It's a Man-Made Man-Made World
I am a 'townie'. I tend to be unimpressed by nature. I have never stood in awe before a volcanic eruption but I enjoyed the TV show. I enjoy a fine photograph but only rarely have I marvelled at the beauty of a sunrise.
For me and the Abstract Realists of this post-modern, 2K world, human invention provides the wow factor - a book, a film, a game, an advert, a song, a magazine, a website, a ticket. All life is here. I swim in a sea of readymade abstractions. I am as likely to learn my morality from a soap opera as from a parent. I am as likely to learn about art from a website as from a teacher.
Living the Second-Hand Experience
Even my primary experiences take place in a second-hand world. My house was lived in by others before me. My wife had been married before. The water I drink has been drunk already and the stuff I eat has been eaten before.
We do not need to manufacture, we recycle. We do not need to make our own sound, we sample. Artists do not need to create a first-hand image - for the clip-art generation, direct observation is unnecessary. We do not need to draw or paint, we can collage. We can plunder and plagiarize with increasing impunity. We are unapologetic copyists. We are not individual geniuses, we are part of an infestation. We are parasites of rejuvenilia.
The Abstract Realist lives through the creativity of others. We feel what others before us have felt.

For good or ill we exist vicariously. We live mediated lives. Experience comes by proxy.

The Draft Manifesto

Manifold Manifestos
Abstract Realism is an Art Movement for the twenty-first century and it is nothing that has not been done in the twentieth. It's got balls and it's a load of bollocks. It says too much and says nothing at all. It is Post Post-Modern. Abstract Realism is a movement of multiple manifestos.
Abstract adj. 1 a to do with or existing in thought rather than matter.
Realism n. 2 the showing of life etc. as it is in fact.

Join Now. Create your Abstract Realist artwork today! Rewrite the Manifesto. Send me your ideas.
Mail Art is ideally placed to document a modern world in which we increasingly find our perceptions delivered by carrier. Join the Abstract Realists and see the world! Send your Mail Art to:-
This is Abstract Realism, c/o Keith Bates, 2 Ferngate Drive, Manchester, M20 4AH, UK
Exhibition at MOMA New York and TATE MODERN London after we are all dead.


The deadline for contributions was March 2002, documentation was sent to participants in July.