Intentism is a movement of artists, authors, actors and musicians who believe that art can convey an artist's intended message to his or her intended audience. As a movement it both recognizes and celebrates the relationship between an artist's creation and its creator.
Intentists believe 3 principles:
Intentists believe that the artist is free to convey his or her intended message. Intentists believe that European postmodernism has contributed to gagging the artist.
Intentists appreciate the revolutionary insights much of postmodernism has made, particularly in the awareness of the baggage every viewer brings to an artwork. However, Intentists believe 'No creative input, no meaning input.' Consequently, a viewer cannot provide a new meaning.
Furthermore, since the epistemological qualities of a work finish when the creator creates no more, a viewer can perfectly, but not omnisciently understand the work, since the meaning of the work does not change with each new view. In essence, the hermeneutical circle should be considered the hermeneutical spiral, as a viewer can reduce subjective associations or significances.
Intentists believe a confused, hidden or denied intention leads to ZERO accountability.
A dead artist can no longer be associated with a painting advocating racism or homophobia, for example. Both Heidegger and Paul De Man have been rightly criticized for writing anti-Semitic articles, which is hypocritical unless an artist's voice can be heard and recognized.
Conversely, Intentists believe that an omission of artist intention can lead to enforced restrictions on the artist and even censorship.
When the Contemporary Art Museum in Cincinatti, opened the art exhibition The Perfect Moment in 1990, the city of Cincinnati brought suit against the Centre and two curators as some of the work was considered offensive. The prosecution only showed the work, the defense explained possible artistic intention. The jury acquitted all the accused.
Art has been at the vanguard of changing social behaviour, often encouraging tolerance and civil liberties. Art has often been one step ahead of society in attitudes towards women, race and politics, acting as a social conscience in times of oppression.
The potency of art to speak to the hearts and minds of people is not doubted by dictaors who are often keen to silence its voice.
Without the influence of art with a message civilization will be that much more brutal, that much more intolerant.
Intentists believe that although their artwork can have a complex meaning and be understood on a number of levels, there are definitely ways it can be misunderstood - therefore not all interpretations are equally valid.
Intentists celebrate the 'creative trail' in their work by frequently keeping elements of the editing processes in their work. This layering of ideas we call 'palimpsestism.'