In his video arguing against modern art Robert Floczak’s selections of both 20th century art and previous periods of art are well, very selective, extraordinarily biased. Anyone who has studied art in any depth beyond a couple of survey books of great masters knows that there has been tons of crap created in any period, and great works as well. If you pick good examples of one and bad examples of another your are making a false argument. And it frankly, just cheapens what could be an interesting debate.
Second point is that his view of “good art” leaves out creations from any period or culture except western European art from Renaissance through the late 19th century academy. Where is asian art and its gorgeous but non western use of perspective, composition and anatomy? Where are the fabulous forms created in African sculpture? What about the highly refined art of the Northwest American tribes? Where does medieval/gothic art fall into his narrow little Art alley? By his definition the great art in any 11th century cathedral is not worthy…we might just as well bull doze it, like the extremists do in the middle east.
The third point is that if you remove the 20th century from the realm of great art, for starters you lose all the wonderful advances in composition and color use. If he has eyes to see he should have at least included those elements from the 20th century if he can’t stomach art that isn’t rendered to the last pore.
I would be the first to admit that many great skills and pools of knowledge were shelved when the academy art techniques were subordinated…but this doesn’t mean that we should now return to the 19th century. But rather we should open our eyes and use everything at hand. I don’t fit in the 19th century, I don’t want to quote greco roman art in my paintings. I don’t wish to paint people in togas. I like the 21st century.
If in his view art was a progression over several centuries to its highest pinacle in the late 19th century academy, then that leaves us poor slobs today merely copyists of era gone by.
Well, to hell with that. The definition of creativity is not simply to copy. Did rembrandt copy, Did Caravaggio copy? No, they created new…that’s why we like them. Let’s revisit the skills of former eras if we so choose, but make them our own. This is what the high Itallian renaissaance did revisiting greco roman art. The skills are similar but we would not be likely to confuse a Michaelanglo with a Phidias.
If Ralph Waldo Emerson is not too avant garde for this Florczak fellow then I would suggest we follow Emerson’s idea that each new generation of art needs to be created anew and judged, not as compared to high dusty ideals of old but but rather judged today, by us, those who live now. But don’t lock me into a 19th century parlor.