COMMENTARY: The Art of Bigfoot and Painting as Philosophy

Richard Bledsoe “Along the Allegheny 1767″ oil on canvas 30″ x 24”  

 

Even though I write a blog about art, I do not believe art should reply upon words to be effective.

Excessive explanation is one of the worst traits of the corrupted Postmodern art world. Lots of hackwork gets propped up by commentary, both by artists themselves and the institutions which support them. These days most of the extraneous chatter consists of appeals to grievance groupthink or other politicized posing. This trend follows academia’s current status: deep in the septic tank of Cultural Marxism.   It’s predictable that those best at spouting the party line aren’t really the creative ones.

No virtue signalling propaganda will ever fulfill that crucial human need for art. Great art speaks for itself, no explanation or justifications needed. It uses a language without words, which speaks directly to our souls.

Nevertheless, being of an analytical nature, I can’t help thinking about painting, and describing my observations.

First, painting is philosophy. Not in the pedantic sense, where insular scholars endlessly split hairs, and quibble over nuances. Painting is philosophy in action. Painting is translation, changing esoteric thoughts into comprehensible forms. Painting is consciousness harnessed by a physical process, which creates evidence of an individual’s world view. Show me what you paint, and you show me who you are.

Second, what do my paintings say about me?

I have come to identify two great currents which run through my art. I’m always a story teller, a painter of fables and parables. But I see the nature of the stories told come at me from both on high and down low.

I call this dichotomy the Canon and the Tall Tales.

The Canon reflects my impulse towards the stately achievements of  Western Civilization. As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, “The expansion of Western civilization had been nurtured by belief in objective standards, which originated from an underlying order. Whether this order was divine or merely natural was debated, but the acceptance of universal laws was pretty universal.”

We of the West have an amazing legacy to draw on. Our forefathers bequeathed us great traditions of faith, science, art, literature, and law. Part of my art is part of that continuum of grand accomplishments. To recognize the structures. To uphold the harmony of reason, grace, and beauty.

Where some of my artistic practice drifts down from the cosmos, other parts of it pushes out of the earth like toadstools.

The Tall Tales are the grotesque gargoyles on the soaring cathedral. The ghost story told around the campfire. The frightening fairy tale told by a beloved grandmother with a big wart on her nose. It’s the spooky and the strange and the dark places. These things are just as much a part of humanity as the decisiveness and compassion of our better angels. They  are also as American as Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Johnson.

I realized both aspects of my artistic viewpoint came together in the painting above, Along the Allegheny 1767. It depicts what happens when the representatives of the uniformed hierarchies of the Old World encounter the mysterious weirdness of the American wilderness. Magical things occur.

Currently our tainted elitists are ruthlessly attempting to suppress and destroy our heritage so they can rule over us unopposed by any notions of quality. The rise of the Remodern era shows they have failed in their cultural suicide mission.

 

 

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; Along the Allegheny 1767 is available, along with many others. Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. 

 

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts from a Remodern perspective.

 

 

 

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PAINTINGS: Beekeeper

Richard Bledsoe “Beekeeper” acrylic on canvas 24″ x 20″ 

 

“The busy bee has no time for sorrow.”

-William Blake

 

 

 

ARTICLE: Establishment Art as a Form of Corrupt Currency

Meet the New Boss

Jeff Koons “Rabbit” Trick Makes $91 Million Disappear

 

Another day, another record-breaking auction price for a hunk of valueless junk advertised as “art” by the pestilent Postmodern cabal.

In this case, it was $91 million for “Rabbit,” a stainless steel knockoff of a vintage Easter inflatable. We had two of those plastic blow-up bunnies when I was growing up. I should have kept them as an investment. But who knew then that the establishment art market would go March Hare mad?

Dating back to 1986, the piece is credited to Jeff Koons, but he didn’t actually make it himself. He hires workers with actual skills to fabricate his feigned artwork.

Like most of the collapse inflicted on our crumbling culture, celebrating this new low in high bidding is a top down diktat. There is a concerted effort from on high to make such a sham a hot commodity. In 2007 an actual inflatable version of the reflective rodent was featured in the annual Macy’s Day Parade, as if it were a beloved icon like Snoopy or Spiderman. This gambit failed to impress; it is noted the Rabbit is “unlikely to return.” 

Hot Air: The Koons Balloon

When it came time for one of the several actual versions of the fake art to sell, the establishment went all in. Flagship auction house Christie’s handled the transaction; “Own the controversy,” they breathlessly advertised, giving away the game that what’s being sold isn’t art, it’s infamy.  Robert Mnuchin, the father of the current Treasury Secretary, placed the bid on behalf of an anonymous client. Given the opaque and inscrutable financing of the elite art market, it’s possible artist Jeff Koons and/or a consortium of his business interests actually bought the piece as a self-promotion stunt. It’s happened before, when another Postmodern manipulator,  Damien Hirst, took part in the purchase of his own work to prevent an embarrassing markdown. 

But’s what’s going on here, really? We know the elites poison civil society to further their schemes for domination. Relentless mass media propaganda campaigns are launched to make awful and dysfunctional things like socialism and Lena Dunham trendy. Koons is a part of that enforced corrosion, but assuming he didn’t buy his own work, why would some unknown billionaire put so much on the line to own a second hand mockery of a tacky toy?

The answer may be here, in this article from Bloomberg:

How Contemporary Art Became a Fiat Currency for the World’s Richest

“…contemporary art, once a thing artists made and dealers tried (unsuccessfully) to sell, has become a form of fiat currency for the very rich…Shnayerson describes as a new market dynamic: ‘The higher the prices, the more his wealthy clients vied to pay, hoping that the more they paid, the more valuable their new works would become.’”

 

“Fiat” comes from the Latin, and means roughly “Because I said so.” Usually the “I” is a government entity, which issues a currency that is really worth nothing on its own. It is assigned value based on the wealth, power, and status of the nation backing it up. Our own US paper money is fiat currency.

These days the super rich are spinning straw into gold for themselves. Using the wealth, power and status they have accumulated, they are assigning vast value to arbitrary, worthless  objects that make it through the filtering process of the Big Store con game that is the establishment art market. This will not end well.

So why should anyone care that the New Aristocracy of the Well Connected are making fools of themselves speculating in rubbish they pretend is art? Because it’s part of their assault on the quality and freedoms of our culture. As I describe in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization: 

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.

Recognize the actual agenda behind these baffling choices: it’s all about control.

Make no mistake, the structure of the contemporary art world is used as a club to batter ideals of excellence, faith, and community that used to be celebrated in art. Our elites want to exterminate the artistic experience, and they use big dollar sales of dispiriting crap to warp artists away from their true purpose.

I don’t care if someone paid more that the gross national product of Sri Lanka on a trite piece of custom metal work. A shady price tag adds nothing to its intrinsic value. The piece is as hollow as the Rabbit’s shiny bulbous forms; it fails to perform as art. Its machined elements deny, rather than express, the human touch.  It does not draw a viewer in; it’s all hard, deflective surface. Intellectually it’s less than a one-liner joke; spiritually it is as blank as its featureless face. As the culture embraces its Remodern direction, the costs for such trinkets will deflate faster than a rejected Macy’s balloon.

 

Won’t Get Fooled Again? 

STUDIO: Scenes from the Studio, Part 1

My Better Half

Michele Bledsoe’s Studio Set Up 

 

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I include a description of our current artistic working conditions:

 

Michele and I now share a studio in our home. We’ve spent countless hours together making art. We work back to back, with the stereo in the middle to play the music which inspires us.

She sits at her easel. I pace around in front of mine.

Michele uses tiny, soft brushes. I use big house-painting brushes for much of my work.

She discovers her imagery through stream of consciousness dreaming. I am replicating the vision I was assigned.

She likes to focus on one work at a time, and linger over it. I have multiple pieces going at once, at different stages of completion, and I compulsively push them towards resolution.

Michele doesn’t know what she is going to paint when she begins, but she applies her masterful technique to it. I know the image I need to present, but I don’t know how I’m going to paint it out.

We are both wholly committed to our art, and we show it in our own different ways. Remodernism encourages dedication to individual expression, and the pursuit of excellence.  

 

I’d written before about our shared art space. Back in 2015, i did a blog post on “The Mystique of the Artist Studio:”

There is nothing like having the dedicated space just for art. There is great pleasure in not having to pack up and move all materials at the end of a session, to have the needed tools within reach when an idea strikes. The magic in artists’ studios is in the sense of purpose, a Zen-like meditation on process.

It is an exotic environment. Many strange devices and substances are used there. Simple everyday needs like lighting and storage take on whole new urgency. And in the studio there is the artist, a person who puts appearances onto ideas. Might seem like an anachronism in these technological times, but the artist fulfills a deep human need.

It occurred to me that our studio spaces are full of wonderful moments, where our tools and inspirations blend together into intriguing vignettes. Why not share the excitement that is happening there, even we we are not working?

Michele Bledsoe has created a whole magical world to surround herself while she paints. In her blog post post “Art and the Proximity of Curious Objects,” she wrote:

My husband is always telling me to take a picture of the weird collection of items I have on the tray of my easel.

I’m not exactly sure what the actual purpose is for this little shelf-like area..

but it is where I keep all my favorite stuff.

Polished rocks, glass marbles and rusty keys.

Floppy-limbed Micronauts, the metal license tabs from Gunther’s collar

and my father’s college ring.

My art studio is filled with strange little objects that have captured my attention..

but you can tell how much I like something by how close it gets to my easel.

Here are some other special moments from Michele’s half of the studio. I will show mine in a future post.

 

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EMBATTLED VCU PROFESSOR WAS ONCE MY ART TEACHER. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED.

All Aboard the Witch Hunt Band Wagon!

The College Mob Springs into Action 

The Death of University Arts Programs, Part 6

For years I have studied and commented on the crisis of relevance plaguing the visual arts. Malignant elitists are destroying the artistic experience, all the better to create a passive and befuddled populace. I’ve worked to expose the decadence and corruption of establishment art, but usually I’m analyzing distant events and actions. But now, I have a personal connection with an unfolding incident which perfectly illustrates the death throes of Postmodern culture. The destructive conflict playing out at one Virginia art school can be extrapolated out to changes that are taking place on a global scale.

This article from The College Fix lays out situation:

Students Demand “Complete Removal” of Professor even after the School Cleared Him of Racist Behavior

Virginia Commonwealth University officials suspended associate professor Javier Tapia last semester despite concluding that he did not racially discriminate against an unfamiliar black professor when he called security on her last fall. The decision prompted a lawsuit from Tapia and protests by students who want him fired.

Tapia, a Peruvian-born art professor who’s been at VCU since 1988, is heading to court in an attempt to force VCU to let him continue teaching while asking for $1 million in damages. A settlement conference is scheduled for June 11. Meanwhile, dozens of students have held campus protests to demand that Tapia be fired and that the school increase its diversity.

 

So a bunch of N-P-C students are demanding the firing of an Hispanic immigrant teacher in the name of “diversity.” The cognitive dissonance, it burns.

It’s shameful to see what’s become of my alma mater. I graduated from VCU, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking. I was there when Javier Tapia joined the staff. For one notable semester, he was my teacher. What I learned from him then, and what is happening to him now, is extremely educational, but not in the way you’d find in a syllabus.

It was a terrible experience when I studied painting with him in the early 1990s. I ended up basically teaching myself some powerful lessons. By opposing everything this misguided academician manifested, I ended up discovering my own way as an artist.

Javier had quickly built a reputation. Temperamental. Tough. Demanding. Aggressive even. His critiques were said to play out as fiery psychodramas, reducing hapless students to tears, counselling and changes of majors.

I signed up for this, on purpose. I was determined to learn artistic skills by traditional methods, trying to paint realistically from observation. This was not the trendy thing to do at VCU, which emphasized conceptual and abstract art. I was out of sync with most of the other students, who were producing slapdash experimental works. Despite my plodding development, I felt ready for a challenge. It didn’t go down like I expected it to, but then again, hardly anything ever does.

This was a studio class, meeting all day twice a week, all of us students painting together in a filthy classroom tucked away on the top floor of the gymnasium. The infamous group critiques only took place every few weeks. During typical sessions Javier would turn up late, after we had already started working. After depositing his satchel and coffee at the paint encrusted work table he used like a desk, he wandered around the room, selectively interacting with those who caught his interest.

I actually gained positive attention for the first class or two. I set up a still life I was working from: a collection of metal and wooden objects. Those first classes I was just doing what I considered the underpainting, laying in broad areas of color and vague suggestions of shapes, tinkering with the composition. I was working in greens and yellows for some reason, although nothing I was depicting was green or yellow. Knowing my own methods, I knew anything I laid down would ultimately be covered over as I refined the painting.

Javier was initially intrigued by the masses I was setting down, and visited with me several times on those days, curious about the direction I was going in. But as soon as I started to make decisions, drawing in the specific details and starting to nudge the picture towards realism, the interactions ceased. He preferred talking with the students whose works remained only broad areas of color and vague suggestions of shapes. Turns out he was a partisan for that aesthetic, and had no patience for other forms of expression.

Javier liked to have us all gather around his desk so he could lecture us. They weren’t actually so much lectures as they were harangues, delivered in tones of bitter disappointment. The topics were usually variations on how much better he had been than us, back when he too had been a mere student. We were expected to stand there while he monologued and just suck it up, waiting until he was done with us. Only then could we crawl back to our easels, beaten half senseless by his disapproval.

Finally the day came for our first group critique. It was just like I’d heard: hostile and belittling. The collective mind of the class took on the personae of the professor. We squared off like gladiators battling to the death, egged on by his imperious disdain. I actually got off pretty easy, only because when my turn came, Javier announced right up front he saw nothing in my still life. No one had much to say after that, and we rapidly moved on.

What Javier chose to linger over during that crit showed us what he was expecting from us all. His personal pet student was displaying a largish square canvas. During the initial weeks of the class this student had simply brushed the surface of this over and over with layers of thick brownish paint. Every now and then he’d draw in some geometric shapes, only to bury them under more impasto.

Apparently the pet wasn’t satisfied that this was enough texture, because he started to adhere ragged strips of torn canvas into the wet paint, plastering over them with more smears and gobs. The final result was an unsightly, scabrous beige void. This, according to Javier, was true painting. We probably spent three quarters of an hour verbally dissecting this masterpiece.

The ones who got it worst in this critique were those who were trying to work abstractly, but who fell short of Javier’s elusive standards. Why their work was worse than the clotted lump he praised I couldn’t tell you, but the instructor seemed to take their lesser efforts as a personal affront. He sicced the class on these students like a vicious pack; they in turn were gleeful at their chance to pass on the abuse they had been experiencing. It was an ugly display.

I’m familiar with the boot camp idea of tearing someone down in order to build them up into something new and better. Maybe this was the method Javier was going for, believing he was some kind of drill instructor of art.

However, the key component of this concept is the second part. Done effectively, the broken and rebuilt recruit should be in every way superior to the weak and naive shape they began in. Tough love is the secret fuel of drill instructor rage. The cruelty is actually compassion. The targeted viciousness awakens in others the toughness and strength that will be needed to survive dire circumstances.

But with Javier’s obligatory destination, his philosophy that paintings consist of incoherent mud and marks, to be served up with a lot of posturing, the end result was no improvement. It was ultimately a merely materialistic viewpoint he served, camouflaged with a lot of cranky analysis that lent a veneer of intellectualism. He was actually espousing a major strain of thinking in Modern art, advocating for a set of beliefs that had been in vogue since the early 20th century. In this school of painting, what was important was paint as a substance applied to a surface, and how blatantly it could be made to act like paint being applied to a surface.

Well, duh.

All Javier’s ill-tempered observations could be distilled to euphemisms for, and variations upon, “paint behaves like paint, but you aren’t making it fit my intellectual theories of paint-like behavior enough.” The professor’s emotional investment in this pedantic set of concerns was puzzling. He may have been intense, but what he was emphasizing was irremediably wrong.

What matters is not what paint is, but what it is used for.

After that first critique, the class meandered on, painting time interspersed with tongue lashings and bouts of mob savagery. Now about two thirds of the students were just wiping streaks and blobs onto their canvases, pandering for approval. They still got sliced and diced during the group discussions, all except for his canvas scrap golden boy, who could do no wrong.

I remained unpersuaded, and defiantly began another still life.

Javier made it clear I was a lost cause, and that kept the abuse directed at me brief. I just wasn’t worth talking about. The only comment he’d make to me during his classroom ambles was I needed better brushes. He said this several times. I understood he felt the problem was not actually my brushes, but what I was doing with them.

I’m glad I had my habitual punk nonconformity and suspicion of authority supporting me, otherwise I too might have ended up smearing paint around. But even though I was rejecting Javier’s priorities, it was still frustrating to be ignored. I was still so young, and so uncertain in many ways. I was basically left to teach myself, since he couldn’t be bothered or was not capable of guiding me on my own path as an artist. He just wanted everyone to do it his way. And for me, his way was a dull waste of time. But still, to labor under the hostility of someone so advanced in my chosen field caused great unease.

And then, I actually saw one of Javier’s paintings.

This was still pre-internet, or at least pre-my access to it. How different the world was, back when we did not instant access to information about everything and everyone! I had to wait until a faculty art exhibit to see Javier’s work. Strangely, he never shared it with us in class.

I turned out for the opening, a buzzing, energetic Friday night affair. I enjoyed the free pretzels sticks and cheese provided for the reception, but really was there for the art, to see the works of teachers current and past; I didn’t make a special point of looking for Javier’s piece. I was very surprised when I finally read his name on the title card under a large work on canvas.

His painting was inferior. Undistinguished, indistinguishable from the work of thousands of other contemporary painters-student painters included. A mass of orange with a few tentative streaks near the bottom. I can’t find an image of it, but it was of a comparable quality to this beauty I found on the web:

A Genuine Tapia 

Everything became clear. All the professor’s bombast and attitude was overcompensation for some very justifiable insecurity. His bluster was an attempt to conceal some extreme weakness. However, in painting, there is nowhere to hide.

Despite all Javier’s credentials, all that training, all those words, the preemptive strike of haughtiness he launched on us poor pupils, the domineering and disruptive dynamic he stirred up in his class, despite all that, he failed where it mattered most. When it came time to perform, and put brush to canvas, all the academician could manage was a sloppy blankness.

After witnessing the professor’s clichéd artifice on display for all to see, for the rest of the semester, whenever Javier went on his class room tirades, I listened with a smirk. Changes were happening in my art that amplified the hollow ring of his chest thumping, and rendered him even more irrelevant in my eyes. My patient discipline was starting to pay off on the canvas; I was discovering the visionary element that continues in my painting to this day, and I had achieved the technical skills to bring it out.

The coda of this special time was my final one-on-one critique with Javier at the end of the school year. Without his browbeat flunkies, he was subdued, sheepish even. I can imagine how difficult it was for him to have to talk directly with me. He had witnessed how I had completely disregarded his philosophy, but looking at my semester’s worth of paintings, the advances I made were unmistakable.

The professor muttered something about how my work had gone off in directions he had never expected it could. I think I responded with a blank stare that he was not willing to return. That was close to rapport as we ever came, and I took it for what it was worth. After all his hostility, I earned a B in the class. I considered this a major victory. I had a new direction to explore, new ideas to try out.

What I saw in this classroom back when I was young could been seen to represent the old school of the Leftism with dominates our institutions. The feeling of entitled power that comes along with a well-connected position of authority, defended with sophistry and attitude. But there is a new dynamic challenging the presumptions of the old guard, coming from the even further Left. A rabid, destructive element seeking to purge and plunder.

I didn’t approve of his ideas or methods. But what is happening now is just wrong. It is appalling how VCU has treated Javier Tapia during this controversy. Calling security on someone he thought was an out of place student would be a typically dick move from him, but it was just a simple misunderstanding. But grievance mongers got to monger, and now the Maoist mob wants blood, vengeance, and humiliation. The school found no racist intent, but that’s not good enough for the cultural arsonists. These chilling words from a student hack activist show the irrational totalitarian fantasies being nurtured in our institutes of higher learning:

“We 100% disagree with that conclusion. What many people fail to understand is that it is obviously technically impossible to prove someone did something because of the color of someone’s skin. It’s about embedded behaviors and implicit as opposed to explicit. It’s about the structures of this country and what principles this country and its institutions are built on.”

Of course the useless administrators have gone into the fetal position, and I don’t hold out much hope Javier’s career will survive this disgraceful injustice. I fundamentally disagree with him, but the right way to manifest opposition is by positive action of my own, not by driving for personal destruction.

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

 

“Postmodernists will commit acts of senselessness and violence when top-down social pressure is applied. The Postmodernists have stolen the forms of religion to serve their aims. Original sin is now race, or carbon footprints. Indulgences can be purchased by reciting the catechisms of social justice. To prove loyalty to the cause, the SJWs eagerly throw blasphemers into the fire. Since they don’t know history, Postmodernists don’t see the predictable Marxist pattern that today’s obedient flock will be tomorrow’s barbecue.

The spiritual life of Postmodernism has been misdirected from transcendental and enduring values to ponderous politics. Nothing is sacred. There is no sense of continuity; only the needs of the moment matter. Where there should be a human spirit engaged with the eternal choice between good and evil, Postmodernists substitute slavish devotion to those who reduce morality to dominance.”

 

If there is actual justice-as opposed to the tyranny of phony collectivist social justice-Javier Tapia will be back teaching at VCU soon.

Who knows, maybe he will even learn how to paint.

 

Earlier entries in the “Death of University Art Programs” series

Part 1: Eric Fischl

Part 2: The Corcoran Collapse 

Part 3: Ignorance as a Method of Critique 

Part 4: The Subsidized Sedition of Establishment Art Schools

Part 5: Why Columbia Art Students Demanded Tuition Refunds

PAINTINGS: “LIFELINE FROM A FRIEND,” A New Collaboration by Michele and Richard Bledsoe

Michele Bledsoe and Richard Bledsoe 

“Lifeline from a Friend” Acrylic on Canvas 12″ x 6″ 

Michele Bledsoe and I have completed the fourth piece in our ongoing collaborative series.

I started this one, and it was a mess. This time we decided to divide the surface diagonally, from top to bottom. Usually I begin a painting with an image in mind. On this canvas, I tried to improvise, and it didn’t work out. I handed it over to Michele to start her section, with my half consisting of basically nothing but orange and brown smears. I told her I needed her to give me some kind of clue on what this painting was about.

Michele was not deterred. She began her natural method of stream of consciousness composition.

 

Michele Begins 

 

Soon her half was sketched in, and I was given a powerful departure point to work with.

Michele created the front end of a caterpillar in her drawing. Since I love animals and don’t want them harmed even in art, I knew I had to show the rest of the body. My own half of the image took off from that element.

Michele threw me a lifeline-in this case, the hind end of a caterpillar. It worked!

 

Richard Got Inspired 

Michele and I both created our own painting in our own unique style, but allowed a dialogue to form by the interaction of our individual efforts.

Michele compared it to having an intimate conversation.

The process of working on a piece together was so enjoyable that we will continue to collaborate. We hope to someday have a show of just our shared pieces. Watch this space for future updates.

 

Previous Collaborations:

Tusk

Blind Mugwump Johnson 

Do the Work 

How the Contemporary Art World Lies To You

 

Cut the Bull: 

Damien Hirst’s Postmodern “Art,” A Box with a Rotting Cow Head, Maggots, Flies, and a Bug Zapper 

 

The cult of Postmodernism is a toxic current flowing through our culture. Postmodernism is a kind of Cultural Marxist magical thinking among our indoctrinated-not-educated establishment. They have convinced themselves, and each other, that language shapes the world, and by controlling the social Narrative, they can force the universe into obedience.

Postmodernism is now the consensus worldview of the ruling elite. Cultivated in the carcinogenic breeding grounds of universities, this deceitful and cranky way of thinking has metastasized, and has become the default position of administrative professionals in government, business, the media, and especially the arts. People are suffering due to this unsustainable hoax, which is being inflicted on us all by top down activism. It has even soured our personal relationships.

Art provides great evidence of Postmodernism’s absurd, pretentious poses. Occasionally in my studies I find a piece that really exposes the rot. The reason the article below resonated for me is the writer sings the praises of some key Postmodern “masterpieces” and “ideas” which I’ve also written about.

ARTICLE: How to Look at Contemporary Art by Christopher P. Jones

Mr. Jones packs many rationalizations and NPC tropes into his brief commentary. He begins with the patronizing Postmodern assertion which blames the audience for not embracing the suck presented by the establishment art world. He proclaims the public doesn’t accept shallow junk as a legitimate replacement for real art because they are not sophisticated enough.

Then, as an illustrative example, he hits the bricks.

A vintage photo of Carl Andre’s “Equivalent VIII”

 

This is what passes for art in Postmodernism. Jones writes:

“There is an American artist named Carl Andre, a very renowned figure these days thanks to his influential minimalist sculptures. Back in the 1970s, the Tate Gallery in London purchased one of Carl Andre’s works, a piece called Equivalent VIII. The event caused a storm, since the artwork consists of nothing but a series of bricks arranged into a rectangular block on the floor. It had newspapers and critics up in arms, asking why public money was being spent on such an artwork. The term ‘just a pile of bricks’ stuck in the collective memory as shorthand for the dubious product that contemporary art sometimes appears to be.

“It is common for visitors to a contemporary art gallery to wonder if the objects on display are perpetrating some sort of hoax, or at least sharing an inside joke that the rest of us are not allowed to understand.

“In fact, Carl Andre was trying to make a sophisticated statement about the calm beauty of rational order and simplicity, and the relation of earthly materials to actual space. He wasn’t trying to trick anybody. Unfortunately, his wider conception of what a work of art can be didn’t match the public mood.”

I’ve written about this travesty before, in The Great Tate Bricks Controversy of 1976. Where Mr. Jones hallucinates sophistication, beauty, and order radiating off a heap of misplaced masonry, I see something else: “...the limitations of material as message render the piece itself as dull and inert. Without lots of art blather to support it, the piece is simply a stack of bricks out of its normal context, without any inherent interest of its own.

As the rebellious art movement Stuckism observed: “Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.”

Mr. Jones goes on to leak out an infamous anecdote about the puerile Postmodern role model,  French con artist Marcel Duchamp.

Fountain: Down the Drain 

 

 

“…In 1917, Duchamp presented a readymade that would have great and lasting significance on the story of art. The work was called Fountain, and consisted of a gents’ urinal made of porcelain from a factory. There is little else to say about it. It’s a urinal. Expect that Duchamp had the temerity to submit it to the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists as a work of art.

“The idea that a porcelain urinal could be considered art was, naturally enough, deeply disconcerting. For centuries, art had consisted of hand-crafted paintings and sculptures. Not surprisingly, the show’s committee decided that Fountain was not art and rejected it from the show.

“Of course, Duchamp wasn’t trying to compete against painting and sculpture with his readymades. Rather, he was making the provocative claim about what art can be. If something is presented as art — if the artist says it’s art — then who is to say whether or not it qualifies? In this way, Fountain addresses the wider questions of cultural tradition, habits of thought and the role of museums in regulating what we as a society deem noteworthy or merely ordinary.”

Mr. Jones either ignores, or does not know, that Duchamp probably stole credit for the urinal from a mentally ill female artist friend of his.  In the exposé 1917: A Shattering Discovery from the Year Art Went Into the Toilet, I took the piss out of it:  “Fountain has been used as the justification for turning art into an ironic elitist assertion, rather than an uplifting communal experience. It’s a truly nasty legacy.”

The defensive redefining of the purpose of art from a gratifying visceral engagement into a game of deflection and one-upmanship exposes the Postmodern hole in what should be the soul of art. What Postmodernism is presenting is not art. It’s a form of psychological warfare, designed to erode clarity, wisdom and sense of purpose.

George Orwell knew the technique back in 1948, when he wrote 1984. It’s easier to dominate the disoriented and dispirited. Socially enforcing the acceptance of lies is meant to break the mind and the spirit, reducing individuals into easily manipulated drones. To join the elites one must swear 2+2=5. Claiming a toilet is art is exactly the same thing.

Postmodernism believes in nothing but it own insatiable appetite for power. Returning to “How to Look at Contemporary Art,” Mr. Jones parrots the party line.

“Postmodernism takes as its starting point the fact that culture and society have changed a great deal over the past hundred years or so, and that mass media, consumer society and global communications are an integral part of that change.

“Our understanding of fundamental things, like identity, value, progress, meaning and even reality, has been reshaped by these changes.”

It seems more likely that instead of fundamentally remaking man in a matter of decades, technology has just provided a cabal of shitty control freaks with more tools to enforce their will, and better methods of deceit to obscure what is actually going on.

“To arrive at a single point of view seems inadequate. Change is everywhere about us, so our perspectives must continue to change too. Contemporary art has these ideas at its heart.”

Is this a serious claim that change is a new phenomenon for the human race? Postmodernism wants us so focused on what is in flux that we forget about what is eternal.

“An obvious example is the idea that ‘history is written by the victors.’ To realize this truth is to understand that narratives are not necessarily (if ever?) descriptions of truth, and that sometimes there are voices and stories that we don’t hear. Narratives are perspectives, with their own biases and limitations.”

Seeing the world as only an extension of their lust for control, Postmodernists deny objective reality, the endless chains of cause and effect. Instead, they worship The Narrative, a fairy tale version of the universe conjured up by their own relentless wish casting. They desperately need us all to cooperate with this hoax. They want us to have no precedents, principles or traditions that they can be measured against, so they claim there are no such things, or that they are somehow tainted. These days calling out someone for bias is like calling someone a witch during the Inquisition. Just the accusation is considered proof of guilt, and it better be followed with confession and repentance.

But then Mr. Jones hits the sweet spot: the Big Lie that enables the corrupted culture industries to continue to churn out such dysfunctional offerings.

“If you haven’t realized it by now, contemporary art likes to ask lots of questions. In fact, it prefers to ask questions than to take a definite position. That is the influence of postmodernism. It likes to probe the ways of the world and ask if our habits and expectations ought not to be questioned too…

“So when looking at a work of contemporary art, try asking yourself these questions: ‘What habits of thought is this work questioning? What assumptions is it over-turning? And how do I feel about the provocation it is making?”

“There are not right or wrong answers. Just perspectives. Yours, mine, everyone else’s. This is what contemporary art wants to explore and celebrate.” 

In “How to Look At Contemporary Art,” Christopher P. Jones tries to defuse our skepticism.”Let me assure you, contemporary art is not trying to trick you. It’s time to leave that idea behind,” he pleads.
Sorry, I won’t leave valid insights behind in order to be a better servant for a totalitarian scheme like Postmodernsim. But I do somewhat agree; contemporary art’s primary purpose is not to trick you.
Elitist contemporary art’s primary purpose to poison you.
In my book Remodern America, I tell the story of Remodernism, the cultural reboot that will wipe out the sophistry and abuses of Postmodernism.
From the Remodern America Manifesto:
This is our moment in the mighty continuum of art and life. Real art knows no boundaries; it communicates across all times, across all cultures. Art is as much an aspect of our species as the opposable thumb, and just as prevalent. The art world can be as big as all of humankind, if we do it right. Remodernism accepts responsibility for the art of our times, conveying the wisdom of tradition into the opportunities of the future. Remodernism is love made visible. 
Postmodern Art:
Beat It