Art Non-fiction

Art Must Never Develop

Bullet thoughts on a broad topic:

  • Culture has a cyclical life, with birth, maturity, death, and rebirth.
  • “Golden Ages” typically happen during cultural maturity.
  • Separations of people into classes are strongest before cultural death.
  • Revolutions, or death/rebirth phases of culture, come about in response to class separation.
  • The democratic fight is on the side of the people taken as a whole.
  • The hegemonic fight is on the side of the ruling class.
  • A cultural “Golden Age” is defined as the time when developments in intellect are successfully disseminated across a large percentage of the populous.
  • The ruling class typically is responsible for this development and dissemination.
  • The majority of the populous is mediocre and lazy.
  • Crap. What a conclusion.
  • By this token, revolutions are mostly setbacks to cultural development.
  • Is art created during the death/rebirth of culture less developed than art created during cultural maturity?
  • It cannot be that Polykleitos’ Doryphoros is a higher work of art than De Kooning’s Woman I. The former is a distilled formula, the latter is a banner for a new world order.
  • Perhaps we must see art not as a higher form of the intellect to be grasped, but as an actor who is in constant need of new roles, and is never allowed to practice.
  • Art is the most talented person we know, who has a knack for meeting the moment. Our job is simply to challenge it with unprecedented moments.
  • Art must never develop.
  • We must be so much more urgent with art than we consider possible.
  • We must make the target move too fast to hit, then we must attempt to hit it.



Polykleitos, Doryphoros, 5th century BC. Image via
Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1952. Image via

By the.vonz.himanen

Ivan Himanen is an architect, writer, and artist based in New York City.

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