The Philosophy of a Greatest Hits Collection: My Best Remodern Review Essays

One Of My Favorite Paintings Ever:

Richard Bledsoe “Squidgate” Oil on Canvas 36″ x 48″

In music, a greatest hits collection puts together the popular songs of a group or performer into one convenient package. Sometimes a new offering or a rarity is added as a bonus, or the selection is out padded out with not-quite-a-hit tracks.

After 8 years of serious blogging, I realize some of my more significant posts get lost in the shuffle. They won’t come up in the Top Posts sidebar unless they get rediscovered and receive a large number of views in a short time period.

To share some highlights, I’ve added a Greatest Hits widget to the side bar of the Remodern Review.

Instead of going strictly just by the articles with the biggest numbers of clicks, this collection is curated with the articles which mean the most to me, in addition to having large numbers of views.

I will periodically update the list to rotate through my favorites. The first list includes:

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1917: A Shattering Discovery from the Year Art Went Into the Toilet

Marcel Duchamp was the precursor of today’s useless, corrupt art world. This article exposes his chicanery and the possible fate of the most infamous work attributed to him.

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COMMENTARY: The Doublethink Strategy of Cultural Elitists

Using establishment pet artist Tracey Emin as an example of Postmodern art as a tool of oppression.

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COMMENTARY: Establishment Art’s Ingrained Indoctrination and the Postmodern Manifesto

I’ve heard the authorship of the Postmodern manifesto is disputed. It doesn’t matter who wrote it; it is a deadly accurate description of the enemy’s mentality. Beyond Jordan Peterson’s devastating video takedown of Postmodern immorality, I have not found a better summary of the toxic philosophy which is destroying the world.

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Leftists Literally Evoke Satan to Save Their Collapsing Cultural Cabal

Take off the Postmodern mask, and it’s the same old liar behind all evil in the world.

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ARTISTS: Charles Thomson is Stuck in the Remodern

My interview with the cofounder of the Remodern movement. Thomson’s ideas and art are a great influence on me, it was an honor to get him to share some insights.

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I hope you enjoy some of my greatest hits!

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

Advertisement

Ever Get the Feeling You’ve Been Cheated? How the Art World Showed Us It Was Coming

No Fun: Rotten Reflects

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“Ah ha ha. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

So said John Lydon, AKA Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the Sex Pistols, as he squatted on the edge of the stage at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom. It was the end of the band’s 1978 tour of America, and the end of the Sex Pistols too. Despite cashing in with member berry reunions in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Sex Pistols were spent as a creative force.

Lydon’s meaning was ambiguous and therefore multifaceted, open to interpretation. Was Johnny mocking the audience for enduring a lackluster performance from the group? Was he talking about himself, and how he had been manipulated by his scheming manager? Or was he still proclaiming the punk wake up call that the powerful are abusing the people?

All three possibilities can be true. In that moment the Pistols were still the unwitting oracles of art, acting as puny transmitters of cultural forces which rocked the world.

Johnny Rotten was a symbol not a just a man. This dead end Irish kid briefly manifested therapist Carl Jung’s comments on the role of the artist:

“Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is ‘man’ in a higher sense— he is ‘collective man’— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.”

Those who’d claim the Sex Pistols and punk in general were never a creative force to begin with just needs to look around at the world today. The music still gets played, the stories are retold. It is part of who we are now as “collective man.” It has endured the test of time, the most telling measure of art’s effectiveness.

Vast numbers of people display the tribal garb of artificially colored hair, torn clothes, tattoos and weird piercings that once signaled a determined, tiny subculture of would-be rebels.

The look is a cliché now, pure mainstream. A chuck of the populace is walking around wearing the skinsuits of a few outsiders who got aggressive and defiant about being cast as losers by the status quo, and decided make a visible and noisy issue out of it.

You might not like punk, but it prevailed. We as a people were transformed because it is art that shows us how to be. “Empire follows art, and not vice versa” was the assertion of an earlier rebellious English artist, William Blake. Empire in this quote can be read not as a specific political entity, but as the unifying ideas which direct a civilization. Hegemony is the word academics use for it.

Another Jung quote about art’s power is “All art intuitively apprehends coming changes in the collective unconsciousness.” Unfortunately, for over 100 years, the elites have been showing us through the art they promote their collective unconscious consists of an authoritarian insistence to worship power, enforced by fraud and force.

Galleries and museums are now chock full of off-putting and incomprehensible junk with insane valuations. The only reason it can be recognized as supposed art is because it is in a gallery or museum, placed there by the consensus of corrupted cultural institutions. Some examples of typical Postmodern masterpieces:

Maurizio Cattelan “Comedian.” Not funny.

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Performance Artist Marina Abramovic. She’s Definitely Not A Satanist or Anything Though

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Yet Another Banksy Half Assed Editorial Cartoon

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Huckster Jeff Koons

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We are being told to accept the lie that absurd trash is art because those in charge tell us it is. If we can’t see the validity, that is our problem for not being sophisticated enough to enjoy the emperor’s new clothes.

The establishment ordering us to accept fraud as art can be extrapolated into ordering us to accept the fraud in our elections. Once we capitulated to the first big lie, the rest come easier.

This Postmodern model, which demands we believe the groupthink dictated from on high instead of trusting our own eyes and instincts, has expanded outside of the arts and now is a global operating system. As I described in my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

The arrogant ruling class is possessed by Postmodernism. They’re all in on the idea that tearing down the traditions and standards of Western civilization will cement their grasp on unaccountable power.

Once you understand that, the promotion of Postmodern art as the pinnacle of artistic achievement becomes understandable. It explains the Orwellian efforts behind the elevation of mindless attention-seeking as an attempted substitute for values, achievements and principles. Hyping soulless, unskilled art has a toxic, weakening effect on society as a whole.

Postmodern art is a tool of oppression.

Postmodern power relies on the people’s acceptance to dwell in an artificial construct shaped by the preferences of the powerful. This fake world just swallowed up yet another election here in the United States, and we are expected to go along with it.

The country is a mess, everything is going wrong, and in defiance of all historical trends, red tsunami pre-polling, and common sense, we are expected to believe we all voted for more of the same. To add insult to injury, the fake president told us they were doing it again.

Unfortunately, as far as punk versus the corrupt status quo went back in the day, real reform is much harder to transmit than making a fashion choice. But art is once again showing a rising transformation which will rock the world.

In 2000, two English artists, Charles Thomson and Billy Childish, described a principled practical alternative to Postmodernism when they described an artistic philosophy they called Remodernism. Remodernism is a reboot of the culture which will wipe out the virus of Postmodernism. It was the harbinger change is coming to the collective unconscious.

Even those mainstreamers who’ve adopted the punk costume may intuitively know it means defiance. They are just unclear who it is they need to defy.

Our empire will follow art away from lies and back to authenticity.

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

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

VIDEO: The Art World is a Scam (And Rich People Run It)

Art world links which caught my eye…

A video produced by Wendover Productions. Their YouTube “About” page says they are “explaining how our world works.”

They sure explain the contemporary art market, as a corrupt, insular money laundering scheme which has nothing to do with art. As the video states, “There isn’t one, blockbuster scam at the center of the art market. Rather, it’s a market composed of scams.”

Our cultural institutions have been co-opted to serve this criminal enterprise instead of providing genuine artistic experiences to society.

One of the scams used is the Big Store con game, as described in my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

Major money visibly changes hands these days at art auctions and art fairs. The whole machinery of these angles of the establishment art racket are the equivalent of the fraud technique called “The Big
Store.”
The Big Store sets up a controlled environment where everyone except the marks are creating the appearance that they are transacting legitimate business. In the art market version, offering valueless
art through once reputable auction houses or in the celebrity soaked version of a swap meet gives a veneer of legitimacy to the proceedings.
Everyone the mark might encounter at such events—artists, dealers, journalists, academicians, other patrons—everyone is invested in perpetuating the delusion. There’s careers on the line and billions
of dollars at stake in keeping the hype alive, because hype is all that keeps this ridiculous bubble inflated.
There are lots of different parts to play in the Big Store. A “Shill” operates to promote the con game without revealing their personal stake in the outcomes. For instance, auction houses like to present
themselves as if they were scholarly institutes objectively discussing the amazing importance of the works displayed. The fact they are looking to collect fat commissions from the sale of said objects is
discretely overlooked.
The “Face” is a glamorous participant intended to distract the mark from thinking clearly. The glut of celebrities and Beautiful People that are drawn to exclusive art happenings guarantee buzz will exceed
rationality during such events.
The “Roper” is probably the most strategic player in the art market these days. This is a person whose affluence leads to influence, a savvy and powerful individual whose participation gives credibility to the whole enterprise. What is ignored is how much moguls like this manipulate the market to serve personal interests, using insider trading, shady financing and backroom deals to inflate the value of
their own collections.
In any other industry, common practices of the establishment art market could probably lead to criminal charges. But in the unregulated free-for-all of the art world, it’s very hard to bring these cases of potential white-collar crime to justice, and the victims here are less than sympathetic. After all, the buyers are people who have so much money it’s meaningless to them. Who cares if a bunch of billionaires are getting ripped off?
It’s not really the suckered patrons who are the biggest victims here. Our society as a whole is being debased. By taking art, the manifestation of the soul of our culture, and replacing it with a cynical system that exists only to enhance egos and bank accounts, we’re undermining the quality of everyone’s shared existence.
These self-indulgent poseurs are subsidizing Postmodernism’s attempt to destroy Western civilization. The self-serving attitude of big money art world participants is a public disgrace, and it’s about time
they were made to feel it. As a society, we need to speak out, and strip the prestige away from the nihilistic, expensive hackwork our institutions promote.

As bleak as this situation is, I see it as an opportunity. As the current elites crash the culture in a desperate attempt to maintain their grip on power, their phony art world will collapse with them.

We can rebuild art to serve as spiritual communion for society again, which was its traditional and valid function.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

Stupid Climate Activists Make Stupid Attacks on Art

Art world links which caught my eye…

An Ignorant Assault On Civilization

For some reason environmental cultists have decided art vandalism is a nifty PR stunt for their hoax of an emergency.

The Washington Post covered the most recent revolting action in London where two “activists” from Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup on a Van Gogh sunflowers painting, and then glued their hands to the wall.

The painting was safely behind glass, and was not damaged.

Newsweek notes there have been about dozen of these attacks. So far no art has been damaged, but it seems like only a matter of time before these assholes escalate and maim something irreplaceable.

Being the darkness that makes democracy die, the Washington Post of course accepts the protesters’ wild climate premises.

Since the pandemic failed to crush society into a decimated docile serf class, now the elites have had to replace one overblown crisis with another. They’re trotting out the exhausted old climate change tropes again, but this time the kamikaze Marxists occupying the governments of the West are flying into action. They intend to catastrophically starve their populations of food and energy now to prevent imaginary problems in the future.

Astroturfed entities like Just Stop Oil and state run media like the Washington Post are sleeper cells that have been activated to reinforce the top down message of assumed doom. The hype generated provides a fig leaf for the disastrous deindustrialization the WEF insists on.

Columnist Philip Kennicot spouts the propaganda:

“When I see activists attack art, I feel the same revulsion most people do — and the sense of revulsion seems to be general and widespread. After two young supporters of the climate-change advocacy group Just Stop Oil threw cans of tomato soup Friday on a painting by Van Gogh in London’s National Gallery, social media accounts erupted in outrage. Much of this was from people who are no less committed to stopping global warming, including much of the art world, where the climate emergency is at the top of the agenda for many artists, curators and critics.

“But while I can’t defend the acts of Just Stop Oil, I can defend the anger of its supporters, who will experience the effects of global collapse further into the future than I will. They must grapple with existential decisions unprecedented even during some of the worst crises in human history, including whether to have children and continue the species, or to forgo offspring whose lives may be short and miserable.”

Kennicott’s big problem with the assaults on artistic masterpieces is that the vandals are preaching to the choir. The Postmodern art world already enforces adherence to leftist dogma as a prerequisite for participation. He protests that establishment art enthusiasts and cultural institution apparatchiks most likely embrace the climate alarmist narrative, and don’t need their opinions and actions tweaked by threats.

“Art attacks seem to be increasing. In July, the Italian group Ultimate Generazione (or Last Generation) directed its ire against Botticelli’s “Primavera” at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and in August activists from the same group glued their hands to the base of an ancient statue at the Vatican. All this is misdirected and counterproductive. It makes the urgency of the crisis seem ridiculous to people who are already disinclined to give credence to the science of global warming. And they create a false moral choice for those who love both art and the environment.

“As 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer, one of the two activists in London, asked during Friday’s incident, ‘Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people?’ The premise of her question, and the people whom she was addressing, are both poorly chosen. Very likely, given the self-selecting audience that visits the National Gallery, most of the onlookers would say: ‘Both.’

But the most disgusting part of the article is when Kennicott claims the defilers are attacking art because they just care about it so much. It’s classic abuser gaslighting.

“And if you look more closely at how these attacks are executed, it’s clear they express more a desperate love of art than mere rage or contempt for it.”

A twitter post summed up the reckless delusions of these masterpiece menacing guerillas.

The clueless crusaders don’t realize stopping oil without any effective, scalable replacement technologies means the death of millions and even civilization itself.

Radicals coined the term “useful idiots” to describe the dolts they tricked into advancing their agendas. I think we can remove the useful part.

In my 2018 book Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I foresaw what actions the left would take, and what the stakes were.

The Modern age was the greatest liberation of humanity in history. As we became more efficient in providing the necessities of existence, we had more freedom to determine what kind of lives we wanted to live.
As Modernism rose to highlight the potentials of individual initiative, leftist political movements counterattacked. Their goal was to squash humanity back into undifferentiated, subservient masses.
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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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

“The Gift of Art” A Pop Up Gallery Experience at Seeds for Autism

The Gift of Art: A Pop-Up Gallery Experience at SEEDs for Autism is a special one night only art exhibit featuring the work of local community artists and adults on the autism spectrum, on Friday, October 14, 2022, 6pm to 8pm.

“At SEEDs for Autism we understand that art is a powerful form of communication. Art encourages creativity and self-expression. Art stirs the imagination and helps us grow as we engage with other artists, improve our skills and create beautiful pictures to share with the world. THE GIFT OF ART features the work of local community artists, SEEDs Instructors and students. Please join us on October 14th and be a part of this exciting one-night-only art show at SEEDs for Autism.”

A pop up gallery is a temporary art show held in a non-traditional location. Local artist Richard Bledsoe described how Seeds for Autism is an ideal venue for an art exhibit. “I’ve seen lives transformed by the programs at Seeds for Autism. One of the biggest factors I see in this progress is the hands-on work Seeds emphasizes. As a painter, I understand the personal growth which happens when you engage with the material world. The making and viewing of art inspires kinship for all participants. We are grateful to Seeds for providing this opportunity to bring the community together.”

SEEDs for Autism is a unique vocational training program in Phoenix, AZ dedicated to providing adults across the spectrum with hands-on experience as they learn a variety of life skills, social skills and job skills in a real-life work environment. Through the production and sale of their hand-crafted home and garden items, adults on the autism spectrum build self-confidence as they step outside of their comfort zone and GROW.

Featured Community Artists: Richard Bledsoe, Michele Bledsoe, Jeff Falk, Shelley Whiting

50% of all Art Sales will be donated to support the life-changing program at SEEDs for Autism.

ADMISSION is FREE

Richard Bledsoe “Rex” acrylic on canvas 24″ x 30″

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

My Second Favorite Living American Artist

In my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I recounted a true story that showed contemporary art is in a crisis of relevance:

“A few years after our time at Citywide, Michele and I helped found and run Deus ex Machina, a cooperative art gallery in downtown Phoenix. It was a very active space. In addition to being my oil
painting studio, we held monthly art exhibits, special performances, poetry readings and gaming nights. It was a wonderful experience for the five years it was open.

“We took part in the free art walks held each First Friday and Third Friday of the month. As Phoenix has one of the largest art walks in the country, we could have hundreds of visitors on the busiest nights.
Many were other artists and scenesters, who attended consistently for gossip and free wine. But I was excited by the numerous guests we had from outside the art bubble.

“These regular folks were out for an entertaining evening, and perhaps something even more significant. It confirmed for me there was still an interest in art.

“At our exhibits I’d get into conversations with these people. Unlike my social network, these visitors didn’t treat art as a vocation. They had different priorities in their lives, different interests, other passions and skills. But they turned out for an art show. These patrons were curious and receptive; they were there to see what art had to offer them. I was happy to engage with them. I wanted to give them a warm, positive experience of art.

“While discussing the gallery and the art on display, I’d do a little experiment with my guests. I would ask this type of visitor a simple question: ‘Who is your favorite living American artist?’

“No one who wasn’t already part of the art scene ever had an answer to that question.”

I’ve written before on how art, a practice literally as old as humanity itself, became irrelevant.

But while it’s easy to criticize the failures of art in the 21st century-which are really failures and sabotage committed by agenda riddled Postmodern administrators-it’s harder to cite positive examples. Who are my favorite living American artists?

My favorite is my wife, Michele Bledsoe. Her work just continues to get more amazing.

Michele Bledsoe “Messenger” acrylic on canvas 6″ x 6″

It’s been hard for me to get excited about many other artists I’ve heard about recently. But currently there is a contender for the number 2 spot.

I’ve known about musician/actor/artist John Lurie for many years. If you want the details and some very interesting stories, a great review of his life and career can heard in this YouTube podcast post: WTF with Marc Maron – John Lurie Interview

Due to health issues, Lurie now pours most of his creative output into paintings. I get so excited by their freedom and complexity, it occurred to me Lurie may be my second favorite living American painter right now.

As an intuitive artist, I believe artworks need to speak for themselves. Here are some John Lurie images from his website.

See if you see the same magic I do.

“I play music, I paint – these things come from your depths.”

-John Lurie

John Lurie “Purple panther, with brick head, exploding with speed” watercolor and gouache 22”x30”

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John Lurie “Two dancers. Antiques. Some suitcases. A parrot. And a blue mess” watercolor and gouache on paper 24″ x 18″

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John Lurie “There are things you don’t know about” watercolor on paper, 20″ x 14″

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Recent works from John Lurie’s twitter feed

John Lurie “She loved him madly.”

John Lurie “Skeleton in my closet, at home in the garden.”

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

“ART IS FOR EVERYONE” A Pop Up Gallery Experience at SEEDs For Autism

Remodern America Presents:

ART IS FOR EVERYONE: A POP UP GALLERY EXPERIENCE AT SEEDS FOR AUTISM

Seeds For Autism Hosts Group Art Exhibit

PHOENIX, AZ – Local artists present a pop up gallery experience at Seeds for Autism. Community artists and the talented participants at Seeds for Autism present a special one night show on Friday, May 27, 2022, 6pm to 8pm. 

A pop up gallery is a temporary art show held in a non-tradtional location. Local artist Richard Bledsoe described how Seeds for Autism is an ideal venue for an art exhibit. “I’ve seen lives transformed by the programs at Seeds for Autism. One of the biggest factors I see in this progress is the hands-on work Seeds emphasizes. As a painter, I understand the personal growth which happens when you engage with the material world. The making and viewing of art inspires kinship for all participants. We are grateful to Seeds for providing this opportunity to bring the community together.”

SEEDs for Autism is a unique vocational training program in Phoenix, AZ dedicated to providing adults across the spectrum with hands-on experience as they learn a variety of life skills, social skills and job skills in a real-life work environment. Through the production and sale of their hand-crafted home and garden items, adults on the autism spectrum build self-confidence as they step outside of their comfort zone and GROW.

This event was created to raise awareness and support for the life-changing program at SEEDs for Autism. Participating artists will be donating 50% of all sales to SEEDs.

ADMISSION IS FREE!

SEEDs for Autism
3420 S. 7th St. Phoenix, AZ 85040

602-253-4471

https://www.seedsforautism.org/

Richard Bledsoe “That’s A Moray” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 20″

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

Cultural Renewal May Not Be Pretty, But It is Beautiful: Punk, The Ashcan School, and Remodernism

Robert Henri “Snow in New York” oil on canvas 32″ x 25 13/16″ 1902

“Do whatever you do intensely. The artist is the man who leaves the crowd and goes pioneering. With him there is an idea which is his life.”

-Robert Henri

When I was a teenage punk, I was just having fun.

Only later did I understand I was participating in the messy but vital process of cultural renewal.

It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I was sixteen years old in 1986, living near Washington, DC. My geeky group of friends and I were performing the young male ritual of rebellion right next to an epicenter of an aggressive, controversial youth movement.

Only about a decade old at that point, the music and fashion sensation of punk had mutated into what was called hardcore. DC was the home of now legendary bands like Bad Brains and Minor Threat, and the excitement they generated spilled out into the suburbs.

I got a bad haircut and started wearing a black leather jacket and combat boots. On weekends my buddies and I left behind VHS movies and Dungeons and Dragons marathons and ventured into the big city, prowling the hip enclave of Georgetown.

We had a routine route, visiting the Exorcist stairs, Smash Records, and the Commander Salamander boutique. Mainly we walked the streets, feeling a thrill of immediate kinship whenever we encountered another band of promenading punks. We finally had something in common with some girls, too.

In time we started to visit the seedy clubs featuring shows with loud, fast songs and shouted vocals, while the audience danced by jumping around and bouncing off of each other. It was exhilarating.

Punk began when a bunch of self-starting kids, often working class, got bored with the bland, predictable culture being offered by the establishment. At the time there was no internet, and only sensationalized, derogatory mainstream media coverage. Hardcore punk was all underground and word of mouth, shared mix tapes and Xeroxed fliers. It felt like a conspiracy, like being initiated into something mysterious and special. We created our own alternative, and it spread.

I wrote about some of punk’s contradictions in my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Punk’s anti-establishment outlook put it on the radical side of things, but I never got how advocates of a movement that emphasized individuality and independence could turn to a politically leftist worldview. In the 1980s the Cold War was still raging, and a lot of the major figures of the punk world openly sided with the communists.
But looking at actions instead of rhetoric, it was clear to me leftists were the most vicious enforcers of the establishment in history.
Around the world, their whole political system as practiced demanded an individual’s submission to centralized power, the exact opposite of punk’s message.
It made no sense to me how any free thinker would ally themselves with brutal regimes who used constant surveillance, intimidation and violence to keep entire populations captive. The problems
of America, how we fell short of our high ideals, how we were easily distracted by crass consumerism, seemed minor compared to the literally murderous systematic oppression coordinated by greedy and
aggressive totalitarians elsewhere in the world.
I did not understand I had been recruited into a covert war which had been brewing for decades. The Cold War was being fought unacknowledged right in the midst of our placid existences, in the classrooms, on the television. Postmodernism co-opted the potentials of punk.
If I’d had more perspective then I could have seen the double standards in play, and understood their origins. But I was just a kid, lacking experience and insight. It was easier just to ignore the contradictions.
If punk meant being a nonconformist, I would follow my own conscience. I could reject materialism and unthinking obedience to authority without buying into audaciously misguided leftist dogma.
To me punk went beyond the music that sounded a certain way, a gaudy aesthetic, lapses into lazy nihilism, and a juvenile reflex towards sardonic defensiveness. Punk advanced quintessentially traditional American viewpoints: no respect for the unjustified hierarchies the powerful attempt to impose; emphasis on action and energy; commitment to justice and progress; and the desire for the liberty to pursue individual happiness.

When I look around today, at all the people with the dyed hair, tattoos, and facial piercings, I still remember how shocking such trappings were when my peers were doing it back in the day. It makes me reflect how art is a leading indicator for society-for good or ill. All the once-startling punk displays are bland and predictable.

Almost one hundred years earlier, there was another aggressive, controversial cultural phenomena going on in the United States, in painting. We’ve come to call it the Ashcan School.

Artist Robert Henri (June 24, 1865-July 12, 1929) was an inspirational artist and teacher initially based in Philadelphia; he later relocated to New York City. Henri (pronounced Hen-rye) was bored with the bland, predictable art being produced in the American art establishment at the time: either gentle, pale Impressionist imitations, or flattering Gilded Age portraits of wealthy patrons.

Henri mentored a group of journalist illustrators which included notables such as William Glackens, John Sloan, and George Luks. In an era before common photographic reproduction, newspapers used artists to create the pictures for their stories. These men were used to depicting the grime and grimness of newsworthy city life. Henri encouraged them to bring that real world engagement into fine art.

Like punk many years later, the Ashcan School was an alliance of freethinking individuals each following their own artistic vision, rather than an organized, regimented movement. The artists shared a Modernist urban sensibility, dark palette, gritty realist subject matter, and an appreciation for the common people. They made sketchy yet accurate depictions how life was lived at the time, instead of polite, idealized fantasies. As Henri put it, “There is only one reason for art in America, and that is that the people of America learn the means of expressing themselves in their own time, and their own land.”

This was considered to be bad taste. Like many other art movements like Impressionism or Fauvism, the title of Ashcan started as an insult. A reviewer sneered about the “pictures of ashcans and girls hitching up their skirts on Horatio Street.” The artists embraced the derision as a badge of honor.

The Ashcan School artists were also referred to as “The Apostles of Ugliness,” much as the punks were called “foul mouthed yobs.”

But the critics are missing something important: the ugliness isn’t the point. It’s the willingness to undergo the rough journey needed to renew the energy of life.

Something too constrained stagnates, even dies. There’s always something a little wild and scary about real growth.

There’s a difference between pretty and beautiful. Prettiness is a surface. Beauty is the substance. Pretty is an outside appearance; beauty is from within. Pretty is agreeable. Beauty is truthful, and as we know, the truth isn’t always pleasing.

Accepting yet refining the harshness of truth through creative expression is a transcendental experience. The joyous human offering of art can add significance to mundane squalor.

Right now, Postmodern establishment mismanagement has created a culture which is neither pretty nor beautiful. They need us to believe the squalor is the point, after all. Artists are needed as the pioneers which carry out the idea that life is wonderful and surprising, even if elitists call us trashy. Cultural renewal will be a little wild and scary.

The latest cycle of real change in the arts actually started decades ago, although the cultural institution-controlling elites do their best to suppress the news.

In 2000, two British artists, Charles Thomson and Billy Childish, were tired of transgressive yet still bland and predictable Postmodern art. They were brave enough to tell the truth: the galleries and museum were filled with objects that weren’t really art at all. They described a new cultural understanding called Remodernism, rising to take the place of failed Postmodern artifice. Their manifesto included this key proposition: “The making of true art is man’s desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.”

Childish soon struck off on his own, and continues as a celebrated painter, musician, and writer. Thomson remained committed to cultivating Remodernism as a movement. Guided by his inspirational example, grassroots art groups were founded around the world.

I was inspired. In my own Remodern America manifesto, I wrote my take on what is happening now:

Remodernism reboots the culture. Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity. We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old. We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism. Remodernism is disruptive innovation applied to the moribund art world.

As for Robert Henri, his wisdom was captured in a great book called The Art Spirit. It encourages us to understand how important the role of the artist is.

As for me, I still pull out my Bad Brains and Minor Threat albums when the mood strikes me. It’s good music to paint to.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Masculinist, now on Substack

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

New Painting ‘Hellhound On My Trail”

Richard Bledsoe “Hellhound On My Trail” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 40″

This painting is a sequel.

In 2013, I was new to working in acrylics. I had moved my art studio back into my home in 2012, and decided I didn’t want to be breathing the solvents involved in oil paints any longer.

One of the first acrylic paintings which really clicked for me was called “At the Crossroad.” It was based on the American legend of bluesman Robert Johnson.

It wasn’t in my life for long. The 24″ x 30″ painting was newly completed when I exhibited it in a group show; it sold immediately.

We subsequently made a video out of the painting and the symbolism of its story.

Johnson was our own home-grown version of Faust. He was said to have met the devil at a midnight crossroads and sold his soul in exchange for musical talent.

After the fateful meeting, when you compromise with evil in exchange for worldly glory, is when the real trouble starts.

Johnson sang about that too: “I got to keep moving, got to keep moving/Hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail.”

The hellhound is a hunter. A stalker. Whether the hound is guilt, or catastrophe, or even death, his quarry is the one who bargained with dark forces, and set doom into motion. There’s no peace or rest thereafter.

We call the hellhound upon ourselves, and he’s a ruthless tracker. Few escape once he’s on the scent.

I started this new painting in 2020. It sat for a long time incomplete. But its time came round at last.

Just as “Crossroad” was an early breakthrough, I see “Hellhound On My Trail” as another breakthrough in my art. It’s an intense fulfillment of an inner vision.

Artist at Work, June 2020

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!

Just in Time for the Apocalypse: Albrecht Durer and a Different Take on the Symbolism of the Four Horsemen

Albrecht Durer “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” , woodcut, 15-1/4″ x 11-7/16″ (1498)

[1] And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. [2] And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

[3] And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. [4] And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

[5] And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. [6] And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

[7] And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. [8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:1-8

Back in in my freshman year of college, even though I had plenty of art assignments to focus on, I still pursued reading in esoteric subjects which fascinated me. We had a great library at the university, just about a block from my dorm. I was socially awkward, so I had free time. I browsed for hours, looking up whatever crossed my mind.

It was in this side reading I encountered a concept which shaped my understanding of reality ever since.

I can’t remember the title of the book I stumbled across, or the name of the author. He may have been a rabbi.

The subject of the non-fiction book may have been religion, or symbolism, or philosophy. It might have even been self-help; I was looking for advice about my social awkwardness.

Whatever the main point of the book was, this forgotten writer discussed in passing what we call the Four Horsemen, as described in the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.

I learned growing up Revelation (often misidentified in the plural form of “Revelations”) was written by John the Apostle, one of the original disciples of Jesus. Scholars dispute this, but as current events prove, credentialed experts are almost always wrong about everything, especially in their own fields of study.

No matter who wrote it, Revelation presents a hallucinogenic recounting of the Apocalypse. People think Apocalypse means the end of the world, but the word is taken from a Greek term meaning “revealing,” or “uncovering.”

The Bible describes the unsealed riders being turned loose, their mounts, and what they do, but does not name them. The traditional identities given to these terrible figures are Pestilence (white horse and bow), War (red horse and sword), Famine (black horse and scales), and Death (pale horse, with Hell following).

These days many think we are four for four as far as prophecy fulfillment goes, although at the moment Famine looks like he’s yet to really make his move. He’s still in the starting gate, the planned front runner for the next phase in the World Economic Forum’s genocidal assault on humanity.

The best image of the Horsemen I know of comes from the work of German artist Albrecht Durer (May 21, 1471-April 6, 1528). In 1498, less than fifty years after Johannes Gutenberg published his revolutionary copy of the Bible, Durer became the first artist to print and copyright his own book: Apocalipsis Cum Figuris, The Apocalypse with Pictures. Many at the time believed the year 1500 would be the end times, so the folio was topical.

The Four Horsemen was Durer’s greatest hit from the album of fifteen illustrations. The woodcut, originally printed from a plate carved from pear wood, depicts the charge of the forces of destruction, trampling representatives of humanity under the hooves of their horses. Durer was an incredible draftsman, and rendered a horrific scene with naturalistic details and a powerful, diagonal composition. In Durer’s uncolored prints, the riders can be identified by the implements they bear; the Pale Rider gets the devil’s traditional pitchfork. 

The beauty of symbols is they can mean more than one thing. The mysterious, inspirational library book I read suggested an alternative interpretation for the Horseman. Rather than manifestations of God’s wrath, the riders can be seen as four aspects of the human consciousness.

The White Horseman with the bow and crown goes out to conquer. The purity of white, the far reaching range of a bow, and the acts of conquest suggest man’s Spiritual nature.

The Red Horseman with his sword takes peace from the land. The fiery appearance of red, the cutting sword, and the trouble inflicted is like man’s Emotional states.

The Black Horseman with his scales is measuring and stingy. The concealing nature of black, the counting and the withholding communications are Intellectual stances.

The Pale Horseman bringing death and suffering can be seen as our Physical selves, the pallid, fleshy parts of us that break down and die.

Even though there is more to Revelation that this brief segment, I saw the wisdom in the model it suggested. I’ve gone through life looking for physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health. The best resource for harmonizing those elements is represented by another complex symbolic animal of the Apocalypse: the Lamb.

We are undergoing a revelation right now as a culture. It is apocalyptic in that what was once hidden is now coming to light. The WooHoo floo, vaxxx hysteria, the election, planned destruction, puppets and their masters, Durham’s investigation; we don’t know the real stories, just the manufactured narratives.

It’s staggering how much we’ve all been deceived, and for how long. It’s going to be judgement day for many people, especially those who utilized Postmodern strategies of deception and groupthink as their means of power.

Evil is in its death throes and it’s causing much damage, but fundamentally this is an era of rebirth. What is passing away is an entrenched system that could not sustain its delusions any longer.

We aren’t at the end. We are at a reboot of the culture. We will run better once we clear up the rotten aristocratic caste which is locked up and glitching right before our eyes.

I’ve seen this coming for a long time, through my involvement in the art world. The visionary artist William Blake explained it: “Empire follows art, and not vice versa.”

Over my decades involved in the art scene, I saw the establishment art world increasingly exposed as a corrupt joke.

I discovered a powerful alternative way of art proposed by two English artists, Billy Childish and Charles Thomson. They defined a replacement for the globalist scheme of Postmodernism with a practical, populist appreciation of art called Remodernism. It grew into an international art movement, the Stuckists, which has inspired creatives around the world with a DIY spirit far removed from the political posturing that goes on in the elitist art cult.

I saw in these events a pattern I knew the world would follow.

The mighty would fall once the people had enough of their BS. We will bypass their precious assumptions and entitlements, and make them obsolete. We are out-evolving them.

As I said in my 2018 book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Art is a more enduring and vital human experience than the power games of a greedy and fraudulent ruling class. The managers crashed the culture in pursuit of their agenda. They defend their usurped authority and privileges with doublethink, misdirection, and intimidation. Their time has run out. Reality is crashing back through their carefully constructed facades, and a time of reckoning has come. Enduring changes start in the arts. Remodernism defeats Postmodern desecration.

In the meantime, if anyone recognizes the helpful book which discussed the Four Horsemen I stumbled across so many years ago, please leave a comment. I’d love to read it again.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

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!