ARTICLE: Is A New Golden Age Coming to The Art World?

Dada Baroness

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven: Will the real R Mutt Please Stand Up?

 

I’D SAY IT’S BEEN A LOT LONGER THAN THAT: The Art World’s 60-Year Rut: Could A New Golden Age Be On The Horizon?

In which the author of the article produces this key quote: “The fact is, golden ages don’t happen when exclusivity rules. Just the opposite. They come when the gates and chains controlling consumption, competition, production, barriers to entry, and innovation have been smashed to pieces, allowing more people to participate in more ways—both as producers and consumers.

“So, as the art world dogmas appear increasingly quaint in our era of disruption, here’s hoping that a new time for artists, art and design to flourish, generate an excess of delight for the many and spark a broader conversation, still lies ahead.”

We’re coming up on a significant anniversary in 2017. It will be the 100 year anniversary of when the piece “Fountain” appeared-the sideways urinal submitted for consideration in a juried art show. Famed artist Marcel Duchamp appropriated the credit for this gesture much later, and so is lionized as the father of our contemporary art world. Oh, so irreverent, daring and clever!

In reality it seems very likely Duchamp stole the so-called glory for this piece from a female artist, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an eccentric  friend of his. The establishment is too invested in Duchamp’s reputation at this point to take a realistic look at this troubling situation. How fitting an act of deception and disrespect festers at the heart of what has driven elitist artistic concerns for decades.

I want to build momentum to use this impending centennial anniversary to force a reckoning on the art world, and to hold them accountable for their failures. There’s nothing novel in the tired shock tactics of the culture elitists. Dada is a dead end well past its expiration date;  ironic art fails to fulfill the function of art at all. It’s time for something new, which is actually something very ancient and enduring.

Billy Childish and Charles Thomson, founders of Stuckism, called this situation accurately in 2000, in the coda of their masterful Remodernism Manifesto:

“It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry. The principles on which Modernism was based are sound, but the conclusions that have now been reached from it are preposterous.

“We address this lack of meaning, so that a coherent art can be achieved and this imbalance redressed.

“Let there be no doubt, there will be a spiritual renaissance in art because there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism’s mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now.”

The Golden Age can come, if we make it happen.

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COMMENTARY: In The Art World, They Think They Are Better Than You

BarrAlfred Barr’s infamous 1936 chart of Artistic Development

ARTICLE: When Modern and Contemporary Art Broke Up

There’s nothing new under the sun. The Boston Manifesto, a statement from concerned members of that city’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 1948, provided an accurate prophecy of the bubble of exclusion, irrelevance and big money hypocrisy that today’s establishment art world encourages:
“Modern art, the manifesto declared, had become ‘a cult of bewilderment’; the gap between critics and artists and the public had produced ‘a…playground for double-talk, opportunism, and chicanery at the public expense.’ Modern art had ‘come to signify for millions something unintelligible, even meaningless…'”

The writers later backed off from some of their sentiments-not because they were wrong, but because they prioritized staying in ideological lockstep with their fellow travelers. The educated class bought completely into  the utopian delusion that the slate of society needed to be wiped clean to bring about heaven on earth-their version of heaven being one where they got to pick winners and losers based on the whims of cronyism.

Because of their grip on academia, administration, the media and the cultural institutions, buying into this establishment worldview became the only game in town. They fancied themselves the New Aristocracy of the Well Connected. These incestuous New Class snobs were content to retreat into the cloister of like-minded elitists, where art, both the objects and ideas, became just other forms of status symbols.

It’s fun to imagine what possibilities await us once we break the stranglehold these reverse King Midases of the Ivy League hold on our culture. For generations everything they’ve touched they’ve turned to shit, but still they kept up their tight networking, jealously guarding their privileges, working to exclude and undermine anything or anyone that would challenge their dominance. Since the results they produce themselves are often so poor, they’ve skewed the whole of society to assume credentials mean worthiness and achievement. Among the officially sanctioned creative classes, they’ve chosen a stance of entitled abuses of power instead of truly cultivating art that could connect with and inspire society at large.

But that voice from the outside won’t shut up. We’re not bewildered by the art world anymore, because in retrospect it’s all so clear how the culture went off the tracks, and just who was responsible for it. The exciting part is how we’re going to advance when we’re freed from the presumptions of the current power brokers. Their time is running out.

ARTISTS: Thornton Dial

The Ladies Had Knew That (1280x640)

Thornton Dial “African Jungle Picture: The Ladies Had Knew That”

I got to meet artist Thornton Dial once. In Richmond, Virginia the cooperative gallery I was a member of was hosting an exhibit of his works from the collection of Virginia Union University. I had stopped by the gallery the day before the opening and he was just leaving, having come to review the installation. He was a small,  slight man with an intensely focused demeanor. When we shook hands his grip was strong and rough, hands made hard by a lifetime of work.

Thornton-Dial-African-Athlete

Thornton Dial “African Athlete”

Dial is a self taught artist from Alabama, born in 1928. He spent the majority of his life in obscurity, just another laborer from the rural South. Dial says of his upbringing, “I come up hard, and I didn’t want to suffer. That will make you work…I done most every kind of work a man can do. Cement work on the highways, pouring iron at Jones Foundry, loaded bricks at Harbison Walker brickyard, did some pipe fitting, worked down at the waterworks, did carpentry and house painting for different white contractors, metalwork—all kind of it—iron and steel at Pullman Standard for about thirty years. I’m a working man.”

Thornton-Dial-photo-442x590

“If we going to change the world, we got to look at the little man.” Thornton Dial 

Dial was in his 50s when he got laid off from his job and started welding patio furniture and his own sculptural ideas. His creations caught the attention of art collectors, which started slow rise in recognition. With the support of a patron named Bill Arnett, Dial started to create epic mixed media reliefs and mural sized assemblages, massive installations of salvaged industrial materials gracefully transformed into layered, textured environments. It’s hard to capture their complexity in photographs.

Thornton_Dial_Raggly_Flag

Thornton Dial “Don’t Matter How Raggly The Flag, It Still Got To Tie Us Together”

(mattress coils, chicken wire, clothing, can lids, found metal, plastic twine, wire, Splash Zone compound, enamel, spray paint, on canvas on wood)

This is where the inherent biases and hypocrisies of the establishment art world become apparent. Despite the accomplishment of his works, the cultural elites were more comfortable pigeonholing him into categories like folk or outsider art, denying him his rightful place as a major figure in the artistic development of the United States. In their minds there’s no place among the officially credentialed for a poetic visionary who can’t even read or write.

There are some signs this is changing, and the arbitrary distinctions imposed by the establishment are breaking down. Redemption for the jaded, insular art world is going to have to come from outside their rigid dogmas and corrupt hierarchies.

Thornton Dial says it best: “I know that I don’t have to ask nobody for a license to make art. My art talk about that freedom. People have fought for freedom all over the world. I try to show that struggle. It is a war to be fought. We’re trying to win it.

“It seem like some people believe that just because I ain’t got no education, say I must be too ignorant for art. Seem like some people always going to value the Negro that way. I believe I have proved that my art is about ideas, and about life, and the experience of the world. I have tried to learn how to explain everything I have did. I tried to name everything that could be named about that experience, and if a person still see ignorance in me, he might just be looking into his own self. God made everything so clear that even a fool could not err. At least, even a fool ought to not. Education mean different things. I ain’t never been much good at talking about stuff. I always just done the stuff I had a mind to do. My art do my talking.”

 Struggling Tiger in Hard Times

Thornton Dial “Struggling Tiger in Hard Times”

memories-td

Thornton Dial “Memory of the Ladies That Gave Us the Good Life”

ARTICLE: Post-Postmodern Art

Snow Shovel

Marcel Duchamp: “Snow Shovel” for a snow job

ARTICLE: Post-Postmodern Art  Key quote from the article, and words to live by: “Duchamp and the others have become the iconic figures of recent art history. Through them, the story of the art world is a story of self-conscious disintegration. Once, however, everything has been disintegrated, every artist has a choice. He can choose to play the current game of cynicism and despair, hoping, at best, to introduce a minor variation here and there. Or he can look afresh at the world and rediscover in it the potential that earlier great artists pointed us toward.”

The savvy can already see the inevitable collapse of the current establishment art system, which was built up over a relatively recent time frame. It exists as a fragile bubble, kept inflated by its own hot air hype and wildly reckless speculation by well-moneyed but clueless dupes.

The vapid circus the elitists favor can only exist as a monopoly. Create a viable alternative, and watch the stampede for the exits, away from the banal trash the cultural institutions have been inflicting  on an increasingly alienated and disengaged populace for decades.

Question the assumptions that drive the power brokers. Today’s stellar careers, reputations, and investments will be tomorrow’s obscure footnotes, wiped out by the merciless but objective judgment of ever progressing time.

The current art world echo chamber is crumbling.  Lots of what gets made these days and presented as art cannot survive outside of the shrinking cultural institutional enclave. However, this is not the end of art, it’s the end of an adminstrative model that has failed to perform. It is being out-evolved.

This is not a cause for fear, it’s a cause for celebration. We are taking part in a major periodic shift of consciousness: exciting times. Remodernism, which recognizes art as an inclusive, spiritual, DIY activity, provides one path forward. Doubtless there are others. But art is about to take an incredible leap forward, and reengage with society in a way it hasn’t in decades.

The Artists of BOOKED: Contemporary Literary Art

KEVIN

Michele Bledsoe “Dear Franklin…”

Inspired by Lionel Shriver “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

 

I really enjoy assembling group art shows, an activity I’ve done for years in many different capacities.

I’ve been the exhibition committee chairman of a non-profit gallery; run my own open studio in the warehouse space I lived in for 2 years; been part of a long running and beloved cooperative gallery in downtown Phoenix. I volunteer  to hang shows for our church. I’ve hosted pop up art installations and performance events in my home and other assorted venues: hair salons, coffee houses, office buildings, street fairs, and even a trailer in the middle of nowhere. In 2014 I brought the works of 28 artists from 5 countries to Arizona for International Stuckists: Explorers and Inventors.   It’s all been a labor of love.

In my mind an artist should be an exhibitionist (but only of their artwork!) and should take every opportunity to have their work seen, by as broad an audience as possible. If art is not shared it remains incomplete. Through these experiences I’ve developed a certain curatorial philosophy. I usually don’t select pieces.  I look for artists whose work inspires me, and invite them to show what they want. I respect their creativity, and give them a chance to display their own vision.

Theme shows are fun in the sense that some boundaries are set that will create a cohesive experience in the exhibit, but will still give the participants a chance to innovate and show their own character by their unique approach to a common subject. I’m always amazed by the results. It evokes the energy of synchronicity and highlights unexpected connections.

This is the case once again with “BOOKED: Contemporary Literary Art.” Artists were invited to create works inspired by favorite books. I sure appreciate everyone who took the time to make something that shows what they’ve enjoyed; it is thrilling to me to see what this independent group of creatives devised. It’s also an impressive reading list!

Barton

Leslie Edeline Barton “Flowers for Algernon”

Inspired by Daniel Keyes “Flowers for Algernon”

hopping1

Richard Bledsoe “A Horrible Hopping Creature in White”

Inspired by M R James “Casting The Runes”

Carrico

Stephanie Carrico “Mechanical Turtle”

inspired by Salvador Plascencia  “The People of Paper”

 

Anna Dufek

 Anna Dufek “Lucy”

Inspired by C S Lewis “Chronicles of Narnia”

Hassell

Annette Hassell “John Uskglass the Raven King”

Inspired by Susanna Clarke “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”

Martin

Clay Martin “Uzumaki”

Inspired by Junji Ito “Uzimaki”

Montano

Joe Montano III “Young Naked Mary”

Inspired by The Bible

Morgan

David Morgan “New Breed”

Inspired by Daniel H Wilson “Robopocalypse”

TheAngelDescends4

Larry Ortega “The Angel Descends”

Inspired by The Bible

rippledavecooper

Shelley Whiting “Ripple 2”

Inspired by Dave Cooper “Ripple: A Predilection For Tina”

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BOOKED: CONTEMPORARY LITERARY ART

Artwork Inspired By Favorite Books

February 2 – February 28. 2015

Opening Reception First Friday February 6, 2015 6pm

Third Friday Reception February 20, 2015 6pm

THE TRUNK SPACE

1506 NW Grand Ave

Phoenix, Arizona 85007

602-256-6006

ARTICLE: When Postmodern Art Attacks Western Civilization

Burn

When Postmodern Art Attacks Western Civilization

There’s nothing new about the corrosive corruption that inhabits our cultural institutions. We’ve had decades of long march partisans infiltrating the organizations that are meant to sustain our society. Our foundations are under systemic assault by those we’ve entrusted them to, ideologues who have perverted their missions. Their Bizzaro World versions of education, communication, administration and the arts have been weaponized into all out attacks on anyone who resists the utopian statist agenda.

What is new, and is making some people uncomfortable, is the rising chorus of voices who are daring to criticise the dysfunctional status quo. Money quote from the article above: “But if more people don’t speak up when civilization comes under existential attack by envious losers who prefer to destroy what they cannot build, our prospects may be bleak indeed.” But while the author of the article is voting with his feet-avoiding places that piss him off-that is no solution.

Remodernism creates a positive alternative to attempts to enforce submission and conformity to the decadent and power hungry machinations of the existing establishment. The spreading influence of free thought and creativity, outside of the officially sanctioned channels and hierarchies, is the biggest threat they face.

The re-formation of our culture is well underway; our future will be what we make of it.