After having studied classical painting Paris and visiting the Louvre so many times I lost count, I decided to bookend my studies by viewing some of the oldest masterpieces in the world, so I boarded a train and seven hours later arrived in the Dordogne, where Cro-Magnon man was first discovered, where the caves of Lascaux were painted; this is one of the places where art began.
As soon as I got off the train, I was thunderstruck by the realization that through some inconceivably, infinitesimally small chance we are living at a wholly improbable moment in time in which, in one day, we can time-travel from Paris, (where in the Louvre, we can view 35,000 masterpieces of the past 5,000 years), to the Dordogne, (where in the painted caves we can be awed by the masterpieces of 20,000 years ago), but also, unless we do something, it’s unlikely those living 10,000 years from now will know anything of us.
Because for those living 10,000 years from now, the Mona Lisa, all the Rembrandts, the Vermeers, all will be dust. Between global warming, floods, willful destruction, theft and fire, how many masterpieces will be lost? “All of them” is a good round number.
Modern storage methods are no help here, either. There is currently no way to store digital information beyond 5 years or so, as all hard drives eventually fail. Storing our great works of art in the cloud? All satellites eventually fall out of orbit.
The cave paintings, these works of art created over tens of thousands of years, these gifts that the ancients have left us, show us what they loved, what they revered. But once the fires, wars, and floods have destroyed our masterpieces, what chance will future humans have of knowing what we loved, and what we thought was beautiful?
The 10,000 Year Art Project is being established as a New Cave, the walls of which will be made available for artists to create their masterpieces, using the archival methods developed over tens of thousands of years by the cave artists. This cave will be located in the same region as the original painted caves, a geologically stable area in which humanoids have prospered for over 400,000 years, and in which the original cave paintings have survived for almost 30,000 years.
With this project, we create a love letter on stone, thereby preserving our artistic heritage and transmitting the beauty that moves us directly to The Unknowables, the people of the deep future.
We need your help to bring this gift to the world. Please contact me to learn how you can help.