The author writes: Across cultures on this planet there has emerged the art of storytelling, drama, painting, music, bodily adornment, and all the other arts. I'll add that this is true for even the most remote and isolated populations that have little to no outside contacts. So, it seems that wherever people exist art exists in some form.
Dutton also writes that shared human psychology (e.g. the impulses of the same fundamental human nature) means that the arts should follow similar histories even in different nations. Although I didn't find specifics in the text to support this idea, it's not difficult to imagine the development of art forms evolving from primitive tribal expression with primitive materials toward more derived work with greater complexity as time advances. However, I've noticed that today there exist a few cultures that have retained primitive tribal art forms to the exclusion of other forms over millenia. Does this mean that there's not a universal tendency for art to evolve from primitive to complex with time? Could it be that these cultures need technological innovations and exposure to the art of other cultures to create more complex forms of art? And, is increasing complexity the natural outcome of time? That is, does human nature lead us to add layers of complexity to our creations as time advances in our individual lives?
I'll venture from this book a little further to ask if complexity in art is desirable. This is a bit of a slippery slope, because what is seemingly "simple" or "primitive" can also be very complex when closely analyzed. So, we'll limit the word "primitive" as it's applied here to mean unsophisticated or naive work that is not highly derived and complex. Returning to individual taste, what type of art do you prefer to view: complex or primitive? What do you prefer to create, a more complex work of art or a one that's more primitive in style and content?
I'll return to this interesting chapter in Dutton's book tomorrow.