Restore the Arts is an academy and think tank of composers, poets, and artists of all disciplines in the fine arts. Our artists are in the United States, France, and Belgium.
Founder: Webster Young , invited twice by the White House to be a candidate for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – US Government), is the composer of 160 musical works, author of two books, a music journalist, and is related to Otto Harbach, the American playwright who wrote many Broadway hits.)
The initial reason for forming Restore the Arts was that Webster Young was aware of at least ten artists who in his estimation are geniuses in the arts who have little communication with each other (some are in the US, and some in France and Belgium) and who remain mostly unknown to the public. One of the reasons they remain unknown is a breakdown of the process of discovery of major talents in our times.
These artists and thinkers should be brought together – even if between Europe and the USA – as much as possible, should be more known, and should be able to help mould the future of the arts.
The list of these hidden artists and great minds at present includes six composers, two poets, a novelist, a mathematician/musical theorist, an expressionist painter (recently deceased without ever having a showing), a book editor/publisher, a dramatist/arts philanthropist. All of these people have (or had) ideas that could launch the world of arts into a new golden era, if only their ideas and work were better known and given a place that could affect the present culture.
The artists and thinkers we are at liberty to mention right now are: Dominique Dupraz, composer; David Marc Alterman, composer; Joseph Lliso, composer; Isabelle Balot, poet; Robert Ross, mathematician, musician; Anthony Morss, opera conductor, musicologist; John Riess, book publisher; David Banyan, writer; Robert Crawford, dramatist, arts philanthropist; Kenneth Miller Frantz, painter (d. 2010); Eric Hyrst , ballet choreographer (d. 1996) We are waiting to announce another poet, and a writer on technology and society, both of whom who will be among our most important contributors.
Webster Young firmly believes that all of the above are people of extraordinary talent who are candidates for greatness. He also believes that the work and ideas of these people are ideas that could change and benefit the current age, resoundingly, for the better, leading to a new golden era of the arts.
GENERAL AESTHETICS (subject to revision)
Modernism was born over 100 years ago, along with Primitivism, and is an outworn ideology which still has widespread expression in our culture. Its place in the world is continued by sheer convention, as well the fact that it is often much quicker and cheaper to produce.
We assert that the best values for the future of the fine arts come from neoclassicism, which may also be called neo-Humanism, and which this group will seek to define and make better known. Our idea of neoclassicism will be a surprisingly wide tent. For example, we claim that Marc Chagall, Georges Rouault, and to a lesser extent Max Beckman are neo-Humanist and neoclassical in spirit, because their art involves deep and uplifting meaning and transformation, which is not elitist, and is communicable to an audience, and whose message is contained within the form of the work itself.
We will also seek to uphold and if possible define, in a relatively simple and human way, Beauty in art. We declare that recent statements about beauty amount to a form Sophism, for example “Art is not about Beauty anymore”. Several important artistic values must work together to help us define Beauty: integration in art (the integration of the parts to the whole of Aristotle); transformation or catharsis (which may be understood in a Jungian sense as well as Aristotelian); the worthiness or nobility of the hero, or subject matter (Aristotle); the relationship of art to Nature (and thus to mathematics as seen in nature, man, and the earth, the heavens, etc), and that Fine Art is based upon Nature and human nature, but does not merely reproduce it.
We recognize the relationship of art to the highest aspirations and the deepest wells of the human spirit – thus great art has meaning. The best themes of art come from what TS Eliot called “the Permanent Things”. Carl Jung called them the archetypes of the unconscious. He believed that the highest instinct in man is for religion and victory over death – more than food, shelter, and reproduction. Jung also stated that every archetype is found in Christian faith.
However, our neo-Humanism recognizes a wide range of ideals in its members. Many members of this group are people of faith and believers in the One God of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic revelations. But as a group, we simply assert the “noble” themes and sources of meaning that Aristotle says are necessary to great drama. These are often found in the “permanent things” or in the symbols and revelations of religion, but do not necessarily have to be recognized as such by the artist. These themes may be manifest in many artistic forms (real or plastic forms). (See “Can There Be Great Composers Anymore” by Webster Young online , published by the Intercollegiate Review.)
1. First, that our artists and thinkers who are candidates for greatness come together, become more known, and have an influence on the future of the arts.
2. We will present truly worthy and great new art to the public as an example of the ideals we stand for.
3. We are concerned with contributing solutions to artistic and cultural dilemmas that have manifested in our fast changing culture. We recognize the great difficulties in doing this and believe that only the most visionary people of genius can help provide answers that will lead to a viable future in the arts. Without these answers, we assert that there is the risk that the present culture may coast for a long time in a period of ignorance and superficiality, until viable answers are found.
We propose to demonstrate our ideals in live events and performances such as concerts, ballets, operas; colloquia, dialogues, and or panels; lectures, recitations, writings – and combinations of these. The group will try to have two physical meeting place/concert venues in Europe and the US to meet annually in each. We will arrive at a name and a working manifesto. We propose to create a physical Quarterly journal (as well as an online presence) to which our members may contribute writings, poems, printed music, news, etc. We will attempt to raise money and gain in assets to carry out our goals.
OUR TOPICS OF FOCUS
We will focus on contributing solutions to artistic and cultural dilemmas that have manifested in our fast changing culture. Our members will raise topics and discussions of great importance. Some will concern problems and some will concern ideas and solutions.
For example, topics for a colloquium might be:
~ Great new opera arias are no longer being used in new operas (causing old operas to be generally badly updated instead). As a result, popular music has new hit songs and a living market place, while opera has little of this.
~ There is a tendency to entertainment rather than meaning, found in drama and other arts – why? Is there an antidote to loss of meaning? How shall we avoid losing meaning, while also preserving spirit and liveliness?
~ Inventors of technology today create new technologies, like Muzak, or music sharing sites and devices, that go unexamined for future consequences, especially on artists, and affect music and the economics of the arts. Is there anything that can monitor or control the explosion, so that artists are protected? ( One answer may may be the formation of a group like ours.)
Examples of more dilemmas that may provide topics:
~ the problems created by recording, which go very deep into musical culture. Has the flood of recorded music, at the fingertips of non musicians, created apathy about how music and musicians are treated?
~ dilemmas created by the juggernaut and monolith of popular music, able to dominate the globe through new music technologies.
~ the dissolution of educated amateurism into self expression that competes equally with more gifted arts professionals
~ blessings and curses of film, which go very deep into theater and have affected other art forms
~ the tendency of modernism in art to confuse forms, such as asking sculpture to be poetry, music to be painting, and poetry to become primitive music
~ the loss of a common practice in the fine arts, tending to endless proliferation of “individually creative” forms that can not inform or build one upon the other
~ degradation of pure folk music forms by commercialization, adding a beat or drums to every ethnic form
~ the split between high and low culture occurring in music the arts: the serious doesn’t inform the popular and vice versa, except in forms that degrade one or the other
~ the disappearance of the use of high poetry in the theater ~ the loss of understanding of how to write versified poetry ~ loss of understanding of how to create an opera libretto ~ loss of understanding of how to create a ballet libretto ~ loss of collaboration among artists on ballet ~ the near total loss of Gregorian Chant in the church ~ loss of fine art music in many churches