More Revolution

A few years ago, I was chatting with a professor from our Art Department.  He startled (poor, ignorant, unsophisticated) me saying “Art is not about beauty anymore; that’s not what we study.”  My unspoken response was (and is) “If not you, then who?”

JacobCollins

Enter Jacob Collins:

“My general feeling in terms of art making is the train got off the rails in the 1860s and 1870s, and my practical instinct is to go back to where it was, try to put it back, fix it up, and start going again.”

“Our culture,” he continued, “has inherited the idea that if artists are not avant-garde they cannot have a significant role. That’s a fallacy we’ve inherited from some Parisian nut-job radicals. The rejection of beauty is so accepted. It’s high time that we as a culture attend to our beauty position.” To much of the New York art world, Collins’s “beauty position,” which he applies to his own paintings of nudes, still lifes, and landscapes, might look embarrassingly retrograde. He enjoys the support of a small minority of critics and writers—most of whom, like him, regard modern art with skepticism. Novelist Tom Wolfe has called Collins “certainly in terms of skill, one of the most brilliant artists in the entire country.” But you would never find the Collins style in a commercial gallery in Chelsea, say, or in a museum survey of contemporary painting. Morley Safer of 60 Minutes, another Collins admirer, told me that he believed that the “current art establishment, the so-called gatekeepers, hate the kind of skill and craft and vision that an artist like Collins has.”

Tip from American Digest.

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