Monday, October 31

Is Painting Dead?

Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes
Is painting dead? When you Google those words, you get pages of hits, so there obviously has been some discussion on the subject. October 31st being All Hallows Eve, I think this is an appropriate topic to blog about.

I wonder why and how this topic started and why it doesn’t seem to go away. I’m guessing it’s because there hasn’t been any real painting movement or trend that I’m aware of to take hold since Pop Art in the 1960s. Before then, you had identifiable genres in painting, such as Cubism and Abstract Expressionism, that lasted a generation or two. It is interesting to note that they were asking this same question when photography was invented in the mid-19th century. 

Of course, there has been new art expression since the 1960s, such as the Young British Artists of the 1990s and the current interest in all things contemporary and performance art, but that's not classical painting.

The art supply industry is like any other that innovates new and better products. Oil paint that can be cleaned up with water and slow-drying acrylic paint are a couple of new things that have recently been introduced. Obviously it's not the paint manufacturers that keep this idea alive.

Some discussion points to a waning interest in painting. Have degree-granting institutions of art really seen a decline in interest, and therefore, reduced the number of painting courses offered? Art schools and art associations in my area still seem to offer plenty of courses in all kinds of painting.

In the 21st century art and painting, along with everything else, especially communications, is advancing faster than you can keep up with it. The digitization of art and painting is the new thing these days. With Wacom Tablets ™ and Adobe Photoshop ™ you can create just about any kind of painting, effect, and technique.Will these technological tools permanently replace the paintbrush?

Is painting dead? I don’t think so. It would be like saying drawing or any art made by human hand is dead. As Mark Twain famously said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I just think we’re in a period of waiting on the next big thing, even if it’s just a revival of classical painting.

Happy Painting!

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