“Bill Wants To Be The Bad Boy:” A Me-Too’d Art “Maven” and the Postmodern Abuse of Art

Circling The Drain:

Taking Advantage of the Decline of Artistic Expectations 

They say the way you do something is the way you do everything.

Here in Phoenix, Arizona, an all too familiar drama is playing out. An affluent influencer has been accused of sexual aggression towards multiple women. The details offered are lurid, and awful.

No charges have been filed. There is no proof I am aware of, beyond mostly anonymous statements given to journalists. In this country, we are all innocent until proven guilty. This must be a very difficult time for everyone involved. Pray for all of them.

Unlike Joe Biden, I was not there 3,000 years ago, when Isildur took the ring and the strength of men failed. But I was there in 2002, when landscape architect Bill Tonneson took the title of artist, and the integrity of the art world failed. I met Bill Tonneson at one of his first exhibits, at the old Paper Heart Gallery.

It was a poor showing. Mostly patterns of found objects mounted on wall hung canvases. But it turns out, these examples of bland decor were the opening moves of a grand strategy.

Back then, Tonneson had decided he would make himself the world’s third most famous artist in one year. In a Phoenix New Times interview at the time with art critic Robrt Pela, Tonneson explained his gambit. The article is full of telling quotes:

A year ago, architect Bill Tonnesen launched a career in modern art. His 12-month goal: to create 100 significant pieces, and to land a one-man show in a notable gallery. He chronicled his experience in the self-published Tonnesen: 12 Months to Fame and Fortune in the Art World. The book pictures many of his mixed-media assemblages (a frame filled with teacups, another jammed with hundreds of Bic pens) and is full of revelations (“As I surveyed the art world, there seemed to be a lot of paintings. Crazy abstract stuff that looked relatively easy to do.”)…

NT: There’s that old line that you always hear about modern art: “Hey, my kid could do that!” Your career as an artist strikes me as a big riff on that whole notion.

Tonnesen: That’s a subject I love to talk about: understanding art. The notion that one painting deserves a more important place in the history of art. It’s very convenient for uninformed people to think that their opinion is the equal of someone like [deceased MOMA curator] Robert Storr’s. What makes contemporary art so unique that suddenly everybody is an expert? Why can some idiot walk in off the street and think his opinion about a painting has any value?…

NT: …You actually made an A-list of artists in your book. What is that based on?

Tonnesen: Primarily on auction results.

NT: So for you, it’s all about the money artists make, and not what their work is expressing or how it moves you.

Tonnesen: Well, money is a measure of collectibility. So are references in textbooks, a presence in museums, and mentions in publications like Art News, which essentially make the art world. But the common currency is money. It’s the most concise way of determining an artist’s popularity.

NT: That’s a pretty arrogant position to take, to create a list that values artists based on how much money they make.

Tonnesen: The list is the least controversial aspect of what I’ve done. Essentially, it’s unchallenged, partly because if you survey the horizon of thousands upon thousands of artists, people like Jasper Johns and Gerhardt Richter are the ones who rise up, and it’s relatively . . . I can’t think of the word.

NTYou seem torn between saying that the art world is full of shit and wanting to be part of it.

Tonnesen: My goal is to point out that the art industry is a market, like any other. I am a libertarian, laissez faire capitalist. I believe in markets. What I’m interested in doing is studying how the art market works and competing there, but not at a regional level. I have worked now for one year in this regional environment, and now I’m ready to compete on a larger stage…

The interview concludes with this nugget of Tonneson analysis: “I don’t think people really have much insight into what is art and what is not art.”

Bill Tonneson has been relying that disconnect ever since.

In the interview above Tonneson expresses the perspective of a Postmodern partisan. The attitudes are all there: the relativisim. The appeals to authority. The derision towards the little people who dare to have their own opinions. The lust for money, fame and power. Tonneson states the values of the establishment art industry, which are of course the values of the establishment in general. Our elites are corrupt Postmodernists to the core.

His take-over-the-art-world book is still available (Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,664,166 in Books). Needless to say, that initial scheme failed. But the marketing blitz made Tonneson a player in the lively Phoenix arts scene.

British artist Charles Thomson, co-founder of the Remodern art movement, has attributed the crisis of relevance in the contemporary arts to “…a Postmodern ethos that puts celebrity, cynicism and commerce above any spiritual or deeper human values.”I would add a fourth C to that list: controversy. Since 2002, Tonneson has worked those unappealing angles to keep himself as an artistic presence.

Like in 2012, when he plunked this beauty down in front of his house, so the nearby pre-school and church could take a gander at it:

 

“Arizona Man Feuds with Neighbors Over Statue of Obese Naked Woman,” reported the New York Daily News.

“I love it,” Tonnesen said. “I’m crazy about it.”…he wishes his neighbors could see it as a work of art, and not just a nude woman. His neighbors aren’t alone — Torrenson said his wife doesn’t like the statue’s placement and made him cover with a sheet.

“Until I can work something out with my wife, we’re going to leave it covered,” he told KNXV.

That poor long suffering lady. I read a later article which said Tonneson had added a bikini made out of money to the piece, but I couldn’t find an image of it.

He was at it again in Tucson in 2013: “Artist Hopes Nude Statues Cause a Bit of Outrage:

Tonnesen has created a pair of statues — torsos of nude women jutting out of a tower of truck tires — that sit in front of an apartment building at 2230 E. Fort Lowell Road.

In Phoenix, Tonnesen is a bit of a bad boy. Some of his large-scale pieces, often in prominent spots at apartment buildings, are in-your-face nudes. One, an obese nude woman sitting on a wall, faces a church. Another nude — it looks to be of the same large model — holding a urinal at her crotch (presumably an homage to Duchamp) is on display at the front of an apartment building not far from the Phoenix Art Museum. Protests to the works were loud.

Tonnesen, who solicits publicity, loves the controversy his art creates…Tonnesen calls the works, molded from a live model and made primarily of plaster and epoxy with a steel frame, “Domestic Totems.”

Two female torsos sit on top of 11 gleaming black tires, raising the works up to about 16 feet, nearly reaching the top of the second story of the two-story building.

The torsos are white. Each has large, exposed breasts.

The figures are draped with a shawl and have headpieces made of pots, pans, dishes and other accouterments of domesticity. One has an electric hand beater as a necklace, a mop covering her eyes as though they are long bangs, a baby sitting on top of the headpiece, and a mouselike figurine on top of that. The woman’s mouth is opened in a sort of shocked “O.”

…“My grandson doesn’t like them; he thinks they’re nasty,” says Marybeth Davis, who lives there with him. She, on the other hand, has no problem with the bare breasts. It’s the works themselves that bother her.

“I don’t call them art,” she says. “I call them gaudy.”

Tonneson’s controversies aren’t limited to art. Even before the recent allegations, in his landscape architecture business there have been some very vocal dissatisfied customers, and neighbors. His plans for a Phoenix Holocaust Memorial spiraled out of control (Illusions of Grandeur, New Times March 2005).  The project was not completed. And then there was the time he convinced the former mayor of Tempe to convert a local landmark into a Bill Tonneson theme park. (Bill Tonnesen, Contentious Tempe Developer, Aims for Immortality, New Times November 2012)The city council didn’t go along with that one.
Quotes from the linked articles paint an evocative picture:
On renovations:

…At first, the pair enjoyed getting to know the charismatic designer and his workers. They even bought a few pieces of his artwork, including one with orderly rows of coffee cups featured in Tonnesen. He assured them it would only grow in value as his art career took off.

But the piece hasn’t aged well; one of the coffee cups has fallen off its backing, and in its place, Dacquisto has stuck a movie stub from Kill Bill Vol. 1. Like the artwork, his relationship with Tonnesen also deteriorated precipitously, after the project dragged on for nearly a year…Worst of all, when the partners went to talk to a lawyer, the lawyer gave them a piece of information that caught them totally off guard: Tonnesen Inc. didn’t have a license to do electrical work, which it had done. Or a mechanical license. Or a plumbing license. Or a residential contractor’s license. Tonnesen never should have been allowed to redo their kitchen in the first place, their lawyer explained….

The Holocaust Memorial:

Tonnesen claims, repeatedly, that Phoenix’s memorial will be the only one in the world to show six million objects. It’s a contentious claim: After all, schoolchildren in rural Tennessee recently collected more than six million paper clips to display in an old German cattle car. It was an improvised effort, without a master plan or a visionary architect, but the exhibit now draws thousands of kids from all over the Southeast….

But that doesn’t count, Tonnesen says, not under his criteria. Sitting in a big pile, the paper clips aren’t visually distinct.

Similarly, he doesn’t count the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, which shows six million numbers etched on six glass towers. “That’s different,” he says.

He can’t seem to acknowledge that any previous effort has hit the nail on the head. This, after all, is a guy who dismisses the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: “Beautiful idea, but immaturely executed.”

There goes the neighborhood, and the Tempe Flour Mill:

…And always, Tonnesen’s sculptures — many of them life-size statues of Tonnesen himself, in various guises: holding an umbrella, pointing at a giant thermometer, perched atop an air-conditioning unit. But his accolades…often are drowned out by the moaning of people who’ve had dealings with Tonnesen.

Like the employees worried that he talks too much about working without proper permitting. And the city officials who felt he was forcing his public art onto the Tempe Flour Mill site, after he sneaked two of his sculptures onto the site on the evening of its grand opening…

“The problem with Bill isn’t a lack of talent,” says a colleague of Tonnesen’s who refused to be named because, he says, any public commentary on Tonnesen leads to days and days of e-mails and phone calls and recriminations.

“It’s that he doesn’t listen, and he wants everything his way. So you ask him for a glass of water, and he brings you a swimming pool. And you say, ‘Put the swimming pool in my backyard, then,’ and he mounts it on your roof and plants 70 trees around it and then encases it in a big metal box made out of recycled refrigerator shelving, because it’s what he wants.”

…”His houses are ridiculous, and they don’t fit in on our street,” says one of Tonnesen’s Tempe neighbors, who won’t go on-record because she’s heard other neighbors complaining about Tonnesen screaming at them. “I got yelled at by people on the block, because I had seven wind chimes on my front porch. But this guy can have a giant metal box and a hundred trees in the front yard, and everyone’s thrilled!”

****

“I’m hard to work with,” Tonnesen admits. “When I hire someone, the chances of it working out are tiny. I only care about two people’s opinions — my wife’s and my assistant’s. Everyone else is just workers, and I’m hoping they won’t screw everything up.”

“Bill does things first and asks permission later,” that ever-vigilant assistant, Samantha Staiger, says. “That bothers people.”

“You gotta make your own opportunity!” Tonnesen yells excitedly. He’s an imposing presence: 6 1/2 feet tall, wearing his signature uniform of pressed blue jeans and a white Oxford shirt with his last name stitched above the pocket. His smooth hairstyle recalls the blunt bob worn by Gloria Vanderbilt in the ’60s and ’70s. “I’m not sitting around waiting for permission. I try to be proactive and to make things happen…”

***

“I had some grandiose ideas,” Tonnesen admits of his Flour Mill plans. “I want to do the unexpected. I want people to be curious and confused by the art things we put in. So I drew up an elevated walkway with a hole in it, and we would have someone sitting by the hole, and maybe spraying water on people or videotaping them as they walked by.”…the Tempe City Council wouldn’t go for a walkway with a built-in hooligan, so Tonnesen came up with a second plan: a giant Advent calendar-like cabinet filled with his own custom statuary.

“I had it dripping with my sculptures!” he bellows gleefully. “And of course no one had any money to do this. I would have done it for free! When it’s an iconic structure in my own town, I’m on board!”

To rehabilitate his reputation, Tonneson worked with Alison King, a web designer and co-founder of Modern Phoenix.

Shining up Tonnesen’s public image was no easy task, King admits. “It was among the hardest jobs I’ve taken on,” she says. “Bill wants to be a bad boy. He can’t help it. It’s who he is. He would rather ask for forgiveness later than ask permission first.”

But then, in his most ambitious art move yet, Tonneson got his theme park. Thwarted by short sighted city bureaucrats, he installed his monument to himself, himself. Bill Tonneson went to the Lavatory.

The Lavatory is the name of Tonneson’s solo act art museum. Seriously, what is it with these elitists and their juvenile caca fixations? 

“Big Fun Art’ Spreads to Phoenix” City Lab December 2018

Illuminated by floor-recessed lighting, the bottom half of a 1,500 square-foot subterranean room is suffused in pink, slow-curling fog. By one wall is a life-sized plaster-cast statue of a bare-chested woman, head concealed in cloth, holding a naked infant upside-down. A gaunt female model with an alabaster face saunters languidly through the space, like a mute witness to some macabre ritual. The 50 or so patrons, who each paid a $30 entrance fee, tentatively explore the room’s perimeter, wading through the puffy fuchsia tide, when a baritone voice registers through speakers:
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to be buried alive.”
Following a New Year’s Eve-style countdown, a huge net tethered to the ceiling releases 120,000 three-inch plastic iridescent balls, eliciting instantaneous glee from the crowd. They now occupy the largest, most bizarre, adult ball pit playpen in the world.The “wizard” behind the curtain is 63 year-old Bill Tonnesen, who serves as MC at the Lavatory, a risqué, if not outright scatological, art exhibition housed in a 16,000 square-foot, two-story commercial building just north of downtown Phoenix…in addition to the “pit,” [it} includes other themed rooms (one requires a non-disclosure agreement to enter). Also featured are two claymation cyclorama booths with professional portrait quality lighting conditions; a claustrophobic ten-by-eight foot room filled floor-to-ceiling with 18 functioning toilets; and many, many pieces of artwork by Tonnesen himself.

“A traditional experience at a gallery or museum is to look at a painting on a wall,” the artist told CityLab. “We’re working on a mechanism to make that painting fall if you get too close. My goal is to confuse.”

There is some confusion going on here all right. Clarity can be reached by looking at the broader, top down goals being inflicted on our culture.

The Postmodern establishment is trying to exterminate the experience of art. As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization: 

Art is undergoing a crisis of relevance. Elitist malfeasance has marginalized the visual arts in popular culture. In doing so, the New Aristocracy of the Well-Connected block access to powerful resources. 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. People instinctually reject the superficial and nihilistic contemporary art championed by an imperious would-be ruling class.

Ruling class totalitarians use Postmodern art as a tool of oppression. Elitists have weaponized art into an assault on the foundations of Western civilization. This deceitful cabal seeks to destroy any principled perspective on the lies, manipulations, and abuses they commit. The scourge of Postmodern relativism as a cultural force is no accident; it’s a top-down driven campaign. Hyping soulless, unskilled art has a toxic, weakening effect on society as a whole.

There’s more than one way the elites have attacked art. The really prevalent one right now is to turn art into just another form of leftist activism. 

But the more insidious one is to replace art with the fleeting, tacky thrills and tawdry spectacles of a carnival midway and sideshow.  This is why you now get things like giant slides in art museums.

The Tate Museum’s Downward Slide 

Sure, that looks like fun, but is it art? No, it is not.

Depsite Postmodernism’s efforts to redefine words to suit the vast agendas of control, real art is the very opposite of the whirl and swirl of the county fair. Real art freezes a particular moment and makes it reverberate with timelessness and deep meaning. It doesn’t immerse us in sensations which drive us to distraction. Real art moves slowly in us, but with massive force. It is an enduring and abiding experience. Real art inspires  awe regarding human potentials, and takes us out of ourselves.

The elites don’t want us to have those profound moments. Too much risk of uplifting, transformative wisdom occurring. The ideologically driven artifice they favor can’t provide the moving qualities actual art delivers. So, using their hold over our cultural institutions, they are doing a massive bait and switch. Call something art, but then deliver cheap, lewd variations of Chuck E. Cheese attractions. They substitute the intensity of traditional art with an empty buzz of quick hit one-liners.  That will keep the ignorant proles in their place!

The Future of Art? 

The Lavatory fails the achieve art. It might pass as a fun house, but it doesn’t really look like much fun. It’s over burdened, trying to prove its art cred by dragging in stale Duchamp references. The images from it suggest a sinister, sleazy vibe, which recent reports only amplify.

Scenes From the Lavatory. Ick.

After the Me-Too style allegations surfaced, the Lavatory has gone dark. Tonneson shut down his Instagram account, and from the vicious commentary left showing on his Facebook page, it seems to be untended as well. Venues have started removing his works from display.

Tonneson’s come back before from scandal. He may be back again. If so, we can hope he will be able to deliver an authentic artistic experience, rather than just another tacky destination for selfies.

Bill Tonneson: Say Cheesecake 

 

 

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other articles for more commentary on the State of the Arts from a Remodern perspective. 

When Politicized “Ventriloquising” Replaces Art, Who Are the Dummies?

Helen Cammock: Poet?

“From Brutality to Livelihood to Discarded Cumbersome Noncompetitive Capital Investment…”

Cumbersome Indeed

***

“Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.”

-Ambrose Bierce

 

The UK’s Tate Museum holds an annual awards ceremony, the Turner Prize. It’s supposed to be about art, but it isn’t. This spectacle is meant to lavish funds and attention on whoever is judged to be Britain’s best exemplar of the Postmodern establishment’s efforts to undermine Western civilization.

The elites are on a relentless quest to eliminate genuine art from the culture. The long march through the institutions has resulted in our social foundations being riddled with radical hacks. Since colluding Cultural Marxists maintain monopolistic control over society’s mass communications, including the arts, these partisans set the agenda. It’s now painfully clear the program is to reduce art to just another vehicle for social justice activism.

The excesses and absurdity of the Turner Prize are nothing new. It’s been retreating from recognizing actual artistic achievement since its inception in 1984. The Stuckists, the first Remodern art movement, organized protests against the inane non-art of the Turner shortlists for years.

But a shift is happening in the art world. Emphasis is moving away from trends which dominated the art market since the 1990s: obviously silly anti-art.

Not Woke Enough 

This junk was political in the sense it was an assault on traditional expectations of artistic excellence. Now even that mask is off, and nothing but pure propaganda will be advanced and rewarded.

Case in point: Turner Prize nominee Helen Cammock. She makes dull videos while reciting derivative observations and slogans. It’s a poor substitute for creativity and skill.

She lays out her cred in this article:

ARTNET: ‘All Art Is Political’: Meet Artist Helen Cammock, Who Went From Social Worker to Turner Prize Nominee

“I think all art is political,” Cammock says. “Even if you make work that doesn’t speak of politics, if you’re not speaking you’re making a political decision.” But the artist feels her message is wider in scope than just a criticism of Italian politics. “It’s a global statement, and it’s the same statement I would make about this country” she says. “We are also living in the politics of the far right, we are just in a different geographical location.”

“The call to action is to everyone,” Cammock says. “It’s not about identifying Italian politics or Italian culture as any more extreme because I believe we are all in a very dangerous and poisonous moment.”

Fascinating. While Cammock’s fellow travelling leftists dominate not only the arts, but government, media, social media, tech companies, academia, corporate boardrooms, and the globalized upper class, she’s lamenting that the “far right” is shaping the environment. Right.

In a way though, she’s got a point. There are threats to the status quo, which was supposed to be permanent. Even though the Cultural Marxists rule, they have not succeeded is forcing all to bow before their usurped power. The people oppose the New Aristocracy of the Well Connected.

Eruptions are happening around the world. From American Deplorables to French Yellow Vests, from the UK’s own Brexiteers to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests, from Italian sovereignism to the Brazilian PSL, there are mass movements against our declining Postmodern masters.

This was foretold in the arts, going back to when the Stuckists dressed like clowns as a condemnation of the beclowning of the Tate Museum. Welcome to the next phase of civilization: the Remodern Age. The story of the 21st century will be the dismantling of centralized power. It’s an exciting time, even though the course ahead will not be easy.

The Helen Cammocks of the art world oppose this developing and promising future. They lash out against it because it threatens their privileged positions as useful tools within the Postmodern hierarchy.

Of course Helen Cammock believes all art is political. Her inferior replacements for art are nothing but realpolitik screeds of victimhood and implied retributions. Helen Cammock is up for the Turner Prize because she checks the correct diversity boxes, not because of the quality of her so-called art.

Watch one of her pieces here, if you can bear it: Helen Cammock Showreel. It may have been the longest 6 minutes of my life. A static camera films uninteresting scenes, or stock footage unspools, while a monotonous voice drones on in buzzwords about economics and exploitation. Truly an art for the ages!

Helen Cammock is cashing in on the passive aggressive stance of the establishment’s preferred mode identity politics. Because once people were mistreated, she must be above criticism. Whatever she churns out must be lauded and praised. She presents her stale monologue travelogues as if appreciation is mandatory due to ethical concerns.

The art world set these expectations for her. She’s come so far without displaying any legitimate artistic chops. Does she realize she gets opportunities not despite the fact she is a 40-year-old-female-of-color-Sociology-major-former-social-worker-without-an-artistic-background-who-spouts-leftist-dogma, but because she is a 40-year-old-female-of-color-Sociology-major-former-social-worker-without-an- artistic-background-who-spouts-leftist-dogma? This quote from the article may reveal some lack of self-awareness:

Her affinity for text was something she discovered while studying for her Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art. She was juggling the coursework while running a photography festival in Brighton, and a sympathetic tutor excused her from having to make work for the remainder of the course if she promised write something every day. “That was the beginning of it,” Cammock says.

Wow, getting preferential treatment from an institute of higher learning. Better check your privilege! I feel sorry for all those saps who had to actually do their coursework to earn their degrees.

Not everything has been easy for Cammock though. She ruefully describes this:

“People can be very suspicious of artists,” she explains. “There’s an idea that it’s really surface or superficial, or that it’s a way of stealing, like cultural thievery. But I want it to be an exchange.”

Maybe if her art was better, she wouldn’t be so sensitive to the charges. Granted, the establishment art industry has been superficial for decades. The griping about cultural appropriation sounds like the wailing of other leftists butthurt they got outmaneuvered in the intersectional grievance identity sweepstakes. Normal people don’t think or act that way. But hurling ideological accusations to drag a rival down is a prime tool for leftist status seeking. We can see it playing out in the increasing frantic Trotskyites versus the Maoists dynamic which is roiling the political classes. Stay tuned to see how that plays out.

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

Postmodernism started off by redefining art into anti-art. It’s now spread. Like a virus, Postmodernism converted every institution it infested into a factory for producing more of the Postmodern disease. Postmodernism makes every worthy cause betray its rightful mission. Remodernism is the correction of this treachery.

 

In another article, Cammock describes her efforts as “ventriloquising.” I’m confused by the analogy. Is she claiming to be the puppet master here, making her subjects mouth her approved tropes? Or is she saying she is the dummy, and supposedly the downtrodden masses are speaking through her? Is she The People’s Poet? Ryk, the original SJW from the cult TV show The Young Ones, shows how it’s done:

The People’s Poet: Don’t You Give A Fig? 

 

Either way, whether she’s claiming to be the mastermind or the mouthpiece, such a method has nothing to do with the intimate explorations that lead to compelling artistic excellence. Just look at her results.

The art of Helen Cammock is a phenomenon of the elite’s totalitarian effort to squeeze every aspect of life into rigid political submission. Her videos are not art, they are indoctrination. Politically correct Postmodern attitudes would demand we ignore the misdirection and failure on display.

Remodernism rejects this conformist approach. It recognizes we the people have the right to self determination, including the right not to accept a biased, uninspired sociology lecture as a valid replacement for the mystery, the grandeur, and beauty that only real art can provide.

 

Helen Cammock: Putting Identity Politics on a Pedestal 

 

 

My previous article on last year’s Turner Prize follies. From May 6, 2018:

ARTICLE: Activist Art Exposed as an Elitist Bait and Switch

 

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

 

 

ARTICLE: A Call to Unionize Exposes the Art World’s Sense of Entitlement

Manhattan’s New Museum: A Precarious Pile Up Over Unionized Staff 

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“My problem with unions is they breed mediocrity.”

-Kevin O’Leary, Canadian Businessman 

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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:”

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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.

Artnet reports:

“…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 Critique chanted in support with an editorial piece, “Museum Workers in New York City Fight Back”:

“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:

“Jeff Koons Lays Off Over a Dozen Staffers After They Tried to Unionize”

In a way, artsy Postmodern types may just make perfect union members. As I describe in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

“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. 

AGAIN WITH THE FECES: THE ESTABLISHMENT ART WORLD SOILS ITS CREDIBILITY

Forget Jumping the Shark: The Establishment Art World Has Leapt into the Lavatory 

 

I get so tired of covering the art world’s pathological fixations on our biological secretions. But I also believe it’s important to expose what these sickos are up to.

It started in 1917, with the submission of a urinal as a sculpture to an art show. Con artist Marcel Duchamp ended up stealing the credit for it from a possibly schizophrenic lady acquaintance of his.

fountain

The Icon of Postmodernism 

 

Ever since then, the art world water closet has been a crowded place.

We’ve been treated to Piero Manzoni’s 1961 series “Artist’s Shit,” which is supposedly his canned crap.

Shit-canned 

In 1987 hack photographer Andres Serrano hit a blasphemous bonanza when he submerged a crucifix into a jar of urine. The art world lionized him because he upset those deplorable Jesus people.

 

Andres Serrano “Piss Christ”  There goes your taxpayer funding

In 2010 Marcel Walldorf won prizes with a sculpture of a peeing policewoman. Way to sock it to the Man! Or, er, the Woman, in this case.

No Relief From Art World Potty Mania

 

And in 2016 the prestigious Guggenheim Museum installed an actual functioning golden toilet estimated to be worth $2.5 million dollars. It was a piece credited to Maurizio Cattelan, called “America,” of course. Because that is what the people who make curatorial choices for the Guggenheim think about our country.

Golden Showers 

I could go on, and on, and on, with these contemporary art examples, as well as other icky oozes like spit and sperm. The so-called sophisticates that dictate our cultural identity seem to have a real hang up with scatology. But a good stopping point seems to be at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; the final word in excrement excitement. The pictures speak for themselves.

 

The End of Postmodernism 

The museum actually commissioned the Vienna-based art collective Gelatin to make this. They spent 6 months on it. Seriously.

“The shit as we present it is a sculptural subject, it’s not a joke,” Wolfgang Gantner, one of the four artists making up the collective, told Euronews.

We’ll be the judge of that.

For an extra level of insanity, patrons are expected to wear nudist costumes while they look over the leavings:

Peak Art World: Try a Little Trendy Gender Dysphoria While You Look at Shit  

Where Does the Art Exhibit End, and the Child Endangerment Begin? 

Because I understand what art can do for people, it makes me heartsick to see this abuse perpetrated by the elitists.

This is not art. It’s psychological warfare.

In my upcoming book, “Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization,” I identify how grotesque displays like this literal shit show demonstrate the ongoing collapse of the Postmodern globalist cabal, from the vantage point of the United States:

 

The elites had a great vision for America. They would wreck our culture and trash our heritage, and be the managers over our decline. They’ve been implementing their program for at least 100 years. However, in their long march through the institutions, they overlooked part of what makes America unique. We aren’t compelled to follow our “leaders.” We definitely aren’t going to follow them off a cliff.

Many compare the United States to earlier empires that declined and fell. The familiar pattern is happening here and now. Elitist mismanagement and ennui is encouraging social breakdowns. History demonstrates it’s only a matter of time until the barbarians overrun their dominion. The existing society will be overthrown by primitives from outside the complex system of assumptions and niceties cherished by the ruling class.

The great news is, here in the United States, we are our own barbarians.

Understand the current upper echelons are predominately not representative of the American way of life. They’ve been compromised by Postmodern delusions about their own omnipotence, and it’s ruined them. They should have studied Classical literature. It clearly warns about the perils of hubris.

To these upper crust pretenders, nothing is more backwards and uncivilized than their own fellow citizens, who cling to such notions as God, guns, and honor. Yet these traditional Americans are exactly the people who are best positioned to put an end to the current elitist shenanigans for good. Far from not understanding their Postmodern poses, we understand them all too well.

It will be traditional Americans who rise up to clear away the rubble of the establishment’s failures and decadence. America has an amazing record of achievement, when we put our values into action. We have the wisdom which Postmodernists thought they were too smart to need.

America isn’t dying. It’s the artificially imposed Postmodern worldview which is disintegrating. Americans will carry on, better than ever.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

COMMENTARY: How Obama’s Portrait Reveals the Failures of the Elitist Art World

In the Weeds: Kehinde Wiley’s Obama Portrait 

.As the United States clips along at the speed of Trump, the news cycle races by in a dizzying blur. Events rapidly recede without any time for real analysis. Such was the case for the big reveal of the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Although it just happened on February 12, it already feels like ancient history. Yet this regrettable image is going to be cluttering up the National Portrait Gallery forever, so it’s worth understanding just what the tax payers had to subsidize.

The Michelle Obama portrait is just sad. A tentative, pallid non-likeness. The apparatchiks at the museum assure us that it is so popular it had to be moved to a larger display space. Perhaps a pilgrimage to it gives the same solace that some progressives get from the plastic Obama dolls they keep stashed in their purses. The artist who made this painting just seems to have attempted a task above their pay grade, and fell short. It happens.

It is the portrait of Barack that displays the corruption of the establishment. It’s a Postmodern mockery. As such it may be a fitting representation for Obama, but that doesn’t make it good art.

What makes this piece so awful? Let us count the ways.

Con Artist 

Kehinde Wiley

American artist Andy Warhol set the tone back in the 1960s by reducing his contribution to his own “art” to being a celebrity spokesmodel for a brand of products he did not produce himself. That inane example has become the ideal for the untalented Postmodern artists, like Kehinde Wiley.

Even when he made his pieces himself, Wiley did a form of artistic cheating, using a prevalent practice which undermines the integrity of the act. He took photographs and used a projector to trace them onto the canvas. Artists who use this shortcut undercut themselves and their audience by doing a paint-by-numbers routine to create their works. These artists have reduced themselves to a mere cog in a mechanical reproduction process, not creating, but taking dictation from their gadgets. They let their tools make their discoveries for them. It is an inferior mode of creation. Perhaps it explains some of the compositional errors in the piece, like the 6 fingers on the left hand, or the really awkward perspective on the chair. The projector must have gotten bumped.

As exposed by the Gateway Pundit, the Obama portrait even fell back on copy/paste for the backdrop; the same image was tiled repeatedly.

The lack of engagement comes through in the pieces. as the New York Times noted back in 2008, “…the Conceptual rationale behind Mr. Wiley’s paintings has tended to overpower their visual presence, which helps reduce them to illustrations. Like Norman Rockwell’s paintings they look better in reproduction than in reality.”

But Wiley can’t even be bothered to put in that much effort anymore.

.Outsourced to Forced Labor 

Beijing Studio: Dabbed more paint onto his clothes than the actual canvases 

.Wiley doesn’t even make his own paintings. Does he set up workshops in distressed American inner cities, where he could cultivate apprentices drawn from the disadvantaged youths he claims to honor?  No. He has a studio in worker’s paradise Beijing, China, along with other locations described as “global.” There he can pay cut rate salaries for assembly line production.

Wiley employs various strategies to defuse criticism about the practice. Sometimes he tries to get folksy:

“There’s nothing new about artists using assistants—everyone from Michelangelo to Jeff Koons has employed teams of helpers, with varying degrees of irony and pride—but Wiley gets uncomfortable discussing the subject. ‘I’m sensitive to it,’ he says. When I first arrived at his Beijing studio, the assistants had left, and he made me delete the iPhone snapshots I’d taken of the empty space. It’s not that he wants people to believe every brushstroke is his, he says. That they aren’t is public ­knowledge. It’s just a question of boundaries. “I don’t want you to know every aspect of where my hand starts and ends, or how many layers go underneath the skin, or how I got that glow to happen,’ he says. ‘It’s the secret sauce! Get out of my kitchen!’”

Sometimes he wants to brush it off with the jaded airs of an insider:

“‘The sentiments about authenticity in the public eye,’ Wiley tells me, with conversational casualness and an air of mild fatigue over having, once again, to explain this, ‘the discomfort with a large-scale art practice, comes from a myth in an artistic process that never existed. Rubens, Michelangelo: Both had large studios with many assistants. There is a long line of artists who work with other artists to realize a larger vision than is possible with one hand. Education in art history taught me this, as did being steeped in the reality of painting. My interest is in completing an image that is spectacular beyond belief. My fidelity is to the image and the art and not to the bragging rights of making every stroke on every flower. I’m realistic. It’s not romantic, but that romance never existed.'”

Conveniently left out of his analogy are all the artists who did indeed actually make their own art. Postmodern operators like to refer to workshops of the Old Masters as a precedent. It takes a lot of arrogance to claim any similarities between the incredible discipline and vision of renowned artists who have endured the test of time, and the second-rate novelties churned out now on behalf of stilted hacks. These days, all a Postmodern spokesmodel really needs to do is push the appropriate politically correct buttons.

.Vicious Virtue signalling

Classical 

Before the Presidential portrait, one of the things Wiley was known for were variations on an image from apocryphal Book of Judith. In that story a woman saves Israel by seducing and assassinating an invading king; it was the subject of many Renaissance artworks. Wiley (or his helpers) depicted this scene as a black woman holding the decapitated head of a white woman. “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing,” Wiley explained. How playful! The privileged insider art world sure is getting played, falling all over themselves to show how woke they are for racial violence.

.Sperm

Wiley gets additional virtue status points as a gay man. You might think there was no connection between which set of genitals an artist enjoys and the quality of their work, but the establishment art world knows better than you. Wiley makes leering references to his preferences in his works. The persistent rumors about his casting couch demands on his models aren’t relevant here. But Wiley does provide other hints.

When the Obama portrait was unveiled many made an observation that was dismissed as a conspiracy theory: that Barack had a big old sperm on his forehead.

Photo Credit: Vigilant Citizen 

The media denials were intense. “Wackadoodle,” said the Washington City Paper. “False,” and somehow racist, claimed Snopes. A picture circulated which claimed to prove it’s just an accurate rendering, but which doesn’t seem to support that point at all. The head of the alleged sperm is nowhere to be seen in the photo, and that’s what makes all the difference. But who are you going to believe, the media or your lying eyes?

?

It becomes even more evident when research shows sperm is a Wiley painting trademark. It’s sort of like a Hitchcock cameo, but with semen. Back when the Village Voice didn’t have to disavow the allusion, they positively gloated over it:

“Wiley has painted free-floating spermatozoa across the canvas. The same goes for the bear of a fellow in Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, which could be subtitled “(Through a Light Ejaculate Mist).’ And if the painted tadpoles aren’t sufficiently suggestive, several of the gilded frames contain sperm reliefs of their own. (Talk about painting outside the lines.)”

 

Wiley: Napoleon is coming over the Alps 

Who is the wackadoodle now?

Establishmentile Dysfunction

There’s more that could be said about this debacle, but enough is enough for now. In my upcoming book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western  Civilization, remedies are presented for the failures of elitist culture. As stated in the Remodern America Manifesto:

“Art is a more enduring and vital human experience than the power games of a greedy and fraudulent ruling class. The managers crashed the culture in pursuit of their agenda. They defend their usurped authority and privileges with doublethink, misdirection, and intimidation. Their time has run out. Reality is crashing back through their carefully constructed facades, and a time of reckoning has come. Enduring changes start in the arts. Remodernism defeats Postmodern desecration.”

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE: Establishment Art Institutions Aren’t Worth a Bucket of Spit, But They Will Subsidize One

Ragnar Kjartansson: Spitting Mad 

.

Pity the poor Hirshhorn Museum. They occupy a prime piece of real estate, right on the National Mall in the wretched hive of scum and villainy, Washington, DC. And yet, as a museum dedicated to contemporary art, the institute just doesn’t seem to get much love or respect. I feel sorry for the uranium magnate Joseph Hirshhorn, who originally  endowed the collection. Little did he know how radioactive his legacy would become.

An article about a recent acquisition the Hirshhorn made may give some insight as to why they lack esteem. Smithsonian.com is eager to explain it in this article:“Why the Artist Ragnar Kjartansson Asked his Mother to Spit On Him.”

Mind you, they don’t give the real answer, which would be an ambitious artist is performing the obligatory pandering required for advancement under the current corrupt Postmodern junta that dominate the arts. Rather they let the artist speak for himself: ““Art is so serious, it’s too serious to be serious about,” Kjartansson informs us.

Well okay then. Thanks for clearing that up. A trite little statement of doublethink nonsense to justify the non-art offered up.

The article does us the favor of explaining the video work:

In the filmed performance piece… a 24-year-old Kjartansson, still in art school, stands in a blue dress shirt as his mother, recognized in their native Iceland as the accomplished actress Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, hauls off and spits on him.

There is silence, and a dramatic pause in which they exchange gazes, and she does so again and again.

Every five years since the first video in 2000, Kjartansson has repeated the action in the same location—before a bookshelf—and added on to the film. When the fifth iteration is shot in 2020, it will come to the Hirshhorn as well, as will all future versions.

A new segment of this debased piece of pretentiousness coming in 2020? We can hardly wait.

The article also has a link to the video-at least 6 minutes of it. The entire epic currently runs 20 minutes.

I have not watched the video. Why would I? Why would anyone?

Having it linked here also raises the interesting question of how a museum can “acquisition” something available as a Youtube link. Perhaps they’ve gotten hold of the director’s cut, featuring deleted scenes and an alternative ending. The article does note there are no immediate plans to put the “piece” on display, so at least we’ve got that going for us.

What is so discouraging is imagining the amount of behind the scenes meetings, discussions, budget planning, and project management that went on to facilitate bringing this loogie into the collection of a major American museum. It’s sad the way the left has as destroyed the credibility of our country’s enduring institutions. The arts fell long ago; currently the activists are working on NFL football. It can all be summed up by the timeless tweet by Iowahawk:

 

The partisans we are talking about here aren’t capable of generating something new. Their model is like a virus: infect a host and reduce it to a virus replicating factory, until the host withers away. Move on to the next host, and repeat.

We live in the dying days of the futile Postmodern campaign to destroy the timeless human tradition of art making. Postmodernists are so saturated in groupthink they can’t tell the difference between producing art and producing saliva. They are so deep in the echo chamber they don’t hear how, outside their bubble, indifference is shifting into impatience, soon to grow into rage.

It doesn’t how many out of touch museums embrace this stuff. Establishment efforts failed because humanity instinctively rejects the absurd assertions coming out of elitist academia and art industry bureaucracies. We aren’t buying the cultural Marxism they’re hawking.

They hate us and they are lying to us, and no amount of puff pieces claiming reality and make-believe are collapsing in on each other can disguise their contempt. It’s not a video of a mother spitting on an artist the Hirshhorn has obtained. It’s evidence our incompetent, entrenched culture industries don’t even bother to hide their disdain anymore. They are spitting on Western Civilization, art, the family, civil society, and all of us.

“It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry.”

The Remodernism Manifesto

EDIT: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please visit other articles for more commentary on the state of the arts.

An Artist Against the NEA, Part 2: Subsidizing the Rich and the Art of Breaking Windows

Rene Magritte, an artist who understood the correct use of fallacies

.

The hive mind of Washington, DC is all abuzz these days. A big part of their collective angst hovers around the idea that this time the Federal government is expected to produce an actual budget. It will the first one in years. Needless to say, everyone in positions of authority  wants to make sure an allotment of sweet taxpayer honey keeps flowing their way.

Whenever the topic turns to reining in out of control spending, the National Endowment for the Arts comes up. It seems like a reasonable cut to consider, since there are much more urgent situations which need funding. But to culture industry careerists, that’s just crazy talk.

Of course all the organizations who are currently latched onto that particular public teat feel entitled to remain there. Just ask them, they’ll tell you.Or just read some of the hundreds of op-eds that have popped up around the country as a lobbying effort. Most advance the notion that without the bureaucratic benevolence of Uncle Sugar, redistributor of wealth, there would not be a single spark of creativity left in America.

Most of the articles follow the same template. They plead that its a given that arts organizations are poverty stricken, that arts spending boosts the economy, that support is needed while artists produce quality culture enriching works. The NEA is desperately needed for these reasons.

What is the reality? Postmodern art worker types like to pretend there is no such thing as reality, that the world operates based on just what those in power decree. Cultural elitists behave as if their virtue signalling and theorizing acts as a shield against universal truths such as cause and effect. Accountability is something to be deconstructed and explained away. However, there are many questions to ask about the default assumptions of their assertions.

For a different perspective about need, this headline pretty much sums it up: Feds Use Arts Funding to Subsidize Billion-Dollar Nonprofits. The article shares the findings of watchdog group Openthebooks.com, and summarizes their findings about the NEA’s umbrella group: “The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities issued $20.5 million in grants to ‘asset-rich’ nonprofit groups with assets of $1 billion or more in 2016 alone.”

For instance, Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute has received millions of dollars in grants for their swanky ski town film festival. And what is their estimated annual revenue from the event? $37 million.

Robert Redford: Like a Rhinestone Rent-Seeker

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New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is probably the top example. Since 2009 they have been awarded $1.22 million in grants and contracts from the NFA-H. And what are the Metropolitian’s assets estimated to be? Four billion dollars. That is billion with a B. There are other examples of the payola changing hands in the full article.

The Met: 4 Billion is not enough, they need handouts

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Why is taxpayer money being funneled to organizations that could easily be self-sustaining? Observation suggests it’s all part of the perks of the New Aristocracy of the Well Connected. It’s one of the ways the privileged class flatter each other, generously  passing out other people’s money. Would these powerhouse entities cease functioning without receiving kickbacks from the public treasury?

Of course not all arts organizations are stuffed with money like those insider superstars. What about the more local community efforts? How will artists be able to exist without qualifying for subsidies?

The pitfalls of those gambits are covered well in an insightful article from PJ Media’s John Ellis: The National Endowment for the Arts is Bad for Artists and Should be Defunded. He states:

“…It’s way past time to defund and shutter the National Endowment for the Arts.

“From the organization’s website, ‘The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.’

“That mission statement prompts a few questions. (Well, the first one isn’t so much a question as an eye-rolling musing.): 1. Yeah, it’s easy to fund things with other people’s money, NEA. 2. How does creating a false market for art promote and strengthen creative capacity? 3. All Americans? Really, NEA? Are you sure that ‘all Americans’ have the requisite skills to participate in the arts?”

Ellis addresses the fallacies at the heart of the economic stimulation and quality results outcome arguments by referring to observations about human nature, and a well known flaw in logic.

“The first question/eye-rolling musing is countered by artists and those who hold the arts community’s purse strings that arts organizations provide an economic engine to communities (by the way, I could write a whole other article about the absurd, silly, politics that I saw first hand while I worked directly for a specific arts funding organization—and by ‘funding,’ of course, I mean that they took taxpayers dollars and with a kindergartener level of pettiness disbursed that stolen taxed money amongst their friends). The NEA and their supporters will trot out research about how many dollars are added to local economies due to things like theatres, symphonies, and museums. Of course, as almost every person with at least half a semester of Economics under their belt is screaming, the NEA’s argument embraces the broken window fallacy.

“The economic stimulus felt and supposedly generated by the arts community comes at the expense of other markets. Chances are, the tax dollars given to arts organizations would have been more effectively used elsewhere to benefit local economies. All that money pumped into the local economy by arts organizations would have been pumped into the economy anyway. The taxpayers would have decided which markets to support. And those markets would’ve naturally grown, strengthened, and added jobs and wealth to the economy. The National Endowment for the Arts model artificially props up mostly unwanted markets by using tax dollars that get funneled through inefficient and wasteful bureaucracies.

“Segueing into the second question, artificially propping up an unwanted market does not benefit the arts. It does benefit the people who work in the NEA office and the many local organizations that help funnel taxpayers’ money to arts organizations, though. What it does to the arts is create a marketplace that supports bad art. If you don’t believe me, buy tickets to your local community theatre’s production of Seussical the Musical. Besides the money you spent on the ticket, your tax dollars helped pay for that crap. In other words, even if you don’t buy a ticket, your hard-earned money is still being used to stoke the egos and fill the free time of wanna-be actors and directors.”

You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot. For the people and places you’re lucky you’re not.

Ellis raises very valid concerns about what exactly is coming out as the result of these appropriated funds.

Now personally, I’m an old punk rocker. Punk’s creeds of individuality, distrust of authority, and sincere belief in the transformative power of participating in your own culture are ideas as American as baseball.  I learned early to value passionate intensity in art, which can lead to less than polished accomplishments. I’m inspired by all sorts of creative expression by unconventionally talented individuals. My paintings tend to be dark and strange.

Richard Bledsoe “The Collective” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 30″

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My music collection is filled with albums that could strike terror into lots of people.

Face up to the Butthole Surfers

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In my time I’ve attended DIY art and music happenings in places ranging from bowling alleys to Chinese restaurants, from student living rooms to trailers in isolated desert communities. I’ve organized many events myself, looking to give artists a chance to share their creativity. A key trait linking all of these shows is the Y in DIY: do it yourself. Make it happen, with none of the strings that come attached from being reduced to a supplicant for crumbs from the tables of the powerful. If the effort is genuine, it will find its audience.

The hey-kids-lets-put-on-a-show exuberance that drives “amateur” dedication to the arts is at the core of the art movement Remodernism, This grassroots renewal of our culture is rising to destroy the elitist mind games of Postmodernism.The NEA is doing nothing but sustaining the current corrupted model, where to be deemed worthy you must conform to the establishment’s agenda.

Artists with integrity recognize that far from promoting the arts, a compromised, insular organization like the NEA is actually shackling free expression to their ideological biases. The true future of the arts is going to be determined by those who do not submit their productions for official approval. Art is about so much more than acting as a cog in the crony combine.