Getting Back to Basics

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Getting Back to Basics

In earliest times primitive people made contact with the outside world through the same five senses used by people today. They could hear the sounds of animals, see objects, feel the rain on their faces, smell the fragrance of wild flowers, and taste berries and other foods. Primitive people also expressed their feelings through art and dance. The cave paintings in Lascaux, France, which were drawn some 27,000 years ago, depicted animals of the time. Do these images show Paleolithic man's continuity with nature? It is not known whether these pictures had a methodical, or a magical or religious purpose; however, they did show that primitive people had both a need and a talent for self-expression. In Suzi Gablik's book, Conversations before the End of Time, Gablik touches base with several artists analyzing the discontinuity between man and nature, nature and art, and art and man. During interviews with each artist, philosophical questions arise, such as what is art for (Ellen Dissanayake), are humans really at the apex of the pyramid (Christopher Manes), and can mankind survive without modern technological civilization (Rachel Dutton and Rob Olds)? Links between ecology, psychology, and art are explored, and the consensus among the artists states that mankind needs to change how we live with the earth by getting back to the basics.

What is Art For? & Making Art About Centipedes
If you were to ask Ellen Dissanayake what is art for, she would reply that art is "making special." Dissanayake believes that humans, since the beginning, have been attracted to objects that were ‘extraordinary or special', and ‘make special things' to show that we care and have regard for those things. Most importantly, "art is for everyone and not solely for an elite group of artists in the art world." Upon first reading this article, I agreed with Dissanayake, however after rereading, I discovered that there was some hypocrisy in what she was saying....
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