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Agitating for a Copernican Revolution in the Arts

  • Location:
    Modernism Gallery, 685 Market Street, San Francisco, California, US

For Immediate Release
contact: jonathon_keats@yahoo.com
Picasso and Rembrandt Denounced as Ptolemaic… Contemporary Artist Vows to Realign Art With Science… San Francisco Exhibition Reveals First Painting and Sculpture to Achieve Universal Significance by Resembling the Cosmos
October 12, 2011 - Four hundred and sixty-eight years after Nicolaus Copernicus informed the world that Earth orbits the Sun, his revolutionary idea is gaining acceptance with artists, and threatening to shake up museum collections from New York to Tokyo and Paris. An exhibition at Modernism Gallery in San Francisco, opening on October 20th, will be the first to present art made in accordance with Copernican principles, including paintings the color of the universe. The show will be supplemented with Copernican cuisine and music.
The new Copernican art promises to be more profound than any painting or sculpture ever before seen, according to artist and philosopher Jonathon Keats, who has previously exhibited abstract artwork by both cypress trees and extraterrestrials. "And that's not promising much," he says, "when you consider that art on our planet has hardly evolved since the first cave paintings were made."
Mr. Keats acknowledges that reform takes time. "Science didn't really begin until the Copernican revolution," he says. "After millennia of egocentric navel-gazing, astronomers learned from Copernicus that there's nothing special about us. We're on an average planet in a typical galaxy, and that's to our advantage because it lets us assume that whatever we observe here, like the speed of light or the forces within atoms, will be the same everywhere." In other words, scientists can make generalizations about the entire cosmos without ever leaving home, because everything about our home is perfectly mediocre.
"This Copernican principle is one of the most successful principles in science," according to Princeton University astrophysicist J. Richard Gott, III. Yet Mr. Keats points out that artists have failed to take advantage of it. Art is still resolutely Ptolemaic. "In fact, artists take the geocentric worldview to an extreme even ancient astronomers like Claudius Ptolemy couldn't have fathomed," asserts Mr. Keats. "The focus of art is on self-expression. The most famous artists behave as if they personally were the center of the universe. And the work most cherished is esteemed for being atypical."
Museums from the Metropolitan to the Louvre are complicit in this scheme as storehouses for the most anti-Copernican of artifacts, the masterpiece. "That isn't a problem if art is just a cultural trophy," says Mr. Keats, "but if what we seek from art is universal understanding, then the great works must go. We should banish masterpieces as distracting anomalies, just as scientists routinely discard artifacts from their data sets."
"Copernican art is a major change in the art world," acknowledges Modernism Gallery director Danielle Beaulieu. "There's still a strong market for masterpieces, but Jonathon never was very good at making money."
Mr. Keats vows that nothing shown at his Modernism Gallery exhibition will be a masterpiece. On the contrary, everything will be perfectly average. For instance the color of his paintings - monochrome canvases covered in a flat coat of latex housepaint - has been calibrated by averaging the spectrum of starlight in more than 200,000 galaxies. The paintings are beige.
Mr. Keats will also present sculpture with the typical composition of the universe, wrought in hydrogen. The colorless gas will be free to disperse.
His music will have the entropy of the universe, as calculated by Australian National University cosmologists Charles Lineweaver and Chas Egan: Since the universe is approximately a quarter of the way to "heat death" or total disorderliness, Mr. Keats will apply the same ratio to Johann Sebastian Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, randomizing 25 percent of the notes.
Mr. Keats is applying Copernican principles to cuisine by producing a universal anti-seasoning that gives any dish the homogeneity of the cosmos. Blind taste tests have shown that his new condiment makes everything bland.
A manifesto released this week also includes plans for Copernican literature with the mathematical predictability of the universe, and Copernican architecture with the fundamental geometry of the universe. The manifesto is anticipated to foment a Copernican revolution in all the arts.
"Copernican painting is nothing special," insists Mr. Keats, "and the same is true for Copernican cuisine and music and sculpture. It's all perfectly mediocre, like the world. And like the world, Copernican art can reveal to us the nature of the universe, if only we can learn to appreciate the ordinary."
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An opening reception for the First Copernican Art Exposition will be held at Modernism Gallery in San Francisco on Thursday, October 20, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. For more information, or to read the First Copernican Art Manifesto, email jonathon_keats@yahoo.com or see http://www.modernisminc.com