In my previous writing I proclaimed that if we were to list the three most influential living artists today in terms of their effect on art of the next century, not one of them would be a painter. I proposed this to incite a riot. Of course it's a guessing game and will be for the next 25 years or so. My own list of living artists likely to have the strongest influence in 21st century art would include the filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the architect, I.M. Pei, and despite what I said about the list not including a single painter, I like the suggestion someone made naming Chuck Close, simply because what he's doing now with his large-scale portraits made up of small-scale abstracts is so computeristic (for lack of a better word), in exploring painted pixels and letting them speak on a grand scale in creating his realistic portraits. Whether on canvas or digitally (more likely the latter), I think this is the direction of 21st Century art.
Being a major influence over the major part of an entire century of art is a tall order. I made a point of using the term "artist" rather than painter because paint is such a limited and outmoded means of expression in even the latter part of THIS century. It wouldn't take a prophet to see that such a trend can only continue in the next. (By the same token, I've excluded PERFORMING artist as this would make too unwieldy the list from which to choose.) And even though I've included Spielberg on my list, I can foresee the same set of limitations that have antiquated painting as a means of serious social expression also besetting film in the next century. The reason being, despite all the special effects, color, sound, video tape, digitalization, etc. that have put film making on the cutting edge of art in this century, I can see them no longer measuring up to the creative demands of artists of the next century.
The reason being, film making is unidirectional. And while Spielberg may influence the "look" of films of the next generation or two, the VIEWERS of the next generation or two will want a hand in controlling that which they see. We see the first indications of this in the scenario video games that are such hot sellers now. It's only a short leap creatively and technologically in these "games" evolving into interactive art--a hybrid of cinema and gaming. If you're wondering why I included I.M. Pei, it's because his work is such a natural progression from the real driving force in the art of architecture of this century--Frank Lloyde Wright. It IS a guessing game, but I can visualize an America in the future made up of sleek, I.M. Pei homes where huge, digitalized, ever-changing Chuck Close portraits of family members adorn the walls, and where those family members watch a remake of E.T., each geting to play Elliot and deciding whether or not to climb aboard the UFO at the end. Okay, maybe there's an antique painting over the video-fireplace.