An art manifesto is a public declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of an artist or artistic movement. Manifestos are a standard feature of the various movements in the modernist avant-garde and are still written today. Art manifestos are mostly sometimes in their rhetoric and intended for shock value to achieve a revolutionary effect. They often address wider issues, such as the political system. Typical themes are the need for revolution, freedom (of expression) and the implied or overtly stated superiority of the writers over the status quo. The manifesto gives a means of expressing, publicising and recording ideas for the artist or art group—even if only one or two people write the words, it is mostly still attributed to the group name.
The first art manifesto of the 20th century was introduced with the Futurists in Italy in 1909, and readily taken up by the Vorticists, Dadaists and the Surrealists after them: the period up to World War II created what are still the best known manifestos. Although they never stopped being issued, other media such as the growth of broadcasting tended to sideline such declarations. Due to the internet there has been a resurgence of the form, and many new manifestos are now appearing to a potential worldwide audience. The Stuckists have made particular use of this to start a worldwide movement of affiliated groups.
Manifestos typically consist of a number of statements, which are numbered or in bullet points and which do not necessarily follow logically from one to the next. Tristan Tzara's explanation of the manifesto (Feeble Love & Bitter Love, II) captures the spirit of many:
|“||A manifesto is a communication made to the whole world, whose only pretension is to the discovery of an instant cure for political, astronomical, artistic, parliamentary, agronomical and literary syphilis. It may be pleasant, and good-natured, it's always right, it's strong, vigorous and logical. Apropos of logic, I consider myself very likeable.||”|
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Seminal 1909–45
- 3 Post-war 1946–59
- 3.1 White Manifesto 1946
- 3.2 Refus global 1948
- 3.3 Manifesto of Eaismo 1948
- 3.4 Sculptors' First Manifesto 1949
- 3.5 Mystical Manifesto 1951
- 3.6 Manifesto pittura nucleare 1951
- 3.7 Les Spatialistes Manifesto 1952
- 3.8 Un Art Autre 1952
- 3.9 Gutai Manifesto 1956
- 3.10 Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto 1959
- 3.11 Neo-Concrete Manifesto 1959
- 3.12 Manifesto of Industrial Painting 1959
- 4 Counterculture 1960–75
- 4.1 Situationist Manifesto 1960
- 4.2 The Chelsea Hotel Manifesto 1961
- 4.3 I Am For An Art... Manifesto, 1961
- 4.4 Fluxus Manifesto 1963
- 4.5 SCUM Manifesto 1967
- 4.6 Maintenance Art Manifesto 1969
- 4.7 AfriCobra Manifesto 1970
- 4.8 WAR Manifestos early 1970s
- 4.9 Women's Art: A Manifesto 1972
- 4.10 Collectif d'Art Sociologique manifesto 1974
- 4.11 Body Art Manifesto 1975
- 4.12 A Manifesto on Lyrical Conceptualism 1975
- 5 Punk and cyber 1976–1998
- 5.1 Crude Art Manifesto 1978
- 5.2 Smile Manifestos 1982
- 5.3 International Association of Astronomical Artists Manifesto 1982
- 5.4 Cheap Art Manifesto 1984
- 5.5 A Cyborg Manifesto 1985
- 5.6 What our art means 1986
- 5.7 Post Porn Modernist Manifesto c.1989
- 5.8 A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century, 1991
- 5.9 The ____________ Manifesto, 1996
- 5.10 Group Hangman 1997
- 5.11 Extropic Art Manifesto 1997
- 6 World wide web 1999–present
- 6.1 Stuckist manifesto 1999
- 6.2 How to Write an Avant-Garde Manifesto (a Manifesto) 2006
- 6.3 Versatilist Manifesto 2007
- 6.4 The Remodernist Film Manifesto 2008
- 6.5 The Superstroke Art Movement Manifesto 2008
- 6.6 The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 (2009)
- 6.7 The Resurrection of Beauty - a manifesto for the future of art 2002-10
- 6.8 Reconnectivism 2014 onwards
- 6.9 Examples of manifestos on the internet
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Before the early 20th century, the manifesto was almost exclusively a declaration with political aims. The intention of artists adopting the form, therefore, is to indicate that they are employing art as a political tool.
The art manifesto has two main goals. The first is to define and criticize a paradigm in contemporary art or culture; the second is to define a set of aesthetic values to counter this paradigm. Often, manifestos aspire to be works of art in their own right; for instance, many manifesto writers intend for their texts to be performed. Other manifestos cannot be fully appreciated simply as written statements because they rely heavily on graphic design for communication, a common feature in Dada manifestos. Several artists have written manifestos about artistic mediums not their own.
Historically, there has been a strong parallel between the art manifesto and the political manifesto. It was not uncommon for manifesto writers of the early 20th century to also be politically active. In Italy, Futurist founder Filippo Tomasso Marinetti ran for office, and both Russian and Italian Futurists issued political manifestos. In England, Vorticist Wyndham Lewis supported the Suffragettes, while in France, Surrealist André Breton supported the Communist party. Often however, these political organizations rejected the artists’ attention; in other cases, artists were censored and persecuted by European authoritarian governments, like Fascist Italy and Communist Russia, which institutionally rejected the avant-garde.
Futurist Manifesto 1909
The Futurist Manifesto, written by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, was published in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dell'Emilia in Bologna on 5 February 1909, then in French as Manifeste du futurisme in the newspaper Le Figaro on 20 February 1909. It initiated an artistic philosophy, Futurism, that was a rejection of the past, and a celebration of speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry; it was also an advocation of the modernization and cultural rejuvenation of Italy.
- The Art of Noise 1913
Vorticist Manifesto 1914
Dada Manifesto 1916
De Stijl 1918
Manifest I of "The Style" (De Stijl), from De Stijl, vol. II, no. 1 (November 1918), p. 4.
Surrealist Manifesto 1924
- Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.
Base de la peinture concrète, Revue Art Concret, no. 1 (April 1930).
Manifesto of Mural Painting 1933
by Mario Sironi
Manifesto: Towards a Free Revolutionary Art 1938
White Manifesto 1946
Refus global 1948
The Refus global (or Total Refusal) was an anti-establishment and anti-religious manifesto released on August 9, 1948 in Montreal by a group of sixteen young Québécois artists and intellectuals known as les Automatistes, led by Paul-Émile Borduas.
Manifesto of Eaismo 1948
Sculptors' First Manifesto 1949
by René Iché
Mystical Manifesto 1951
The Mystical Manifesto inaugurated Dalí's Nuclear mysticism period.
Manifesto pittura nucleare 1951
by Enrico Baj
Les Spatialistes Manifesto 1952
Un Art Autre 1952
Gutai Manifesto 1956
Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto 1959
In 1964 this was given as a lecture to the Architectural Association, which was taken over by students as an artistic "Happening". One of Metzger's Ealing College students was Pete Townshend, who later cited Metzger's concepts as an influence for his famous guitar-smashing during performances of The Who.
Neo-Concrete Manifesto 1959
- We use the term "neo-concrete" to differentiate ourselves from those committed to non-figurative "geometric" art (neo-plasticism, constructivism, suprematism, the school of Ulm) and particularly the kind of concrete art that is influenced by a dangerously acute rationalism. In the light of their artistic experience, the painters, sculptors, engravers and writers participating in this first Neo-concrete Exhibition came to the conclusion that it was necessary to evaluate the theoretical principles on which concrete art has been founded, none of which offers a rationale for the expressive potential they feel their art contains."
Manifesto of Industrial Painting 1959
The full title is "Manifesto of Industrial Painting: For a unitary applied art". It was originally published in Italian in Notizie Arti Figurative No. 9 (1959). Shortly afterwards it was published in Internationale Situationniste no.3 in a French translation. It was translated into English in 1997 by Molly Klein. It has only 70 points and is written a grand utopian rhetorical manner, with statements such as, "A new, ravenous force of domination will push men toward an unimaginable epic poetry." One of its themes is the reconciliation of industry and nature:
- The return to nature with modern instrumentation will allow man, after thousands of centuries, to return to the places where Paleolithic hunters overcame great fear; modern man will seek to abandon his own, accumulated in the idiocy of progress, on contact with humble things, which nature in her wisdom has conserved as a check on the immense arrogance of the human mind.
Manifestos in the 1960s reflected the changing social and political attitudes of the times: the general ferment of "counterculture" revolution to overthrow the existing order and the particular rise of feminism and Black Power, as well as the pioneering of new art forms such as body art and performance art.
Situationist Manifesto 1960
The Situationist International was founded at Cosio d’Arroscia April 27, 1957 by eight members, who wanted a revolutionary art with a state of constant transformation, and hence newness, as well as abolishing the gap between art and life. The manifesto espousing this was issued May 17, 1960 and reprinted in Internationale Situationniste number 4 in June 1960. It advocated the "new human force" against technology and the "dissatisfaction of its possible uses in our senseless social life", stating "We will inaugurate what will historically be the last of the crafts. The role of amateur-professional situationist—of anti-specialist—is again a specialization up to the point of economic and mental abundance, when everyone becomes an 'artist'". Its final sentence is: "Such are our goals, and these will be the future goals of humanity."
The Chelsea Hotel Manifesto 1961
This manifesto has been copyrighted since 1989 by the Gagosian Gallery. It begins with the prompts for the later statements in the manifesto, the first line being, "Due to the fact that I have painted monochromes for fifteen years". It is a meditation by the artist about his work and life:
- An artist always feels uneasy when called upon to speak of his own work. It should speak for itself, particularly when it is valid.
- What can I do? Stop now?
- No, what I call "the indefinable pictorial sensibility" absolutely escapes this very personal solution.
He appropriates the sky:
- Once, in 1946, while still an adolescent, I was to sign my name on the other side of the sky during a fantastic "realistico-imaginary" journey. That day, as I lay stretched upon the beach of Nice, I began to feel hatred for birds which flew back and forth across my blue, cloudless sky, because they tried to bore holes in my greatest and most beautiful work.
- Birds must be eliminated.
He ends with an affirmation that he is "ready to dive into the void".
I Am For An Art... Manifesto, 1961
Claes Oldenburg, a Pop artist, reacting against Abstract Expressionism, along with other young artists. The Manifesto ‘I am for an Art’ was originally made to be included in the catalogue of the 'Environments, Situations and Spaces’ exhibition. Each of the statements begin with 'I am for an art...'.
Here is a quote from the first two statement in his poetical manifesto,
"I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero... " ( Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (2006) Art in Theory, 1900-2000: an Anthology of Changing Ideas. 2 ed. USA: Blackwell Publishing)
Fluxus Manifesto 1963
This is a short hand-printed document of three paragraphs interspersed with collage elements from dictionary definitions related to "flux". It is written in lower case, with upper case for certain key phrases, some underlined. Its first paragraph is:
- Purge the world of bourgeois sickness, "intellectual", professional and commercialized culture, purge the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art, mathematical art, — purge the world of "Europanism"!
It advocates revolution, "living art, anti-art" and "non art reality to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals."
SCUM Manifesto 1967
SCUM is an acronym for the "Society for Cutting up Men" and the manifesto was not specifically about art. However, it has become part of art history, because it was published in 1968, the same year that Solanas, who had spent time in Andy Warhol's "Factory", shot and nearly killed him. It also has sections that address art ideas. Solanas spent her last years as a street prostitute and died in 1988.
It is a document of just over 11,000 words. Its tone and basic theme are evident from the title, but it is not quite as clear cut as it seems and some women are admitted to be as bad as men (women artists, for example). SCUM wants to "destroy all useless and harmful objects — cars, store windows, "Great Art", etc." In a section on "'Great Art' and 'Culture'" it states:
- The male 'artist' attempts to solve his dilemma of not being able to live, of not being female, by constructing a highly artificial world in which the male is heroized, that is, displays female traits, and the female is reduced to highly limited, insipid subordinate roles, that is, to being male.
- The male 'artistic' aim being, not to communicate (having nothing inside him he has nothing to say), but to disguise his animalism, he resorts to symbolism and obscurity ('deep' stuff). The vast majority of people, particularly the 'educated' ones, lacking faith in their own judgment, humble, respectful of authority ('Daddy knows best'), are easily conned into believing that obscurity, evasiveness, incomprehensibility, indirectness, ambiguity and boredom are marks of depth and brilliance ...
- Absorbing 'culture' is a desperate, frantic attempt to groove in an ungroovy world, to escape the horror of a sterile, mindless, existence. `Culture' provides a sop to the egos of the incompetent, a means of rationalizing passive spectating; they can pride themselves on their ability to appreciate the `finer' things, to see a jewel where this is only a turd (they want to be admired for admiring).
Maintenance Art Manifesto 1969
The full title of the manifesto is "Maintenance Art—Proposal for an Exhibition"; it is considered a seminal document of feminist art. She was pregnant at the time, and decided to reinterpret household chores by becoming a "maintenance artist", where she would "perform" them. Through this such "maintenance" revealed itself as an important condition for freedom and social functioning and she extended the idea beyond feminism to projects like the 11 month Touch Sanitation, involving 8,500 New York workers. More recently she has addressed a landfill site on Staten Island.
The manifesto was followed by a questionnaire (1973–76) and was concerned with making art of what would normally be seen as routine, mundane chores. She wrote, "After the revolution, who is going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?". She followed this up with a "Sanitation Manifesto!" (1984) The Maintenance Manifesto stated:
- Maintenance is a drag; it takes all the fucking time (lit.) The mind boggles and chafes at the boredom. The culture confers lousy status on maintenance jobs--minimum wages, housewives — no pay. Clean your desk, wash the dishes, clean the floor, wash your clothes, wash your toes, change the baby's diaper, finish the report, correct the typos, mend the fence, keep the customer happy, throw out the stinking garbage, watch out don't put things in your nose, what shall I wear, I have no sox, pay your bills, don't litter, save string, wash your hair, change the sheets, go to the store, I'm out of perfume, say it again — he doesn't understand, seal it again — it leaks, go to work, this art is dusty, clear the table, call him again, flush the toilet, stay young.
AfriCobra Manifesto 1970
Jeff Donaldson was a cofounder of Afri-Cobra, a black artist collective founded in the late 1960s and based in Chicago. He helped organise international shows of black artists and wrote influential manifestos. AfriCobra is an acronym for "African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists". This was derived from combining the term for Africa with "Cobra", the "Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists". The manifesto stated the groups objectives to be the development of a new African American art, involving social responsibility, community artistic involvement and promotion of pride in Black identity. There were parallels with African American musical innovations, and the advocacy of a complementary aesthetic involving sublime imagery and high-key colours.
WAR Manifestos early 1970s
WAR is an acronym for "Women Artists in Revolution" of which Nancy Spero was a member. Prior to this in 1966–70 she had created a series of anti-Vietnam War "manifestos" which were images created with water paints and inks on paper. She then attended AWC (Art Workers Coalition) meetings, which had men and women members, and became part of WAR, which was an offshoot. She said, "I loved it. I was so angry at that time about so many things, especially about not being able to get my art out, to get people to look. I thought, "WAR"— that's it. We started to organize some actions and protests and wrote manifestos. For example, a few of us marched into the Museum of Modern Art and demanded equality for women artists. Then, I joined another, the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Artists. It all went very fast in those days."
Women's Art: A Manifesto 1972
by Valie Export
Valie Export is a Viennese performance artist who worked with the Actionists and catalogued their events. She did her own confrontational body art, with a philosophy of "Feminist Actionism", inviting people to touch her in the street. She issued "written manifestos predicting with vengeance the future of women's art" and "made important theoretical contributions to communicating a personal feminism in performance. She felt that it was important politically to create art. 'I knew that if I did it naked, I would really change how the (mostly male) audience would look at me.'"
Collectif d'Art Sociologique manifesto 1974
The French Sociological art Collective was founded by Fred Forest, Jean-Paul Thénot and Hervé Fischer and had their manifesto published in the newspaper Le Monde. Its main purpose was using sociology to underpin artistic actions, or using artistic actions to elucidate sociological phenomena. One such action was the auctioning of a "artistic square meter" in 1976 to spoof the inflation of prices in the housing and art markets. The collective made heavy use of mass media and live performance using video, telephones, etc. The group was dissolved in 1981, though some of its tenets were brought by Fred Forest and Mario Costa with the Communication aesthetics movement of 1983.
Body Art Manifesto 1975
In 1975 François Pluchart promoted the first Body Art show at the Galerie Stadler in Paris, with work from 21 artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Chris Burden and Katharina Sieverding. The first Body Art manifesto was published.
A Manifesto on Lyrical Conceptualism 1975
by Paul Hartal
This is a four page document illustrated with nine black and white images of the artist's paintings, collages and multimedia, published in Montreal in 1975. "My art is a painted metaphor; the past machine of a perpetual second, the fossil emotion of an infinite longing, the magic desire evolving on the broken axis of the compressed space, reflected in the form of inner, personal landscapes", writes Hartal in the manifesto. "Art ought to be total", he suggests. "The biotic separated from the geometrical is arbitrary, and ignores the human nature." The idea of "Lyrical Conceptualism is based on the wholeness of the psychological coordinate", he says. It "derives from the id, ego and superego"; an "art in which the primarily twofold character of the artist's view evolves into a lyrical, intuitive and conceptual triad". In The Brush and the Compass: The Interface Dynamics of Art and Science (Lanham: University Press of America, 1988, 341 pp), Hartal discusses in more detail the theory of Lyrical Conceptualism or Lyco art,
Punk and cyber 1976–1998
The rise of the punk movement with its basic and aggressive DIY attitude had a significant input into art manifestos, and this is reflected even in the titles. Some of the artists overtly identified with punk through music, publishing or poetry performance. There is also an equivalent "shocking" interpretation of feminism which contradicts the non-objectification advocated in the 1960s. Then the growing presence of the computer age began to assert itself in art proclamations as in society.
Crude Art Manifesto 1978
This was posted in Maidstone Art College by Charles Thomson, then a student at the college. 21 years later he co-wrote the Stuckist manifestos with Billy Childish. Thomson was also a member of the punk-based The Medway Poets. The manifesto rejects "department store" art and "elitist" gallery art, as well as sophistication and skill which are "easily obtainable ... and are used both industrially and artistically to conceal a poverty of content." The priority is stated to be "the exploration and expression of the human spirit".
Smile Manifestos 1982
by Stewart Home
At this time Stewart Home operated as a one-person movement "Generation Positive", founding a punk band called White Colours and publishing an art fanzine Smile, which mostly contained art manifestos for the "Generation Positive". The rhetoric of these resembled the 1920s Berlin Dadaist manifestos. His idea was that other bands round the world should also call themselves White Colours and other magazines be titled Smile. The first part of the book Neoist Manifestos/The Art Strike Papers featured abriged versions of his manifesto-style writings from Smile.
International Association of Astronomical Artists Manifesto 1982
The basic tenet of the IAAA is the depiction of space (as in the cosmos) through realist painting. They disassociate themselves from science fiction and fantasy artists: "a firm foundation of knowledge and research is the basis for each painting. Striving to accurately depict scenes which are at present beyond the range of human eyes". The group now has over 120 members representing 20 countries.
Cheap Art Manifesto 1984
The whole title is "the Why Cheap Art? manifesto". It is a single sheet, issued by the Bread and Puppet Theater "in direct response to the business of art and its growing appropriation by the corporate sector." There are seventeen statements, most of them beginning "Art is" and ending with an exclamation mark, set out mostly in upper case, sometimes mixed in with lower case, in different typefaces which get bolder through the leaflet till the final statement of a large HURRAH. It starts:
- People have been thinking too long that art is a privilege of the museums & the rich.
- Art is not business!
It stresses the positive nature of art which is beneficial to all and should be available to all, using poetic images such as "Art is like green trees", and urging, "Art fights against war & stupidity! ... Art is cheap!
A Cyborg Manifesto 1985
This has the full title of "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth-Century." Donna Haraway is a cultural historian. She advocates the development of cyborgs ("cybernetic organisms") as the way forward for a post-gender society. This had a significant effect initially amongst academics. VNS Matrix, a group of Australian women artists and British cultural historian, Sadie Plant, established a cyberfeminist movement in 1994. From 1997, the Old Boys Network (OBN) has organised "Cyberfeminist Internationals".
What our art means 1986
The manifesto is five paragraphs, each with a subtitle, the first of which is "Art for All", summing up the popularist intent of their manifesto:
- We want Our Art to speak across the barriers of knowledge directly to People about their Life and not about their knowledge of art. The twentieth century has been cursed with an art that cannot be understood. The decadent artists stand for themselves and their chosen few, laughing at and dismissing the normal outsider. We say that puzzling, obscure and form-obsessed art is decadent and a cruel denial of the Life of People.
There is also an intent to change people, but "The art-material must be subservient to the meaning and purpose of the picture." It states:
- We want to learn to respect and honour "the whole". The content of mankind is our subject and our inspiration. We stand each day for good traditions and necessary changes. We want to find and accept all the good and bad in ourselves.
The conclusion is an affirmation of "our life-search for new meanings and purpose to give to life."
Post Porn Modernist Manifesto c.1989
The manifesto was signed by Veronica Vera and Candida Royalle (both ex porn stars who had then directed their own porn movies), Annie Sprinkle (who gives explicit sexual one woman shows) and performance artist Frank Moore, among other significant artists who use sex in their work. In 7 short points, it founds an art movement, which "celebrates sex as the nourishing, life-giving force. We embrace our genitals as part, not separate, from our spirits." It advocates the "attitude of sex-positivism" and wishes to "communicate our ideas and emotions ... to have fun, heal the world and endure."
A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century, 1991
VNS Matrix was a cyberfeminist art collective founded in Adelaide, Australia, in 1991. Their manifesto, written in 1991, was translated over the years into many languages including Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Finnish. It begins:
- we are the modern cunt
- positive anti reason
- unbounded unleashed unforgiving
- we see art with our cunt we make art with our cunt
In 1996 they wrote the Bitch Mutant Manifesto.
The ____________ Manifesto, 1996
The ____________ Manifesto proposed an interactive, fill-in-the-blanks view of prohibitions and claims to be made about art and art movements. It was an early interactive piece of net art that appeared in webzines and in newsgroups, inviting participation. It begins:
- Today, ____________ itself is obsolete.
The manifesto ends with a Reset button. The text is sampled from Tristian Tzara's Dada manifestos, but key pieces from the original text have been omitted and replaced with blanks to be filled-in.
It is one of the earliest manifestos to be published on the Internet as well as in print.
Group Hangman 1997
Group Hangman was started by Billy Childish, Tracey Emin and two others in Medway, Kent in 1983 for a short time. Fourteen years later it reformed with more members (nearly all of whom later joined the Stuckists art group), but without Emin. At this point Childish wrote 6 short manifestos, each containing 7 – 12 statements. He says, "they were anarchic and contradictory - my favourite!" Some of the ideas resurfaced in the Stuckist manifestos written two years later. Point 9 of Communication 0001 states:
- Western art has been stupefying its audience into taking the position of an admiring doormat. We, at Group Hangman however, intend to wipe our mud-encrusted boots on the face of conceptual balderdash.
Style must be smashed ("Artistic talent is the only obstacle") and the unacceptable must be embraced. The last communication, of only two short sentences, was written in 2000 and recommends, "It is time for art to grow up."
Extropic Art Manifesto 1997
(A genre of the Transhumanist art movement whose manifesto was written in 1982)
This was written on January 1, 1997, and was apparently "on board the Cassini Huygens spacecraft on its mission to Saturn." Following the statement "We are transhumans", there is the explanation, "Transhumanist Art reflects an extropic appreciation of aesthetics in a technologically enhanced world." After the manifesto is a "FAQ", which states, "Transhumanist Arts include creative works by scientists, engineers, technicians, philosophers, athletes, educators, mathematicians, etc., who may not be artists in the traditional sense, but whose vision and creativity are integral to transhumanity." The Manifesto is based on a Transhumanist Art Statement written in 1982. Cited as specific influences are "Abstract Art, Performance Art, Kinetic Art, Cubism, Techno Art, science fiction and Communications Art." Some collaborators of Vita-More's are named as Timothy Leary, Bill Viola and Francis Ford Coppola.
World wide web 1999–present
Widespread access to the internet has created a new incentive for artists to publish manifestos, with the knowledge that there is an instant potential worldwide audience. The effect of the internet on art manifestos has been described: "One could almost say we are living through a new boom time for the manifesto. The Web allows almost anybody to nail a broadsheet to the virtual wall for all to see." Some of the manifestos also appear in print form; others only exist as virtual text. It has also led to a great diversity of approaches, as well as a noticeable trend looking back at earlier traditions of Modernism or the Renaissance to create a present and future paradigm. The Stuckists manifesto has become well known, though most others have achieved little individual reputation or impact.
Stuckist manifesto 1999
The Stuckists have grown in eleven years from 13 artists in London to 209 groups in 48 countries, and claim, "Stuckism is the first significant art movement to spread via the Internet" The first 3 points of their numbered eponymous manifesto proclaim "a quest for authenticity", "painting is the medium of self discovery" and "a model of art which is holistic". The 4th point states, "Artists who don't paint aren't artists"; the 5th is, "Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art." Points are made against conceptual art, Britart, Charles Saatchi, art gimmicks and white wall galleries, while the amateur is hailed. The final point is:
- Stuckism embraces all that it denounces. We only denounce that which stops at the starting point — Stuckism starts at the stopping point!
This manifesto is available on their web site in 7 languages. They have issued at least 8 other manifestos, including the Remodernist Manifesto (2000), which inaugurates "a new spirituality in art" (to replace Postmodernism's "scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy"), the Turner Prize Manifesto, handed out in their demonstrations at Tate Britain and a Critique of Damien Hirst. The Tate gallery holds three of the manifestos. Spin-offs by other Stuckists include a Camberwell College of Arts Students for Stuckism manifesto (2000) and a teenagers' Underage Stuckists Manifesto (2006). In 2006, Allen Herndon published The Manifesto of the American Stuckists, whose content was challenged by the Los Angeles Stuckists group. There has also been an anti-Stuckist manifesto published in 2005 by the London Surrealist Group.
How to Write an Avant-Garde Manifesto (a Manifesto) 2006
An avant-garde manifesto that reviews avant-garde manifestos of the past hundred years, it was taped to the front door of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in April 2006. It was later published online by ICA residents, the London Consortium.
Versatilist Manifesto 2007
The Versatilist Manifesto was written by Brazilian composer, artist and writer, Denis Mandarino, with the intention of freeing people from the expert analysis and promote the practice of art as a form of self-knowledge and spiritual enhancement, in São Paulo in July 2007. In Versatilism, there are no art contests, as no man or group is capable of judging other men. An art critic always analyses a situation from a profoundly limited point of view because his knowledge is also limited. Contests and prizes can be a way of directing public opinion and on doing so, valorizing this or that artist that aims financial or social advantages. Nevertheless, ethical cultural initiatives are praiseworthy.
The Remodernist Film Manifesto 2008
A manifesto on filmmaking written by former Stuckist painter, photographer and filmmaker Jesse Richards that like the closely related Remodernism manifesto, calls for a "new spirituality", but in this instance, in relation to cinema. The manifesto proclaims a spiritual film to be "not about religion. It is cinema concerned with humanity and an understanding of the simple truths and moments of humanity. Spiritual film is really ALL about these moments". Point 4 of the manifesto discusses Japanese aesthetics in relation to the idea of Remodernist film: "The Japanese ideas of wabi-sabi (the beauty of imperfection) and mono no aware (the awareness of the transience of things and the bittersweet feelings that accompany their passing), have the ability to show the truth of existence, and should always be considered when making the remodernist film". The manifesto also criticizes filmmakers that shoot on video, arguing that film, particularly Super-8 film "has a rawness, and an ability to capture the poetic essence of life, that video has never been able to accomplish" and also criticizes Stanley Kubrick's work, as being "dishonest and boring", as well as Dogme 95's "pretentious checkist" of rules. Instead, the Remodernist film philosophy seems to be somewhat anti-ego, with Richards noting that "this manifesto should be viewed only as a collection of ideas and hints whose author may be mocked and insulted at will". The manifesto was recently translated into Turkish and published by the film website Bakiniz, and is being translated into Polish and published by the Polish underground art and culture magazine, RED.
The Superstroke Art Movement Manifesto 2008
This manifesto was written by the South African conceptual artist Conrad Bo, who believes the Superstroke Art Movement is the first internationally known art movement in Africa since the Fook Island art movement started by Walter Battiss. The manifesto is quite specific in what the Superstroke Art Movement want to achieve. Superstroke is short for the super expressive brush stroke. The Manifesto for the Superstroke Art Movement written by Conrad Bo is as follows: 1.Paintings should be executed using expressive even violent brush strokes on at least some part of the picture. 2.Should a photograph be used for a figurative painting, the objection should not be Photorealism, but Expressionism. 3.If mediums such as pen, pencil, etc. are used, the pen and pencil strokes must at least be overly expressive for it to be considered a Superstroke picture. 4.Paintings can be executed in both the abstract and figurative. 5.Subject matters such as Africa, light, dark, life and death are encouraged. 6.Collage, Stencil and Calligraphy may be used for impact. 7.The concept, Art for the sake of art, does not apply in Superstroke. In Superstroke it is art for the sake of Superstroke, as the artist must always strive for paintings rich in texture, or excessive brush or pencil strokes.
The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 (2009)
A manifesto for the transformation of practices in the digital arts and humanities that was authored by over forty participants in the 2009 Mellon Seminar on the Digital Humanities at UCLA. The manifesto articulates a vision of the future of knowledge production in the arts and humanities disciplines.
The Resurrection of Beauty - a manifesto for the future of art 2002-10
This manifesto was written by the American philosopher and artist Mark Miremont to inspire resistance to the pretenses of conceptual art that thrive a full century after the Dadaist Manifesto. It reads: Previously the 20th century saw innovations in science and these accelerated technological, medical, social and political innovations at a rate unparalleled in human history. From the horse-drawn carriage and wood fire, we progressed to space travel and nuclear fusion. Likewise, the arts progressed from realism to impressionism to dada to minimalism to post-modernism, and so on. Now. Here we stand in the 21st century. The progress of science and art has brought a marriage of marvels and horrors. The worst of the horrors grew from a cynical relativism. In science, it could be the physicist who thinks just because he can, he should design bombs that can kill millions of people. In art, it could be the artist who thinks just because he can, he should say a urinal in a gallery is art. What we value creates culture. Culture informs action. Action defines history. History determines the present. The values of the 20th century have led us to where we are now. The sarcastic relativism of dada has been widely embraced by the collectors, museums and publications that profit from the marketing of its philosophy. Its impact has been felt in all aspects of western culture. So much so that Beauty is commonly believed to have no place in art. From Wilde to Serra, it has been argued that Art has no use. Indeed the word 'art' has been rendered meaningless, as anything can be art, if so named. This is cynicism. This is nihilism. This is the art world in the first steps of the 21st century. Sarcasm, empty intellectualism, decay and the desperate need to shock have been in vogue for too long now. We do not doubt the genius of dada questioning what art can be. Yet, the values derived from anti-art's nihilistic ontology do not free us, they doom us. Just as we continue to search for meaning after Nietzsche's madman claimed, "God is Dead", so too we still search for Beauty after dada raped art. It is easier to desecrate something of Beauty than to create something of Beauty. The former is lazy intellectualism at best. The latter is the path of art. Perhaps because he could not create it at the time, Duchamp sought to de-value Beauty. And as his followers fetishize the early works of dada, his philosophy has paradoxically become the status quo. The resurrection of Beauty will be resisted at first. It will be called naive, superficial and simplistic. The pretense of the critics will be similar to that which Duchamp sought to obliterate with his readymades. Here, now, it is far more revolutionary to be sincere, romantic and idealistic. And while we reject the values derived from 20th century relativism, this does not make us neo-classicists. Classifications are meaningless to anyone seeking Beauty. There were works lacking Beauty before dada and there have been works of Beauty despite dada. Beauty can bridge any chasm and should be the goal of every culture. Beauty is the purpose of art, just as a building is the purpose of architecture. The utility of art is to inform us of Beauty, just as the utility of science is to inform us of truth. Beauty is a fundamental need of the healthy human condition, like oxygen. Dysfunction in the individual, the family, the society and the world is often due to a lack of Beauty. This is our destiny: to resurrect Beauty and to rally others to do the same. Think of what art could be in the 22nd century. Then the 23rd. Does empty relativism provide a path that will bring about something new and meaningful? Again. What we value creates culture. Culture informs action. Action defines history.
Reconnectivism 2014 onwards
Reconnectivism is a 21st century philosophy of art founded by Australian born, international artist Elspeth McEachern. McEachern describes the movement as: “a global cross-cultural art movement that encourages artists to recapture the essence of art by linking to natural wisdom and to reconnect to the meaning of art as cultural base of a shared humanity in the 21st century”. Reconnectivism is based on a nine point manifesto, which was officially launched at the inaugural exhibition of Reconnectivist art in Penang on 3 July 2014 by the renowned Malaysian art critic and art collector Dato Doctor Tan Chee Khuan. Although the philosophy of Reconnectivism is deliberately stated in positive terms, it was developed as a protest against what the founder perceived as the increasing trivialisation, imitation, plagiarism, mass production and corruption of contemporary art in the 21st century. Reconnectivism believes that artists, if they are not to alienate the public, must return to natural wisdom and Renaissance principles as espoused by Leonardo Da Vinci who wrote; “painting embraces within itself all the forms of nature….the painter’s mind must of necessity enter into nature’s mind in order to act as an interpreter between nature and art…it must be able to expound the causes of the manifestations of her laws.” In essence Reconnectivism believes that the artist acts as a medium through which both real and spiritual experiences are translated into story-form for humanity, by drawing on a fund of ancestral wisdom and lore in which the interconnectivity between humanity and nature is implicit. In this sense this movement parallels theories of the artist as a medium as espoused by Post Impressionist Paul Gauguin, the attainment of self actualisation by psychologist Abraham Malsow and the etheric, art and healing by Rudolf Steiner. It is the notion of ancestral subconscious influence, natural wisdom and spiritual transference from the artist to the art work itself that distinguishes Reconnectivism from other post millennium art movements. The philosophy of Reconnectivism also fits into similar contemporary global trends in architecture(natural architecture), environmental design (living plant sculpture), education (nature based art practice) and recreation(nature deficit disorder), which espouse the reconnection of humanity with nature. The full manifesto of Reconnectivism is available as a pdf.
Examples of manifestos on the internet
These manifestos are cited not for their individual significance, but as examples of the diversity of approaches that can be found in manifestos on the web, ranging through computer art, "Gothic" art, jokes, traditional art, punk provocation and the use of the form by commerce. This also allows the influence of historical manifestos on contemporary ideas to be assessed.
The manifesto created by music artist as a negation of mainstream, commercial music, to much business, public relations in the public space etc. The manifesto is movement that promotes the freedom to distribute music as high resolution FLAC files and exchange works between artists.
- Manifesto of Virtual Art 2010
by Adam Nash, Justin Clemens and Christopher Dodds
A manifesto produced by The Australian Centre of Virtual Art (ACVA). It describes virtual art as a "post-convergent" form, containing all previous media as subsets.
- Fractal Art Manifesto 1999
by Kerry Mitchell
There is an introduction followed by two sections—"Fractal art is" (4 bullet points) and "Fractal art is not" (3 bullet points). Fractal art has been around "15–20 years". It is obviously concerned with computer-generated fractal images, but advanced as art "in many respects similar to photography—another art form which was greeted by skepticism upon its arrival. Fractal images typically are manifested as prints, bringing Fractal Artists into the company of painters, photographers, and printmakers." The need for selection and skill is stressed, as is the need for the practitioner to be "expressive" and "creative". It concludes, "Most of all, Fractal Art is simply that which is created by Fractal Artists: ART."
- Neen manifesto 2000-2006
by Miltos Manetas
This is a Manifesto about Website art and computer existentialism.
- OK Art Manifesto 2001
by Susie Ramsay and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
This was written tongue-in-cheek, beginning, "'OK art' is an OK idea,—not great, but not bad either." It has the ring of truth when it states in point 4: "Art enthusiasts and cynics alike, leave an OK art exhibition saying 'that was OK'. No one is blown away but they don't feel cheated either."
- Movement for Classical Renewal Manifesto 2002 by Christopher Fiddes
This British manifesto is signed by over 100 painters and sculptors of professional standing. It opens by stating "the visual arts have reached a point of crisis. The art that has enjoyed critical acclaim in recent decades is shallow, trivial, ill-crafted and bankrupt of ideas." It condemns abstraction, "the same tired formula" of conceptualism, the Turner Prize and the destruction of art school academic training by the Coldstream Committee in the mid-20th century. It advocates technical accomplishment, reverence for the "great art that has been in the past" and a return to tradition while also, ironically, acknowledging:
- The arrival of the internet means it is no longer necessary to exhibit one's work in the tiny handful of fashionable London galleries, for at the touch of a switch it can be placed before a world wide public.
An organisation with similar aims in America is the Art Renewal Center.
- Cass Art Manifesto;
This represents the adoption of a revolutionary medium by mainstream commercialism, in this case the Cass Art chain of artshops in London. As part of their promotion they have issued a "manifesto" in the style of an art group. It begins, "Art is freedom. Cass Art believes in art." There are seven points. The sixth starts, "Lets fill this town with artists", which has also been displayed across their shop fronts in a banner.
- Symbiotic Art Manifesto 2004;
Written by artist Leonel Moura and Professor Henrique Garcia Pereira this Manifesto states that "Machines can make Art" and the role of the artist of the 21st century is no more to produce directly art but to trigger processes that generate art. In 2011 Leonel Moura launched a new version, The Istanbul Manifesto, stating that “the great artist of tomorrow will not be human”.
- Other contemporary art manifestos on the internet
Date given is that of the manifesto.
- Revolutionary Arts Group Manifesto
- The Conscious Art Manifesto (2000–01)
- Neomodernism Manifesto (2001)
- Neomodernism Manifesto illustrated
- Manifesto of Visionary Art (2001)
- Thinkism Manifesto (September 12, 2001)
- Anti-Stylism Manifesto
- Eco-Art Manifesto (February 12, 2004)
- Humanitarian art manifesto (September 2004)
- Derivative Works Art Manifesto (December 18, 2005)
- The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 (2009)
- Transgressive Expressionist Art TEA Party Manifesto (May 2, 2011)
- Manifesto of Aruša Theatre] (2005–2012)
No date, presumed post-2000
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- [dead link]
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- Reynolds, Simon (15–22 May 2001). "Manifesto destiny". Villagevoice.com. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
- "Stuckism Manifesto". Stuckism.com. 2002-02-16. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- Thomson, Charles (2004). "A Stuckist on Stuckism". Essay from: Ed. Frank Milner (2004), "The Stuckists Punk Victorian", National Museums Liverpool. ISBN 1-902700-27-9. Retrieved April 7, 2006.
- [dead link]
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- "Waarschuwing over inhoud". Jesse-richards.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
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- "The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0". Humanities Blast. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Lucrezia Magazine, Oct 11, 2010".
- "La Galerie Provocatrice, Amsterdam - 1st exhibit adhering to the Manifesto". Accessed online, March 15, 2014
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- Tan, Dato Dr Chee Khuan, (1998). Social responsibility in art criticism. The Art Gallery Penang Publishers.
- "‘The Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci’ Excerpts from his Notebooks".
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- Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes
- Index of manifestos
- Page at website of Japan's Ashiya City Museum of Art & History with full text of the Gutai Manifesto, in English
- Art Manifesto Reset Global collaboration of works founded by John Manifesto Robinson and Gary Reset Barlow (2012).