STUDIO: Scenes from the Studio, Part 1

My Better Half

Michele Bledsoe’s Studio Set Up 

 

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I include a description of our current artistic working conditions:

 

Michele and I now share a studio in our home. We’ve spent countless hours together making art. We work back to back, with the stereo in the middle to play the music which inspires us.

She sits at her easel. I pace around in front of mine.

Michele uses tiny, soft brushes. I use big house-painting brushes for much of my work.

She discovers her imagery through stream of consciousness dreaming. I am replicating the vision I was assigned.

She likes to focus on one work at a time, and linger over it. I have multiple pieces going at once, at different stages of completion, and I compulsively push them towards resolution.

Michele doesn’t know what she is going to paint when she begins, but she applies her masterful technique to it. I know the image I need to present, but I don’t know how I’m going to paint it out.

We are both wholly committed to our art, and we show it in our own different ways. Remodernism encourages dedication to individual expression, and the pursuit of excellence.  

 

I’d written before about our shared art space. Back in 2015, i did a blog post on “The Mystique of the Artist Studio:”

There is nothing like having the dedicated space just for art. There is great pleasure in not having to pack up and move all materials at the end of a session, to have the needed tools within reach when an idea strikes. The magic in artists’ studios is in the sense of purpose, a Zen-like meditation on process.

It is an exotic environment. Many strange devices and substances are used there. Simple everyday needs like lighting and storage take on whole new urgency. And in the studio there is the artist, a person who puts appearances onto ideas. Might seem like an anachronism in these technological times, but the artist fulfills a deep human need.

It occurred to me that our studio spaces are full of wonderful moments, where our tools and inspirations blend together into intriguing vignettes. Why not share the excitement that is happening there, even we we are not working?

Michele Bledsoe has created a whole magical world to surround herself while she paints. In her blog post post “Art and the Proximity of Curious Objects,” she wrote:

My husband is always telling me to take a picture of the weird collection of items I have on the tray of my easel.

I’m not exactly sure what the actual purpose is for this little shelf-like area..

but it is where I keep all my favorite stuff.

Polished rocks, glass marbles and rusty keys.

Floppy-limbed Micronauts, the metal license tabs from Gunther’s collar

and my father’s college ring.

My art studio is filled with strange little objects that have captured my attention..

but you can tell how much I like something by how close it gets to my easel.

Here are some other special moments from Michele’s half of the studio. I will show mine in a future post.

 

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EMBATTLED VCU PROFESSOR WAS ONCE MY ART TEACHER. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED.

All Aboard the Witch Hunt Band Wagon!

The College Mob Springs into Action 

The Death of University Arts Programs, Part 6

For years I have studied and commented on the crisis of relevance plaguing the visual arts. Malignant elitists are destroying the artistic experience, all the better to create a passive and befuddled populace. I’ve worked to expose the decadence and corruption of establishment art, but usually I’m analyzing distant events and actions. But now, I have a personal connection with an unfolding incident which perfectly illustrates the death throes of Postmodern culture. The destructive conflict playing out at one Virginia art school can be extrapolated out to changes that are taking place on a global scale.

This article from The College Fix lays out situation:

Students Demand “Complete Removal” of Professor even after the School Cleared Him of Racist Behavior

Virginia Commonwealth University officials suspended associate professor Javier Tapia last semester despite concluding that he did not racially discriminate against an unfamiliar black professor when he called security on her last fall. The decision prompted a lawsuit from Tapia and protests by students who want him fired.

Tapia, a Peruvian-born art professor who’s been at VCU since 1988, is heading to court in an attempt to force VCU to let him continue teaching while asking for $1 million in damages. A settlement conference is scheduled for June 11. Meanwhile, dozens of students have held campus protests to demand that Tapia be fired and that the school increase its diversity.

 

So a bunch of N-P-C students are demanding the firing of an Hispanic immigrant teacher in the name of “diversity.” The cognitive dissonance, it burns.

It’s shameful to see what’s become of my alma mater. I graduated from VCU, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking. I was there when Javier Tapia joined the staff. For one notable semester, he was my teacher. What I learned from him then, and what is happening to him now, is extremely educational, but not in the way you’d find in a syllabus.

It was a terrible experience when I studied painting with him in the early 1990s. I ended up basically teaching myself some powerful lessons. By opposing everything this misguided academician manifested, I ended up discovering my own way as an artist.

Javier had quickly built a reputation. Temperamental. Tough. Demanding. Aggressive even. His critiques were said to play out as fiery psychodramas, reducing hapless students to tears, counselling and changes of majors.

I signed up for this, on purpose. I was determined to learn artistic skills by traditional methods, trying to paint realistically from observation. This was not the trendy thing to do at VCU, which emphasized conceptual and abstract art. I was out of sync with most of the other students, who were producing slapdash experimental works. Despite my plodding development, I felt ready for a challenge. It didn’t go down like I expected it to, but then again, hardly anything ever does.

This was a studio class, meeting all day twice a week, all of us students painting together in a filthy classroom tucked away on the top floor of the gymnasium. The infamous group critiques only took place every few weeks. During typical sessions Javier would turn up late, after we had already started working. After depositing his satchel and coffee at the paint encrusted work table he used like a desk, he wandered around the room, selectively interacting with those who caught his interest.

I actually gained positive attention for the first class or two. I set up a still life I was working from: a collection of metal and wooden objects. Those first classes I was just doing what I considered the underpainting, laying in broad areas of color and vague suggestions of shapes, tinkering with the composition. I was working in greens and yellows for some reason, although nothing I was depicting was green or yellow. Knowing my own methods, I knew anything I laid down would ultimately be covered over as I refined the painting.

Javier was initially intrigued by the masses I was setting down, and visited with me several times on those days, curious about the direction I was going in. But as soon as I started to make decisions, drawing in the specific details and starting to nudge the picture towards realism, the interactions ceased. He preferred talking with the students whose works remained only broad areas of color and vague suggestions of shapes. Turns out he was a partisan for that aesthetic, and had no patience for other forms of expression.

Javier liked to have us all gather around his desk so he could lecture us. They weren’t actually so much lectures as they were harangues, delivered in tones of bitter disappointment. The topics were usually variations on how much better he had been than us, back when he too had been a mere student. We were expected to stand there while he monologued and just suck it up, waiting until he was done with us. Only then could we crawl back to our easels, beaten half senseless by his disapproval.

Finally the day came for our first group critique. It was just like I’d heard: hostile and belittling. The collective mind of the class took on the personae of the professor. We squared off like gladiators battling to the death, egged on by his imperious disdain. I actually got off pretty easy, only because when my turn came, Javier announced right up front he saw nothing in my still life. No one had much to say after that, and we rapidly moved on.

What Javier chose to linger over during that crit showed us what he was expecting from us all. His personal pet student was displaying a largish square canvas. During the initial weeks of the class this student had simply brushed the surface of this over and over with layers of thick brownish paint. Every now and then he’d draw in some geometric shapes, only to bury them under more impasto.

Apparently the pet wasn’t satisfied that this was enough texture, because he started to adhere ragged strips of torn canvas into the wet paint, plastering over them with more smears and gobs. The final result was an unsightly, scabrous beige void. This, according to Javier, was true painting. We probably spent three quarters of an hour verbally dissecting this masterpiece.

The ones who got it worst in this critique were those who were trying to work abstractly, but who fell short of Javier’s elusive standards. Why their work was worse than the clotted lump he praised I couldn’t tell you, but the instructor seemed to take their lesser efforts as a personal affront. He sicced the class on these students like a vicious pack; they in turn were gleeful at their chance to pass on the abuse they had been experiencing. It was an ugly display.

I’m familiar with the boot camp idea of tearing someone down in order to build them up into something new and better. Maybe this was the method Javier was going for, believing he was some kind of drill instructor of art.

However, the key component of this concept is the second part. Done effectively, the broken and rebuilt recruit should be in every way superior to the weak and naive shape they began in. Tough love is the secret fuel of drill instructor rage. The cruelty is actually compassion. The targeted viciousness awakens in others the toughness and strength that will be needed to survive dire circumstances.

But with Javier’s obligatory destination, his philosophy that paintings consist of incoherent mud and marks, to be served up with a lot of posturing, the end result was no improvement. It was ultimately a merely materialistic viewpoint he served, camouflaged with a lot of cranky analysis that lent a veneer of intellectualism. He was actually espousing a major strain of thinking in Modern art, advocating for a set of beliefs that had been in vogue since the early 20th century. In this school of painting, what was important was paint as a substance applied to a surface, and how blatantly it could be made to act like paint being applied to a surface.

Well, duh.

All Javier’s ill-tempered observations could be distilled to euphemisms for, and variations upon, “paint behaves like paint, but you aren’t making it fit my intellectual theories of paint-like behavior enough.” The professor’s emotional investment in this pedantic set of concerns was puzzling. He may have been intense, but what he was emphasizing was irremediably wrong.

What matters is not what paint is, but what it is used for.

After that first critique, the class meandered on, painting time interspersed with tongue lashings and bouts of mob savagery. Now about two thirds of the students were just wiping streaks and blobs onto their canvases, pandering for approval. They still got sliced and diced during the group discussions, all except for his canvas scrap golden boy, who could do no wrong.

I remained unpersuaded, and defiantly began another still life.

Javier made it clear I was a lost cause, and that kept the abuse directed at me brief. I just wasn’t worth talking about. The only comment he’d make to me during his classroom ambles was I needed better brushes. He said this several times. I understood he felt the problem was not actually my brushes, but what I was doing with them.

I’m glad I had my habitual punk nonconformity and suspicion of authority supporting me, otherwise I too might have ended up smearing paint around. But even though I was rejecting Javier’s priorities, it was still frustrating to be ignored. I was still so young, and so uncertain in many ways. I was basically left to teach myself, since he couldn’t be bothered or was not capable of guiding me on my own path as an artist. He just wanted everyone to do it his way. And for me, his way was a dull waste of time. But still, to labor under the hostility of someone so advanced in my chosen field caused great unease.

And then, I actually saw one of Javier’s paintings.

This was still pre-internet, or at least pre-my access to it. How different the world was, back when we did not instant access to information about everything and everyone! I had to wait until a faculty art exhibit to see Javier’s work. Strangely, he never shared it with us in class.

I turned out for the opening, a buzzing, energetic Friday night affair. I enjoyed the free pretzels sticks and cheese provided for the reception, but really was there for the art, to see the works of teachers current and past; I didn’t make a special point of looking for Javier’s piece. I was very surprised when I finally read his name on the title card under a large work on canvas.

His painting was inferior. Undistinguished, indistinguishable from the work of thousands of other contemporary painters-student painters included. A mass of orange with a few tentative streaks near the bottom. I can’t find an image of it, but it was of a comparable quality to this beauty I found on the web:

A Genuine Tapia 

Everything became clear. All the professor’s bombast and attitude was overcompensation for some very justifiable insecurity. His bluster was an attempt to conceal some extreme weakness. However, in painting, there is nowhere to hide.

Despite all Javier’s credentials, all that training, all those words, the preemptive strike of haughtiness he launched on us poor pupils, the domineering and disruptive dynamic he stirred up in his class, despite all that, he failed where it mattered most. When it came time to perform, and put brush to canvas, all the academician could manage was a sloppy blankness.

After witnessing the professor’s clichéd artifice on display for all to see, for the rest of the semester, whenever Javier went on his class room tirades, I listened with a smirk. Changes were happening in my art that amplified the hollow ring of his chest thumping, and rendered him even more irrelevant in my eyes. My patient discipline was starting to pay off on the canvas; I was discovering the visionary element that continues in my painting to this day, and I had achieved the technical skills to bring it out.

The coda of this special time was my final one-on-one critique with Javier at the end of the school year. Without his browbeat flunkies, he was subdued, sheepish even. I can imagine how difficult it was for him to have to talk directly with me. He had witnessed how I had completely disregarded his philosophy, but looking at my semester’s worth of paintings, the advances I made were unmistakable.

The professor muttered something about how my work had gone off in directions he had never expected it could. I think I responded with a blank stare that he was not willing to return. That was close to rapport as we ever came, and I took it for what it was worth. After all his hostility, I earned a B in the class. I considered this a major victory. I had a new direction to explore, new ideas to try out.

What I saw in this classroom back when I was young could been seen to represent the old school of the Leftism with dominates our institutions. The feeling of entitled power that comes along with a well-connected position of authority, defended with sophistry and attitude. But there is a new dynamic challenging the presumptions of the old guard, coming from the even further Left. A rabid, destructive element seeking to purge and plunder.

I didn’t approve of his ideas or methods. But what is happening now is just wrong. It is appalling how VCU has treated Javier Tapia during this controversy. Calling security on someone he thought was an out of place student would be a typically dick move from him, but it was just a simple misunderstanding. But grievance mongers got to monger, and now the Maoist mob wants blood, vengeance, and humiliation. The school found no racist intent, but that’s not good enough for the cultural arsonists. These chilling words from a student hack activist show the irrational totalitarian fantasies being nurtured in our institutes of higher learning:

“We 100% disagree with that conclusion. What many people fail to understand is that it is obviously technically impossible to prove someone did something because of the color of someone’s skin. It’s about embedded behaviors and implicit as opposed to explicit. It’s about the structures of this country and what principles this country and its institutions are built on.”

Of course the useless administrators have gone into the fetal position, and I don’t hold out much hope Javier’s career will survive this disgraceful injustice. I fundamentally disagree with him, but the right way to manifest opposition is by positive action of my own, not by driving for personal destruction.

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

 

“Postmodernists will commit acts of senselessness and violence when top-down social pressure is applied. The Postmodernists have stolen the forms of religion to serve their aims. Original sin is now race, or carbon footprints. Indulgences can be purchased by reciting the catechisms of social justice. To prove loyalty to the cause, the SJWs eagerly throw blasphemers into the fire. Since they don’t know history, Postmodernists don’t see the predictable Marxist pattern that today’s obedient flock will be tomorrow’s barbecue.

The spiritual life of Postmodernism has been misdirected from transcendental and enduring values to ponderous politics. Nothing is sacred. There is no sense of continuity; only the needs of the moment matter. Where there should be a human spirit engaged with the eternal choice between good and evil, Postmodernists substitute slavish devotion to those who reduce morality to dominance.”

 

If there is actual justice-as opposed to the tyranny of phony collectivist social justice-Javier Tapia will be back teaching at VCU soon.

Who knows, maybe he will even learn how to paint.

 

Earlier entries in the “Death of University Art Programs” series

Part 1: Eric Fischl

Part 2: The Corcoran Collapse 

Part 3: Ignorance as a Method of Critique 

Part 4: The Subsidized Sedition of Establishment Art Schools

Part 5: Why Columbia Art Students Demanded Tuition Refunds

How the Contemporary Art World Lies To You

 

Cut the Bull: 

Damien Hirst’s Postmodern “Art,” A Box with a Rotting Cow Head, Maggots, Flies, and a Bug Zapper 

 

The cult of Postmodernism is a toxic current flowing through our culture. Postmodernism is a kind of Cultural Marxist magical thinking among our indoctrinated-not-educated establishment. They have convinced themselves, and each other, that language shapes the world, and by controlling the social Narrative, they can force the universe into obedience.

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.

ARTICLE: How to Look at Contemporary Art by Christopher P. Jones

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. 
Postmodern Art:
Beat It 

 

 

SPOON-FED “ART” AS A SOCIAL JUSTICE SHAKEDOWN

 

Dishing it up on Pharmaceutical Companies : Domenic Esposito’s Spoons

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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.

Redefining art as just another form of leftist political activism is one of the establishment’s most tedious assaults on the culture. A man named Domenic Esposito is taking a very serious issue and says he wants to draw attention to it by the means of art, but there is something off about the pitch.

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.

Bent Out of Shape 

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So surely this visual aid would be activated regarding border security. After all, most opioid drug deaths are coming from Fentanyl from China and heroin from Mexico, Huge quantities of both are being smuggled through our southern border, an estimated $10 billion dollars worth annually. Cracking down on the free flow of drugs into the country would be hugely impactful.

But Esposito doesn’t want to draw attention to that. Instead, he wants to cause trouble for some deep pocketed pharmaceutical companies with convenient offices right here in the United States.

In the Gateway Pundit article, Artist Movement Hopes to Spark Bigger Conversation About the Opioid Crisis — Using Giant 700 Pound Spoons,  a rationale is provided for why Esposito is not focused on the criminal narcotics trade that’s truly fueling the epidemic:

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.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 80% of heroin addicts first started by using opioids.

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.

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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 left taints everything with its politics. As I describe in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, our culture is through with the distortions of Postmodernism. We are entering a new phase, the Remodern era:

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.

 

Battle Cry 

 

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ART QUOTES: On the Purpose of Art

 

Richard Bledsoe “Side Saddle” 

“The purpose of Remodernism is not to shock, but to incite: to stir perceptions in the wordless depths we all share. Incitement is not a gentle process, nor should it be.”

-Richard Bledsoe, from the book Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization 

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Pierre Bonnard “Self Portrait” 

 

“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.”

-Pierre Bonnard

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Bob Dylan From the “Off the Beaten Path” Series 

“The purpose of art is to stop time.”

-Bob Dylan

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Morris Graves “Night Bird” 

“I paint to rest from the phenomena of the external world – to pronounce it – and to make notations of its essences with which to verify the inner eye.”

-Morris Graves

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Robert Henri “Thomas Cafferty (Smiling Tom)”

 

“I paint for the sole purpose of magnifying the privilege of being alive.”

-Robert Henri

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Henry Miller “The Procession” 

“The purpose of life is to remember.”

-Henry Miller

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Ben Shahn “Father and Child” 

“It is the mission of art to remind man from time to time that he is human, and the time is ripe, just now, today, for such a reminder.”

-Ben Shahn

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. 

Artist Turned Assassin: When a Marxist Mexican Muralist Attempted Political Murder

David Alfaro Siqueiros “The Echo of a Scream”

Perhaps the Screams of his Victims? 

 

“Our primary aesthetic aim is to propagate works of art which will help destroy all traces of bourgeois individualism.”

-David Alfaro Siqueiros

 

How much is forgiven to perpetrators of villainy, when they parrot the politically favored ideology. A case in point is the renowned artist David Alfaro Siqueiros  (1896-1974). This painter has works in prestigious museums around the world. Public art he created remains in prominent locations to this day. His experimental artistic techniques were said to have inspired the drip paintings of his one-time student, Jackson Pollock. Art history proclaims Siqueiros one of heroes of Mexican Muralism, a Modern art movement that claimed to be an art for the people.

Unless you were one of the people that didn’t agree with Siqueiros’s radical Stalinist viewpoint. In that case, Sisqueiros might have literally attempted to murder you and your family in your sleep. That’s precisely what he tried to do to the exiled Leon Trotsky on May 24, 1940.

Leon Trotsky was a Bolshevik leader, the heir apparent to take over the Soviet Union when the original cult leader Vladimir Lenin died in 1924. Instead, he lost out to the thuggish Joseph Stalin. By 1929 Trotsky was exiled and on the run, fleeing Stalin’s vengeful inclinations to tie up loose ends permanently by means of murder.  For years Trotsky wandered around Europe, Soviet pressures and intrigues denying him any safe location. In 1936 he was sentenced to death in absentia during a Moscow show trial. Russia’s secret police, the NKVD, now had a mandate: kill the traitor.

Trotsky received an unexpected lifeline in 1937, when the Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera pulled strings and got the Mexican government to offer asylum in Mexico City. When Trotsky arrived Rivera was too ill to meet him, but Diego’s wife, the fascinating Frida Kahlo, turned up to welcome him.

Safe at Last? Frida Kahlo Greets the Trotskys

 

For a time the Trotskys lived at Frida’s home, La Casa Azul.  She and Trotsky soon became lovers. She even dedicated a painting to him. In the work she holds a slip of paper which reads,  “To Trotsky with great affection, I dedicate this painting November 7, 1937. Frida Kahlo, in San Angel, Mexico.”

 

Frida Kahlo, “Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky”

 

Diego Rivera didn’t seem to mind. He had plenty of affairs of his own, and he was secure in his stature in the art world as one of the Big Three of Mexican Muralism, along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

A Prisoner of  his Politics:  David Alfaro Siqueiros

Unfortunately, Siqueiros wasn’t just another artist. He was a ruthless partisan working with Stalin’s secret police on a final solution to the Trotsky problem. In May 1940 the painter personally led an attempted hit on Trotsky and his family.

David Alfaro Siqueiros, The Sob 

The story is told on Marxists.org:

MEXICO – At approximately four o’clock in the morning of May 24, some twenty-five men under the direction of Stalin’s GPU penetrated the high walls surrounding Leon Trotsky’s house in Coyoacan, and riddled with machine gun slugs the bedroom where Trotsky and his wife, Natalia, slept. Robert Sheldon Harte, the secretary-guard on duty and member of the Socialist Workers Party, was kidnapped and murdered, his body thrown into a shallow pit filled with lime…

Trotsky had been working very arduously the day prior to the assault, and as is his custom on such occasions had taken a sleeping powder. He awoke hazily, thinking he heard the explosions of firecrackers with which Coyoacan commemorates the special days on the calendar. But the explosions were too frequent and they were not far away, as it had at first seemed, but almost within the room. With the acrid smell of powder, Trotsky realized that this was the attempt which he had been expecting for twelve years. Stalin at last had commanded his GPU to correct what he once termed his “major error” – exiling the leader of the 1923 Opposition.

Natalia Trotsky was already out of her bed. She and her husband huddled together in a corner of their bedroom. Natalia made an attempt to shield Trotsky with her body; he insisted they lie flat on the floor without moving. Bullets tipped through two doors of their bedroom, thudding in the wall just overhead. Where were the police who had been stationed outside the walls? Where the guards inside? Surely bound hand and foot, or kidnapped, or already dead.

The door to the room where Trotsky’s grandson Seva slept, burst open and a few moments later an incendiary bomb flared up around a small cabinet standing there. In the glare, Natalia saw the dark silhouette of one of the assailants. They had not seen him enter before the bomb flamed, but a number of empty cartridges within the room and five or six shots directly through each of the empty beds proved that this assassin had been assigned to make the final check, to still any movement that might still exist after the cross-fire from the French window opening on the patio and the door to Trotsky’s study. In the darkness of the room, and hearing no sound whatsoever now that the machine guns were silent, the assassin undoubtedly mistook the form of the bed clothes for the lifeless forms of Natalia and Leon Trotsky. He emptied his gun on those forms and fled.

The old revolutionists then heard what was to them the most tragic sound of the night, the cry of their grandson from the neighboring room, “Grandfather!”

Natalia found her way into his room. It was empty. “They’ve kidnapped him!” she cried. This was the most painful moment of all.

Seva, however, had awakened when the assailants machine-gunned the door opening from his room onto the patio, the bullets striking the wall barely above him. He immediately threw himself out of bed and rolled underneath on the floor. The assassins smashed through the door and as they passed his bed, one of them fired into it, the bullet striking Seva in the big toe. When they had gone, Seva called out, and then ran from his room, crying, certain that his grandfather and grandmother were dead. He left splotches of blood behind him on the pathway in the patio and in the library…

David Alfaro Siqueiros was eulogized in Futuro, Lombardo Toledano’s monthly magazine, as “an artist of great prestige and of universally recognized qualities. Throughout America, from New York to Buenos Aires his work as a painter is appreciated. He is a man who honors Mexico. In any country in the world a person of this class is an object of consideration no matter what might be his political affiliation. In Mexico it is not like this. Lately he has been the object of arbitrary abuses by the city police.”

It was this painter whose qualities were not given due consideration by the city police who, donning dark glasses, a false mustache, and a uniform of the city police, headed the gang which made the actual assault….

So Siqueiros failed in his efforts to kill an old man and woman. His network only managed to murder a guard and wound a little boy. But Trotsky didn’t have long left. On August 20,1940, another Stalinist assassin stuck an ice axe through his skull; Trotsky died the next day.

So what were the consequences for Siqueiros’s cruel act of terrorism? Not much. He managed to escape imprisonment:

 

The police department of Mexico City on June 18 announced that it had solved the case. Twenty-seven members of the Communist Party were under arrest. Among them, a number had made complete confession as to their participation. David Alfaro Siqueiros, the man who was an “honor to Mexico” according to Lombardo Toledano’s Futuro, was named as the actual leader of the assault. Above him were individuals from whom he took orders whose names were unknown to the staff members of the GPU caught in the police net. Haikys, formerly in the Soviet legation in Mexico and Soviet ambassador to Spain following the purge of Rosenberg in the civil war, was suspected to be one of these higher-ups. Carlos Contreras, GPU assassin in Spain, appears in the same category. Siqueiros, the Arenal brothers, Antonio Pujol, all members of the Communist Party, had fled Mexico.

The Stalinist press announced the arrests without mentioning the political affiliation of the prisoners, except indirectly in the case of Siqueiros, formerly the “honor of Mexico” but now “mad,” “undisciplined” and a “pedant.” The false mustache and dark glasses were undoubtedly the “pedantic” touch to his use of machine guns and bombs. It is not clear why they called him “undisciplined.”

 

Siqueiros lived a long life after he attempted to end Trotsky’s. He had highs and lows ranging from prison to star turns at Biennnals and vast public art projects, including the one of the biggest murals in the world, Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros, part of the Mexican World Trade Center. There didn’t seem to be any repercussions  for his murderous impulses. He was redeemed by the same elitist denial that ignores the estimated 100,000,000 human beings slaughtered by world communism. It falls right in line with predictions by Barack Obama’s mentor, Bill Ayres, that 25,000,000 Americans would have to be killed to advance socialism’s utopia schemes.

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I describe the contemporary cognitive dissonance that occurs when creativity succumbs to ideology:

 

…Postmodernists don’t see the predictable Marxist pattern that today’s obedient flock will be tomorrow’s barbeque.

The spiritual life of Postmodernism has been misdirected from transcendental and enduring values to ponderous politics. Nothing is sacred. There is no sense of continuity; only the needs of the moment matter. Where there should be a human spirit engaged with the eternal choice between good and evil, Postmodernists substitute slavish devotion to those who reduce morality to dominance.

Frida Kahlo provided a horrifying coda to this disgraceful episode. Later in life, her artistic skills degenerating along with her health, she created a painting paying fawning homage to Stalin, the ruthless dictator who had ordered the brutal execution of her once cherished friend.

Echoing the depressing final line of George Orwell’s 1984, Frida loved Big Brother. She shares that trait with too much of our current artistic establishment.

 

Sellout: Frida and Stalin XOXOX

 

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