurring. It will be pointed out that they are surrounded on all fronts: that new artists exist; that grassroots development exists; and that the theoretical basis exists. Pragmatically, the directors of contemporary art museums should, in theory and in practice, embrace any major new development in the arts--and this is exactly where we stand!
Innovation: The New
The complexity of aesthetics is enormous. Therefore I would like to explain, as clearly as possible, one important point of the Foundation's Mission Statement.
"The mission of the Foundation for the Advancement of Art is to establish innovative representational painting and sculpture as the alternative to postmodern art in the world's leading contemporary art museums."
"Innovation" is the significant word here and it is the concept that distinguishes the Foundation's content from other organizations. Simply, it means that the Foundation will focus on the new, by recognizing those living artists that are truly advancing, through means and content, figurative, landscape, and still-life art. An example of innovation of the means would be stunning originality in composition. In themes, innovation could be a new presentation of heroic in the computer age.
To recognize innovative artists, it is necessary for the Foundation to present scholars, critics, and philosophers that can understand and develop new inroads in aesthetic thought.
Theoretically, I would like to further enrich the meaning of innovation by citing related concepts from Aristotle and Rand.
In his book, Total Freedom, Sciabarra writes that Aristotle "had been able to build upon the labors of others." Further on, he states. "Aristotle learns from those who came before him in order to transcend their limitations, preserving what is true, discarding what is false." In Aristotle's own words: "Accordingly a line of argument must be taken that will best explain to us the views held on these matters and at the same time solve the difficulties and contradictions." [Emphasis mine.]
In a nutshell this describes innovation in the way I mean it; this is the way in which innovative artists look at art history. In conjunction with their personal expression they do not copy art historical periods, but they learn from the past and move forward with exciting new solutions in their means and ends.
Filling out the context even further, Aristotle, quoted from Total Freedom, gives an analogy to architecture, "…here the materials do not make a house irrespective of the way they are put together." Innovation is not about newness divorced from the components that make up painting or sculpture. It is an original addition to their forms.
In speaking about the "sense of life" of the 19th Century culture Rand writes: "Its art projected an overwhelming sense of intellectual freedom, of depth, i.e., concern with fundamental problems, of demanding standards, of inexhaustible originality, of unlimited possibilities and, above all, of profound respect for man."
This is the spirit of innovation that the Foundation for the Advancement of Art champions.
Logistics and Funding
As mentioned earlier, the Foundation's aim is to appeal directly the decision makers of the art establishment by having a conference in New York City. The first choice of venue is the landmark hotel, The Pierre. It has unsurpassable style and it is an ideal setting in which to hold a conference of enlightenment aesthetics, which should excite attendance from directors, gallery owners, and critics.
The Foundation has tax-exempt status pending and funds, or the promise of funds, are a major concern of the Foundation at this early stage. With a straight-forward focus on the highest quality presentation, the Foundation also is working on a shoe-string budget. For example, I am donating hundreds of hours of my time to help get this project off the ground and great care has already gone into the budget for the conference. One of the best ways you can contribute to this cause, a vote of support, is through a donation of money.
Two members of the Board of Directors, Robin Priest and Bonnie Downey, have immaculate reputations in their fields in business and finance. Please read their bios on the Foundation Fact Sheet. Their main responsibility is to make sure that the funds go precisely to realize the aims of the Foundation. They will make sure not a penny is wasted.
So, if art is important to you, or if you have potential for art appreciation and you would like to be part of movement that will bring human values into museums of contemporary art, seriously consider offering your vote of confidence.
If you have any questions or you would like to arrange for a donation, please contact me.
Michael Newberry, director.
The Foundation for the Advancement of Art
In Greece Tel/Fax: 30-2410-29751
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