exerpt from Curator's Message,  of ArtBeat, Vol. 44, No. 4, July-September 1998
(a perspective that includes digital imagery as art)


...In the era of art after post-modernism which our high-cultural world has now irreversibly entered, the 20th century's defunct succession of prescriptive artistic systems has been convincingly invalidated and discarded.  The old neat and tidy parameters and standards of judgment have been forcibly retired.  And not retired arbitrarily, but retired in large part because the standards themselves were overtly arbitrary.  It is not intellectually possible to turn back the clock of art history and retroactively reinstate them.

     The standards by which art is judged are always changing; one of them are timeless.  Artistic qualities esteemed in one age may well be scorned in the next.  We now live in an era which is unprecedented, in which ALL the possibilities of art, not just certain narrowly prescribed ones, are available and permissible for serious artists to use.  Serious artists as different from each other as Domenic Cretara and William Thomas Thompson (two artists with current exhibitions at the museum).  Never before has contemporary art called for such open-minded breadth of judgment in its viewers.  But that is what's required of us, if we are genuinely dedicated to achieving an understanding of the best in the fine arts, as the highest expression of the human intellect and its sense of beauty, that is available to humanity in a given time and place.  In our time.  In our place.


-James Mann, Curator