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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Dishing it up on Pharmaceutical Companies : Domenic Esposito’s Spoons
The Postmodern coup against Western Civilization has been very effective in manipulating mass communications into a tool for social engineering. The elitists’ messaging efforts have become much more blatant and blunt in recent years, to the point they now openly proclaim their socialist and authoritarian intentions. They always had that lust for unaccountable power, but they used to lie about it.
Are these revelations occurring because the establishment feels our society has passed the tipping point already? Or are they being forced to expose their true natures prematurely under the assault of populist challenges? The big lie narratives are breaking down, as reality refuses to follow the scripted patterns. The dismantling of centralized power will be the story of the 21st Century.
The Opioid Crisis is a plague, under-reported by the media. Esposito’s own brother is affected by addiction, adding a heartfelt urgency to the situation. Esposito’s visual to address the crisis is a giant sculpture of a spoon used to cook up illicit drugs.
In 2007, months after pleading guilty to criminal charges that the Sackler family company, Purdue Pharma, had mismarketed OxyContin, the Sackler’s founded another company called Rhodes Pharma. Rhodes produces generic opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone. According to a report from the Financial Times, between the Rhodes and Purdue, the Sackler family is responsible for approximately 6% of all opioid prescriptions nationwide.
Last year, the Opioid Spoon Project left one of their sculptures in front of the offices of Purdue. Earlier this month, they left one outside Rhodes.
So, this company, which admitted wrongdoing 12 years ago, and is responsible of 6% of presumably LEGAL prescriptions of pain pills nationally, gets smeared with the spoon and the media hype.
80% of heroin users used opioids first? I wonder what percentage drank alcohol first as well. Esposito is missing a trick. He should set up a spoon in front of an Anheuser-Busch brewery while he’s at it. There’s no denying big Pharma has engaged in some exploitative practices. The bigger issue is a well-organized criminal syndicate is moving drugs at will across half the globe as the politicians stand idly by.
What is really going on here becomes more transparent in a the-lady-doth-protest-too-much-methinks fashion later in the article. There is no specific solution Esposito is calling for, but he does plan on making a going concern out of it:
In reality, there are so many issues at play in the opioid crisis, Esposito explained, that it is hard to pinpoint one single piece of legislation or program that would help to stop it. It needs to be tackled from multiple angles.
“For us, we are trying to hold these corporations accountable and pushing for the guidelines for getting opioids are given another look,” he said.
Esposito told the Gateway Pundit that there are more spoon drops planned for the future — and that they have a huge list of companies and people responsible that need to be shamed beyond the Sackler family.
The Opioid Spoon Project is in the process of applying for 501C3 status, to become a nonprofit. When that happens, that will allow them to begin accepting sponsorships. [emphasis mine] He said there has been a huge amount of interest from people who want to donate either time or money, but they want to make sure they do things right.
“There’s just so much fraud out there with people raising money,” Esposito laughed. “I don’t want to be seen like that. I want to make sure this is done right. We’ve done such a great job so far that I want to continue to uphold our moral and ethical standards.”
Esposito said that they are thinking about creating art to raise money that way, to help fund continuing the spoon installations.
Seriously, how much does it cost to dump a hunk of steel onto a sidewalk?
Shame, that great Postmodern blunt instrument for enforcing obedience to the narrative. I wonder if giving a corporate sponsorship to that non-profit would be great way for a drug company to avoid the negative publicity of a renegade art installation and ceremonial activist “arrest” on their property. Let’s call it a win/win. I doubt the Cartels will be doing any charitable donations for a tax write off.
Postmodern art is tool of oppression. Here an obvious stunt is seeking to profit from harassing soft targets while claiming the moral high ground, co-opting a terrible situation without acknowledging the actual scope and reality of the problem. I wouldn’t even call this spoon thing art at all. It fails to do what real art does. It’s a one-liner, without any insights, depths, or mystery.
The appreciation of inclusive, inspirational art is a great bonding experience. A new national pride in our arts will be vital for the healing process.
There are important distinctions between art and propaganda. Although both are forms of visual communication, their aims are completely different. Great art explores the mysteries of human experience. Propaganda seeks to influence an intellectual decision by stirring up obscuring clouds of emotionalism.
Strong art reaches universal, shared experience by honestly presenting the results of self-exploration. Propaganda seeks to substitute that universal appeal with the presentation of ideology it assumes to be commonly held by all right-thinking people. But what if the audience doesn’t share the same convictions, or are indifferent to them? Then the art fails to connect, falls flat. The more blatantly political a work is, the smaller its audience will be.
Remodern art is political by not being political. Instead of submitting to the Postmodern demand to make everything into an activist statement, Remodernism makes the stand good art exists independently of political poses, and ideological purity cannot stand in for effectiveness.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts from a Remodern perspective.
Manhattan’s New Museum: A Precarious Pile Up Over Unionized Staff
“My problem with unions is they breed mediocrity.”
-Kevin O’Leary, Canadian Businessman
In today’s corrupt and isolated contemporary art world, mediocrity might be an improvement. One overpriced elitist cloister is about to have a chance to find out.
The New Museum is located in Manhattan. Founded in 1977, the New Museum rejects the whole antiquated “museum as a venue for significant works of high quality which have withstood the test of time” concept. Instead, “New art, new ideas,” is their oh-so-bold mission statement.
A quick review of their history shows just how much they fail to deliver on this simply stated goal. Postmodernism’s predictable style, a fake approximation of culture, means the New Museum is infested with transitory, unskilled installations and pointless performances, all propped up with convoluted rhetoric.
Some exhibit “highlights:”
But is it Art?
It’s amazing such twaddle finds a foothold anywhere, let alone in the pricey environs of New York City. But the establishment’s ongoing efforts to subvert and destroy Western Civilization are very well subsidized. In fact, the New Museum is undergoing a major upgrade: $85 million to double its exhibit space, so it can feature twice as many transitory, unskilled installations and pointless performances. But wait: it will also allow them to expand “more experimental programs like its business incubator and the urban-policy think tank that it runs.” It’s the Postmodern mandate that every enterprise just serves as a front for social engineering activism, and the arts are particularly scarred by that presumption.
However, discontent is brewing in the ranks of the establishment’s ongoing psychological warfare against the populace. Some Millennials felt they weren’t receiving the Special Snowflake pay grade and working conditions they want.
“…current and former museum employees who spoke to artnet News often complained that entry-level salaries are unsustainable—around $35,000 to start—and that some departments discourage workers from accurately reporting their hours in order to avoid paying them overtime. A spokesman for the museum says it offers competitive salaries for its location and size. The spokesman also said the median salary for full-time employees who were eligible for the union vote is $52,000.
“According to three current and former staffers, turnover rates are high and the museum can take months to refill positions, leaving the remaining staffers to do multiple jobs on top of their own.
“’The low salaries breed turnover, so it’s just this constant flow of people that makes everyone burned out,’ said one former museum employee who asked to remain anonymous. ‘I took the job because I would’ve chopped my arm off to work there at the time, but it just wasn’t sustainable. I didn’t have a safety net, no support from my parents. A lot of people get to the point where they’re like, ‘I’m working a job meant for rich people.’
“Another concern is that there is virtually no consistent, designated venue to air professional problems…I think the general sense is there’s not much of an HR structure or grievance system in place,” Kopel says.
“Many of these issues are emblematic of problems that staff at other institutions are grappling with: low pay, long hours, and the absence of a clear reporting structure. But some employees say the environment at the New Museum is uniquely challenging compared to other places they’ve worked. What’s more, the museum—founded by Marcia Tucker in 1977 after she was fired from the Whitney Museum—has a reputation for forward-thinking exhibitions and programs.
“’It’s hard when you get hired by an institution with such progressive rhetoric and you don’t have a voice,” said one former employee. “The New Museum sets the standard for a lot of institutions, and they are setting a lower standard.’”
“Art institutions need to take care of their workers plagued by high-cost city living, student debt, and hopes of a stable financial situation that allows them to work at an organization they are passionate about.”
Translation: This is not the glamorous, prestigious, and well-compensated future my Masters Degree in Intersectional Feminist Ceramics should rate!
These art museum workers are still stuck in their university mentalities. It’s probably because they switched one form of isolated elitist playpen for another; they expect to retain their inmates-run-the- asylum habits. Their career path seems to involve endlessly rehashing the contents of sociology term papers and asserting that is productivity. Observe some of their own quotes on their inane exhibitions, which are uniformly dedicated to various leftist tropes and NPC talking points that have been stale for 50+ years. .
“…dedicated to providing pro-bono legal representation to undocumented immigrants and their families facing deportation…
The work…touches on urgent themes such as migration and displacement. Addressing trauma in the US as a consequence of the country’s foreign policy actions…
…ongoing explorations of the complexity of collectivity and the human and social consequences of imperialist ventures…
…reflect on racism and power, migration and national identity, and the layers of historical memory that comprise our sense of community and belonging…”
Since the wage slaves feel they are not being justly rewarded for lolling around in an institute that serves up such incoherent academic gobbledygook, they get to indulge in another collegiate pastime: organizing resistance and socking it to The Man. Some of the lower caste drones of the collectivist hive mind decided they weren’t getting enough of a kickback on the culture racket. So they decided to bring in some union muscle.
Because working in an elitist pretend-museum is just like working on the line building Detroit rolling iron, the New Museum pussy hat brigades and soy boys voted to join up with the United Auto Workers.
One of These Things is Not Like the Other
Top: Staff at the New Museum
Bottom: United Auto Workers Strike
Another whole article could be written about how the management of the New Museum reacted. As true progressives you would expect them to be all in support of bringing in hired gun extortionist goons to explain how to better spread the museum’s wealth around.
Nice cutting-edge creative space facility you got ‘ere…
Be a shame if anything ‘appened to it…
Museum management did try to understand the hot water they were getting into by contacting a firm with a reputation for defeating union initiatives. The art world scolding and shaming was so intense the New Museum had to disavow any attempt to explain why a union might not work out. A spokesperson groveled:
“The New Museum is a relatively small institution with a strong mission—we have always worked closely and collaboratively. We don’t believe unionization is the best way to preserve what is special about our culture or advance change. We value the creativity and input of the entire staff, and we will do everything we can to maintain our distinctiveness.”
Good luck to the staff of the New Museum in getting a union to produce Manhattan sized results for a gaggle of expendable specialists in a useless boutique endeavor. At least the New Museum didn’t take the route renowned art world charlatan Jeff Koons did in 2016:
“Postmodernists are parasitic. They are so other-directed, they can’t lead an independent existence. Postmodernists rely on a mob mentality to support and reinforce their irrational ideas and behaviors. As their intellects cling to group identification instead of independent thought, and their stunted emotions merely mirror groupthink expectations, Postmodernists are primed to sell their souls to fit in. They deny there is any such thing as a soul anyway, so it’s easy to give it up. The price doesn’t even need to be high. Postmodernism is a poverty-stricken ideology, so its practitioners have meager expectations. Most will never live the jet-setting lifestyle of their globalist masters. These influencers don’t have to operate within the perimeters they inflict on others. Postmodernists strive for the opportunity to bask in the reflected glory of their controllers.
“As Postmodernists are in thrall to the limiting collectivist fantasies of Marxism, it makes them anxious followers. They want to be in with the in-crowd, part of what they are assured is the inevitable winning side of history. It is the dream of every progressive to join the most favored status clique, where their ilk gets to call the shots. This conceit plays into the leftist assumption that in the utopia to come, some animals will be more equal than others, as Orwell predicted. They acknowledge no God that created all men equal. Leftwing rhetoric of fairness for all is just hype designed to deceive. Once triumphant, the radicals will punish their enemies and reward their friends, just like Postmodernist President Barack Obama urged them to do. Postmodern minions want to make sure they are in good with these brutal inquisitors. Postmodernists will commit acts of senselessness and violence when top-down social pressure is applied.”
The Contagion Spreads: Protests at the Museum of Modern Art
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other articles for more commentary on the state of the arts.
I’ve written before about the challenges of being a compulsive painter who likes to work on medium/large paintings (see 2016 entry STUDIO: Sixteen Years of Paintings.) If not sold, on display, or on the walls of my own house, where can I keep all the paintings I make?
The number of works has only grown over the last 3 years. Due to life circumstances, for a few years I had to store my paintings at a separate location. But in the fall of 2018, they came back into our home.
All 185 of them! We used the transportation and unpacking process as an opportunity to do a really thorough inventory and documentation of all the works I’ve made and kept over the last 18 years. This count does not include works I’ve sold, traded, given away, or painted over. I’ve been busy.
Just a Small Sample
But once they were all accounted for, we still had the problem of how to store them. I had the idea of constructing a two tier painting storage rack out of plywood and 2 x 4s. I did various sketches, contemplating the best methods for joinery and assembly.
When I showed my drawings to my wife Michele Bledsoe, she made one of her typically insightful comments: I was basically drawing something with the structure and dimensions of a bunk bed. There was no need to try and fabricate a stable, load bearing structure from scratch. We just needed a cheap bunk bed frame.
One trip to Ikea later, and I had a painting storage rack that could be assembled in an afternoon. It was $169.00. The raw materials for a wooden rack would have probably been cheaper, but avoiding the frustration my crude carpentry skills would have caused is priceless. I lined the beds with cut down sheets of cardboard from the boxes the bed came in.
The few largest paintings (3′ x 4′ and bigger) I have resting on the floor between the bed and the wall, elevated on strips of wood. All the rest now are safely stored on the adapted bunk bed rack. My paintings are lined neatly up by size, front to front, back to back, with dividers of cardboard and foam core for extra safety. My painting storage problems are solved!
The Big Ones Get Their Own Dedicated Space
A stepladder helped in loading small works on the top tier