The Big Ideas of 2047

Doom Diary #12

The future of beauty.

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023, April 20, 2030, June 15, 2030 and August 20, 2032 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

May 2, 2041

Lil and I finally made it to San Fran. SFMOMA is so much more run down than it used to be. Just two guards at the door. The gift shop seems to be the only thing keeping it going.

It looks totally different now that the abstract paintings that so mesmerized the art world in the pre-crash days are nowhere to be seen. I asked one of the curators where they all were. A few are still in the New York archives he said, a handful at the Tate ... others are squirrelled away in private collections by folks hoping they’ll be worth something again one day.

You’d be hard pressed to find any artist or collector who respects anything from that era anymore, those pieces are coveted only as artifacts of a culture in decline. Finally everyone agrees ... abstraction was the last gasp of a dying imagination, an aesthetic dead-end that first passed through Rock n’ Roll, Grand Theft Auto and microwave popcorn (remember that?)

It feels good to be here. To see the art world leaping forward in bold new directions. The shift is everywhere. Beyond these gallery walls, music is playing with full choruses. Craftspeople everywhere are experiencing a renaissance. To be an artist now is to be part of the world, not somewhere outside of it peering in ... art is no longer just about putting paint on canvas & hanging these precious items up on giant white walls. Welcome ... at long last ... to the dematerialization—the spiritualization—of art!

At SFMOMA, now, the building is a playground. Each drinking fountain is a water slide waiting to get out. Around every corner you’re confronted by faces and bodies, people and moving objects coming in and around and at you in provocative ways ... sometimes surprising and playful, sometimes choreographed and artful, yet sometimes it feels a bit threatening if you’re not used to it. It all reminds me of the early performance artists like Tino Sehgal and Marina Abramovic who were big right before shit went down.

Lil and I wandered around having our minds blown. Kept wondering, ’is this even art?’ ... which lead me to epiphany after epiphany. The same way Malevich’s Black Square or Warhol’s Soup Cans once challenged me to reshape my perspective. That was years and years ago.

But now the experience is less cerebral, more visceral and hands on ... face to face, eyes to eyes, minds and bodies connecting in the here and now. It feels like a new kind of meaning is emerging ... Living Art ... it shows us how to live. How to reclaim that essential thing we all lost somewhere in the abstraction ... gratitude.

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 ... stay tuned for the final chapters ... Doom Diary #13 & #14!

Comments on the article “Doom Diary #12”

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Down with abstraction!

It seemed to promise us humility when all it did was degenerate into a contest of hubris; who can paint the least brush strokes and still be called a great artist?!

Those imposters did with canvas what low rent pop stars do with their own scandals of drug abuse and debauchery: A scandal keeps them talking, and isn't that the very essence of fame?

I dare to say no


I really don't see how abstract art is or was a symbol of a culture in decline: no attempt is made here to demonstrate or defend that idea, nor is there a plausible case put forward for the "art" which seems to have "succeeded" abstract art. Indeed, "abstract" art is ill defined in this article but in any case, it seems to be some sort of long running joke in Western intellectual discourse to declare a movement or idea "dead", merely because one has come across another intellectual movement or idea which seems more appealing to one's own self interests. If you are going to make some sort of ideological link between abstract art and the abstractions of finance that led to the most recent crash, you need to be precise about that as quite a number of abstract artists like myself despised the banks and their trickeries like you do. Some of us do not feel that we need to sometimes or always use our art as a vehicle for criticizing big finance yet we do so in other ways, such as organizing unions, marching in Occupied protests, working in soup kitchens, getting people registered to vote, or writing articles in other publications criticizing the excesses of the financial industry. There is simply no need here to try to link abstract art to the abstractions of finance, or perhaps even suggest that abstract art supported the excesses of big finance: they are totally unrelated.

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