Writings by Thomas Cornell

  • Valuing Nature: The Imperative of Being

    The inquiry, “Valuing Nature,” was first prompted by critique of an attempt to assess the natural world’s economic value. Later the inquiry was broadened so that “Valuing Nature” could be viewed from a variety of perspectives. My contribution, conjecturing from an artist’s perspective, has been intense because I consider valuing nature to be the understanding and founding moral sentiment which can refine reason, enlighten judgement, and reconstruct art, culture and political economy.

  • Dionysian Classicism - Propositions

    Statement for 1989 One-person exhibition, Gil Einstein Company, NYC   Recently I returned from Moscow after participating in the exhibition Painting Beyond the Death of Painting, curated by Donald Kuspit. My experience of Russian culture and insight received from the Russian artists I spoke with convinced me that the biggest social problem is creation of benevolent authority and protection of freedom of speech. To resist illegitimate authority and censorship is …

  • Real Transcendence — The Necessary Means of Designing Environmental Justice

    If enlightened human purpose is to augment the beneficence of nature and minimize the pain of nature, “red in tooth and claw,” then we will need obedient cooperation with nature. I call this purpose positive or real transcendence, in opposition to the old concept of supernatural or magical transcendence—which I call illusory. If we truly desire justice and real transcendence it is imperative that we act on the basis of Bacon’s enlightening requirement of obedience to nature and work to understand and design human purpose in harmony with the purposiveness of nature

  • Interview by UK graduate student for thesis

    Interviewer Name Unknown. 1980s   I am particularly interested in your work which shows a classical sensibility. Do you desire to restore or to breathe life on ancient myth? Is mythology used as a pretext for painting and not as a fundamental category of thought? Why do you center some of your work around mythology? What relevance can mythology have for us today? Do you consider yourself to be intensely aware …

  • Designing the New World Picture

    Abstract for Presentation at Conference: “Code” Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA) Portland, ME, November 2007 Art and science can work together to construct human flourishing. We recognize the height of Greek culture that celebrated empiricism and the birth of democracy. The Italian Renaissance is acknowledged as the rebirth of that intelligent discipline. We celebrate the conciliation of art and science and the ability to solve problems and …

  • Venetian Painting as an Incarnation of Joyous Humanism and Secular Spirituality

    The Venetian Religious Paintings of Dionysos and Eros at the National Gallery of Art These are “terrible” times and it would be beautiful and even “spiritually” therapeutic for the New York Times to reproduce an image of life and happiness in final celebration of Venetian painting at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. as a celebration of life, and the universal, human good. I have written the following article to …

  • Poussin: Organic Classicism

    Foreword Now, in 2008, the Metropolitan Museum has decided to celebrate Poussin and Nature. The following article from fourteen years ago has some relevance to both this exhibition and our current understanding of how we evaluate nature. Since then, I have been working towards an understanding of how to transform nature for human well being. I have published Valuing Nature, The Imperative of Being, mentioning Poussin and proposing naturalism in …