Talking About Art While the World Burns

Sit Down John: A Portrait of John Adams by Gilbert Stuart

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Founding father John Adams had personal priorities he was able to extrapolate into a vision of progress for the United States.

In a letter to his wife, Adams explained, “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

Adams believed an emphasis on art had to come after at least two generations worth of work on practical matters before we, as a people, earned the right to luxuriate in matters of beauty and taste. It seems like good advice on the surface. Societies do need stability and peace before artistic efforts can thrive.

However, what Adams unfortunately did not realize is art too can be a weapon of war, and a means of politics. Even more concerning, those who miss how subliminally influential art is to the way society works are vulnerable to having the power of art used against them.

The bad news is, the damage of corrupted art already happened here.

Over the last century or so, the captured art world was used by our enemies to sever our cultural roots. Western values were undermined by the stealthy conquest and transformation of art from a timeless human practice and communal celebration into a Cultural Marxist scorched earth hellhole.

Our way of life followed the direction this corrupted art led us, because like it or not, acknowledge it or not, a culture’s art shows the people who they are, and informs them on how to live. It’s not the only factor shaping our principles, but it is a powerful one.

That is why we need to look at and consider art’s ramifications even as practical matters degenerate all around us. Historically, establishment forces have always used lies to further their interests. However, before we had the current massive global scale of fake news, fake elections, fake pandemics and more, our elites trained us to accept falsehood by pushing fake versions of art.

Art will not be the only solution to the crises we face, but it is a vital resource that must be addressed in order to stabilize the situation and stop the bleeding.

Where to begin? First, defining the problems. Most people are alienated from art. However, when people complain about the poor quality of Modern art, they do not understand technically Modernism is now a bygone era which was only the thin end of the wedge of the artistic assault.

Modernism was a mixed bag of both successful innovations and failed experiments, which in art gained prominence in the 1800s and was spent as a cultural force by the 1960s.

The idea that began to take form for nineteenth century intellectuals that most of humanity suddenly lost the capacity for art is a cruel lie and an insult against the spiritual nature we all share, the spiritual nature traditional art appealed to.

The conceit that art is only accessible to an elite few, takes special esoteric knowledge to enjoy, or can be discarded from the human condition, is absurd in the course of global human history. Even agriculture, a cornerstone of civilization, is tens of thousands of years more recent than the production of art. Art is a legacy for us all.

 Not all Modern art was bad.  Many artists considered in their day as outrageous examples of Modernist degeneracy actually participated in the enduring values of art, albeit in new, and therefore poorly understood, ways. We can know them by seeing those who have survived the test of time, and are now recognized and beloved by the masses. Van Gogh, Monet, Chagall, Dali, Magritte, O’Keeffe, Kahlo, Klimt, Munch, and more, all were Modern in their own ways. They fulfilled the Modernist doctrine to use an individual vision to express universal truths about life, and they did not follow the demands of the church, state, or aristocracy. Posterity has rewarded them with generalized popularity.

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Van Gogh, Magritte, Kahlo, Dali, and Munch: Modern Art Enduring the Test of Time

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The failures of Modernism, and why it is and was so unsatisfactory to so many, comes from those notorious creatives who withdrew their art practices so far into abstraction they became non-objective, severing art from the natural world. The general audience recognized these as inadequate attempts at art because extreme abstraction robs art of two of its most vital elements: the display of masterful skills, and the ability to communicate. The works of players like Pollock, Rothko, De Kooning, Twombly and Stella embodied the reputation of fine art as both pretentious and something a toddler could produce.

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Pollock, Rothko, De Kooning, Twombly, Stella: How To Alienate An Audience

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The Modernist sequestration of art from the masses, which abstract and non-objective art accomplished, was coordinated by leftist operatives who rushed into the vacuum left by America’s initially benign indifference towards art. The push to make abstraction the pinnacle of art was the work of materialist Marxists such as critics Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. In retrospect it is not surprising this undermining of art also received assists from the villainous conspirators of the CIA.

Once the Marxist infiltrators had completed their march through the institutions, they proceeded to shape the art world in ways leftists always do: abusing their authority to manipulate language and change the meanings of words, throttling accessibility of resources, curtailing dissent, and cultivating an us-against-them mentality.

In the isolated, overlooked fiefdoms of fine art, these cultural influencers bred a monster: the soul crushing totalitarianism of Postmodernism. This is the world we are living in today. Postmodernism emerged as a culture force in 1960s, and now is the operating model for the globalist elite.

Postmodernists claims the preferences of the powerful overrule reality, and they expect us all to support their delusions of mastery.

In my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I described our descent into Postmodern tyranny this way:

“Postmodernism started off by redefining art into anti-art. It’s now spread. Like a virus, Postmodernism converted every institution it infested into a factory for producing more of the Postmodern disease. Postmodernism makes every worthy cause betray its rightful mission.”

Koons, Hirst, Emin, Banksy, Wiley: The Highs Costs Of Making Fake Art

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Postmodern art reflects and advances this corruption. The major artists pushed today by the corrupt art world offer irrelevance, carrion, excrement, pornography, debris, and propaganda.

The works of Koons, Hirst, Emin, Banksy, Abramovic and Wiley are examples catering to elite decadence with divisive, ludicrously pricy non-art.  

In the years I’ve participated in the arts, I’ve watched the blue chip artists most emphasized by the Postmodernized cultural institutions gradually mutate from the abstract, to ridiculous Conceptual artists in 1990s, to now promoting identity ideology, all the time.

The mask is finally off, establishment art is just another cog in the Maoist Cultural Revolution our elites are fomenting.

Call Postmodernsim what it really is: a euphemism for a communist power grab, which is itself ultimately thinly veiled Satanism.

However, even as the captured art world subtly spreads toxicity throughout society, few are actually engaged with current art practices. I don’t have firm numbers to support this, but I would not be surprised if a good 90 percent of the population is not buying what elitist culture is selling.

The people do not understand though ignoring the bad art is not enough, because the fake art still taints public life.

So how do we fight back in the arts, the culture, and the downstream politics?

In a way, it will be easy. Art is up for grabs.

Art has been so mismanaged, next to no one is engaged with it. The arts are in a crisis of relevance, not because there is anything wrong with art itself, but because the powerful have committed a bait and switch. So much of what is offered up by museums, galleries, the media and academia does not earn the status of real art.

Properly situated, art is a powerful resource. So we fight back by making art great again.

We don’t want to try to beat Postmodern propaganda with propaganda of our own. We beat propaganda with real art, displaying the skill, meaning, beauty, and significance our culture has been denied by the compromised cultural institutions.

We out evolve those who’ve betrayed humanity by abusing art while pursuing their own personal power.

We show them the traditions of the West unleashed will trample the kingdom of deceit they’ve built.

I was inspired to take on this challenge by two British artists, Billy Childish and Charles Thomson. In 2000 they identified the fraud of Postmodernism as the enemy of human potential. They proposed Remodernism, a cultural reboot, an open source art movement for the 21st century. The experimental individualism of the Modern age must continue and regenerate society, but it can only do so enhanced with the holy revelation that in art and life, God is central.

Now that Postmodernism rules the world, the stakes are even higher.

The left does not expect a counterattack from the arts. They assume the arts are thoroughly conquered territory. But once again, Postmodernists have mistaken their own usurped authority as the only reality which matters.

A counterattack from the arts, made by real artists making art for the people, would devastate the Narrative the globalists push. It would expose them as the frauds they are, with implications far beyond art.  

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Culture at the Crossroads

Richard Bledsoe “At the Crossroad” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 40″

Update: Welcome Instapundit Readers! Please visit other articles for more commentary on the state of the arts.

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Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

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8 thoughts on “Talking About Art While the World Burns

  1. Hello there,
    First off always happy when you open a discussion I have heretofore had only in my noggin.
    The cynicism of the post modern elites is what is so soul corrupting to the maker of art, the collector of art and to the general viewer of art. Previous movements such as the broadly defined modernists were earnest, not making a mockery of the sacred instinct to create meaningful and spiritually broadening expression. Twombly, while perhaps not to the taste of all , was quite sincere, and when encountered with deliberation his work can speak to the soul ( the Philadelphia Museum of Art holds a Homeric series that I find extremely poignant ).
    But you cannot be more on point in the deliberate dismantling of western civilization one Ionic column at a time; through the ironic, cynical nihilism of the(broadly speaking) post modernists, what had been instinctively considered true and good is now suspect. The performative aspects, (both literally and figuratively) and the masturbatory prostitution (both literally and figuratively ) of integrity and sincerity by these charlatans has left us exposed to the virus of AI created confections, frequently as appealing as a candy shop but as nourishing to the soul.
    I generally, though a practicing artist, avoid openings, contemporary commercial galleries and art reviews – Roberta Smith of the NYT seems to have cloned her philistine soul many times over. The National Review has a balanced art critic in Brian Allen, he’s worth a peek.
    In closing, thank you for sharing your thoughts and fighting the good fight.
    LEONARD GRECO

  2. Thank you again, Richard. You truly see the modern “art world” for what it is. Heather MacDonald’s recent essay on the self-flagellation going on at The Met was truly depressing. Some people love to smash beautiful things, because beauty is an affront to their psychological ugliness.

    It’s getting more difficult to see the difference between the Taliban types who take a pickaxe to ancient art, and the terrorists who now inhabit the curatorial staff at our art museums. It’s depressing when you see how much power they wield in the service of cultural annihilation.

  3. “Before there was fake news, there was fake art.” Well, yes and no. Yes, there was fake art before fake news became a label, but this is the cyclic nature of the battle between good and evil that we face in this world. We got tired, distracted, or just became disinterested, and the Usual Suspects took the field while we weren’t looking. Now it’s time to join the hosts of Gondor and the Rohirrim and take to the Pelennor Fields.

    I’m fascinated by your point about postmodernism. It aligns with the coming of the literary genre, which didn’t exist prior to the 1960s (http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2006/06/richard_wheeler_2.html). Literary fiction “abuses [the writer’s] authority, manipulate[s] language and change[s] the meanings of words, throttling accessibility of resources, curtailing dissent, and cultivating an us-against-them mentality.” A lot of writers these days are going indie because the big publishers won’t touch them for the simple reason that they are not writing to Marxist spec.

    Tough. This is our turf. The horns of the Rohirrim have sounded, and the sun rises over the Pelennor Fields. Let Orcs and Nazgul beware. The Men of the West aren’t licked yet! “A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises!”

  4. Hello Leonard, always glad to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your insights, obviously the result of much contemplation. I am staking an extremist position regarding abstraction, criticizing artists I have studied in depth. With time I’ve come to believe those Modern pioneers fell short of real greatness and became a dead end which did more harm than good, but that is just my opinion, contradicted by probably most artists I know. I’ve come to feel abstraction is mostly art for other artists which could not deliver what artist had in mind-for example, people think Rothko is so serene, but in his writings he described how he wanted his paintings to devastate and overwhelm the viewers-he was bitter, hostile man, but at his peak he was making pretty art that made for tasteful decor-I think that gnawed at him. I will check out that critic, thanks for the recommendation! Take care, Richard

  5. Thank you, I see a way out to this predicament. We create the alternative and we destroy the status quo. Beauty conquers. Disruptive innovation comes to the art world. I will look for the essay you mention.

  6. I love the Tolkien analogy, it inspires me too. I feel all of us who are fighting the Marxist junta in the arts are saying just those things. Thank you for sharing the interesting link as well.

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