According to Tolstoy, art was to be judged by its level of contagion; essentially art is a virus. He said: “A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist.”  The distance between our worlds is erased because that story; the one that is silently being told, is ‘our’ story. This is the magic of art; when there is nothing between the heart of the viewer and the heart of the artist.
Tolstoy advocated that art was a human condition, a vehicle of empathy and communication, a “means of intercourse between man and man”.  He said that art was based upon the idea that the observer can experience the same emotions as the artist (or even other viewers).
He termed this “infectiousness”.
If the artist could infect the viewer with the same emotions then it was to be defined as art.
He saw it as “a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.” Tolstoy argued that there were three conditions necessary; individuality, clearness and sincerity. While uniqueness and clarity are important, it is the sincerity of the artist’s emotion that carries the most weight.
We recognize truthfulness.
Art is, furthermore, timeless, eternal.
Art is immortal.
Bridging together people, eras, cultures and lifetimes. 
Infectiousness creates these connections, allowing us to fall in love with a work of art created hundreds of years ago because we recognize the expressed emotion as if it had been our own to begin with!
This level of contagion is what we, as artists, strive for.
Reaching for your hearts with ours.
As Blake often says about his Spirit collection: “The tangible human form slowly disappears, making room for the ephemeral, the spiritual, and if I have succeeded as a sculptor, I will disappear as well, because it’s not about me, it is about you, the observer.”
By Boky & Blake
PS - Hilton | Asmus Contemporary
John Perkins has done it again. After landing on the New York Times bestseller list for 73 weeks in 2004 with Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins brings us up to date with another tell-all book revealing new details about the ways he and others manipulated countries around the globe. In this expanded edition, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins shares new revelations as a former economic hit man (EHM) along with insider advice on what we can do to take part in this global economic crisis.
Last week we welcomed John to Hilton | Asmus to speak on his new book. Why would a gallery spend time hosting a former front man, you ask? Simply put, we think knowledge is power. We believe that it is our responsibility as a nation, as people, and as a community to educate ourselves and one another on important and real issues happening in the world today. As an art gallery we promote and celebrate freedom of expression. We aim to inspire. John Perkins has us inspired.
In 2008, Arica Hilton, multi-media artist/poet and president of Hilton | Asmus Contemporary, met John Perkins during a program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. States Hilton, “John Perkins has a way of inspiring action that could lead to a far better, more just world than what we are seeing today. Many of us are sheltered and cannot comprehend the dangers and brutality that millions of people live through on a daily basis. If we can open our minds and think about the effect we have on others, on our environment and the generations to come, we might actually be able to heal so much of what is wrong in the world today. With the upcoming presidential elections, I think John’s most recent book is quite apropos.”
John Perkins wears many hats. Apart from his former life as an EHM he has worked at an international consulting firm as Chief Economist and was the CEO of a successful alternative energy company. John has written books on economics and politics, and shared his expertise on indigenous cultures. He is the founder and board member of two non-profit organizations, Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance.
John Perkins has generated a call to action to create greater social, environmental, and economic security for all.
We will strive to do our part, too.