The Postmodern Party is Over
Here’s a simple proposition: real art and rubbish are mutually exclusive.
Postmodern artists don’t understand this.
Lots of people call the bizarre and off-putting art displayed in contemporary galleries and museums “Modern Art.” However, we’ve left the ideas that drove the Modern age behind us. We are living through the death throes of the Postmodern era, a much more troubling time.
Postmodernism is the camouflage outfit for Cultural Marxism, a 100 year project to destroy Western Civilization. The New Aristocracy of the Well Connected intended to launch a new Dark Age, where elitists wielded unaccountable power over a vast dispirited serfdom. They use mass media psychological manipulation to undermine us all. Their strategy was to manipulate language, and corrupt our institutions, in order to make us all submit.
This top-down project has finally started meeting serious resistance; their kingdom of sophistry and social pressures is crumbling. Postmodernism has failed, but the routing of the enemies within, and the massive work of reconstruction, will be a long and challenging process.
Perhaps no field displays Postmodern excesses and absurdity more that the arts. Modern art had already introduced alienation and fragmentation into the artistic experience. Art, the communal expression of beauty and order, had been undermined by reckless ideologues. They valued experimentation as an end in itself, and lost sight of being able to produce meaningful results. Above all else, art is a form of communication. Modernist partisans, fixated on art’s technical properties, often ended up irrelevant and incoherent.
When Postmodernism began to rise in the 1960s, it shifted artistic emphasis towards relativism, political proselytizing, and nihilism. Postmodernism is a clumsy power grab. It works on the doubtful premise “whatever the art scene asserts is art, is art.” We are all expected to bow before their insider status and so-called expertise.
So what do Postmodern scenesters advance as art? They thrive on “appropriation.” This means artists don’t actually make what they claim is their artwork; it’s made by hired skilled craftsmen, or already existing objects are merely collected and displayed. Often, these found objects are literally trash.
Here are eight times when cleaning crews showed more wisdom than the arts establishment, and put Postmodern garbage exactly where it belonged.
1. Damien Hirst “Painting by Numbers” (2001)
.One of the kingpins of Postmodern non-art is the no-longer-so-young Young British Artist Damien Hirst. Before he was involved in a price manipulation scandal where he bought his own art to jack up the reported sales price, in 2001 Hirst tried to pass off some other trash as his own artistic production.
.Instead of cleaning up after the Eyestorm Gallery’s opening party for his installation “Painting By Numbers,” he proclaimed the remaining debris was now part of the show. However, the janitors didn’t see “the piles of full ashtrays, half-filled coffee cups, empty beer bottles and newspapers strewn across the gallery” as adding anything to the ambiance. They chucked it all, although we are assured it was”…an impromptu installation, which increased its value by thousands.”
Fortunately, a counterpoint of common sense was articulated by artist Charles Thomson:
Charles Thomson, co-founder of the Stuckist art movement, which favours the traditional skills of drawing and painting, praised Mr Asare’s action.
“The cleaner obviously ought to be promoted to an art critic of a national newspaper. He clearly has a fine critical eye and can spot rubbish, just as the child could see that the emperor wasn’t wearing any new clothes,” he said.
2. Gustav Metzger “Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art” (2004)
The Tate Britain was not ashamed to show garbage as art, but they were embarrassed when it got thrown into the crusher. They described it as “an artwork by Gustav Metzgerin…made up of several elements, one of which is a rubbish bag included by the artist as an integral part of the installation.”
Even though the bag was retrieved, the artist declared the trash was now ruined and could not be used. Thanks goodness he came up with some additional waste to take its place.
The museum spokesperson declared “The new rubbish bag is now put in a box overnight for safe keeping,” without a whiff of irony.
3. Leslie Rech “Anna Dropped Her Basket” (2004)
This poor artist was only trying to bring some culture to the mean streets of Columbia, South Carolina. Instead, she found out just how mean those streets could be.
A sanitation worker disposed of her offering for an installation art show, which “consisted of about 300 eggshells and a handmade dress,” in an alleyway.
Matt Kennell, executive director of the organization which hosted the event, acknowledged the misunderstanding involved. “What he saw was a dress on top of eggshells, so he cleaned it up,” Kennell said. “That’s his job, to clean stuff out of alleys.”
Apparently, Kennell’s job is to facilitate placing stuff into alleys, instead of taking it out.
4. Paul Branca “Mediating Landscape” (2014)
This Italian installation at Sala Murat featured newspapers, cardboard and cookie crumbs scattered across the floor. After the cleaning lady swept up, the damage to the artwork was estimated to be 10,000 euros (over $15,000 in American dollars at the time).
They must have been some very expensive cookies indeed.
5. Sara Goldschmied and Eleonora Chiari “Where Shall We Go Dancing Tonight?” (2015)
Italy again. It took two Postmodern artistes to think this one up.
Described as an art installation of “empty champagne bottles and spent party poppers,’ this masterpiece was successfully retrieved from the dumpster by the cleaners who threw it out., and reinstalled. Letizia Ragaglia, director of the Museion Bozen-Bolzano, stated “It all goes to show how contemporary art is capable of arousing great interest, or even annoying people.” Mostly the latter.
6. Pepa Chan “Resurfacing” (2015)
In the city of St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, a local artist had her outdoor installation hauled away. Pepe Chan had created what looks like some kind of creepy attempt to lure kids into a homeless encampment. Of course, it was meant to “invoke the forgotten identities and traumas of aboriginal children using found toys and aboriginal poetry.”
What Chan didn’t invoke was the needed permission to actually use city property as her display space. She didn’t pursue getting a permit “because of the large amount of work and red tape that goes into doing so.”
She grimly noted, “It’s like what I was trying to explore with my work, their answer to it was so violent.”
7. Will Kurtz “Keep America Great Again” 2016
No collection of contemporary art would complete without some OrangeManBad in it. Will Kurtz made this contribution. It’s a play on a certain campaign slogan, and it’s an overflowing garbage can! Get it?
The janitors didn’t get it. They emptied the trash can. The raccoon was spared.
In a strange twist of fate, curator Brooke Shields went dumpster diving to find the missing waste.
Hopefully that saved Art Southampton gallery from having to cough up the $8,000.00 price tag for the loss.
8. Carol May “Unhappy Meal” (2018)
Hong Kong has its troubles today, but they are nothing compared to what this poor artist experienced in 2018. Her art, a negative knockoff of an emblematic fast food design, got tossed from the Harbour Art Fair.
Even though the piece was later found, “…it was battered beyond repair.”
“Initially I didn’t find it funny at all,” May said. “But later I realized it meant my imitation had been a success.”
This is some definition of success I am not familiar with.
Why is there this persistent effort to rename garbage as art? In many ways, these misleading misnomers reflect the core values of the collapsing Postmodern project; the abuse of authority. Word games and rationalizations. Efforts to divide, and confuse, and suppress. It’s the Postmodern mindset itself which is rubbish.
But something is rising to take the place of this outmoded, half baked totalitarianism. Art is actually a great weakness for the elites, because they have so obviously trashed it. As I write in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, the tide is turning:
The elitists understood to maintain power, they had to undermine resistance. That’s why the top down cultural forces have made Postmodernism so prevalent. Using mass media to communicate their sickening message, the establishment made dispiriting Postmodernism the terrain we all must navigate, the atmosphere we all must breathe, the environment we all must adapt to.
But this effort at control loses its presumptive prestige once its mechanics and motivations are exposed. How can the spell of Postmodernism best be broken? You can’t beat something with nothing, even if the something is as stupid and unfulfilling as Postmodernism. A credible alternative must be established.
Remodernism is the recognition that Western civilization is still mighty. Remodernism knows we can still use our talents to create unprecedented growth. Remodernism is understanding our best days are still ahead of us, if we make the right choices, and do the needed work.
We will demonstrate this in art, to begin with. Imagine a new, decentralized creative class not invested in trashing our culture, but in celebrating it. What a choice to present to our citizens. Uplifting, honest artistry will change the tone of our entire society. Where we go one, we go all.
Renew the arts, and renew the civilization.
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