This year commemorates the 500 year anniversary of the death of Leonard da Vinci. This is inspiring me to make new work, as well as an accompanying essay. Coming soon!
Here’s a synopsis:
“The meaning of the work of old masters is frozen in time. The lengths to which they went and the personal sacrifices they endured in order to manifest their art can only be understood as part of the context in which they lived. This is mythologized by the life of da Vinci, whose curiosity led him to explore hundreds of years into the future, while sacrificing the completion of most of the work he started.
In the absence of the need for expediency and efficiency, the execution of a lone genius is the only benchmark for excellence. If saving time and energy aren’t of concern, then art’s criteria for success is technique.
Fast forward to today: the technique of execution has been thoroughly productized, all work is sharable, visible, constant. The amount of, say, photo-realist pencil drawing that is being created, shared and disseminated on Instagram is staggering. Multiply the volume of this tiny art niche by every category of art production, and the speed, immediacy and volume of visible art being produced on a daily basis is dizzying. Technique has been further productized by the teaching economy – accessible digital tutorial products created by the best in their respective fields. Exceptionalism and genius are being universalized. As a perfect analogy, Neo in the Matrix is loaded into a martial arts program, and within minutes he says “I know Kung Fu”.
Where is this leading us as a species? Is there a larger purpose that drives the transcendence of genius? What comes after the social media explosion and how will this affect the meaning and production of art. This essay explores these themes and arrives at a shocking conclusion…”