I wished you to be persuaded, that success in your art depends almost entirely on your own industry; but the industry which I principally recommend, is not the industry of the hands, but of the mind… ” (Sir Joshua Reynols, 1969)
Despite being accused by the Pre-Raphaelites of ignoring the truth in favour of ideal beauty Sir Joshua Reynolds, President of Royal Academy gave a series of lectures entitled ‘Discourses VII’ in 1769 to art students. This ‘manifesto’ now considered to be the founding text of British painting theory, elevated art as an activity of the mind, not the hand, and called on painters to imbue their work with much more than simply what they saw in front of them.
Thus, in 2014 the game-changing act of thinking-as-seeing and doing-as-making continues to be a way for artists to gather and think collectively to questions such as this, posed by Chicago based art collective, Lucky Pierre.
How can artists respond to and work against despair amid evidence of ongoing economic, environmental, and social fragility? Are we the relief workers of the new collapse?
A call-out via Arts Admin DIY workshop goes live, inviting us to research, share, argue and collaborate on-line. In the same year, British dance artist Hamish McPherson runs a series of events called ‘All The Things We Can Do‘ – an invitation to an attempt at an exploration. Six art/ life events for artists, philosophers and other citizens, using choreographic strategies to engage with politics and citizenship through the body.
Both activities involve active participation, creative citizenship and promote methods of making, together. One is live, the other virtual. Both suggest together,
I participate in both, gathering and contributing my own resources, trying to find ways to co-create frameworks for understanding our present ‘economic, environmental, and social fragility through historical study, systemic and collective analysis, and artistic/creative expression’ (L.P.F.U).
In response to Prompt 2, by L.P.F.U asking, where is it safe? What is austerity? Is there hope? What is progress? here is my response.
Subsequently presented at Propellor Fund Space, Chicago.