WHY REALIST ART?
Our most radical departure from what is considered the norm in the 21st Century's museum world, is that we feature only Realism Art – not Modern or Abstract Art. So why did we make that choice? To help our patrons better understand our philosophy, we will share some great concepts and teaching from Mr. Fred Ross – the Founder and Chairman of the Art Renewal Center; and Mr. Robert Florczak – Artist, Illustrator and Educator.
Great art has the power to capture our attention, hold us riveted, and even move us to tears. For many centuries, artists created works that inspired, uplifted, and deepened us as human beings. Each generation of masters built upon the foundation of previous generations, and demanded the highest standards of excellence and quality. Their work was seen as beautiful and profound. But all of that changed drastically during the 20th Century.
As Mr. Florczak points out, Michelangelo carved the stunning statue of David out of a rock (marble). By comparison, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art paid ten million dollars to put a 340-ton rock on display and called it “Levitated Mass.” Can you see the difference in artistic talent it would take to accomplish those two different tasks?
LOS ANGELES COUNTY ART MUSEUM
(Real Art carved from "rock")
LOS ANGELES COUNTY ART MUSEUM
(A $10 Million rock they call "art")
The change began in the late 19th Century when the new modernists (Impressionists) began to promote the concept of aesthetic relativism. That gave rise to the idea that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The early Impressionists like Renoir, Monet, and Degas still created exquisite works that were readily identifiable as landscapes and people in a variety of places and activities.
But over the 20th Century, what had been considered “artistic standards” declined to become non-existent, and were reduced to nothing more than “personal expression.” Jakob Rosenberg, author, art historian, and Rembrandt scholar once said that quality in art “is not merely a matter of personal opinion but to a high degree…objectively traceable.” But today, the idea of having a universal standard of quality is met with ridicule by museum heads, art critics, and gallery owners who provide the financial support to promote the meaningless and mundane.
In addition to the lack of quality standards, the subject matter of art has moved from the transcendent to the trashy. As reported by Mr. Florczak, the masters once applied their talents to scenes of substance and integrity, based on history, literature, religion, mythology, etc. Today, many modern artists’ themes are nothing more than personal or political statements – often designed for nothing more than seeking attention through shock value.
Fine art, on the other hand, will be both beautiful and thematic – typically something that stirs the emotions, the intellect, or the spirit. And, much like spoken and written language, fine art tends to communicate. The art’s ability to communicate is usually what makes it successful or unsuccessful to the beholder. And just as successful verbal communication requires understanding by the listener, so successful art requires understanding by the observer. And understanding comes through realism.
JACKSON POLLACK PAINTING
ARTIST ROBERT FLORCZAK’S STUDIO APRON
How does this white painting by a famous artist stir your intellect, emotions, or spirit? What story does it communicate?
Would you pay $15 Million for this, as someone did for another “white on white” canvas at a New York auction?
Why not just get the same canvas and paint it white yourself? Wouldn't that give you the same visual item to hang on your wall? Then, you would not only save $15 Million, but perhaps you too could be a famous artist!
Mr. Ross goes on to say that even our subconscious minds, our dreams and fantasies, and works of fiction all use real images – none of which look like modern art. And unlike spoken and written languages, artistic realism can be understood by all people, regardless of what language they speak or write. In addition, most realist paintings of the past and present are intended to bring humanity closer together; while much of modern art is meant to attack, vilify, and separate.
Based on these ideas of benefits, beauty, communication, and unification of Realism Art, we have decided that this is what the Spirit of America Art Museum will feature and promote to our guests. Also, to further define the themes, we are limiting our collections to American artists and to themes that correspond with a love of America, its people, its natural beauty, its history, its heroes, and all the values and traditions it stands for. We will not promote the divisive nor the vile.
We are not limiting the various genres and mediums of our exhibitions. We plan to include the work of painters, sculptors, illustrators, photographers, and digital artists. We expect to have themes that include historical, religious, portraiture, landscapes, patriotic, idyllic, nostalgic, heroic, and much more. We expect to include every medium known to visual artists, to be enjoyed and provide inspiration to visitors of all ages.
This is the video by artist and educator Mr. Robert Florczak who explains several of these ideas about realist art vs. modern art.