Humpty Dumpty Falling Down

death brTwo pieces that should be read back to back. First the Kimball piece, where the pomposity and irrelevance of today’s “avant-garde” is shredded in a quite funny comic satire (unless you’re a big fan of contempo avant-garde that is). I should say that I don’t subscribe at all to Kimball’s New Criterion conservative/reactionary notions of what art is.

The piece below follows on from Kimball’s speculation (made in 2007), which is obviously correct that “sooner or later, even the Leon Botsteins and Marieluise Hessels of the world will realize that the character in Bruce Nauman’s “Good Boy, Bad Boy” was right: “this is boring.”

As we can see in this 2012 Daily Mail piece on Damien Hirst’s collapsing prices which we can assume have only gotten worse, as what has Damien Hirst done since 2012 of any note? Not following the art world, I have no idea but perhaps somebody knowledgeable can enlighten me.


Christies sales of Postwar and Contempo Art are down 41% from the same period in 2015, which could be considered a bit strange as the stock market is booming. So clearly the investments are going to other places than into blue chip contempo/postwar.

Of course, people mired in this delusional belief system that Modern Art is all triumphant over the entirety of the past history of art, I imagine will be totally baffled by all of this. Even with all the forgeries, the CIA funding of Ab Ex and the incredibly financial manipulations, auction rigging, and so on, their belief in the profound achievements of Urinal Man and Bronze Beer Can man are unaffected. Art exists in a place totally disconnected from known reality. A pure place where pure spirits make pure art…

Right on! Power to the People! Let them vote on the best art, just like they’ve given us the best President and Congress and right down the line to the best Art, Literature and Music never ever before seen in all it’s awesome proliferation covering the earth in peace, love, and beauty along with lots of sex and violence!


I hate to say it but I find myself completely put off by both camps. The Beauty School of ennobled art as Kimball describes art as “mastery of craft in order to make objects to gratify and ennoble those who see them.” This has to be one of the most moronic definitions of art I’ve ever seen written. Yes, the Renaissance, Baroque, Belle Epoque were all about making objects to gratify and ennoble those who saw them. I can hear Michelangelo and Leonardo conversing now…. Won’t the people feel gratified and ennobled once they view our latest fresco works.

On the other hand I find Kimball’s disgust and disdain for the intellectual vacuity and sex thrill crud that the “Wrestling” artists represent.

How I’ve found myself being the lone dissenter in an art world that I view as having gone totally insane as well as totally commercial is a mystery. Apparently everyone else thinks that we live int he best possible of all worlds. Maybe I just haven’t found the right medication yet to really get with the current program.

This George Orwell passage bears looking at for me:

“The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word “Art” and everything is OK. Rotting corpses with snails crawling over them are OK; kicking little girls in the head is OK; even a film like L’Age d’Or (which shows among other things detailed shots of a woman defecating) is OK.”

Herein lies the problem (and my copy of L”Age d’Or has no detailed shots of a woman defecating, though I do note them in Odd Nerdrum paintings). I don’t see anything whatsoever problematic with showing grotesque subject matter within a moral system that encompasses Dante’s hell or Buddhist hells, Japanese demons, Kubrick films and so on. (See Brueghel detail above).

I do see a serious, as well as fatal, problem when sexual decadence being shown purely gratuitously, with no context whatsoever other than to please the prurient tastes of the Las Vegas minded viewers  who thrill at it all.  And I think the morality of those inside this questionable system who are not raising their voices in protest against it to be a bit questionable themselves.

The “See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil.” doesn’t strike me as at all tenable in the sense of Burke’s admonition that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women]  to do nothing.

Plus there’s this more recent Feb 2016 note on Hirst along with pity for the credulous saps who invested in him. And I imagine that would extend to the much of the rest if not all of the YBAs. I’m putting Ruth Dudley Edward’s Killing the Emperors into my Amazon queue. Sounds like an even more fun read than the Kimball piece.


Posted in Post-Contemporary Art, Postmodernism | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Bored and Losing MY Hair!

I thought I’d put up this video of myself dressed up as Professor Richard Walter, an art expert from UCLA. Notice how cranky and pompous I am.. And boring beyond belief… But I know all about art and that’s why I teach at UCLA. Let me explain the difference between Bad Art and Great Art to to the rest of you idiots. I’m a fascinating speaker in real life, as you can get just a taste of on my video below. Just listen. Riveting stuff here. Not boring! This is not boring at all! Hold onto your seat belts!

I’ve come across this unbelievably angry guy. An incredibly reactionary nutcase. Practically screaming into the camera. No idea what this guy is talking about. Don’t think he gets it at all. He needs to take a few classes with Professor Richard Walter at UCLA if he wasn’t to get wised up about what is Bad Art and what is Great Art, as he is obviously clueless.

OK… enough intellectual stimulation… Cue up the Jewish rock guitarist playing back in the days of yore. Excuse the comatose audience. Guess they were expecting Eagles of Death Metal or Bruno Mars.

Or this.. Eagles of Death Metal got nothin on this… :

One more while I reel in the years, introduced by Bill Cosby. Or maybe that’s just an acid flashback I’m having. God Help America!:

I’m on a roll… what next? No suggestions. Dead silence, as usual… How about the Zombies? Hot babe alert!

Here’s one for Goetz (Lewis Carroll reference here). Rock trivia: The lead singer slept with Jim Morrison.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Book ‘Em, Dano


Police questioned schoolkids about brownies, name-calling, a zombie drawing

Citizens! You can sleep sound in your beds tonight knowing that the police are on the job round the clock at local elementary schools making certain that kids using politically incorrect language in the third grade will be stopped immediately lest their juvenile delinquency and anti-social tendencies are put a stop to immediately. As Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

At William P. Tatem Elementary police rushed in to question a third grader about alleged racist remarks about the brownies. Listen to this! The racist punk said that the brownies were “made out of burnt black people.” Fortunately his other third-grade classmates were on the alert and and no doubt immediately called the police on their cel phones. At a minimum he should be put out in the schoolyard in stocks with I AM A RACIST spray painted on his forehead as a lesson to the other third graders they’ll be unlikely to forget.

This elementary school looks to be a potential hotbed of crime as also at Tatem police were called to look at the drawing of a second grader of a zombie holding a gun. A kid drawing a zombie holding a gun! What kind of sick perv is drawing stuff like this in the second grade?! What’s happened to America when this kind of mental illness is showing up in our grade schools? Thank God that Tatem is reporting these criminal types to the Authorities so that they can be sent to re-education camps run by the Democratic National Front so that any kind of racially insensitive remarks, violent drawings or calling each other names can be stamped out entirely before this spreads into the high schools.

This country has gone out of control and it’s all because of Liberal pussies who, instead of just sending in cops after the trouble has already occurred, are drawing the line at strip searching them every morning and having them waterboarded to get information on any of the other kids who might be planning a school bombing.

Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty, as Thomas Jefferson said while playing hide the salami with Sally Hemings.  And the Chinese lead us on vigilance as well. Imagine an American women with the smarts to call the cops to arrest her cheating husband and have him caught red-handed as well with 40 smuggled primates that were being kept in a room inside the residence.

OK kids! Remember this message brought to you by Bobby Fuller:

Later on True Outsider we’ll be taking a closer look into the death of  young Bobby, a lad of 23, from asphyxiation.  His reworking of the Buddy Holly classic had rocketed him to fame in 1966 shortly before he’d been mysteriously beaten and doused in gasoline. Why? That’s the mystery.

Some of the rumors involved the mob. Most of the murders I’ve been investigating lately have been mob-related in one way or another. There’s a bigger story behind most common-day events. As a matter of fact, I can sense the slim, bony fingers of the mob at work at Tatem Elementary School combing the ranks of the second-graders for those they think have what it takes.

They need to recruit early, before the military gets them.

If the mob didn’t rub out Bobby could it have been a love affair with his own stardom gone wrong? Was he perhaps in some twisted relationship with himself, the kind ascribed by David Bowie to Ziggy Stardust. “Making love to his Ego! Ziggy sucked up into his mind! Like a leper Messiah.”

When I first heard that I thought he said Leopard Messiah. Like an Aztec God. But when I realized it was Leper… it was like…. gross! Who would listen to a leper Messiah? If he was that personally fucked up, how could he bet the Messiah? Wow… I googled some images of lepers to post one, but got too freaked out!

What else should we talk about? Any suggestions?  I’m open… Well. Deutsche Bank is saying European banks are fucked and somebody better their shit together or as bush would say, “”This suckers going down.” Maybe send in Hank Paulsen. I can only imagine what they nutjob is up to these days. Transcendental Meditation with David Lynch?

Memo to David: Hey.. in your next film why not cast some real monsters instead of all that fakey bullshit? See if you can get Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Yeah. I know you don’t know who they are. Do a google search.

Hey. I’m just kidding. I love David’s Films. John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch… The genius of Hollywood moves to ever greater heights.  And we wait expectantly for new masterpieces by the up and comer Harmony Korine. Maybe a remake of Birth of a Nation.

But seriously, folks, will you listen to this shit just in on the wire!??@?🙂

Who is that guy talking? I think it’s the elusive Bart Johnson, who’s been hired as manager of the Banksy Tour 2017

Posted in Art and Money, End of Art | Tagged , , | 2 Comments


moon ver

Moonlight In Vermont, pen and ink, in progress and deterioration simultaneously, 2016

Thought I would put up a link to a couple shows I’d really have loved to see. I did see a show of American Prints at the National and took a lot of photos so will try to get them downloaded and up. Most of the pix of prints were from the Depression, which is my favorite period of American painting. Some of the prints are fabulous on every level. Last gasp before Big Bombastic art took front and center with its big ass knocking everything else more subtle and complex and deeply felt off the stage.

Also just below the piece on depression prints be sure to see the one on the wonderful Miss Constant Pott, whose work I have to thank one of my more interesting crackpot readers for bringing to my attention.

American artists have just gone to hell in a handbasket when they can’t even begin to appreciate the immense artistry and complex visions of the world brought to life in the prints shown on the link. It’s particularly disappointing o me that some of the greatest artists in America going back to the Homers, Eakins, Sargents, and up through the “Ashcan Painters” have been entirely snubbed and overlooked due entirely to the fact that the great people being depicted in these old prints have been replaced by a bunch of lifeless consumer zombies who want to have nothing whatsoever to do with lived life as long as they can hang out at a shopping mall or on their computers.  An endless parade of death. What else can be one’s subject matter as that is all one sees these days.

Artists who avoid reality aren’t making art. They’re simply making escapist fantasies of the Huxley variety. Below is a long quote by the great Neil Postman, who like Chris Lasch, saw this dystopia coming a long ways back.  I agree with where he comes out in the end between Orwell and Huxley as who was most right. But beyond them I find it resembles Phil K. Dick in that people now are largely simulating their lives beside others lost in their own simulated lives. I also believe the Orwellian phase will come as our economy continues to deteriorate so that our Potemkin Virtual Reality will break down as our human reality becomes more nightmarish. I also expect the Huxley model of ostrich in sand will intensify, as I’ve seen it by texting around over the last week and finding nobody is really following what is going on at all except in little snippets and surface news. The volcanic buildup underneath them they’re entirely oblivious to. From Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman:

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another–slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the education, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warms that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be non one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “Failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

Of course the Huxley present is what deliver the Orwell future. The Orwell future is in the persons of Hillary and Trump. And they will arrive pronto all due to the fact that Americans, in their incredible shallowness and denial of reality while they fantasy about all the luxuries they will attain while paying little to no attention those around them have come to exist in either total isolation from one another or to sit around facebooking and gabbing about nothing more than feelies, orgy porgies, and centrifugal bumblepuppys, reduced to a kind of glazed eyed infantile state. The artwork I see everywhere now is a clear depiction of this kind of numbed out infantile fantasies of horror monsters or cutesy monsters, tattooed monsters, sleazy erotica.. women with breasts thrust forward covered in tattoos and nose rings.

We’ve moved into a horror show society and the middle class yuppies walk along the beaches listening to an NPR podcast that deliveries them their mindless Huxley pablum, Sodom and Gommorrah thrills alongside self-help gurus with their personal enlightenment remedies. Everyone in their own private pod reality. Peas in a pod.

News of the real world outside the pod realities of the urban megalopolis with its non stop digitized entertainment feed is lost to the overwhelming and empty noise composed of “man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

Almost everything one finds on the internet is one nostalgia trip or another. Where people can go back to different places where ebony and ivory lived together in perfect harmony.

Posted in Printmakers | 2 Comments

The True and Only Heaven

dogDog Sunk Up to His Neck in Shit by Don Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

OK, gang. Let’s get settled down a bit. Time to post something clear and lucid, in other words something written by a real writer. And who to go to but Christopher Lasch, who penned some of the most prescient prognostications predicting our current predicament by decades? Not to mention writing the textbook on the American character as it developed from the 1960s forward, The Culture of Narcissism. That’s a must read by our overseas brethren if they’d like to gain some insight into current affairs here. Of course, they’ve already gotten their own imitations of us up and running strong. The perfect storm. As we are all perfectamente borracho with hubrisOr irrational exuberance, as Ayn Rand’s disciple Alan Greenspan put it as he stoked the towering inferno.

There’s little to look forward to, so why not look back at this passage from The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics (1991) where Lasch takes a crack at waking up the quixotic Progressives from their utopian notions of eternal peace through eternal war, a couple decades before they turned into the Neocons they are today. As Nietzsche wrote: “Be careful who you choose as your enemy because that’s who you become most like.”

A sign of the times: both left and right, with equal vehemence, repudiate the charge of “pessimism.” Neither wants to admit that our society has taken a wrong turn, lost its way, and needs to recover a sense of purpose and direction. Neither addresses the overriding issues of limits, so threatening to those wish to appear optimistic at all times. The fact remains: the earth’s finite resources will not support an indefinite expansion of industrial civilization. The right proposes, in effect, to maintain our riotous standard of living, as it has been maintained in the past, at the expense of the rest of the world (increasingly at the expense of our own minorities as well). This program is self-defeating, not only because it will produce environmental effects from which even the rich cannot escape but because it will widen the gap between rich and poor nations, generate more and more violent movements of insurrection and terrorism against the West, and bring about a deterioration of the world’s political climate as threatening as the deterioration of its physical climate.

For more on America’s boundless optimism I highly recommend Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2010).

Dawn after the Wreck c.1841 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Courtauld Institute Gallery, London

Dawn after the Wreck c.1841 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Courtauld Institute Gallery, London

Dawn After the Wreck, painted by JMW Turner some 20 years after Goya’s Dog

I don’t want to end on a message of gloom, so let’s try to get back in touch with our true innocence. Go back to an earlier time when we were great and focus our thoughts really hard and click our heels three times so we can return there and shake hands with our neighbors! Back before our neighbor was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Note the JMW Turner on the wall at the beginning as the camera pans left. Looks like the one in the National Gallery in D.C… Right, Keith?

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Lehman Moment Update

I reported in my June 30 post that there was a Lehman Moment developing, and here it is that I now run across Bloomberg News in a piece dated July 4 that Brexit is a Lehman Moment.  You can always count on the staff here at True Outsider to post the latest in the meltdown in the banking world a few days prior to the banking world reporting that news to their insider clients at Bloomberg. When it will reach corporate mainstream or NPR broadcasts is anybody’s guess. They’re too busy talking about the important issues like the transgender bathroom debate and all the xenophobic racists among us threatening the stability of the Neoliberal Order that has delivered riches untold to every boy and girl working inside the Obama Administration.


Anyway, I have to say I love this summary line in the Bloomberg piece:

America sorted its banks out swiftly after the 2008 credit crisis. ..

Easy as pie. Just put the tab on the backs of the Americans in the form of IOUs and gin it all up again with the same players happily installed inside the Obama Administration. Nobody goes to jail and CEO salaries shoot back up to the skies after getting rid of the driftwood like Richard Fuld over at Lehman.

Anyway, no fears. I’m prone to these kinds of hallucinations. Like the one I had back on Sep. 26, 2008.. Let’s just revisit it from Business Insider:

The Hanke-Panke Bailout fight has descended into partisan chaos. President George W. Bush, moreover, is now officially wigged out. The NYT:

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

The next detail is so shocking we had to read it twice:

[The bailout discussions] dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support…

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson, Jr. literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

Anyway, no sweat. I’ve talked to a few people I know who have long worked inside corporate media, as well as people who get all their news from corporate media. And they tell me everything is under control. The same geniuses who have always been in charge are still in charge, so we can all sleep peacefully in our beds knowing we’re in good hands with Allstate. Just like Frank S and Bobby D and whoever this stupid fucker is will assure you.

Here’s some great advice for artists from Punk Rock legend Patti Smith. The voice of sanity in these troubled times one of our greatest living American artists and among the most articulate:



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Eric Wayne on Self-Delusion

By whatever happenstance, I’ve finally run across another artist who is roughly on the same page as I am vis-a-vis the New York School.

Eric Wayne in his 10 Abstract Expressionists, and the Signature Styles that Killed Them has succinctly summarized a number of my own conclusions. I think that he’s part of a building consensus that will eventually sweep away all the old, and no longer useful, myths put in place through Greenberg/Duchamp in the 1940s. There are a few things I disagree with but he certainly has the basic facts spelled out for anyone interested in reading them. I find most of it indisputable. In fact, as I keep saying, the entirety of the art world is no more than an ideological and advertising construct that is as thoroughly disconnected from reality as the people who subscribe to it.

While a critic like Baudrillard refers to post-1950s art as a conspiracy, I find the word cult much more to the point. A conspiracy implies a group of conspirators with secret plans, motives and objectives. I don’t see any evidence of that kind of coherent structure. It’s simply the operation of late Capitalism, which is not a conspiracy. It’s an economic system.

Cult is defined as “a misplaced and excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” The cult of art is misplaced admiration for things and the people who make those things. The artworks themselves become fetishized objects while those who make the fetish objects are worshipped as some kind of divinely inspired geniuses. The most self-deluded geniuses, like Matisse, Rothko, Kelly actually design and decorate their own chapels where believers can go to worship them. Come to Denver and visit the Clyfford Still chapel.

But of course, inside the delusional Artland, Clyff Still was a great painter. He was not a Manicheanist nut job. Is there anything to dispute in what Eric Wayne has written about Pollock and Rothko posturing as spiritual conduits?

Rothko and Pollock have grandiose spiritual claims attached to their art, by themselves or by others. Rothko said, “The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I panted them.” It’s indelicate, but I can’t help but wonder if there was a connection between the heroic claims made for their art, their self-limited range of artistic expression, and their deaths. Rothko committed suicide (he slits his wrists and overdosed on antidepressants), and Pollock lost his life to due a suicidal alcoholic recklessness (he drove his car into a tree). “Spiritual” and “suicidal” don’t really go together in my book, unless ‘spiritual’ signifies an existential crisis, I’d just wanna call it that if that is what it is.”

As far as I’m concerned, any artist that is popping various pharmaceutical anti-depressant concoctions or anyone who is a chronic fall down alcoholic or meth/coke addict is not on a spiritual quest. And the paintings made by artists on this particular path are not repositories of spiritual experiences. That seems obvious to me.

And why the need to see all these objects, performances, videos, etc. as spiritual or metaphysical anyway?  Would it be that otherwise we’re all floating around in a meaningless global shopping mall universe with nothing else to do but come up with things to keep ourselves amused and entertained as we lay waste to the world?

And that we’re still in the existential crisis that Rothko and Pollock  failed so miserably to address due to their pathetic delusions of grandeur that clearly mirror our own as we crush what is left of the natural world, along with all the other societies unlike our own in a delusional attempt to recreate the world in our own mad image?

OK. Cheer up. The next post is going to be on the latest story just breaking in the National Enquirer. The secret sex tapes casting light on certain unsavory relationships purported to have gone on between Muhammad Ali, his daughter and John Travolta. The daughter is the one purporting to have the secret sex tapes. Youtubers, you are on notice to keep your eyes peeled….

Posted in Spirit | 1 Comment