Herbert W. Frank’s paper, “The New Visual Age: The Influence of Computer Graphics on Art and Society” (1985) suggests that computers allow ideas to be expressed with greater ease, creativity, and accessibility. Frank elaborates on his claim by describing how computers simplify the process of converting ideas to visuals, and by explaining how technological art can add creativity to various fields and facets of life. Frank’s purpose is to outline the potential for computers as a medium in order to encourage the acceptance of technology as a canvas for expression. Since the text contains consistent use of formal vocabulary, Frank intends for the audience to consist of well-educated people with a background in art and an appreciation for the vast applications of creativity.
I agree with Frank’s conclusion that computers allow for easier expression of ideas across different contexts. He is correct when he points out that digital art allows for a faster work pace, ways to compensate for unrefined artistic talent, and larger audiences. Frank also constantly suggests different ways to portray ideas through the medium, such as replacing verbal expression with pictures or enhancing public interaction through ‘electronic museums’. However, his focus on universality expresses a view on art as a tool rather than as a creation with inherent value. He briefly refers to artistic theory as though it is not effected by the gradual change in mediums, and he states that evolving visual art does not violate aesthetic standards. Frank ultimately ignores the value of traditional mediums and artistic history with his progressive perspective. His critics may argue that digitalizing images of traditional artwork devalues the actual piece, and the ease of creation that accompanies technology lowers the need for those with artistic talent. Therefore, I wonder, does Frank see digital art as a substitute for traditional art? Or does he believe that digital art is more applicable to projects while traditional art should capitalize on aesthetic purposes? The paper was written before the modern reliance on technology, so is his paper predicting the rise of graphic designers?
Franks, Herbert W. “The New Visual Age The Influence of Computer Graphics on Art and Society.” DAM. Leonardo, 2009. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.
Image: Tbilisi Digital Art Museum