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modern art

Category: Other stuff
Date: 26 March 2004


I've been involved in quite a few discussions lately over modern and post-modern art or whatever it goes by these days. In my opinion, most of it is complete shit. I have many reasons for disliking abstract art. First, art is now dead as a social commentary. Picasso's Guernica no more conveys the horrors of war than the drawing I have in my journal of the Lusitania sinking I did as a 7 year old. Don't ask me why, but I drew pictures of dinosaurs and the sinking of famous ships my father told me about when I was little. No one cares about art anymore except the art world. Actually, I remembered an article I read a long time ago and would like to post it.

I just remembered the Installation piece Tag Ray: The Heartland. There was this kid no one liked that went to my high school and his mom was some sort of artist. Apparently there was some old homeless dude that lived in a shack in their town. When the homeless dude died, she stole all his shit and created an installation that she convinced somebody to let her put it in our school. The center piece was his shack, with a tv inside a paper mache heart showing interviews with homeless people. then his boots were in the middle with their heels cut off and surrounding the whole thing were like 50 pairs of ruby red slippers with their heels cut off (they can't go home, get it?). I think everyone hated the thing because it was in the middle of our cafeteria/ great hall. I'll never forget how Kuan Chen one day just walked through the whole exhibit dragging his feet and kicking the shoes out of his way. Effing hilarious.

From Bad Art/Good Art, if you are interested in art I think this is a very important article to read.

For example:

1. I could carefully (with enough money) dig up an old bombed out tenement building in the Bronx, and have it transported to a special slab built for it in Central Park. Rope off the structure and aim lights at it at night and give it a title, and with enough pomp and circumstance think of twenty reasons why this is sheer brilliance and genius. 2. I could boil the entrails of several different animals and then preserve them by imbedding them in clear plastic. I could then hang them from a mobile with similarly preserved body parts of cadavers, and have critics claim that this is the greatest artistic statement about the horrors of war since Guernica. 3. I could imbed into the walls, ceiling and floors of a small room, pieces of neon lights, parts from broken machines and engines, and broken pieces of structural building materials like bricks, beams and cinder blocks. Then I could glue between everything millions of nails, nuts and bolts, and have clever writers and critics point out how this room (which could be installed at MOMA or the Guggenheim) is the quintessential statement of the effects of the industrial age on human psychology.

Well, those three ideas took all of 3 minutes to think of. MY GOD! This must mean I'm three geniuses rolled into one. Why, at this rate I could come up with more brilliant ideas for Modernism than all of the modernist geniuses put together, if I just would put aside a week or two.

The thing here that really is interesting is not their art at all, but the statement it makes about the nature of our species -- that so many seemingly intelligent people have been so easily snookered by the tongue-twisting, convoluted illogic of modernist rhetoric. Clearly for many people it is more important to feel that they are some part of an elitist in-group that is endowed with the special ability to see brilliance where the bulk of humanity sees nothing and is afraid to say so. Since most people aren't devoted to or educated in fine art, they have successfully intimidated the bulk of humanity into cowering away in silence, feeling foolish for their inability to understand. The average person shrinks away from believing the reality of his or her own senses in the face of seemingly overwhelming numbers of people in this 20th century "establishment" who authoritatively dictate what is great art and what everyone should be seeing.

Modern and Post-modern Art is nihilistic and anti-human. It denigrates humanity along with our hopes, dreams, desires and the real world in which we live. All reference to any of these things is forbidden in the canonistic halls of modernist ideology. We can see that their hallowed halls are a hollow shell, a vacuous, vacant vault that locks their devotees away from life and humanity. It ultimately bores the overwhelming bulk of its would-be audience, who can find nothing with which to relate.

It has been called exciting and cutting-edge, but the sad truth is that it is incredibly humdrum and monotonous. Whether you glue together pieces of plastic or shards of glass, assemble metal scraps or piles of feathers. Whether you dribble little dollops of colors or drag fat uneven slashes of black. Whether you compile a mountain of paper or wrap the Statue of Liberty. The effect is always the same. MEANINGLESS PRIMITIVISM.

Modernism is art about art. It endlessly asks the question, ad nauseum: What is art? What is art? Only those things that expand the boundaries of art are good; all else is bad. It is art about art. Whereas all the great art in history, my friends, is ART ABOUT LIFE.

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