Dear Lovers of Art, Freedom, and Democracy, 

In an effort to gain more clarity about the present crisis in the practice of democracy, I decided to look into the matter and share what I found in an open letter to you. This letter contains some of the important historical factors that provide insight into recent events seen in many mainstream news stories. The crisis in American democracy is also a crisis in creativity possibility, and I am writing about it from my perspective as a visual artist who is committed to the idea that art can be an effective catalyst for individual and social transformation. The creative process consists of making informed choices to manifest in the world what is conceived within the imagination. Therefore, democracy makes imaginary and physical space for the creative process to reach its full expression. In turn, creative expression generates the vital force driving the progressive cultural impulse of a democracy. We need to produce culture because it is how we individually and collectively advance in our evolutionary process. We create culture because culture will help create who we will become and I truly believe the practice of real democracy helps us to reach our full potential. And that is why advancement in the Arts and Humanities is crucial to American culture. 

The New Atlantis. First published in 1627. ISBN 978-1-775410-50-8 © 2009 THE FLOATING PRESS.

In 1627, Francis Bacon’s magnum opus, an unfinished work of fiction called The New Atlantis was published. Bacon’s novel put into tangible form his utopian vision and political objectives for a new democratic society based on scientific and spiritual principles. Francis Bacon’s ideas contributed greatly to the founding of the United States of America which became a reality 149 years after Bacon’s death. For almost 400 years, The New Click here to read more

LGBTQ+ Creativity In 2022 and Some Fierce Rhetorical Questions

In thinking about my subject position as an elderly Black Gay man and a conceptual visual artist, I propose that LGBTQ+ Art is not just about LGBTQ, intersexual, androgynous or pandrogynous identities but it is also consisting of a creative, imaginative practice in which people who identify as LGBTQ+ see ourselves in the world in ways that makes the unconscious conscious and visible in the physical world. We courageously explore the realm of the subconscious and its contents and we inhabit various intersections of subjective experience and imagination with the Cosmic Feminine as we marvel at her ability to invent new forms and venture into uncharted territory that exists beyond hierarchical and binary categorization. Our creative impulse calls forth—out from the subconscious mind, through the repressive barrier, authentic revelations which capture the conscious mind and radically reorders, reframes or rejects what we previously claimed to know about ourselves and our connection to others and the Cosmos. As a result, LGBTQ+ creative activity moves us from private space into the public sphere, from the personal to the political in service to our individual evolution, the progress of contemporary organized society and the biosphere. The elan…the je ne sais quoi of it all is so absolutely sumptuous that I can hardly breath! But how will LGBTQ+ creativity be implemented to navigate the surprising shifts occurring in the current global system that’s unfolding before our very eyes?

In 2020, we are charged once again to creatively meet the challenges of another life-threatening global pandemic within the last 40 years, in addition to the existing threats to our right to exist. International drag superstar, The Divine David stated that death was used to give meaning to the 20th Century. Oh yes, he made a very … Click here to read more

To find out whether you are a connoisseur, let’s start with a definition, shall we? According to the dictionary, a connoisseur is “someone who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge.” A secondary definition specifies “one who enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties.”

Is it sufficient simply to appreciate art to be considered a connoisseur? Not according to the dictionary, alas. Even in the second definition, one is called not just to “appreciate” but to “discriminate”, detecting various subtleties to do so. Love just does not suffice: intelligence is a necessary determinant, as least according to Webster’s.

Before I continue refining this definition, let me introduce myself.  I am an artist and also an author.  In my latest book, “The Joy of Art: How to Look at, Appreciate, and Talk About Art” I set out to give readers a tool kit they can use to gain a better understanding of art that includes a working art vocabulary, general, and specific criteria in evaluating any work of visual art, some answers to basic questions and conundrums, and lots of comparisons of works in a variety of genres.   

My plan was to arm readers, who I imagined already to be art lovers (why else would they be reading?) with that “appreciation of subtleties” the dictionary calls for.  I did not specify that my aim was to make readers into connoisseurs, but perhaps, in the end, that’s exactly what I accomplished. Readers presumably already had the love–all they needed to become connoisseurs were those fine distinctions and the language to describe them.    

What does a wine connoisseur have that the average wine drinker does not? They can probably distinguish the type of grapes used, maybe even the vintage, can surely tell a Pinot from … Click here to read more