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The many masks of modern art

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A goodly portion of today's art world refuses to face facts. It exists in a dream world of illusion and fantasy, of outdated romantic aspirations and sterile formalist ideals.

Although it fancies itslf as heroic and full of revolutionary fervor, it actually is quite pathetic, and all too frequently guilty of rehashing worn-out, second hand ideas.

It is also desperate and dogmatic, to say nothing of shrill and egocentric, with members who outdo themselves in arrogance and intolerance, and in the assumption that they alone create art. A few of these have pronounced themselves the spokesmen of the era, and the only true champions of the modernist tradition. And some have even claimed that they, and they alone, are culturally significant. In short, these individuals - and there are quite a number of them - refuse to wake up, to acknowledge that a new day in art has begun, and to accept the fact that their brand of hyped-up sensationalism is neither an appropriate heir to what the seminal modernists created, or of particular interest to the art world at large. On the other hand, another portion is wide awake and facing facts. And is, as a matter of fact, busily investigating the various creative alternatives open to it.

These alternatives are numerous and complex, and are intended to open many of the creative and conceptual doors and windows that orthodoxy, fashion, and dogma nailed shut a good thirty years ago. Among them we find a more open and patient study of nature, a more serious attempt to learn from the art of the recent past , and a greater willingness to evoke and to follow the gentler intuitions and perceptions.

Nothing is really dramatic or new, and yet all are of crucial importance. And all have one thing in common: the creation of art that is vital and open - and that springs from the deepest and most central dimensions and experiences of man.

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