“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.
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
Richard Bledsoe “Gentlemen Astronomers” acrylic in canvas 24″ x 30″
Starting off the new year with a piece that I’ve been working on since September 2018. I completed Gentlemen Astronomers on Friday January 4, 2019.
This one became a study in moonlight.
Symbols give hints. They gesture. If you follow their indications, you find yourself gazing upon the unknowable complexity and profundity of existence.
I no longer work from preparatory drawings or grids. I create the images by painting them directly out on the canvases. While working on the paintings, the most effective results happen when I’ve become so absorbed in the process that I’m aware of nothing else. In fact, it’s like I’m aware of nothing at all.
I vanish while my paintings get applied to the canvas. I have the continuous experience of stepping back from the work to see it, and it’s like I’m stepping out of a trance. I’m constantly surprised by what I see has appeared on the painting, because I have no memory of doing it. Turning myself over to this receptive state allows something beyond my own capacities to take over. My best achievements are works done through me, rather than by me.
Art reminds us of who we are, and shows what we can be. But these days the visual arts are undergoing a crisis of relevance. Art has been weaponized into an attack on the foundations of civilization itself, full of examples of irrelevance, carrion, excrement, pornography, and debris. Instead of being reverenced as a communion for all, contemporary art is being treated as a wedge, a social signifier of elitist attitudes. In doing so, the New Aristocracy of the Well-Connected block access to powerful resources.
Our self-aggrandizing ruling class’s tawdry and nihilistic vision of life is being inflicted upon us all. They are trying to remake the world in their own rotten image. They deny our society the inspiration to live up to ideals, the encouragement to think and feel deeply, the yearning to harmonize with truth and beauty. As a result, the mass audience has turned away. We’ve come to call this assault Postmodernism.
The elitists understood to maintain power, they had to undermine resistance. That’s why the top-down cultural forces have made Postmodernism so prevalent. Using mass media to communicate their sickening message, the establishment made dispiriting Postmodernism the terrain we all must navigate, the atmosphere we all must breathe, the environment we all must adapt to.
Postmodernism is now the consensus worldview of the ruling elite. It is also the reason their current hierarchy is weakened, and failing. Their would-be tool of domination is destroying them. They’ve been hollowed out by their own corrupt pretensions; their collapse is inevitable.
Postmodernism is dead. This is the beginning of the Remodern era.
Art is a more enduring and vital human experience than the power games of a greedy and fraudulent ruling class. The story of the 21st Century will be the dismantling of centralized power. As always, this course of history was prophesied by artists—those who are intuitively aware of the path unfolding ahead. Their works become maps so that others may find the way.
As Andrew Breitbart stated, “Politics is downstream from culture.” A ragtag group of UK artists fired the first shot against the abuses and ineptitude of the entrenched Postmodern establishment. What these artists initiated has spread across the world, in popular culture, the media, politics, gaining ever deeper significance and consequences. Enduring changes start in the arts.
Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization provides an historical overview of how art shapes society and politics. This book exposes how the contemporary art world is used as a tool of oppression. Most importantly, Remodern America provides the solution, and reveals how the power of art can be reclaimed as a force for liberty.
Remodernism is art of the people, by the people, for the people. Our freedom here in the United States should be producing the most moving and accomplished art in human history. America can be a world leader in culture, not just in military and industrial might. We, the people, deserve a better reflection of our character than the appalling mockery of the art favored by the elitists. So we, the people, are going to make it happen.
Remodernism is the recognition that Western civilization is still mighty. Remodernism knows we can still use our talents to create unprecedented growth. Remodernism is understanding our best days are still ahead of us, if we make the right choices, and do the needed work.
We will demonstrate this in art, to begin with. Imagine a new, decentralized creative class not invested in trashing our culture, but in celebrating it. What a choice to present to our citizens! Uplifting, honest artistry will change the tone of our entire society. Where we go one, we go all.
Renew the arts, and renew the civilization. Together, we can make art great again.
“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.”
-from The Remodern America Manifesto
Edit: Welcome Instapundit Readers! Please visit other articles for more commentary on the state of the arts.