Stork Petition

NEW YORK, NY (PRWEB) October 9, 2004 — Artists and art students who paint freehand with convincing realism will march in front of the Met Saturday and Sunday, wearing sandwich boards describing a petition sponsored by the non-profit Art Renewal Center, protesting the uncritical publicity given David Hockney’s theory ( that great artists of the past traced their drawings using early camera-type lenses. The students, who come from ARC-approved schools, will ask Met visitors and passersby to join in their request for a televised rebuttal of the CBS “60 Minutes” segment which covered the Hockney hypothesis without input from contemporary master artists and art historians who vehemently disagree with it and have collected a substantial body of evidence to the contrary. (
The not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational foundation known as ARC, the Art Renewal Center, which champions a return to representational fine art, has posted a sign-online version of the petition at ARC Chairman Fred Ross says Hockney’s hypothesis is “defamatory not only of the great artists of the past, but of the living masters who can quite capably draw without the help of any such apparatus.”

The above press release issued by the Art Renewal Center (ARC) announced they would picket the Metropolitan Museum with a petition denouncing us, referring people interested in more information to David Stork’s now-removed web page on Stanford’s psychology department server. ARC has at least three self-identified followers of the “philosophy” of Ayn Rand on its Board, one of whom is a frequent contributor to Rand-associated blogs. The reason this is relevant is that I learned as a result of this that followers of Rand have an official position on what constitutes “good” art, and that what Hockney and I published about the use of optics by the Old Masters is contrary to that official position. An article in the July 13, 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that “the Ayn Rand Institute… has sometimes been accused of enforcing rigid ideological conformity.” This article also quotes a philosopher as saying “Debates surrounding Rand’s work often ‘resemble a religious dogma surrounding a sacred text, and not the free give-and-take of ordinary scholarship’.”

Sign the petition!

In light of the growing consensus among a wide range of international experts (in optics, image analysis, history of optics, art history, perceptual psychology of art, and artists themselves, …) that the Hockney projection theory is seriously flawed the Art Renewal Center has posted a petition requesting that public venues that have aired uncritical shows on Hockney’s theory, such as CBS “60 minutes,” provide air time for rebuttals. If you feel that claims such as Charles Falco’s “You could convict OJ with this evidence [for the use of projections]” are unjustified and deserve air time for rebuttal, join the several thousand signatories by signing the petition here.

David Stork placed the above text, with links to ARC and to the petition, in a box at the top of his web page for two years.

Note: Walter Liedtke of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was featured prominently on CBS ’60 Minutes’ as a respected art historian who is unconvinced by our Thesis, so Stork’s claim that the show was “uncritical” is simply false. The petition he helped circulate was not to rectify any actual imbalance, but rather to generate television coverage specifically for himself. Petitions and pickets are completely inappropriate for addressing a purely academic issue, since all they could possibly do is intimidate.

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