ARTICLE: Activist Art Exposed as an Elitist Bait and Switch

Graphically Dull: The Stilted Stylings of Turner Prize nominee Forensic Architecture

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“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

― Socrates

It’s that time again. Time for ruling class apparatchiks to announce the latest slate of non-artists to be nominated for what is advertised as a prestigious award for art:

THE GUARDIAN: Turner prize shortlist pits research agency against film-makers. “A research agency that investigates international crimes and injustice, and comprises architects, film-makers, archaeologists, investigative journalists, lawyers and scientists, has been nominated for the 2018 Turner prize. Forensic Architecture, which has about 16 members and is based at Goldsmiths, University of London, will compete for the 33rd edition of the prize against three solo artists – Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.The list is more overtly political than in previous years, featuring artists tackling issues of post-colonialism and migration, queer identity, human rights abuses and racial violence. Once again, it raises questions about what precisely art is. The three solo artists primarily use film, whether shot on 35mm or iPhone.”

Over in the UK, the Tate Museum’s Turner Prize is one of those self-serving yearly events elitists create to congratulate themselves for extreme cleverness. Named after an actual artist, the great English painter J.M.W. Turner, this supposed recognition of achievement is anything but. First awarded in 1984, the Turner Prize has degenerated into the establishment’s way of trying to enforce pointless Postmodernism as the standard for contemporary art. It’s almost like they purposely look for the most numbskull non-art possible to distort the public’s perception of what art is, and what it does.

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.If wisdom begins with the definition of terms, what do you call efforts to deliberately lie about what those definitions actually are? The manipulation of our shared understanding is too calculated to be merely inept; too consistent to be ascribed to simple ignorance; too debased to be just misguided. There is strategy here, relentlessly advanced and ferociously enforced.

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Misdirection is at the core of the whole rotten Postmodern gambit. “Who is there among you, who, if his son. asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” The contemporary technocratic managerial class, that’s who. Our culture is saturated with globalist diktats that are fundamentally at odds with reality.  They not only give us stones for bread, they give us leftist activism in place of art, and tell us to swallow it.

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The art world makes a great example of the failure of elitist equivocations, because it exposes the lies with visual evidence. In their latest event to assure us that 2 + 2 = 5, the Tate scraped up some real scintillating content. Take for example the Guardian’s article headliner, Forensic Architecture. As their website describes:

“Forensic Architecture is an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Our interdisciplinary team of investigators includes architects, scholars, artists, filmmakers, software developers, investigative journalists, archaeologists, lawyers, and scientists. Our evidence is presented in political and legal forums, truth commissions, courts, and human rights reports.We also undertake historical and theoretical examinations of the history and present status of forensic practices in articulating notions of public truth.”

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Not impressed by the vast list of ax-grinding bureaucracies and committees Forensic Architecture engages with? Don’t see what any of that has to do with art? Maybe their supporting imagery will get you woke, or maybe not:

Forensic Architecture’s reconstruction of the abduction of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico in 2014. 

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Nothing like graphics that could be out of a 1980s pain reliever television commercial to prove This-is-Serious-Guys. Or perhaps your artistic spirit is more stirred by a flow chart/subway map aesthetic:

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Forensic Architecture: missed their stop

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Nominated for a top art prize. Seriously. This is not art, this an activist power point presentation that seeped out of its think tank, and now threatens to bore all of humanity. Something has gone seriously wrong with standards and practices.

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Either some people in the culture industries don’t know what they are doing, or they know exactly what they are doing, and it’s with evil intent. Benjamin R. Dierker’s recent Federalist essay “How The Left’s War On Words Manipulates Your Mind,” sums it up, describing:

“This isn’t innocent linguistic drift or slang; it is a conscious effort to reshape society. The schemes include redefining words for personal gain, using modifiers to alter the meaning of a word, replacing technical words with colloquial ones, and creating new words. Each of these is a bullying tactic, which distort effective discourse.”

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The Stuckist art movement called out the sheer stupidity of the Turner Prize with protests for years, until it just became too self-evident to bother about. In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, (coming in the summer of 2018) I build on ideas first codified by the founders of Stuckism, English artists Charles Thomson and Billy Childish. They recognized we are at the beginning of Remodernism, a new phase of our culture that will wipe out the frauds perpetrated by our Postmodern would-be masters. As I say in the Remodern America Manifesto:

“Ruling class totalitarians use Postmodern art as a tool of oppression. Elitists have weaponized art into an assault on the foundations of Western civilization. This deceitful cabal seeks to destroy any principled perspective on the lies, manipulations, and abuses they commit. The scourge of Postmodern relativism as a cultural force is no accident; it’s a top-down driven campaign. Hyping soulless, unskilled art has a toxic, weakening effect on society as a whole.”

The story of the twenty-first century will be the dismantling of centralized power. We’ve been poorly served by the governing classes across all our institutions. The longer the current elitists attempt to cling to their privileges, the harsher the ultimate corrections will end up being. But an easy place to start undermining their pompous authority is by daring to state the obvious: nominating propaganda for an art prize doesn’t make it into art.

Edit: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please check out other entries for more commentary on the state of the arts. 

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22 thoughts on “ARTICLE: Activist Art Exposed as an Elitist Bait and Switch

  1. Surely if a conservative group cobbled together similar graphics for their cause of choice – say, anti-abortion – the art would never be considered for the Turner Prize. This lets us know it’s the politics, and not the “art” that is the key. One needs to have the correct beliefs, or else you are out. We should therefore assume that political activism IS ART (assuming, of course, it is activism for the right cause).

    YUCK! AAAAAAAAAH! An artist must understand that his or her work needs to articulate the correct political beliefs, must actively be about politics and be a part of a social revolution, to be taken seriously. Art is completely subordinated to a political movement, and this doesn’t raise a red flag (with a hammer and sickle on it?).

    I agree that it looks like the prize is being used this year to cram a political agenda down the public throat. The idea that art must serve a give political agenda or be dismissed should be a bit frightening, camrades. Artists are now conscripted into someone else’s ideological war.

    Seriously FUCK THAT! My reaction is to be a-political or anti-political, for art to stand up against indoctrination or forced conscription into an ideological paradigm or social movement. I thought artists were non-conformists and individuals, not dutiful cadres serving the cause of enforcing a new world order. And I’m concerned that some of the most gruesome social revolutions of the last century, with the highest death tolls of innocents, were for the ostensible good of the common man. The moral righteousness required of contemporary art may signal a growing authoritarianism. Not only must you NOT make art that goes against the cause, you must openly support the cause. No thanks. I smell blood.

    That said, I’m not necessarily really comfortable with your definitions of what art is, either. I’d say art is any creative enterprise in which the author communicates something substantive. It an artist decides to collect empty water bottles and fashion something out of them and the labels, OK, I’m game, let’s see what he or she does. Postmodernism isn’t entirely bad. “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” heavily employ Postmodernist techniques of borrowing from popular culture, juxtaposing and collaging disparate sources borrowed from popular culture, and weaving them into a new fabric. Of course Postmodernism goes to far, as we are always prone to reductionism, and the pendulum swinging too far in this or that direction. So, for example, I get pissed off when conceptualists say that painting is dead, but I also wouldn’t say that Andy Warhol isn’t art. He’s not in my top 100 artists, but it’s art. I wouldn’t write off that people can make meaningful art with unconventional techniques that incorporate bits from popular culture, employ irony, and so on.

    Cheers

  2. Robert Conquest added the slogan that Orwell, in 1984, “unaccountably failed to include”. As well as “War is Peace”, Freedom is Slavery” and Ignorance is Strength”, the totalitarians always assert:

    Rubbish is Art”

  3. Quote: The three solo artists primarily use film, whether shot on 35mm or iPhone.”

    Gosh, I didn’t know my iPhone used film. I must be near the end of the role by now. Where do I install a new roll? Where is the button I push to pop it open?

    I think this writer meant to say “pictures” rather than “film.”

  4. Turners painting are beautiful. The stuff depicted above is at best mildly disquieting. Hardly surprising since post-modernism rejects the very existence of beauty. Strangely they do seem able to recognize the hideous and the ugly and venerate it.

  5. Acceptance of unlovely modern art is a consequence of the human vice illustrated in Hans Christian Anderson’s allegorical fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

  6. A few quick thoughts:
    I’m doing well.
    Tom Wolfe is dead. I read “Electric Cool Aid Acid Test” many years ago, but I didn’t understand it for years; my fault not his.
    How did the collaboration end up?
    Last but not least a humble parable about the “world of art” from a great post modern neo classical philosopher!

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