Letter to ARC

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Letter to ARC

From Rodney Rawlings

Published before 2005


The founders of ARC may not realize this, but there's a strong probability that they have philosopher Ayn Rand to thank -- at least in part -- for the resurgence of respect for representational art.

In 1969, she wrote: "Just as modern philosophy is dominated by the attempt to destroy the conceptual level of man's consciousness and even the perceptual level, reducing man's awareness to mere sensations -- so modern art and literature are dominated by the attempt to disintegrate man's consciousness and reduce it to mere sensations, to the 'enjoyment' of meaningless colors, noises and moods. ... The art of any given period or culture is a faithful mirror of that culture's philosophy. If you see obscene, dismembered monstrosities leering at you from today's esthetic mirrors -- the aborted creations of mediocrity, irrationality and panic -- you are seeing the embodied CONCRETIZED reality of the philosophical premises that dominate today's culture. Only in this sense can those manifestations be called 'art' -- not by the intention or accomplishment of their perpetrators" (The Romantic Manifesto).

According to Rand, the disintegration of art, and indeed of the modern world, are to be traced to the philosophical rejection of reason.