LONDON, ENGLAND.- In contention for this year’s Turner Prize are the Chapman Brothers. One of their pieces, Death, is a sculpture of blow-up dolls, cast in bronze, and caught in the act of in oral sex. Their work as been praised by the Turner Prize jury for their “humour, insight and exquisite craftsmanship.”
“The farce of the Turner Prize would be amusing if it were not for one point: the award serves as a beacon for cultural direction.” Says the Foundation’s director, Michael Newberry.
“The lack of critical assessment of the Turner Prize in relationship to human values is disturbing.”
Last month the Foundation for the Advancement of Art held its first conference, Innovation, Substance, Vision: the Future of Art, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, October 6th, 2003.
This major conference – the first ever of its kind – addressed radical change in the arts and its importance for our times. Distinguished speakers from the fields of philosophy, vision science, and art focused on the debate between postmodern art and the new movement towards innovative painting and sculpture.
The international audience included major figures from the worlds of art and commerce including Stephen Farthing from the New York Academy of Art, Jennifer Thompson from MASS MoCA, and Lee Minaidis from the Organization of the World Heritage Cities.
The Foundation is an aesthetic think tank established in 2002 to explore radical and refreshing views on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. In addition to holding bi-annual conferences in New York and London, it aims to promote innovations made by living representational painters and sculptors through the annual “Foundation for the Advancement of Art Award” and exhibitions curated by the Foundation.
Two Speakers at the 2003 Conference:
Dr. Stephen Hicks: Leading philosopher with wide-ranging insights from Postmodernism and Intellectual History. Dr. Hicks outlined the spiraling descent of postmodern art and argued that we must “look at the world afresh.”
“By the turn of the twentieth century, the nineteenth-century intellectual world’s sense of disquiet had become a full-blown anxiety. The artists responded, exploring in their works the implications of a world in which reason, order, certainty, dignity, beauty, and optimism seemed to have disappeared.”
“The world of postmodern art is a run-down hall of mirrors reflecting tiredly some innovations introduced a century ago. It is time to move on.”
Dr. David Kelley: Writer and intellectual on philosophical issues from human perception and reason to the furthest applications of ethics and politics.
“…the enormous hunger for the experience of ideals has had to be satisfied with popular film, music, and fiction, with their simple and often sentimental templates of courage in battle and love everlasting…Our ideals need and deserve the skill of fine artists. We need the excitement of artistic innovation, the experience of ideals rendered powerfully and insightfully.”
”Cynics may scoff at those who speak of ideals, but I think it is the cynic who is naïve…Life is a constant pursuit of goals, a constant striving for what we conceive as good for us…any such judgment implies a standard of comparison, a benchmark representing the best that is possible.”
“I am not saying that the representation of ideals is the only function of art. But I believe it is a vital function—and one that has been neglected in the past century.”