Now. Here we stand in the 21st century. The progress of science and art has brought a marriage of marvels and horrors.
The worst of the horrors grew from a cynical relativism. In science, it could be the physicist who thinks just because he can, he should design bombs that can kill millions of people. In art, it could be the artist who thinks just because he can, he should say a urinal in a gallery is art.
What we value creates culture. Culture informs action. Action defines history. History determines the present.
The values of the 20th century have led us to where we are now.
The sarcastic relativism of dada has been widely embraced by the collectors, museums and publications that profit from the marketing of its philosophy. Its impact has been felt in all aspects of western culture. So much so that Beauty is commonly believed to have no place in art. From Wilde to Serra, it has been argued that Art has no use. Indeed the word 'art' has been rendered meaningless, as anything can be art, if so named.
This is cynicism. This is nihilism. This is the art world in the first steps of the 21st century.
Sarcasm, empty intellectualism, decay and the desperate need to shock have been in vogue for too long now.
We do not doubt the genius of dada questioning what art can be. Yet, the values derived from anti-art's nihilistic ontology do not free us, they doom us.
Just as we continue to search for meaning after Nietzsche's madman claimed, "God is Dead", so too we still search for Beauty after dada raped art.
It is easier to desecrate something of Beauty than to create something of Beauty. The former is lazy intellectualism at best. The latter is the path of art.
Perhaps because he could not create it at the time, Duchamp sought to de-value Beauty. And as his followers fetishize the early works of dada, his philosophy has paradoxically become the status quo.
The resurrection of Beauty will be resisted at first. It will be called naive, superficial and simplistic. The pretense of the critics will be similar to that which Duchamp sought to obliterate with his readymades.
Here, now, it is far more revolutionary to be sincere, romantic and idealistic.
And while we reject the values derived from 20th century relativism, this does not make us neo-classicists.
Classifications are meaningless to anyone seeking Beauty.
There were works lacking Beauty before dada and there have been works of Beauty despite dada.
Beauty can bridge any chasm and should be the goal of every culture.
Beauty is the purpose of art, just as a building is the purpose of architecture.
The utility of art is to inform us of Beauty, just as the utility of science is to inform us of truth.
Beauty is a fundamental need of the healthy human condition, like oxygen.
Dysfunction in the individual, the family, the society and the world is often due to a lack of Beauty.
This is our destiny: to resurrect Beauty and to rally others to do the same. Think of what art could be in the 22nd century. Then the 23rd. Does empty relativism provide a path that will bring about something new and meaningful?
Again. What we value creates culture. Culture informs action. Action defines history
© Mark Miremont, The Miremont Trust