John Latham “Time Base Roller”
Make some effort to try to understand the works, you bumpkins
IT’S HARD TO MISINTERPRET SOMETHING WORSE THAN ART CRITIC TABASH KHAN DOES, IN THIS ARTICLE: Fad Magazine’s What’s Wrong With Art? Conceptual Art Is Complicated.
“So why are people put off by conceptual art? Often it’s because the artist or gallery hasn’t taken any steps to explain the concepts behind the work. Most visitors to galleries would happily make some effort to try to understand the works but are often only provided with a convoluted press release that includes a line about the work speaking for itself — when it clearly doesn’t.
“For these reasons many visitors will often not engage with the works and be snootily labelled by art world insiders as ‘not getting it’.”
In case you haven’t followed the stultifying degeneration of the contemporary art scene, you might not know Conceptual Art has been the Next Big Thing for about 50 years now. In Conceptual Art, the idea is now an “artist” only needs to have an idea. The actual object can be made by someone else, or be an already existing common object put into a new artistic context, or maybe even not be made at all, but only exist as a documented thought. If a new tangible object is produced, it’s likely been farmed out to anonymous technicians who have actual skills. But it’s the name brand artist who takes the credit and the big money. The lack of actual ability and accomplishment is disguised by lots of pseudo-intellectual academic jargon, designed to obscure rather than illuminate.
Writer Tom Wolfe, in his classic take down of the art world, The Painted Word, had these pretenders pegged back in 1975:
“…there, at last, it was! No more realism, no more representation objects, no more lines, colors, forms, and contours, no more pigments, no more brushstrokes. …Art made its final flight, climbed higher and higher in an ever-decreasing tighter-turning spiral until… it disappeared up its own fundamental aperture…”
Khan gives the game away in his article, but does not seem to realize it:
“After all, the godfather of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp’s concepts weren’t particularly complex. By placing a urinal in a gallery he was questioning how you define what art is, and whether the artist and the setting give weight to an artwork. Philosophical questions which are still relevant today.”
What Marcel Duchamp did-besides probably stealing the credit for his most infamous work from a mentally ill woman artist– was twist art from a vibrant, visceral experience into an ironic elitist assertion. The date of R. Mutt’s toilet in the gallery was 1917. It’s literally been a hundred years, and the establishment art world is all in on simply creating variations on the same old tired shock tactics.
Conceptual superstar Damien Hirst
This is different because it’s a toilet and a dead animal
Khan nails it when he says Duchamp (or whoever it really was) was not complex. Where he gets it so wrong is assuming that words can be used to justify the inadequate offerings of our corrupted cultural institutions.
Khan obviously believes art needs an enlightened priest caste to transmogrify and translate art for the ignorant peasants. It’s an arrogant assumption very prevalent inside the art world bubble. The Postmodern creative class blames the audience instead of looking at their own failures to communicate and connect.
Art does have a philosophical element to it-but it is so much more than that. And words can never act as a substitute for a visual experience which moves and inspires. Ultimately art is a mysterious, timeless expression that cannot be reduced to language. If we could say it, we wouldn’t have to show it to you.
The art world rebels the Stuckists know the truth. At the core of their principled stand for an art of the people, by the people, for the people, they state a truth we can hold to be self evident:
“Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.”
-The Stuckist Manifesto
Edit: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other entries for more on the state of the arts.