“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (1991)
The arts are undergoing a crisis of relevance. People have been so alienated by the weird dysfunctions of the establishment art world for so long, there is little awareness of what is being advanced as the visual representations of our culture.
This stuff matters more than people know. Art shows us who we are, and it shows us how to be. Right now the arts are dominated by destructive nihilists. Look at what they do, to understand what the elites are trying to program as our way to live.
There is a longstanding artistic tradition of the momento mori: “remember you must die.”
The reality of our own mortality, and coming to terms with it, is a vital function of traditional art. Making something exquisite out of the way of all flesh is a transcendental act. It has been expressed in many ways. Throughout art history, skulls make appearances in paintings, on jewelry, on clocks and watches. Dutch masters painted beautifully naturalistic oil still lifes referred to asvanitas, which included images of bones, snuffed lamps, and hourglasses. They not only celebrated the refined talents of the painters, they implied pending decay.
Pieter Claesz “Vanitas Still Life” (1630)
The tradition continued over the centuries. In a more recent example, Modernist American painter Georgia O’Keeffe utilized animal skulls and flowers to similar effect. It’s the kind of universal communication that makes art so powerful.
Georgia O’Keeffe “Summer Days” (1936)
As Christians, we understand our true life is not limited to this earth, but is life eternal granted by the grace of the Son of God. Still, awareness of the briefness of our time here on earth is a powerful motivator. “I am writing this book because we’re all going to die,” mused Beat author Jack Kerouac. He was determined to deliver his story as a supplication to the Lord. Kerouac wanted to make something holy out of all his striving, opening himself to God before the darkness came.
Contemporary art has a different message for us: death as something awkward, gross, and shameful. This is typified by the richest living artist in the world: Damien Hirst.
Choke Artist: Damian Hirst
Hirst has been well rewarded for making death seem supreme. It’s said this hack is worth $1 billion. What put British artist Hirst on the fast track in the first place could be seen as a momento mori of a kind, but with some important caveats.
Hirst was trying to make that connection in his title. Called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, the 1991 piece was a fourteen foot long taxidermied tiger shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde. Since its creation it has changed hands several times, for a price suggested to be as high as $12 million.
Now, Hirst did not catch the shark. He did not stuff the shark. He did not build the tank, or suspend the beast in it. He is a “Conceptual artist.” The idea of Conceptual art is all the artist needs is to have the idea. Others execute it, often by just putting some already existing item like a shark into a new context of a gallery or museum. The artist then acts as a well-networked and “controversial” spokesmodel for their commercialized brand. This business model was most visibly pioneered by Pop artist Andy Warhol, who made some vanitas himself.
Andy Warhol “Skull” (1976)
While Warhol usually sold product placements and celebrity portraits, HIrst’s brand is carcasses. It’s claimed nearly 1 million animals have been processed through his industrial scale artistic abattoir, ranging from butterflies to zebras. He’s advanced from having them merely displayed; they are sliced, diced, contorted and flayed, as per his “vision.” As Hirst has callously stated, he wants to “kill things in order to look at them,” and “Cut us in half, we’re all the fucking same.”
Damien Hirst “Piggy”
I don’t claim any special virtue for myself. I’m a happy meat eater, and I understand what that means. But what Hirst promotes is far from the traditional momento mori of art. There’s no acknowledgement of the urgency of human experience, the profound significance of life in the face of its certain end. The hands off approach from its originator removes the spiritual resonance of creation in spite of destruction. Hirst implies we are just meat to be manipulated and exploited. It’s an ugly and empty message.
Hirst doesn’t even provide quality in the work he has done in his name. Despite the hype, I’ve seen descriptions of encounters with the shark which say what was once was a magnificent animal looks about as impactful as an overstuffed sofa, lost in the white void of the museum. The original shark rotted away in its tank, and had to be replaced. The contemporary art market is place of such cognitive dissonance there is a hearty debate on whether swapping the shark out meant the artwork was now worthless.
My take? It was worthless in the first place.
Hirst seems to have gotten into the carrion business because he lacks real artistic talent or discernment. After Hirst became a brand name, when he wanted to come up with a mass production way to cash in, he produced the inane spot paintings. I can’t picture a bigger failure in imagination or interest than these generic Twister rip offs. Still, thousands of these have been cranked out by hired help, selling for tens of thousands of dollars each. It’s a way for tasteless but wealthy patrons to partake in Hirst’s rotten prestige in a sterile way, without worrying about formaldehyde leaks.
Some People Actually Pay For This: A Hirst Spot Painting
Hirst is still flogging dead horses and more to maintain his top tier art market status. His latest gimmick is ironically putting paint onto a canvas himself, though I wouldn’t go so far as to grace the efforts with the status of paintings.
Spotty Accomplishments: Hirst Cherry Blossoms
Ultimately elites celebrate artists like Hirst because they have a death wish: they wish the rest of us would die, or at least be as passive as corpses while the powerful abuse and pillage our society. The establishment contributes to our destruction by replacing art with icons of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual deterioration.
The art world is in a crisis of relevance these days. Just about the only time art gets attention outside the culture industry cocoon is when it can exemplify stupidity, envy, or a combination of the two.
Envy is invoked when a stunning sales price is announced. Most understand a high value for rarity and quality, such as a presumed work by a master like Leonardo Di Vinci; the uncertain Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million in 2017. People wonder how anyone could have that much money to spend on something made just to look at, and imagine what they could do those kind of funds.
But usually the art selling for inflated amounts doesn’t have that kind of legendary provenance. It’s in Modern and Contemporary art where foolishness and asset covetousness come together most clearly. It occurs when the general public sees obvious scams lavishly rewarded. The banana sold for $120,000. The unmade bed is valued at over $4 million now. The populace rightly scoffs at the sheer folly on display.
Salvatore Garau, an Italian trickster, produced a recent example of expensive non-art. His “immaterial” sculpture Io Sono (I Am) sold for $18,000. The piece does not exist. What the purchaser received for their money was the artiste’s word salad poor excuse for an explanation and a gen-u-ine “certificate of authenticity.” The patron must keep a 5 foot square space available for the nothing to be on display; fortunately, it does not require any special lighting or climate control. What a bargain.
There’s many unsavory factors festering under the surface in the art market. Money laundering, tax evasion, and insider trading doubtlessly drive the high financing. And yet there is something more sinister at work here than white collar crimes.
The villains aren’t the con artists who produce, or pretend to produce, ridiculous rubbish in the name of art. They’re just bit players. The real source of dangerous and deliberate derangement is the globalist New Aristocracy of the Well Connected. They’ve inherited and/or invented a whole phony world we all are expected to play along with.
The establishment has mislabeled hoaxes as art for at least a century. In 1917, a mentally ill woman submitted a urinal to an exhibit. The French charlatan Marcel Duchamp later took credit for it as a new form of expression; in fact, a higher form of expression, where something which is obviously not art becomes art by relying on elitist acceptance and support to function.
If you don’t accept a urinal – or an invisible sculpture, or a banana, or dirty linens – as art, well, that just proves you are one of those knuckle-dragging mouth breathers with deplorable Neanderthal thinking. The members of the club-they get it. Don’t you want to be a member of the club?
Art was just the thin edge of the wedge. It’s like visionary William Blake tried to warn us, “Empire follows art and not vice versa.” After the establishment weaponized art into an assault on reality itself, and made it a litmus test for social status, they’ve rolled out numerous other deceptive mandates to obey.
It’s so much worse than just having an opinion on an ambiguous situation. Again and again, the actual evidence contradicts the elitist position. Instead of accepting reality, our ruling class assume they can will their preferences into existence just by agreeing amongst themselves, insisting the rest of us go along with them, and blocking any channel for the truth to come out. It’s extra convenient for the in-crowd to advocate for any absurdity that comes along, because as elites they are not held to the standards of behavior they demand of others.
Our Postmodern Progressive overlords have developed a long list of required false beliefs for their followers to conform to: man made climate change is an emergency. Systematic racism exists. Citizens don’t need guns. The problem with the Middle East is Israel. Speech is violence and violence is speech, depending who the speaker is. Men can become women or women can become men just because they want to. Abortion is not infanticide. Defunding the police will lead to safer communities. The Woo Hoo flu is such a danger we must give up our Constitution. That same Woo Hoo flu was not released by the Chi Coms accidently on purpose. We did not just experience the most consequential and blatant election fraud in history. Joe Biden is not a perverted vegetable. Patriots are domestic terrorists. All will be well if we submit to our Postmodern Progressive overlords.
I bet if you believe one of these delusions, you believe them all. Congratulations, you’ve been successfully indoctrinated!
We’ve gotten to the point where there is such a disconnect between elitist desires and reality, it is a threat. The danger comes from just how far the establishment will go to maintain the illusionary world they’ve schemed into existence. The elitists believe they have power because they are just that much better than everyone else, not because they are willing participants in a consolidated combine of lies and cronyism. It will hurt to lose their prestige. They will defend it viciously.
Art is good place to start, to help ease the establishment out of their attitude of omnipotence. Hans Christian Anderson nailed the situation when he wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” We all need to be the little boy speaking truth to power.
The Emperors are naked. There is no invisible sculpture. And the whole Marxist program is based on lies.
“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 the return of art as a revelation.”
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Despite the ongoing pandemic psyop and hysteria which requires us to cover our faces, this is actually the era of the Great Unmasking. Our Postmodern credentialed classes have been exposed; their corruption, hypocrisy, and ulterior motives are on full display. Now as their monopoly on power and mass communications are being challenged as never before, many elites are openly siding with a cause they feel is the source of their authority. They want to redefine Satanism as the hip philosophy for the Twenty-first century.
Looking at the oppression, suffering, and destruction the Left has caused whenever they gain control, it’s not like it’s any secret they are a force for evil. Hillary Clinton’s mentor, Saul Alinksy, was an early adopter of this establishment trend. On his dedication page for Rules for Radicals, his 1971 destruction of Western Civilization how-to book, Alinsky wrote:
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins —or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
Better to rule in Hell, right Saul? What a shame he seemed to gloss over another quote on the very same page:
“Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul….”
– Thomas Paine
Paine identifies it: to be a devil is to be miserable. So why go there? Best I can figure it, what is happening here is people who are already miserable are drawn to Leftist activism. It gives them license to try to make others as unhappy as they are.
Something is happening in the culture though, very much against the plans and preferences of the SJWs. Their monolithic totalitarians schemes are fading, as people actually dare to disagree with progressive priorities. So the hacktivists are reacting with all the stability and foresight that is always the hallmark of the Left: They are calling on Satan to save them. Numerous news stories have demonstrated the subsequent apparatchik acknowledgement of allegiance with the powers of darkness.
Hyperallergenic is an online “arts” magazine, which like most of the culture industries these days, performs a bait-and-switch, and presents Marxist proselytizing in place of creativity. In September 2020, they vomited out this little thinkpiece like Linda Blair spewed pea soup: The Story Behind a Misunderstood Satanic Monument:
“Satanic Panic” never really ended; it just fell out of fashion in mainstream media. With the rise of QAnon in Trump’s America, however, Satanism has received renewed interest across the conservative media spectrum. When the Black Lives Matter protests started bringing down Confederate memorials in June, far-right publications and organizations like The Washington Times and Turning Point USA called for the destruction of the Satanic Temple’s bronze statue of Baphomet, its patron deity with the head of a goat and angel wings.
These attempted takedowns betray long-held Republican beliefs in freedom of religion and respect of private property, leading Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves to denounce their legal and spiritual corruption. In an open letter posted on his Patreon, Greaves critiqued the false equivalence between Confederate monuments and the Baphomet statue, arguing that Satanists pose no real threat to religious freedom, and that Baphomet does not even currently stand on public property. (The statue is currently housed in the Temple’s headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts.)
“You can really learn about people’s cultural baggage by seeing how they react to the Baphomet monument,” Greaves told Hyperallergic. “It’s interesting to think this debate could merely be about what’s offensive to some type of individual, and that there is nothing qualitatively different about the Baphomet statue — which is openly symbolic of pluralism, diversity, and nonbinary identity.” (The Satanic Temple does not believe in the existence of Satan, nor does it worship the occult.)
Oh it’s a misunderstanding. A “temple” featuring a grotesque idol of a patron deity isn’t occult or religious, you rubes. Nor should it be compared to the real evil: historical tributes to Democrats who caused a civil war to trying to preserve their entitlement to own other human beings. No, you see, Satan is the good guy in Postmodern globalism. As the article continues:
Greaves and sculptor Mark Porter intentionally designed its calm and stoic facial expression to reflect the Temple’s non-violent mission and political status.
“People do not automatically think of Satanism as this murderous force anymore,” Greaves said. “There has been a perceptual shift in which people are able to embrace images that may have previously seemed untouchable and blasphemous. As much as this is a religious and cultural movement, it is also an art movement, and it all ties together.”
Much like the GOP’s fear-mongering around socialism, this new wave of Satanic Panic is a form of projection. What many Christians really fear is opposition to their notions of religious dominance, in both theory and practice. The Satanic Temple’s core principles include peaceful protest, adherence to science, body autonomy, and empathy toward all living beings. Many of its local chapters perform rituals from a non-superstitious, non-supernatural perspective while actively serving and beautifying their communities. They lead cleanup efforts for parks and beaches, hold sock and clothing drives for homeless communities, and distribute menstrual hygiene products for those without access. The Baphomet statue is the embodiment of this new paradigm, representing the only organization of its kind to gain political leverage in recent history.
Conservative reactionaries have always needed a scapegoat to blame for vice and deviance, and the Baphomet monument fills that role. In reality, though, Satanists are helping to debunk pseudoscience and organize against a theocratic status quo. It is no wonder, therefore, that far-right internet trolls want to portray Satanists as cannibals working for the deep state. Grieves views Baphomet as an entry point into the Temple’s efforts to mitigate religious racism and combat white supremacy throughout the country.(emphasis mine)
Please. The only theocratic status quo with any clout these days is the Authoritarian State as Religion, the creed of progressives everywhere.
Hillary Clinton herself, a woman of wealth and taste, recently signaled in a sly artistic reference she still is following in her mentor’s footsteps. Whether you want to assign the mentorship to Alinsky, or cut out the middleman and go right to the source, is up to you.
Clinton appeared in her new podcast with her laptop oh so casually propped up on a stack of books. Sharp eyed observers identified one on the props: Erotics, a book of sculptures by artist Lucio Bubacco.
Google Books gushes:
“Lucio Bubacco’s works in glass are unparalleled examples of extraordinary Venetian flame technique – A witty play with the borders of kitsch, and biblical and carnevalesque iconography…Most of the subjects of Lucio Bubacco’s (b. 1957) glass art are provocative and polarizing; at the same time they are sensual and beguiling. In a kind of erotic ‘trance dance’ – Mephistophelian and frequently riotous – nightmarish fabulous creatures and mythological phantasms virtually undulate about each other…Full of wit and irony he thus explores the limits of kitsch without overstepping them. Follow him into a world of carnavalesque orgies, crystalline incubi and erotic fantasies in glass!”
Here is one of the tamer images:
Everything about Hillary Clinton is calculated, and she doubtless has a team of people facilitating all of her PR efforts. If that book was displayed, you can be sure it was deliberate.
I am a 40-something attorney and mother who lives in a quiet neighborhood with a yard and a garage full of scooters and soccer balls. I am not the type of person who would normally consider becoming a Satanist, but these are not normal times…
Our democracy has become so fragile that the loss of one of the last guardians of common sense and decency in government less than two months before a pivotal election has put our civil and reproductive rights in danger like never before. And, so, I have turned to Satanism.
Members of the Satanic Temple do not believe in the supernatural or superstition. In the same way that some Unitarians and some Jews do not believe in God, Satanic Temple members do not worship Satan and most are atheists. They are not affiliated in any way with the Church of Satan. Instead, the Satanic Temple uses the devil as a symbol of rebellion.
Just like other faiths, the Satanic Temple has a code that their members believe in deeply and use to guide their lives. These Seven Fundamental Tenets include that “one should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason,” that “the struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions,” and that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”
Reading through the Seven Tenets, I was struck by how closely they aligned with the unwritten code I had used to try to guide my own life for several years. I realized, happily, that these were my people and that I had been a Satanist for several years without even knowing it. When Justice Ginsburg’s death suddenly made combating the threats to reproductive rights and a government free from religious interference more urgent, I knew it was time to join them and support their conceptual and legal battles.
It’s hard to know in this sorry tale where the mental illness ends and the evil begins.
Conceptual battles are turning into real ones, thanks to these diabolical agitators. Research uncovered that the media-connected thug Jeremiah Elliot, the Denver assassin of a Trump supporter, also has ties to Satan flaunting activities.
These people are toying with something dangerous. Whether they believe in the supernatural or not, they are engaging in the worst impulses of humanity: hatred, selfishness, self-deception, manipulative lies, and reckless pride. Nothing positive can result in this cultivation of the demonic.
There’s nothing new about turning to evil to try and get your own way. That story goes all the way back to Adam and Eve, and dictates much of human history. The contemporary form of this affliction has the extra nasty twist of being insufferably smug about it, too.
“Despite the vast economic opportunities that improved the situation for much of the population, there were serious issues relating to the sudden upheaval of the social order. Customary roles and lifestyles were obliterated by the transformations. Poverty and exploitation continued, and even increased in the swelling city populations.
“But humankind, arrogant with increased power, imagined the same kind of empirical approach that reshaped the natural world could work equally as well on the human heart.
“The efficiency of the mechanistic view, once applied across all fields of human endeavor, seemed to promise human life and society must be perfectible. In the Nineteenth century, there was faith that the same kind of progress industrial science achieved could be applied to society. New interpretative social sciences and theories tried to match the accomplishments of technology.
“Modern age optimism assumed while religion and tradition had failed to create a worldly paradise, logic would prevail. The intellect would be humanity’s new savior, and pragmatic philosophy would make heaven on earth.
“The overreach and false equivalence at the heart of this assumption has caused cataclysmic consequences ever since. To think human existence can be operated like an orderly, regimented machine, or to even believe that this is a desirable thing, remains the dehumanizing legacy of the materialistic concepts that gained traction in the 1800s.
“For example, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Since that time, an estimated 100 million people have been massacred in the name of their historically necessary “perfected” society.
“It seems all those ordinary lives were just not perfectible enough. The miraculous material progress the Modern age gave us did not make us better people. Instead, it gave us new justifications for evil behavior.
“The corruption and downfall of good intentions is the inevitable consequence of trying to live without God.”
Our elites have chosen to exercise their self-serving demons, and they aren’t even pretending about it any longer. Our culture needs an exorcism.
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 abook. Or a painting.