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All of the arguments, anguish, and anxiety about the future of the Book, completely miss the fundamental point – IT’S THE CONTENT, PERIOD. All of the hand wringing in countless articles, symposia, blogs, and posts about the future of the Book is akin to the howling 35,000 years ago about keeping 2,000 pounds of rock because it was Art. The point, obviously, is that the picture is the Art.

To make the point even a bit sharper, the Kindle and the Nook are simply the Palm Pilot blown up to a bigger size. Users of the Palm used to boast about reading the New York Times on their device. Now, “e readers” are seen as the dawn of the new book.

To some, the e reader is the answer. Others regard the e reader as an interim product at best. In another view, the e reader is as static as the 2,000 pound cave wall.

However, the subject is Art, and ART is the CONTENT. The concept for discussion is the view that the roots of modern art, representationalism, realism, naturalism, cubism, symbolism, and abstract art all began 35,000 years ago. All of these “movements” are depicted on the walls of the Chauvet Cave and the Laseaux Cave. This concept brings into question such popular beliefs that art did not depict perspective until after the Middle Ages, or that Cubism did not exist before Picasso and Braque.

Chauvet Cave Images

Laseaux Cave Images

For instance, as the Art History Blogger observed in the post on August 8, 2011. “The [Chauvet Cave] art had elements of realism, naturalism and abstraction and all of these themes resurfaced in art throughout the ages.”
Art History Blogger

Here, for example is one of the earliest known abstract art paintings:

Abstract Art Chauvet Cave

Photo: http://www.crytical.com/

As was also observed by the Art History Blogger in the post of Aug. 8, 2011,

“Horses painted in perspective that wasn’t rediscovered for millennium and animals carefully painted with shading and texture. Animals shown as ‘moving’ by having extra sets of legs made me think of Futurism and Cubism.”

Chauvet- Motion

The Art History Blogger also observer that the hybrid creature that looks like a Minotaur from Greek mythology, “was later used by Picasso as well.”


Chauvet - Minotaur

This concept that art is a continuum of human expression through the ages was also made by Bruce Cole:

“Prehistoric men may have painted animals to ‘catch’ their soul or spirit in order to hunt them more easily or the paintings may represent an animistic vision and homage to surrounding nature, or they may be the result of a basic need of expression that is innate to human beings, or they could have been for the transmission of practical information. Across cultures, and spanning continents and millennia, the history of painting is an ongoing river of creativity, that continues into the 21st century.”

Bruce Cole; Adelheid M. Gealt (1991). Art of the Western World: From Ancient Greece to Post Modernism. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-74728-2.

Thus, it is this concept that is important, not whether it displayed in a printed book or on an e reader, or on this screen. Without this concept of the continuum of art being presented and discussed in a comprehensive manner, all we have are words or pictures on a page, whether printed in a book, or displayed on a digital device.

Note: Of course, not all e readers are created equal. For those interested, see John Falcone’s CNET Review of e readers and the PC World Review of the Kindle Fire.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20009738-1/kindle-vs-nook-vs-ipad-which-e-book-reader-should-you-buy/, and the Kindle Fire Review in PC World. http://www.pcworld.com/article/243857/amazon_kindle_fire_misfires.html-



  1. “Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal” -T.S. Eliot

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