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