One Future


What is Total Art?

Talking about the art of living

What is Total Art?

While there might be something wrong with artists, there’s nothing wrong with art. If someone who is no saint can produce something truly extraordinary or sublime, it makes art even more important.


The artistic maze

I recently heard a fascinating episode of the Moral Maze podcast and radio show on BBC 4[Reference 1] where the subject of discussion was the recent documentary about the late, famous pop musician and entertainer, Michael Jackson. The documentary, Leaving Neverland, painted a disturbing picture of sexual abuse as perpetrated by Jackson on at least two child fans over an extended period of time. Without being able to know what actually happened, and despite a prior court case against Jackson that found no wrongdoing, it was quite convincing.

On the assumption that the reports of interviewees in the doco were in fact true, the Moral Maze panel discussed the question of the relationship between art and the artist. Should we treat the two as separate? If an artist is known or subsequently found to be amoral or evil or in some way not good, should their art be shunned? Should we censor art by such people? Does knowledge of their actions change the way we perceive their art? What is art? (uh oh). I found it a fascinating discussion and came away from it with some conclusions of my own which I thought to discuss here alongside discussing what I like to think is, but probably isn’t, a new art form I’m calling Total Art.

History is filled with artists that have done bad things. The Moral Maze panel listed other artists who were also well known to have questionable morals and histories. They included W.B. Yates (an outspoken Fascist who was in support of Mussolini), Nabakov (his work Lalita features underage sex), Bill Cosby (sexual abuse), Rudyard Kipling (Racist/Imperialist, for example his poem The White Man’s Burden) and a few more. Possibly the most disturbing of them all was the sculptor and artist Arthur Eric Rowton Gill, known for creating the Gill Sans and Perpetua fonts, as well as many stone carvings that still adorn buildings across England. In his personal diaries, Gill documented having sex with his two eldest teenage daughters, and sexual relationships with his sister and his pet dog.

While there might be something wrong with artists, there’s nothing wrong with art. If someone who is no saint can produce something truly extraordinary or sublime, it makes art even more important. A way for mere mortals and other sinners to create things that are profound, beyond themselves and that can elevate others. The artwork is a fixed, permanent printed expression of their hard-attained skills, perception and understanding. A work of art is it’s own “meme”. Once created it is a thing, an object of sorts that has it’s own agency in it’s independent ability to affect people who interact with it. After listening to the Moral Maze I was left thinking art really does stand alone from the artist. However, if the art involves having a direct personal relationship with the artist, it’s more difficult and maybe not so true. In those instances the work is the artist, more or less.

Sometime after I had listened to the Moral Maze podcast I was in my local supermarket and Billy Jean, one of Jackson’s best and well known songs came over the sound system. At first, I was enjoying it and didn’t notice it was one of Jackson’s songs. After I realised it was Michael Jackson I contemplated whether his reported abuse changed the experience of his art. Whilst it’s still a great song, listening to it was impeded by an added sadness—I couldn’t really let myself enjoy it. However, that sadness wasn’t embedded in the art. As a song it stands alone, and still captures that moment in our artistic history. [Note 1]

I think things would be even more difficult attending a live performance. If I went to see a performer on stage who I happened to know was a serial murderer (I have no idea why hypothetical me would do this), it would be impossible to watch. Simultaneously, if it is indeed true that Jackson did the things claimed, and one knew this, it would be disturbing to see him in live concert proudly strutting the moonwalk in front of screaming fans. The music and performance may be great, but the context of direct adulation of someone you know is seriously immoral is hard to stomach. It seems that one step removed from personal relationship makes quite the difference—hearing a song, or viewing a painting or a poem, don’t involve you with the person directly, just their art, it seems.* (*Is there an exception with live theatrical acting where an individual is actively creating a false persona from a script for performance?)

In the end, it’s so nuanced, that even though art can stand apart from the artist, I find it’ s just wholly unsatisfying having to contemplate separating the two. Obviously, most of the time it just isn’t an issue at all, but this discussion got me thinking about what a more wholistic art could be like. I think it’s important. It’s not important for art. It’s just important because our humanity is important. Where we’re at is important. If someone is cynical, abusive, violent and mean but does great paintings—as good as their paintings may be, things are obviously just not as good as they could be.


The essence of art

Traditionally we limit our concept and perception of art to the “work” or “piece” of art as it’s only form. This is not a problem in and of itself, however it’s limited in that it validates/concerns only one part of someone’s life/being without the rest of who they are included. That’s just the nature of it. That’s how you can get a great comedian on one hand and the same person as a sexual predator some of the rest of the time. It’s not total—their art is partial in it’s expression of them as an individual.

So I’ve been wondering, could we innovate an art form that does not separate the art from the artist. I don’t mean performance art or entertainment, when the art and the artist are temporarily entwined—I mean art that’s not separate from the artist 24/7/365. A wholistic or total form of art. Total Art in conception, aspires to encompass the totality of one’s existence as an ongoing act of creative subtlety. Straight off the mark it sounds really hard. I’m not sure if this a good idea, but I hope you agree it’s a fascinating one!

In writing this article I’ve discovered I’m not the first to come up with such a concept, but I’m not familiar with anything that equivalates what I cover here.* (*Nietzsche talked of life as art but his writing on it doesn’t sound very helpful or detailed and some have said it’s all metaphorical anyway. There is a book by a chap called Robert Fitz called Your Life as Art which I have not read. It looks like a pragmatic method for being creative with any aspect of one’s life—according to many positive reviews on Amazon.) In the following I speak of it as if it’s already a “thing”, but this article is more or less the invention of it—though l like to think I’ve been attempting something similar for quite a while now. Also, I think many people, living and dead have probably attempted to live their lives in similar ways to what I cover here without ever having given it a label—so I expect in that way this is not necessarily a new idea.

To start, I think it’s important to have a clear conception of the fundamental nature of art. There is a huge range of opinion on the philosophy of art—and to save us all the pain of going through every permutation of aesthetic theory and interpretations of art, I’m just going to speak about it as I think about it and proceed to build upon those views. Please forgive me if I tread on the toes of any closely held opinions you hold on art!

To me art is fundamentally a creative expression of one person that affects the perception of oneself and other people. Be that a song, poem, story, pretence, visual creation in painting or sculpture, it expresses and records perception for others to experience. It’s a profound form of sharing. The more skilled the artist, the more that can be communicated, more subtly. I say “for oneself and other people” as, on reflection, I practise “personal art”, that is, art just for me. I play music for pleasure. But when I do play it for others, then obviously they also have an experience of it. In both cases, it’s art.

I’ve been encouraged to find a section of an essay by Leo Tolstoy that corroborates this view on art.[Note 2] He said:

“To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colours, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling — this is the activity of art.

Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.

We are accustomed to understand art to be only what we hear and see in theatres, concerts, and exhibitions, together with buildings, statues, poems, novels. . . . But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with each other in life. All human life is filled with works of art of every kind — from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress, and utensils, up to church services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions. It is all artistic activity. So that by art, in the limited sense of the word, we do not mean all human activity transmitting feelings, but only that part which we for some reason select from it and to which we attach special importance.

The chief peculiarity of this feeling is that the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as if the work were his own and not someone else’s — as if what it expresses were just what he had long been wishing to express. A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist — not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.

If a man is infected by the author’s condition of soul, if he feels this emotion and this union with others, then the object which has effected this is art; but if there be no such infection, if there be not this union with the author and with others who are moved by the same work — then it is not art. And not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is also the sole measure of excellence in art.”

- Leo Tolstoy, What is Art? (1890)[Reference 2]

I think this is an incredibly insightful view into the reality and effect of art. The essential thrust of Tolstoy’s opinion reinforces this view on the essential nature of art—it’s a communication that affects the perception of the viewer.[Note 3]

However, in the process of trying to instigate some form of total art, it’s probably best if the “smaller” arts are not discounted. Tolstoy said: “All human life is filled with works of art of every kind — from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress, and utensils, up to church services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions.” ...and then proceeded to disregard these things, despite their effect. In attempting to make our whole lives art, disregarding any human made thing that effects us subjectively, that moves, satisfies or elevates us may not be the best approach. That can include truly great architecture—which Tolstoy points out has generally been dismissed as of the “arts”. But, as you walk into an extraordinary building, the architecture can fill you with awe and wonder, or “[destroy], in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist”—so I don’t see why we need disregard these things, either. Tolstoy is right—the word art is not traditionally used to classify these things, despite their nature. We only attach it to those things that we attribute with “special importance”. For the sake of Total Art, I argue that any human work that has the effect of art, is art—some arts more intensively and effectively than others. We have the option to attach special importance to them if we so wish.

What is Total Art?

Talking about the art of living

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The aim being to ... communicate something profound and transformative, something meaningful or beautiful through the totality of one’s existence.


A total art

There are many different views on what art is. Many views on the nature of art seem to be a commentary on the process, nature and effects of art as a skill, an expression, and the political impacts of art. But it seems to me, in the end the bottom line is still the same—the interaction with any piece of art is a transmogrification of your consciousness and view of the world, in some way, for at least a few moments. That is always true, and so for me this is the essence of art, the essential definition of art. A work of art is a vehicle for the transmutation of perception in the person experiencing it.[Note 4]

This then would also be the foundational concept of Total Art. The aim being to have this kind of effect/affect on society and individuals, to communicate something profound and transformative, something meaningful or beautiful through the totality of one’s existence. In conceiving of Total Art, I’m wondering if we can aspire to design the entire form and expression of our lives to profoundly impact, uplift or engage others. One’s whole life becomes the canvas, the recording, the poem, the sculpture, the performance, the story. The entire idea is to meld creative expression with living in such a way that one’s life has a transmogrifying affect on all and everything that comes into relationship with it, as much as possible.

What could that possibly look like? Total Art isn’t any traditional form of art, it’s new. I think that’s probably the best way to think about it. Traditionally art has been the business of aesthetics, but as we identified earlier, aesthetics are not the essence of what art is and why it’s important. Also, art works are normally quite distinct, as pieces of art. Even performance art exists somewhere. You go and see it, then you leave and the experience is over. Conceptually, the work of total artists, is completely different. It’s longer term, and not obvious. As it’s concerned primarily about the essence of artistic impact, it’s not only about aesthetics. It’s the living of life, so has no clear “display” point. You may never know who is or isn’t a total artist, as you may only interact with them in passing. Total Art doesn’t exclude or discard traditional art, it just expands the approach to include all of our lives. That can obviously include creating great works via traditional forms of art.

Total art is a personal art form. A way of living that aspires to contemplate the reason, nature and motivations of one’s personal choices in the context of personally assigned objectives to be in the world as creatively and effectively as possible. In that way, it’s wholistic. Every aspect of one’s life that is determined by personal choice is considered open game for dynamic, creative interpretation. Total artists aspire to exercise possibly one of the most difficult things in Human life: thinking for oneself—otherwise it would not be possible to be authentically creative. Authentic creativity means authentic and original innovation of options. It means constantly questioning why one is doing something, which fairly quickly means questioning all social norms. In this way it’s very non-conformative. A total artist self-assesses what to do based upon their own chosen approach to living and then innovates it constantly. Another way of saying that: total artists consistently question and innovate what it means to be human and how to be human.

In order to do that that artist has to have some reason for “painting” the picture of their life. What is it you value above all, what is it you are trying to manifest, to inspire, to share? This may be something that changes as you change. Whatever it is, it must be only the artist’s. Being an artist means you are the origination point of perspective, of value and of what is meaningful. Even if you get your thinking an ideas from somewhere else, they must come to belong to the artist. The art must originate from the individual’s own decisions on meaning and value. So the artist isn’t separate from their work which is their life. It requires the artist has a deep passion for something in human life, and then the choices one makes are the creative acts of passionately pursuing them to the highest degree.


Total art probably demands personal development.

You may have noticed ancient Celtic art looks very different to Rennaisance art. and Rennaisance art looks very different to Post-Modern art. There’s a reason for that. The history of art is the history of human consciousness. The history of human consciousness is the story of the radiation of subtlety in perception, values and understandings. That’s why art has evolved. Because we have.

It seems to be not well understood that the entire story of human history is the story of our subjective or interior evolution. The objective story of history is well documented— in the evolution of technology, architecture, economics and governance. But those physical ‘externals’ are entwined and co-feedback with the evolution of our ‘internals’, our subjective interior understandings, feeling, values, conceptions and perceptions of our selves and everything else.

The deeper we see and feel, the greater we can consider our relationship with things. The more we grow, the more we see and feel, and the more we can be creative as we are more aware of everything. In the same way it works for entire cultures and entire waves of history, it works for individuals. We all subjectively grow and develop over our lifetimes. Unlike other arts, because this is so close to us, our ability to do it is really going to be relative to how developed we are in our totality as individuals.* (*This is true for all walks of life I suppose, including being a fine artist. However, for example, whilst it might be helpful, it’s not critical to be morally developed to be a great painter, or composer. With total art, it will be different as it’s based on the whole of one’s being, not one aspect of us.) How deep we are, how capable we are, how wise, insightful, educated, free, perceptive and experienced we are. The more developed we are, the more capable of creative living we’ll be — so plumbing the depths of what’s possible for a human being and how human beings can self-develop will likely become a preoccupation for total artists.

So to be truly, radically, extraordinary and creative as a total artist, the individual will need to develop in radical and extraordinary ways. They go hand in hand. Not having grown in radical and extraordinary ways does not for a second prevent someone from becoming as a total artist, it’s just whats inevitably going to be required to grow as an artist.

Our personal depth and breadth of perspective and understanding of ourselves and the world around us directly correlates to the depth and breadth of our capacity to respond to it creatively.

Whilst anyone can become a become as a total artist just as they are—directing and deliberately instigating our own development becomes key if we want to grow as an artist. The following sections highlight areas in which we could be developing and growing into as total artists.

Contemplating and embracing free will and choice

Art is creative expression. It uses various mediums. Total Art uses the medium of a human life. It’s the ultimate performance art. From that point of view you could say everyone has an “art” already, as obviously we are all making some kind of choice. The difference is Total Artists explicitly choose to make their lives the expression of something incredible, awesome, exceptional. Total Art is a passionate embrace of our capacity to direct our lives through the choices we make. So Total Artists aspire to some kind of hyper-volitionality.

TA’s need to become very interested in the choices they make, how they choose and the motivations, intentions and insights behind those choices. Every choice is considered a creative act, and in every creative act it’s perceived that there is an optimal choice, a best choice that exists in potential that the artist seeks.

There are obviously some things that we can’t choose, such as the motor mechanics of the bone and muscle that form our bodies. When you walk, you walk the way your body walks. There’s not much you can do about that (besides transhumanist options like replacing your legs with robot wheels, etc. Yikes!) Creativity otherwise only enters where there are choices to be made. Most of the time we have a creative option in who we are and what we do. A key concept for Total Art is there is—according to one’s objectives—an optimal choice that one can be making at every moment, and the individual aspires to find it. This is the place of work of the total artist.

The art form is always making the most optimal choice with our time, whether that be the most aesthetic choice, the most moral choice, the most helpful, caring, diligent, useful, beautiful. The reason it’s an art is because that choice is always dynamic and creative in accordance to the artist’s goals. Unfortunately not all choices of a total artist can have the flourish of self expression. We of course navigate a meshwork of choices weekly—economic, social, moral, aesthetic, public, and private. Choices in relationships, decisions about future plans, decisions about what we do with our spare time and energy. They can include the administrative drudgery of moving from a bank to a building society, setting up a standing order for a charity, or hunting for second hand goods to reduce carbon emissions. It can be singing a song or do some painting to cheer yourself up. Slowly our choices start painting a broad picture of who we are by how we live. The totality of that is our ‘art’.

Development of care

From a certain point of view, deciding to make one’s life a Total Art instantly makes one’s life not one’s own. For this reason, Total Art has a relatively sophisticated morality. At least, according to me—I just can’t see how it doesn’t. Because one’s life is now an art project, it’s an impersonal life, a life lived in the context of one’s effect on the world. For this reason I can’t really see it not being a deeply conscientious undertaking in principle, as the living of one’s life in now in the context of one’s impact on everything else. Constantly thinking about one’s impact on everything tends to be a fast track to becoming some kind of moral philosopher and ethical activist. It doesn’t have to be like that, but remember, the whole idea here is that art and artist become one so there are no dark corners in one’s life. What kind of morality it is depends on the individual (this is one’s unique creative endeavour), but I’m guessing it would be some kind of advanced ethnocentric or most probably worldcentric or cosmoscentric morality.

Development of Motive

Simultaneously, the demand upon the individual’s motivations in living such a life are extreme. That seems to demand we review our motivations—and the totality of our motivations. That’s a big one. It’s really the great unspoken and under-addressed topic of the millennium. Is it really possible for humans to have pure motives and live by them? If you’re asking me, I think the answer to that is simple: yes.

I arrive at that conclusion by noticing that I have pure motives (as I’m sure do you) that are truly selfless, and I have also repeatedly acted upon them, with consistency (as you will have, too). I’m not suggesting we are already saints, just that, in demonstrated fact, to differing degrees we already have the capacities required. Meanwhile we have not developed cultures that emphasise the development of these traits—selfishness, narcissism, celebrity and personal gain feature quite highly on the daily stage and there’s no clear mainstream movement for much else.

You may point to environmentalism or veganism or the equalities movements for examples of such developments, but I don’t think it’s nearly that simple. For example, I once knew an “eco warrior” who was seriously gung-ho. This was a man who could scale an 60m tree in a minute whilst shouting at everyone who wasn’t in the tree. He was incredibly active, serious and hard-core. But he was very self-involved. Because he knew what he was doing was incontrovertibly, technically good, he allowed that fact to inflate into a massively aggrandised sense of his own importance. In other words, he was a very skilled and capable, self-righteous and condescending twat. I’m sure you must know of similar examples of blatant and dismissive self-righteousness in the name of doing the right thing. It presently pervades so much of our social media, and it’s ugly.

Doing the right thing is so much more difficult than just doing the right thing. It’s an art that demands our own radical maturity and personal compass that’s always seeking the perfect response. In my experience, really being capable of that comes through understanding the movement of our own ego, through extended self observation and contemplative practice and corresponding personal development.

Development of self transparency

As the great saying goes: Know thyself.

One difference between normal living and Total Art living is there is no hidey-hole. Ideally the total artist is transparent with themselves about the motives behind the choices they make, and the reality of their role in their choices. Ultimately the type of self-honesty required and the demand of the attention required to one’s choices would indicate an extraordinary degree of self-awareness.

I think to do this perfectly requires radical developments in our understanding of ourselves. Also, I think the demand to pay attention to what we do to that degree would require nothing less than total liberation of our attention. The only kind of self-transparency and self-knowledge that I know that correlates with this degree of awareness is what’s classically known as “Enlightenment”—where an individuals identity leaps for a mammalian/human psychology to a living alignment with a universal and impersonal foundation. In this process, the movement of one’s own mind becomes largely transparent to oneself and one’s awareness is released from the fears and desires of the smaller self. From here a dynamic spontaneous creativity is a more natural position. That kind of development reveals who we are as not being our past but something to be renewed and innovated via the process of our lives.

Simultaneously—having been round the houses a couple of times—I can confidently assert that enlightenment doesn’t necessarily do that much other than liberate one’s attention and feel quite excellent. Contrary to many myths around enlightenment, it doesn’t—in a flash of blue hazy light—provide one with moral integrity, cognitive capacity or greater understanding of most of the things. All those things you have to do yourself—the hard way.* )*We’ll be talking more about modern views of enlightenment in future editions of One Future)

Wow. Ok, so that’s quite head-bashing I’ve doled out there. If you feel like you’ve been biffed around the head by a large hemp bag filled with biodynamic carrots, I’ll understand. Sorry about that. I do think it’s good to have it written down but I don’t think I can read that again for a while!

Traditional arts turn subjective intelligence and love into something aesthetic, something manifest and sensory – total artists do it any way they can. That can look like nothing at all, and that’s fine.


The art of...

Back on planet boring, google “the art of living” and see what pops up. There’s a magazine by this title full of advertisements for high quality goods, lotions for the skin, investment opportunities and money management advice for the rich. There’s a yoga teacher using the same title for his branch of how to do things right.* Googling “the art of”... churns out references to living artfully in a vast range of fields. Titles include:

The Art of Problem Solving
The Art of Handshaking
The Art of Business
The Art of Leadership
The Art of War
The Art of the Good life
The Art of Sex
The Art of Parenting
The Art of Dying Well

...and so on. All these references (I hope) wax lyrical on the creative subtleties in all these fields. They all point in the same universal direction: there are creative subtleties to be found in all aspects of one’s life choices. I do think these titles all in some way denigrate the essence of art as a subtlety that communicates meaning and beauty, to a subtlety in strategy and skill. I like to think of these “arts” as means to Total Art, rather than the form of it. These subtleties of choice in each area of life help paint an overall canvas.

Materialism vs Whatever-not-being-materialistic-is-ism

Meanwhile, the blatant materialism that’s appearing under the category of “the art of living” is more worrying. It’s complicated because these are all parts of the problems and choices of living. We do need to manage money and prefer to decorate our houses.

Art and design have always been odd bedfellows. Tolstoy’s seeming disregard for architecture being an example of how they don’t seem to correlate. The fine arts are indeed fine. A big eff-off building isn’t so fine. It’s a big eff-off building. It’s design. But when it comes to creating a totality of expression, it seems design suddenly becomes critically important. It’s not so much design itself but how design is selected and used that becomes a part of Total Art.

On the issue of material possession: Personal choice that involves aesthetic intelligence is a form artistic expression. That may include decorating one’s life. In the totality of a life of expression, these choices may be an important part of one’s art. If you haven’t already, try spending a few hours lost in the insides of cool houses on Pinterest (a social media website and app centred on images). The aesthetic sensibility and intelligence some have manifested in the design and architecture of their homes is extraordinary. But—I always wonder—what was the ecological and social impact of that? How did they make their money? Do they actually spend much time there or are they always at work as salary slaves for a company with questionable values so they can pay for it? How many carbon emissions were involved? The total answer to these questions, the real balance between personal need and truly impactful relationships with everything else is the actual totality of it—not just the jealously-inducing image of interior perfection.

I think a significant part of a truly classy lifestyle these days is reducing one’s physical impact in the biosphere. That means doing and using less. Much of Total Art can actually be not doing lots of things. It’s not about being ostentatious and materialistic—filling up one’s house with nice design pieces—it’s about being actually really awesome. I would say that includes living ethically. In this way Total Art can transcend materialism, whilst not ignoring it. It can contemplate material need and personal need in a deeper context of totality of concern and care. Love is invisible. A house that isn’t full of material wealth can be full of exceptional intelligence, care and sensitivity based upon a truly ethical relationship with everything. Total Art can fill one’s life with class, substance and style, without filling it with more and more stuff.

Traditional art forms are essentially ‘aesthetics’, or, ‘of the senses’. Total Art isn’t. It can be in part, depending upon the artist. But critically the artist is creatively translating how they feel about life into the nature and weave of their existence. Traditional arts turn subjective intelligence and love into something aesthetic, something manifest and sensory – total artists do it any way they can. That can look like nothing at all, and that’s fine.

Because it’s much more difficult to be a great human being, than a great artist—Total Art is the finest of all the arts. Another name for Total Art might be Perfectionism. Trying to fill the world around with manifest responses to our deepest insights, understandings, and concerns. Trying to fill our cosmos with greater order, love and beauty—with our developing character, our substance and personal actions right in the middle of the picture.


Total Art can be a way of auto-generating meaning and purpose. It’s a means of practicing Hyperconscientious Self-reflectivity—mentioned elsewhere in One Future content. The concept of Total Art also marries well with Kosmosianism, a broad format for ethical thinking I conjured up in Are you Kosmosian?. Kosmosianism deals with one’s total impact over a lifetime. See

Note 1.

There are other challenging questions: if you are going to subsequently take objection to the art of such a one, should it start at the time of said crimes? For example, if Jackson wrote Billy Jean before any wrongdoing, does that, or should that make a difference? Or only those artworks created that occur after said crimes? Go to reference in main text

Note 2.

I’ve not read or quoted the entire essay, just the bits that I feel are pertinent to this discussion. There are some aspects of his thinking on art I also disagree with. Go to reference in main text

Note 3.

Here are some quotes from other artists with similar views:
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.—Edgar Degas [Reference 3]
Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.—Paul Klee [Reference 4]
To give a body and a perfect form to one’s thought, this—and only this—is to be an artist. —Jacques-Louis David [Reference 5]
Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums—they must be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavour people take on, at every level.—Michelangelo Pistoletto [Reference 6] Go to reference in main text

Note 4.

I wonder if the greatest of art is that art which causes the greatest transformation in one’s consciousness—the longer or more permanent the change, the more extraordinary it is? Go to reference in main text

Reference 1.

The Moral Maze: The Morality of the Artist and the Art 06.03.2019, BBC Sounds, BBC. Go to reference in main text

Reference 2.

See excerpts online at: Go to reference in main text

Reference 3. Go to reference in main text

Reference 4.

Creative Credo, Paul Klee, 1920 Go to reference in main text

Reference 5.

Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), French painter, in Jacques-Louis David, by Anita Brooker (1980) Go to reference in main text

Reference 6.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, July 2010, Arts Responsibility: Go to reference in main text

What is Total Art?

Talking about the art of living

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