Daddy’s Girl: Lena and Carroll Dunham
“I’ve looked a lot at Picasso and read a lot about him, and I think he was having a good time at different points. There’s humor in that work—there’s no question—but to me it’s a byproduct of something else that’s much more ruthless and cold. Like the humor of a psychopath [laughs].”
I know about Lena Dunham against my will.
I’ve never sought out information about this marginal, unstable pop culture player, and yet at least every couple of months Lena Dunham floats to the surface of the news stream, and I have to hear more about her. The establishment media needed a role model to codify the Millennial generation as feckless narcissists and vicious virtue signallers, and Lena fits that job description perfectly. One of the latest breaking reports about her involved how she broke a fingernail while doing some intimate grooming. I resent that my brain was forced to ponder how such a thing could even happen.
My rejection of her ongoing presence isn’t about her looks, although a big part of Lena’s shtick involves a weird blend of exhibitionism and a push/pull of inadequately repressed self-loathing. It’s Lena Dunham’s character that is concerning.
She follows the Postmodern prescription that untalented celebrities can polish their resumes by strident political posturing. Pretty much no one watched her main claim to fame, the cancelled HBO show Girls. As Entertainment Weekly noted in 2017, at the beginning of its poorly rated last season, “Girls is basically the quintessential media bubble show — hugely loud in pop culture chatter compared to its actual viewership.” The reason an unpopular show like Girls gets hyped is because the parties involved can be counted on to broadcast the approved partisan agenda.
And yet away from the predictable policy positions and politicians she monotonously and shrilly advocates, Lena Dunham makes an effective case for leftism as a mental disorder, a justification for some reprehensible behavior. Lots of Dunham’s press coverage is actually negative fallout from the latest landmine she stepped on. Dunham has tried to fire up internet hate mobs by making dubious accusations about thought crimes by a couple of airline stewardesses. She smeared a former college associate with groundless rape accusations, then went on to publicly betray the #Metoo movement when they came at one of her pals. She abandoned a pet and then followed up with a borderline bestiality tweet. Perhaps most notorious was her “comedic” take on how during childhood she molested her younger sister. “Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying,” she joked. Ha ha.
How does her sister Grace respond to the disclosure? She insists there was no problems. Oh, and by the way, Grace is now a non-binary gender identifying queer activist and performance artist, because of course she is. Sounds like the outcome of a totally healthy upbringing. Which brings us to their daddy: aging New York hipster and painter Carroll Dunham.
My wife Michele Bledsoe often states the art an artist makes shows who they are. So who would you say Carroll Dunham is, after looking at a few examples of his art?
In 2010, the critic David Pagel summed it up in a review:
“Carroll Dunham makes paintings that not even a mother could love. Vulgar beyond belief, his super-crude depictions of a naked woman crawling through a cartoon landscape border on vicious.
“It’s easy to see why many people find them offensive, demeaning and disgusting, as well as mean-spirited, malicious and horrific. They are all that and more. Much, much more.”
But this is the establishment art world we’re talking about here. Pagel clarifies the approved response in his next sentence:
“Dunham’s new oils on canvas are the best works the 61-year-old New Yorker has made.”
As I state in my upcoming book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization,
“Behold the moronic masterpieces selected and elevated by our utterly corrupted and compromised institutions. This list could go on and on, full of examples of irrelevance, carrion, excrement, pornography, and debris.
“This is the elite’s idea of what is significant in our culture. This is what the establishment is stocking our museums with. This is our self-aggrandizing ruling class’s tawdry and nihilistic vision of life, being inflicted upon us all.
“They are trying to remake the world in their own rotten image. They’ve weaponized art into an assault on the foundations of civilization itself. We can call this assault Postmodernism, a philosophy which is explored in detail later in this book.”
I wasn’t talking specifically about Caroll Dunham in the quote above, but the shoe fits him like he was Cinderella.
Now I have no issue with art taking on intense subject matter and mature themes. It must. Contemporary painters like Eric Fischl may specialize in the dark, seamy and sexual, but skilled artistry can transcend the tawdriness.
Nor do I have an issue with extreme stylization in artwork. It was one of Modernism’s powerful contributions to art’s expressive power; as far back as the Nabi art movement of the 1800s, artists experimented with flatness and simplification as a means for conveying an otherworldly experience.
No, the problem with the art of Carroll Dunham is its poor quality. It’s a Postmodern mishmash of graffiti, dehumanizing identity politics, emoji style perversity and predictable coloration. I’ve seen more effectively rendered scrawls in public bathroom stalls. The paintings of Carroll Dunham are unfocused, sloppy, cheap, and redundant. Despite their brazen imagery, they are so poorly realized I’m not even sure they count as “not safe for work.”
The existing establishment is well stocked with sociopaths. Perhaps no where can we find stronger visual confirmation of this than the contemporary art market. For the Dunhams, producing lousy art propped up in the service of pathological elitist oikophobia is the family business.
Say Cheese! Carroll Dunham Exposed
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Check out other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.