The Big Lie

cave-of-nightmares
Bart Johnson, Cave of Nightmares, oil on panel, date unknowable

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” –Joseph Goebbels

The Big Lie is what the perpetual round the clock blast furnace celebrity mock news Mainstream Corporate Media repeats non stop. The entire purpose of the fake reality the media constructs is to obscure the fact that America is in a state of collapse. The fake news story in the Washington Post attempting to tar the few outlets on the web that poke massive holes in the Big Lie on a daily basis is a Red Alert signal that Corporate Media are in a state of hysteria due to the fact that their absurdly biased reporting throwing everything possible they could to derail Trump and elect Hillary ended in a massive failure.

It was one thing for mainstream media to have failed to prevent Trump from winning the Republican nomination. In a way that was not such a big worry as the calculation, I imagine, was that Trump being the most unlikable and patently flaky know-nothing to have ever run on the Republican ticket this would be the best possible outcome as an opponent for the policy wonk Hillary Clinton to face up against and knock off.

The failure of the Propaganda Machine to manage public opinion reliably throughout the 20th and early 21st century now looks to have blown a fuse. As media coverage is all over the map as to how to present Trump, not to mention wackos like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter bailing on Der Trumpenführer while Bob Dole gets a pretty penny for putting him on the phone with Taiwan, leading to a kind of minor “international crisis” that could be hysterically played for a day.

Who can even follow it at this point, the excitement and hysteria are so breathtaking. It certainly is the end of America as we know it. But that was already the case well before Trump was elected. Not that anybody has been paying attention outside of the few commentators in alternative media. But even those few voices have to be labelled Russian Propaganda by the MSM, lest the crack in the Big Lie appearing there widens and the entire dam collapses.

Anyway, as I’ve been saying that it’s all over for America for a while now, this suddenly heavy influx of pieces I read everywhere about the decline and fall hardly strike me as new. I’m also aware that few to no people inside the MSM Lie Machine are reading any of it because I’ve verified that with doing this blog for the last 5 years. I mean by this the art world, as it’s the art world who are the prime carrier of the MSM Big Lie Propaganda featuring all the exciting Entertainment and Brilliant Art Ideas and TV shows and HBO specials and Kanye West events.

As Herr Goebbels also pointed out, the more that folks repeat the Big Lie they all eventually come to believe in it themselves. Not to mention that as Orwell said: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” I’ve felt the hate, believe me. Anyway, so what? Doesn’t stop me working or writing. I’m just doing my think. Isn’t that what art is supposed to be about? The vision thing?

As far as the Big Lie goes, it’s not fooling anybody at all who is outside it looking in. Thinking people are doing some acute writing about where we are and where we are headed. How much time we have until meltdown is uncertain. A lot of guesswork there. I would think a few art people would want to pay attention to their country blowing itself to pieces from a detached perspective rather than hysterically participating in it all and trying to see how far up the clown car they climb before it goes over the cliff. But oh well. At least nobody has accused me of writing Russian propaganda. So far, anyway.

Here’s another one of them well worth reading.

US power will decline under trump says futurist who predicted soviet collapse.

As the piece states, Galtung has also accurately predicted the 1978 Iranian revolution; the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989, the economic crises of 1987, 2008 and 2011; and even the 9/11 attacks. A pretty impressive record and obviously somebody worth reading, unlike wasting ones time reading any of the Times or Post editorials that once again have been proven by reality to be completely out to lunch. It’s quite amazing how the purveyors of the Big Lie, who are routinely wrong in their predictions invariably call those who are accurate in their predictions “doomsayers” and “fringe crazies.” And even more astonishing, the masses believe it!… Boy are they in for a surprise. It will be even more exciting than the Superbowl and the new season on HBO together I imagine! I can’t wait.

And fortunately, for those who don’t want to watch things fall apart in real time the great new virtual reality helmets I notice people sticking on their heads in the Microsoft shop at the local mall are ready to go this Xmas. As wackjob Tim Leary said, “Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out.” Or was that Drop Acid? O Brave New World that has such people in’t!

 

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More Propaganda

Corbett Report’s funny response to the accusation by WaPo of him being a Russian Propagandist, including a look at “PropOrNot” one of the two “reliable” sources WaPo used to indict 200 alternative sites as Russian dupes:

How much more absurd will mainstream Corporate Media become? Where can one find actual information in a sea of disinformation? Who or what is real and what is ersatz? Who can be trusted? Stay tuned.

We can definitely draw one conclusion from this: Certainly not the Establishment media given the quality of the WaPo reporting that doesn’t just border on the surreal but goes full in.

Below is some more “Russian propaganda” looking at how Fake the so-called “Real News” has become. How terrible that the American people can’t tell the difference between the absolute and unvarnished truth delivered to them daily from such unimpeachable sources as the Washington Post, New York Times, Guardian, CNN, NPR, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, ETC.  helping us understand a complicated world. All of them vigorously and heroically fighting against the bald-faced lies of alternative media! No wonder the country is going down the tubes.

http://www.newsbud.com/2016/12/05/fake-news-the-latest-effort-to-destroy-alternative-media/

Being on the far fringes of the art world it’s always interesting to find so many artists whose entire notion of what is or isn’t great or even good art is whatever they see pictured in the New York Times, Guardian, and so on. They apparently have total faith in the entertainment and arts reviewers who are invariably reviewing the ruling elite galleries or work imitating what is in the ruling elite galleries. Even though they simultaneously don’t read the rest of the paper as they don’t trust the elite establishment propaganda. But the elite establishments selection of the greatest art of today? Absolutely flawless. Based on their popularity with the discriminating art people, of course.

What a great culture this is. Impeccable judgement all around. Who can criticize any of it?

Apparently the entire be-all and end-all reason for making art is to get into the entertainment section of the New York Times, where one can be assured that their work has finally “cut the mustard” and is now bona fide great art work, just like all the bona fide real news that fills the rest of the paper of record.

After all, how can anybody not trust a system that sees fit to honor Henry Kissing and Zbigniew Brzezinski, following up on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature, to address the various luminaries of Western Capitalism at The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo.

When will the comedy stop I wonder. Oddly, the only place I can find this event examined is another of those Russian Propaganda sites:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/01/orwell-in-oslo-nobel-committee-honors-kissinger-again-and-brzezinski/

Who will stop Russia before they sink the entire world under their lies and disinformation, after just having pulled of the stunning victory of getting Donald Trump elected due to the people voting for him being duped by Vladimir Putin?

And what will this Manchurian Candidate end up doing once Putin enacts the programming the KGB has loaded into what little of a brain he had to begin with?

Boy, wouldn’t it be great if the Oslo Gang could get Bob and Zbig and Henry K to all join in a medley of Masters of War together as Bob gets his Nobel? World Peace would be sure to ensue.

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Fake News for a Fake Democracy

 

Andre Gregory, in My Dinner with Andre (1981) describing the actual NYC artworld of the early 1980s… bored, boring, and zombified. And now what? Thirty-five years after the con art world is still extolling and imitating exactly the same zombified dead end artwork crowding into hip venues or International Art Fairs where all the new exciting “emerging” NEW art is  flogged by the same commercial hustlers.

And it’s all accompanied by the liberal PC fascism George Carlin describes:

And instead of realizing they’re completely out of step with reality, we have Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post running stories that anyone who doesn’t agree with the Liberal PC line is a Communist subscribing to Russian propaganda. As insane as this charge is, these delusional ninnies and their hysterical followers no doubt believe it.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi rightly condemns the Post and it’s McArthyite  lies as “shameful and disgusting.” It’s quite surreal to find the Fake News of the corporate mainstream press denouncing the actual news that one can only find through alternative media as Russian propaganda. But that’s the Orwellian world we exist in. People sit glued to their NPR, PBS, Rachel Maddow, New York Times listening to total nonsense. We’ve just seen them spend 6 months getting every single thing completely wrong about the election. For just one example reassuring every one of their listeners that the ascendancy of Trump spelled the total destruction of the Republicans as a viable party. That this was the end of the Republican Party. In case nobody has noticed the Republican Party has virtually demolished the Democrats.

And what is the Dem response? To drift off into total fantasy, calling the few people who were writing serious and truthful analysis of what was happening “Russian” propaganda. The only thing I find of interest at this point in watching this liberal mob of total imbeciles is just what they’re going to come up with next. Of course, they’ll all believe it just so long as nitwits like Tom Friedman and David Brooks and Paul Krugman, who have gotten every conceivable thing possible wrong for decades, tell them what is real and what isn’t.

Hats off to you, George Orwell. You called it, buddy.

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I enjoyed this piece by JH Kunstler in relation to what Eric wrote in a comment about how he found himself in the one category in art school, that is invariably either derided or ostracized, straight white males. But this happened long ago with the trashing of the abstract expressionists. It’s simply been codified and repeated endlessly as I note above with the liberal PC line and zombification of art where everything is “art for art’s sake.” In other words art is totally disconnected from the real world but instead addresses itself solely to an infantile pseudo-utopia of how “artists” think the world should be, in accordance to their own individually narcissistic fantasies.

I don’t entirely agree with Kunstler’s piece entirely, but I certainly appreciate that he’s one of the few people who will even address the enormous elephant in the room that all the fantasists choose to ignore. He writes; “Hillary was expected to drive the final wooden stake through masculinity’s demonic heart…but something went wrong..and she was disarmed…and now this cheeto-headed monster in a red necktie is the president-elect. There must have been a clerical error.” And this: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign was engineered from the get-go to complete the demolition of American manhood in what turned out to be a reckless miscalculation.”

Of course, this is what nobody will admit, including the white males themselves who invariably go along with the tiresomely stupid PC line that is obviously only being followed by the dumbest people in society and note that 53 percent of women voters went for Trump. Nobody will admit that the art world has become a vacuous echo chamber of PC posturing. Nobody can admit that it’s all the PC fascism (as Carlin rightly calls it) that has led to the Republicans sitting not just in the White House but are now in their control of the rest of the branches of government. In effect, the PC fascism of the Democrats has insured the real fascism of the Republicans. That’s what has happened. But will the PC libs look around at the ruin they’ve brought to pass? No. It’s everybody else’s fault but theirs. It couldn’t be theirs. They went to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford.. The only way a moronic Reality TV star jackass is President is that the Russians and the alternative media and the Bernie Sanders voters who stayed home did it.

Rather than recognizing the clear failure and incompetence that have turned them into a failed party we get Bezos’ Washington Post running moronic articles that are, in fact, lies in furtherance of Hilllary’s McArthyite declarations (with no proof whatsoever) that Vladimir Putin has been hacking into DNC email and running propaganda through 200 alternative media sites from Ron Paul on the right to Counterpunch the Left. In other words, virtually anybody who disagrees with whatever the mainstream corporate media, NPR, PBS and the rest of the absurd propaganda machinery the braindead public at large choose as their particular form of infotainment.

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As far as white males being in as much or more distress than other groups making much more vociferous claims about their oppression it’s worth looking at the suicide statistics compiled by the CDC. The white male suicide rate in 2014 was 25.8 in 100,000. Well over three times that of the white female suicide rate of 7.5. Black males were at 10.5. Hispanic males 10.3.

So how is it that Hispanics, blacks and women being so furiously oppressed by the white patriarchy are being left in the dust when it comes to white males killing themselves off because they find the world they live in today intolerable?

I wonder when Liberals, which includes the con art world by and large, are ever going to realize that we’re living in a fascist country in all but name…. much less that they’re the ones who bear the responsibility for that being the case. That it isn’t  the Russians! That it isn’t Julian Assange, Ed Snowdon, Bradley Manning. That it isn’t all the “anti-Americans” trying to speak the truth. That it isn’t even some “basket of deplorable” rednecks. That this disaster of an economy and ruin of a culture have been just as much designed and carried out by liberal Democrats as they have been by Republicans. As a matter of fact, the Democrats are the ones responsible for this joke of a culture much more than are the Republicans.

But just keep on pretending that bronze beer cans, and the queens vagina, and tracey emin stuffing cash up her twat, and black dicks hanging out of menswear are exactly what we should be showing in our art museums to show our children true culture. And also keep pretending that this sea of horse shit is somehow not the responsibility of the liberal Art community that has either kept their mouths shut about it or sucked it all down with gusto, showing how wonderfully tolerant and moral they really are.

 

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The Final Descent

.Only in America, right? As in President Donald Trump. Anybody have any thoughts on that. I just got this video from a German friend of my wife’s. Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humor? Or could play rock guitar! Don’t worry. I’m not going to yammer on about politics as I’m aware artists aren’t interested in minor things like that. So after the video entertainment I’ll get back to hammering at the art fraud. Of course that has to do with politics as well, so there’s a bit of that. I just think it will be helpful to understand how they operated in the past, as they created the present, and that perhaps my 5 0r 6 readers interested in how we got from there to here will gain a bit more illumination.

 

OK. Enough humor. Back to the depressing stuff. On the eve of our self-destruction I ran across an article that largely summarizes a number of the points I’ve been writing about for the last few years on my blog. It’s interesting that the author is anonymous, but I find almost everything he says unimpeachable as much of it is footnoted. I also highly recommend the book that he begins the piece with for reading, one of the more fascinating books on the Kennedy Assassination. It centers on the murder of Kennedy’s mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was (get this) a Washington Color School painter, lover of Kenneth Noland and Greenberg acolyte. On top of trying to carry through a plan to dose the militarists in DC with her pal, Timothy Leary’s LSD.  Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder JFK by Peter Janney.

And to be clear, I have no idea about the website I found this on. Other than glancing at the “punk art” that I’ve never been a big fan of, I haven’t looked at any of the other articles. But “A Murder in Flatland: The Irruption of the Real in American Abstract Art” is one of the more brilliant pieces of writing I’ve read in years. Of course, as Jan sings above, I have to add”: “Thank you, American Art Writers, for setting the bar so low.”

The one thing that jumped out at me in the piece was this:

However, the artists themselves were not innocent dupes: Motherwell, Calder, Pollock, and Baziotes were all members of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, with Rothko and Gottlieb sympathetic to the committee’s directive to purge the art world of communist influences.

This places the above artists playing direct roles in the McArthyite witch hunts of the times. And just look how they were all rewarded for their efforts. This is a really explosive charge, just as is the fact that Duchamp has been shown to be a near-pathological liar beginning with stealing another artists work by claiming credit for it’s creation.

It’s proof positive that American Art was conceived in a pack of lies and political propaganda. No doubt the American and Global Art World will find it of no interest as it would mean shedding themselves of the baked-in delusions they accepted the day they set foot in art school. Why nobody going into art school ever bothered to question any of it is another matter.

But it’s quite clear that these are delusional beliefs due to the simple fact that extremely few “artists” are capable of entertaining any questioning of their beliefs whatsoever. This is invariably the case with all cult belief systems. The premises can never be questioned as everything is faith-based. Even when overwhelming evidence is presented (forgeries, financial corruption, lying participants, auction rigging, etc. etc.) the believers still insist that the judgements of all people concerned are infallible and the artists chosen as the greatest geniuses at every stage of American rise to the top of the Arts were flawlessly picked by “the experts.”

Tom Wolfe’s “Painted Word” isn’t understood, much less read. Of course, Wolfe was identified by the art world as a reactionary, a fascist, and an anti-Semite. That’s pretty much the reaction of all people with cult beliefs to anyone who tries to connect them back to reality. Not only Wolfe wrote about what a sham it all was, but even the mighty insider Robert Hughes.

Here’s his description of the artists painting with the Greenberg prescribed formula:

Like gigantic watercolours, which they were, Noland’s targets and chevrons bloom and pulsate with light; they offer a pure, uncluttered hedonism to the eye. But that is all they do offer. The paintings Frankenthaler, Noland, Louis, and Jules Olitski did in the 1960s were, as a whole, the most openly decorative, anxiety-free, socially indifferent canvases in the history of American art. Yet what was written about them was among the most narrow, prescriptive, authoritarian criticism in the history of American letters – New York formalism of the sixties…

All Hughes is writing is the obvious. What we in the reality-based world would call the Truth.

Or one can read Tom Wolfe, who’s a far better eye than Hughes, as Wolfe was an estimable draftsman as well as writer. In other words, he knew what he was talking about.

Greenberg’s Post-Painterly Abstraction has gone under other names since then: Hard-Edge-Abstract and Color Field Abstract, to name two. But all of them can be defined by the way in which they further the process of reduction, i.e., the way they get rid of something – just a little bit more, if you please! How far we’ve come! How religiously we’ve cut away the fat! In the beginning we got rid of nineteenth-century storybook realism. Then we got rid of representational objects. Then we got rid of the third dimension altogether and got really flat (Abstract Expressionism). Then we got rid of airiness, brushstrokes, most of the paint, and the last viruses of drawing and complicated designs.

All of this work, which has been sold as the greatest art made in the 20th century is nowhere even close to being great art. It hardly even makes it as mediocre art. It’s so far below the accomplishments of the 19th century it isn’t funny. It’s pathetic. Yet’ Americans are going to cling to this to the grave because, in reality, it’s all they have. The blew to pieces the real tradition of great art. Jeered at it in impotent and infantile Duchampian gestures on the one hand. And threw around paint in structureless color orgies or sterile unfeeling graphic designs on the other.

And then they moved on to commercial art, Pop Art, as being the greatest art ever made. From the School of Paris in the late 19th Century to the School of Jeff Koons in the late 20th Century. Yet it’s all infallible. The greatest rise to the top. That’s how capitalism works. The dumb stuff descends to the botttom while the graffiti and abstract sublime and Marina Abramovic strip shows and youtube video art ascends to the place where it is recognized as True Genius. Let the people decide! They have made their decision!

Just look at this election cycle. The wisdom of the people. The wisdom of the American Media. The wisdom of the American Art world… Yes… America! Thank you for lowering the bar. Now everybody’s an artist. Everybody’s creative. Utopia is here.

It’s exciting. I’m off now to see the Star Wars Costumes at the Denver Art Museum and after that to the Clyfford Museum where along with my Karl Stockhausen, John Cage, and Velvet Underground Itunes mix I’ll undergo a confrontation with the Manichean primordial.

Plus keep my eyes out for the entry of any of these savages that might have gotten past the security guards.

Posted in Art and Politics | 14 Comments

The Problem with Pollock

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Pollock

elwell

Ellwell

nighthawks_by_edward_hopper_1942

Hopper

ernst-antipope

Ernst

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Bacon

There’s more than a little irony in the fact that a self-enclosed and self-admiring Contemporary Art academy of thoroughly doctrinaire beliefs that have been repeated ad infinitum and religiously for at least a half a century  thinks of itself as producing  avant-garde ideas on a regular basis, each one more fascinating and insightful than the exact same one that occurred just the year before.

Not to mention the fact that the majority of those beliefs stem from the absurd (as well as idiotic) axiom asserted by Duchamp that a urinal was a work of art. From that flows the dictum: “Whatever an ‘artist’ calls ‘art’ is by definition art. And, parenthetically, that whatever the public believes is art is what defines it as art.

Both premises are completely flawed on their face. Note that neither premise applies to any other art going back to the cave paintings in France. In effect, there is no art prior to the American Post War Period where artists themselves have the magical power to pick up anything off the ground with little to no transformation of it and term it art. Nor has the society in which the artists picked up something from a trash dump had the ability, no matter how many of them were fascinated by it, designate it as art.

But getting any artist, art lover, art critic, art curator, or art collector to admit to just how preposterous Duchamp’s assertions were is a complete impossibility today. This is what I define as a contemporary art world that is thoroughly ossified and incapable of any meaningful change.  In other words, a dead culture. Any culture incapable of examining its premises and evolving to the next stage of development of them through criticism has come to the end of its run.

Small wonder all art now is reduced to Duchampian philosophical propositions (as in “Is this art also? And is it new?”) as there are no more aesthetic issues to discuss once a pile of horse manure or a man puking into a bucket on film are considered art. What possible aesthetic system could accommodate virtually anything whatsoever and still remain an aesthetic system?

Look at it this way, if philosophical questions and ideas were actually art then why wouldn’t I be able to call my blog questions art? I’m certainly raising far more interesting philosophical questions about arts meaning than somebody writing ‘I won’t make any more boring art” repetitively on a piece of paper or Femen’s topless and urinating protestors who call themselves artists… or at least I think I am. Of course the art world thinks just the opposite, as it’s incapable in engaging in basic epistemological or ontological discussions in favor of pondering the meaning of a longrunning videotape of an empty artists studio.

In other words, Duchamp’s “ideas” in the long run amount to no more than masturbating in an empty studio. He has no ideas whatsoever that have any real bearing on what art is or what actually constitutes the creative process.

Duchamp made self-proclaimed anti-art. I see no reason whatsoever not to take that at face value. I also think it a logical impossibility for an object to be both art and anti-art simultaneously.

A urinal is either anti-art or it is art. It can’t be both anymore than a painting by Ingres can be both art and anti-art. The urinal is a direct contradiction of an Ingres painting. Thus it is the opposite of all the things art is. Ingres sits on Mt. Olympus along with many other works of art. The urinal sits somewhere at the bottom of Mt. Olympus in a garbage dump.

It wasn’t  new art when it was manufactured at a factory. Placing it in a museum or gallery did not make it into art, either. A new idea about art isn’t art. Giotto, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Ingres, van Gogh did not have “new” ideas about art. They made paintings. Duchamp’s urinal and most of everything else he made as “art” doesn’t rise to the level of art. Art isn’t made or defined by financial rigging, critical writings and theories, museum goers or other artists opinions or emulation of anti-art. As a rose is a rose, so a urinal is a urinal. Duchamp couldn’t have put a rose on a pedestal and claimed it as art anymore than he could claim as art the rest of his dull-witted posturing. Who but those with the dullest wit and intellect would consider his monotonous and aesthetically indifferent productions art much less interesting art if they had any notion whatsoever of what art was?

If one is going to think a Rembrandt has been superseded by a vial labeled Paris air I think one is either clearly lacking intelligence, is delighted by the mundane and banal and hasn’t the remotest ability to appreciate the sublime achievements of past artists, or whose identity rests on making oneself sycophantically aligned with ones peer group regardless of the cost to and even loss of one’s own identity.

Duchamp’s repetitive insistence was that each society decides what is and what isn’t art. This is patently untrue as it’s not the society that makes the art that decides what will be honored in an art museum. And art museums are a relatively recent phenomenon. The Louvre was opened in 1793. The Rijksmuseum in 1885. These museums housed the art of the past that the aristocratic class of the time decided was the best work from earlier civilizations. It had nothing whatsoever to do with public opinion, art criticism/theory, what sold best at galleries, etc.. In other words, all the things that are central to decided what Contemporary Art is the most significant.

It’s the next society after this one collapses, which it’s in the process of doing, that will decide which art is to be considered significant or not. They could very well choose the urinal and endless rows of Irwin and Ryman and Rauschenberg and Malevich white room canvases for all I know. But if so, I might suggest that future society will have totally flatlined intellectually.

 

Today’s artists paint (if they even paint at all) from their “ideas” (about what art is) and the purpose of that is to come up with a consistent and saleable product that is largely without any kind of deep emotional attachment to any real subject, to the extent there even is a subject other than the “idea.”

If we’re going to call what van Gogh made art, we cannot call videotapes and digital created collages and photographs and “performances” and light bulb installations “art” without rendering the term “art” completely void and meaningless.

Isn’t this perfectly obvious?

I’m building up to the Pollock post. Pollock was the linchpin of Clement Greenberg’s case made in his 1939 article “The Avant Garde and Kitsch.” In that essay Greenberg differentiated High Art from low or kitsch art. Pollock was to become the artist that represented the category of High Art, with all other art falling into the kitsch or “academic” category. A Dali or Ernst would be considered “academic” as they relied on “academic” techniques. It also made Surrealism, Social Realism and so on retrograde artistic forms, needed to be completely replaced by American High Art.

It was a protest against a dumbed down “consumer culture” with only a small elite at the top enlightened enough to be able to discriminate between real art and dumbed down art. That small elite was composed of Clement Greenberg. Of course, it should be perfectly obvious to anyone looking at the Greenberg Collection in Portland or the Washington Color School painters, who painted exactly according to Greenbergian High Art theories, just how dumbed down and consumerist those paintings actually are as one can see them everywhere in consumer society from the local coffeeshop to the shopping malls to the contempo furnishings stores to Timbuctoo. If they aren’t the very definition of Kitsch Art I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better example.

The necessary feature of kitsch which distinguishes it from avant-garde art is that it repeats itself over and over along narrow, and visually simplistic, stylistic lines.  See Diebenkorn, Stella, Frankenthaler, Washington Color School, Photorealism, Minimalism, Chuck Close. In fact, see ALL of top tier Contemporary American Art.

For art see Manet, Degas, van Gogh, Picasso, Max Ernst, Edward Hopper… Note the movement and lack of repetition in the work of Van Gogh in particular over the  9 years in which he painted 900 paintings. He painted 200 paintings in the last two months of his life, according to a film I saw on him recently. That’s about 3 a day. Hard to believe. But he wasn’t knocking off silkscreen Elvises or Banksy spray stencil graffiti even with his speed of production. Neither was Picasso.

Many of these American artists established a single style as absurd as targets, stripes, grids, which were hammered out in varying configurations (if even that) for decades.

The European artists (as Edward Hopper was both educated in Europe and part of the European tradition as were all other American artists up until we decided that European art was dead and over) did not make repetitive paintings. Their minds and brushes were vitally engaged and alive. Grid painting, minimal painting, photorealism lethally inactive mental activity. Photorealism is filled with “aesthetic” choices that not only require no spontaneous thinking or involvement in the creation of the image and that is the essence of what painting is. Without any kind of internal vision whatsoever all one is doing is a kind of glorified paint by numbers showing how creative or pleasing ones color choices and paint handling are within the severe restrictions of the photographic grid.

Here’s an illustration. Compare the five paintings below, all painted ca. 1943. One of them was considered to have been made by the greatest painter of his times. Two were made by complete nobodies whose work never counted for anything, as far as the “avant-garde” was concerned.Two were made by “avant-garde” artists whose work would be rendered retograde and passé as advanced art in the 1950s, as in belonging to the past. All of this was verified by the Museum of Modern Art, the single place on Earth tasked with sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

Now go back up and look at the paintings. Is the Pollock on top the greatest, by far, of the others. As not to believe that is to undermine entirely the belief system that Contemporary Art rests upon, just as much as it rests upon Duchamp’s urinal. Without the urinal and the abstract expression the premises of all the art that came after it and was believed to advance it, is inherently flawed. In my opinion, it’s flawed to the point of being utterly meaningless and irrelevant to the history of Art. This, by the way, is the opinion of many cultural commentators (Jacques Barzun and so on) but implicitly the opinion of the main body of intellectuals who write on cultural issues, where one never sees the least bit of concern or interest in Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ or Jeff Koons Porcelain Michael Jackson.

I know this might come as a shock. But one might try reading through some of the current thinkers of today and see where anyone mentions John Currin or Lisa Yukvasage. This is what I mean by an art world that is entirely self-enclosed and self-admiring and totally inbred through attendance at overpriced art schools staffed by overpaid teachers and administrators. Overpaid by the standards of the fact that they aren’t actually teaching anybody anything at all, other than how to talk a lot of bullshit. They certainly aren’t teaching them about art as that would involve looking deeply and seriously at the art that precedes the debacle of Warhol and Johns.

If anyone working today thinks that continuing on in Warhol /Johns/Koons/Marina Abramovic fashion (i.e., Post-Modern styles) is heading anywhere…. or even has the possibilty of heading anywhere I’m all ears waiting for you to articulate why you think it might be so.

What we have here is a dead whale… or perhaps a better metaphor would be a “pickled shark that is rotting and needs to be replaced.” And note that article is 10 years old.

And if somebody thinks that Hirst’s shark has been superseded by even greater work than the shark, even by work Hirst has done, I wonder if they could point me in the direction of it? Where has art gone in 10 years time that is so new and exciting exactly? And if they can’t perhaps they could explain why they find it necessary to continue with their arms upraised fist-pumping about the greatness of all of it, particularly in view of the fact that it’s led into an obvious cul-de-sac.

The painters of the past are largely viewed as great according to the legacy and inspiration they left behind for the artists of the future to build on…. as in “Standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Somehow Moderns think it a fantastic idea to stand on the shoulders of pygmies like Marcel Duchamp or Clement Greenberg. Frankly, I can’t make up my mind which one of them is worse. Any thoughts from readers?

If not on this how about Obama, our great education President (who, like Hillary, cares so much about our students), screwing this current generation of students just four days ago. Is anybody aware of this, other than a few students perhaps? Perhaps those paying a couple hundred grand for an art school degree that along with 5 dollars will get you a Starbucks Nitro Brew coffee with your own choice of flavors?

Note that more than 40 percent of student borrowers aren’t making payments  as of April 7 and that Obama has just insured they’re going to have to suck it up and stay wage slaves for life even if they were screwed by a phony for-profit… It’s a great system isn’t it? I can’t wait for our next Education President who cares so much about the kids takes charge… Maybe she can put Anthony Weiner at the head of the Department of Education. He seems to like teenage kids.

By the way, anybody aware of what the failure rate on mortgages was that led to the collapse of the housing bubble? What percent of homeowner borrowers weren’t making payments way back in 2008?

That was exactly the same year that Damien Hirst shattered the world record for an auction sale dedicated to a single artist. … 111 million pounds… pre-Brexit pounds too.

One might ask: “Which is more vacuous, the look on Hirst’s face or the piece of “art” in back of him?”

hirst-cow

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Welcome to My Nightmare

Another rant… why not? I’m rolling along… Like a Rolling Stone… No direction known. A complete unknown. Happy go lucky.

President Barack Obama presents rock legend Bob Dylan with a Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama presents rock legend Bob Dylan with a Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Nobel Prizewinners conferring on World Peace and Social Justice (above)

“That this new deed of Hitler is another milestone on the way to hell’s jaws of destruction seems hardly to have entered the consciousness.”–’Germany Report’ of the Sopade, April 1936

One of the more interesting stories I’ve run across in the past two days was in the New York Post. It was reported that Hillary’s 33,000 emails might not be ‘missing’ after all. (note the might in the title). I tend to believe the piece is true as I expect that once Hillary is elected we’ll start on a long run of Congressional investigations into the Clinton Foundation and so on. At least I’m hoping it will happen as I imagine it’s the only thing that is going to put a wrench in Hillary’s and the NeoCon cabal she fronts for plunging us further into World War III.

I also expect that Clinton’s lifelong and continuing predatory behavior towards women (see link) will get some of the attention that is now solely directed at Trumps abusive behavior.  You never know, but I won’t be surprised if once Hillary’s safely ensconced in office the public will be treated to stories of both Trump and Clinton being part of the exclusive cast invited to Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Slave Island.

I suggest one of the more enterprising artists out there do a imaginary painting of some of the participants along with the title “Sex Slave Island.” Who knows? You might even be the next John Currin. Or if you don’t feel like putting in the time learning how to paint you can be the next Nicole Eisenman.  As Hyperallergic pronounces: she’s A Truly Great Artist, the heir of Munch, Ensor, Modersohn-Becker (the lobotomized American version, of course). Truly great art. Who can argue? And it’s been great to play pretend. Just look at how Nicole keeps to it fuliginously  flat. God forbid anyone learns to model a figure. It would be the end of contemporary American art as we know it.

eisenman

The Nation has an illuminating piece on the Neocon cabal of morons spearheaded by Frau Hillary:  “The Geniuses Who Brought You the Iraq War Art at It Again. Has anybody in the art world happened to notice that the Democratic Party been transformed into the Republican Party of Bush/Cheney. Read the Nation article. Actually, don’t bother. You  either won’t understand it or you’ll deny it all the way to the grave as you vote for the same war criminals that during the Bush years you were screaming bloody murder about war crimes.

I know. War crimes are ok, as long as they’re committed by your own war criminals. I recall LBJ’s remark about the CIA activities in 1963: “We had been running a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean.” Back then the Democratic Party thought extra-judicial assassinations were illegal. Nowadays, it’s the heart of the Democratic Party who meet weekly to carry out drone assassinations. And we accept all this blithely, without even a murmur of protests. In fact, it’s just. Whoever our military intelligence says should be assassinated should be assassinated.

Why not dispense with the criminal justice system altogether? Why should any criminals be tried at all? Our police force and elected Democratic Leaders can line them up and shoot those.

I recently read a Norman Pollock about America’s descent into fascism (that Artworld, Inc. knows nothing about) that concludes:

Thus, only days remain in the exercise of meaningless choice. After that, one can expect few impedances to the downward cast of policy, with increasing risks of war, class division, false consciousness to grease the rails of additional discontents as context for resentments and hatreds poisoning the atmosphere. More environmental spoliation, more gun violence, as tokens of the wayward path to fascism.

False consciousness. That’s where the artists come in. Pick up an art magazine. Hit Hyperallergic and read the headings.  “Invisible Ceramics and Women Made of Bread Fill a European Art Park”; “The 18th-Century Devotional Painting that Documents a Brutal Mastectomy.” Here are three must reads: “#DecolonizeThisPlace Demands Removal of Natural History Museum’s Roosevelt Statue [UPDATED]”; “Topless Femen Protesters ‘Salute’ Marine Le Pen for Her Fascist Politics”; “Feminist Activists Bleed and Defecate on Islamic State Flag #NSFW”…

“…restorers discovered a previously unknown work by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at the Stadel Museum and Pussy Riot released a new track titled “Straight Outta Vagina.”

“…If you can’t say it with words, you can now say it with expressions from Old Masters paintings. “Getting donuts. Do you want one?” “I’m gluten free.”

…”On the way to the next room, we pass a man in a makeshift hazmat suit. He’s demented with glee, bobbing in a sea of shredded ballots.”

…”Critiques of FEMEN are widely circulated and easily accessible. They include the ways FEMEN reinforces and perpetuates three very dangerous claims at once: a deep rooted Islamophobia and racism embodied in current American and European politics; the equally problematic assumption that there is a singular, universal feminist position; and the arrogance to …. blah blah blah”

… “There may have been mastectomies performed in the colonial Americas; surely this woman was not alone,” Oles said. “I doubt they were visually documented, however–indeed, they aren’t usually visually documented today….”

Is this all that art amounts to now? Who is interested in any of this outside of people in Art World Coma land?

How about this one:

“Dealer Mary Boone Accuses Actor Alec Baldwin of Tax Evasion”

Shocking!! Throw him in jail next to Donald Trump! How does Mary Boone know Baldwin is evading taxes? Have her accountants gone over his books? I still gotta read the article and find out… Will get back to you.

The National Enquirer Art World.

Do the arts represent anything outside of the total incoherence of a collapsing society. Is that what art is saying to us? I’m working on a painting now that’s a metaphor for todays artworld… it’s a frenzied battle (a la the one between Carnival and Lent) of psych ward patients in full on battle against rest home filled with Alzheimer’s patients.

No. I’m not working on a painting of it. I lied. I’ve been making drawings of it… for the last 20 years…

I like to lie… It makes me feel more a part of things. Isn’t that what art is all about? How does it go… “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” The brilliance of Nicole Eisenman and John Currin…. How many more brilliant stars will the art world produce before the planet goes up in smoke is anybody’s guess? I’m thinking somewhere in the vicinity of 2.5 million of them.

And, no, I can’t predict when the planet will go up in smoke.., But I can dream, can’t I? The American Dream… Let’s make it happen, guys! Come on, now.. Nuke Russia! I’m tired of having that Hitler threaten us. Thank God, we’re electing a President with not just the ability to see that Putin is Hitler, but who will make sure he’s stopped before he takes over Europe and the Middle East!

At least we’ll have  destroyed 2/3 of wildlife within the next 4 years. Who need it when we’ve got exciting VR porn on the horizon. I’ve talked it over with my business partners and we’re putting together the plans now to open VR porn shops in close proximity to the 47 licensed recreational pot shots in Denver. OK. I admit that I had a few moral qualms about it. But they were completely laid to rest after smoking my third joint.

As they say, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Oh, yes… on the Hillary emails my tendency to thing Comey has got them wrapped and ready to release comes from reading through Edward Klein’s recently published Guilty As Sin. I’d also recommend his Blood Feud for a good look at the real Bill, Hill, Barack, and Miche.

Crazy, man… in the interim while writing this yesterday guess what popped up on the front page of the NY Post? I really love the Post.. their shit is funnier than Amy Schumer or Amy Poehler combined.

weiner-w

 

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Another Rant

dying-wildlifeIn trying to write a post on Pollock I’ve become thoroughly depressed. I used to like Pollock. I recall going to the 1999 MoMA Retrospective and being impressed. Great stuff. Energy made Visible! Yay!

Now I look at the work and get a titanic headache, not to the point of wanting to slit my wrists but I can easily understand why these AEs were drinking themselves into an early grave. If I was floundering around making meaningless abstractions according to the combined theoretical prescriptions of Hans Hoffmann and Clement Greenberg I’d have no doubt had to knock back a bottle of scotch every couple days to keep from doing myself in.

Why does everyone find Abstract Expressionism and its legatees so profoundly moving and beautiful exactly? I find the stuff so depressing I can hardly look at it. And why wouldn’t it be depressing? The artists making it were as depressed a group of people that have ever been considered an “art movement”. Look at the Impressionists, for example. You wouldn’t have found them all blotto and punching each other out or pissing in somebody’s fireplace.  Sure, Van Gogh was off his head and suicidal, but he wasn’t part of a large group of expressionist painters all flinging paint around like madmen over large canvases in as grandiose manner as had ever been put on display in the history of mankind. He might have been hitting the bottle hard, though. Who knows? He definitely shot himself. That Naifeh / Smith baloney is as absurd a theory as I’ve ever run across.

And that’s saying something as being in the art world absurd theories are like mother’s milk.. Why everybody takes art so seriously I can’t imagine given the cockamamie theories that have put all of it over. Fuliginous flatness? Pollock. Have any of you even read Clement Greenberg? Here’s a sentence. What do think? You think he has the slightest fucking idea what he’s talking about:

“Pollock’s strength lies in the emphatic surfaces of his pictures, which it is his concern to maintain and intensify in all that thick fuliginous flatness.” Fuliginous my ass. Flat? This outright moron thinks a Pollock painting is flat. The only thing that makes them interesting at all is that they aren’t flat. Flat is the total boredom that comes along after Pollock as Clement Greenberg told painters to make it flat.

Simple minded idiocy as far as the eyes can see… all through the corridors of the CIA as well. No. I’m not ranting. I’m not angry. Just the facts, a, as Joe Friday said. It’s boring! It’s boring! That’s what I’m saying.

Back in the day, big paintings weren’t at all boring. That’s because the artists didnt didn’t complete them in a 6 hour binge of ecstasy, booze-addled or hungover. Isn’t this true? We;re not talking about Jean Baptiste Camille Corot here, folks. Much less Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

What’s up with calling that kind of wacked out performance superior to Corot and Ingres exactly? And why on earth isn’t it viewed as just as much an Academy as it all follows a pre-determined orthodoxy and is entirely self-referential “art for art’s sake” thoroughly detached from both the natural world and the social world that? Not just that but why are every single one of the canvases painted by the “triumphant” few considered great timeless artistic masterpieces all but impervious to the least bit of criticism?

Most people at the time couldn’t stand van Gogh’s work and they said so.. But Jackson Pollock? Universal cheers. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life heard anyone say Pollock was a mediocre run of the mill painter. Or that he was a completely inept draftsman (which he clearly was). Nope. Even without being able to draw a lick (see next post) Pollock has been firmly set on a pedestal as one of the greatest painting geniuses who ever lived. A painter so great that he didn’t even have to learn how to draw.

Henceforward let it be known! No need to learn how to draw if one wants to be a great artist. All it takes is great ideas and brilliant innovations, of the kind pioneered by JP and Mr. Urinal Man.And if you don’t get that a urinal, a bottle rack, and drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa are great art ideas and great art, then obviously you don’t know the least thing about art.

This was naturally followed by other geniuses of this caliber like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Stella, Serra, Judd, Frankenthaler, you name it. Come to think of it, next to those nonentities, a Pollock drawing looks pretty grand. Is that how we pulled this off? Start with inept and then go downwards? Then you hit Warhol, who is in an average illustration artist and Voila! …Andy towers over the competition…

Just look…

jasper_johnss_map

Who wouldn’t want to see the slapdash muck of the above replaced by this kind of elegant and tasteful advertising method:

warhol-ali

Readers familiar with my ranting, will know that I’m not a big Andy fan. But compared to Jasper Johns? Warhol is Michelangelo. I wish the fuck somebody could explain to me, using their own words rather than Leo Steinberg’s why they find the mucky clueless paint “marks” of Jasper Johns so awe-inspiring.

What the fuck. Are you kidding? How did we put this over? Talk about culture in ruins… The greatest artistic geniuses of the American Century who couldn’t do an accurate figure drawing if their lives depended on it. Bring on Keith Haring and Basquiat and Susan Rothenberg and and the teeming multitudes of art geniuses. Why not? If the bar is set this low, who doesn’t qualify as an artist? A quadriplegic? Of course not! They’re creative too!  Oh fuck… now what don’t tell me I’m going to trip the Politically Correct squad to come bursting in.

Follow the reason, folks! I’m not knocking quadriplegic artists. Just saying that back in the day, if one of them had showed up at the French Academy they’d have been met with a “whoah, there fella. Just slow down…”

Not to mention if this “child prodigy” knocked on Gerome’s door…

And, come on now… Let’s be honest…. If you were to see a Pollock that you didn’t know was a  Pollock next to an Aelita Andre you’re telling me some of you (perhaps even a majority) wouldn’t go for Aelita? The great arbiter of great art, the New York Times even asks the question, “Is Aelita the next Jackson Pollock (1.43) I don’t know about you but while I prefer Pollock (perhaps that’s just my being an old fogey) I’d take an Aelita over a Johns any day of the week.

aelita

steno

But I mean I prefer the drip paintings. In the case of the above matchup I prefer Aelita.

And the truly sad thing is that I’m perfectly serious. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m not being snide. I’m not trying to make some point. I find the Aelita painting on the top quite marvelous and charming. I find the Pollock (which MoMA bought) a ridiculous and visually boring mess…. a completely inept effort to outdo Picasso/Miro without possessing the kind of refined drawing ability necessary to even faithfully copy a Picasso/Miro.

We are in cloud cuckoo land. I’m just telling it like it is. I’m describing how we got from there (from Greenberg/Duchamp hyped up bullshit to the glorious present.

Just imagine the musical world was filled by people who never had to learn how to play a musical instrument. All they needed were brilliant ideas about what music was, along with using new materials to play their songs with. It would sound something like the current art world looks, I imagine.  Or how about the literary world filled with writers who didn’t know basic grammar and possessed no more than third grade vocabulary. Note how limited the vocabulary is of a painter like Jasper Johns or Pollock… Pick up a Susan Rothenberg catalog if you want to see a visual vocabulary equivalent to the verbal vocabulary a kindergartener.

I’m generalizing … but don’t think it’s that far off. Anybody want to correct me, I’m all ears.

Is that enough ranting?  OK… let’s get back to some positivity. I know that it’s bad to leave things on a down note, as a former gallery owner told me depressing talk kills sales. People don’t want to hear that! My apologies.

And to make amends, I’ve combed Youtube land to find a guy that should give everybody a positive feeling. First I was thinking the Nobel Laureate, but he’s too much like Homer and Homer can be pretty depressing if you really stop and think just how many years Ulysses was away from Penelope and what he had to go through.

And do you really believe that Penelope was faithful for 10 years?!! I’ll tell you from what I see out there they don’t make women like that anymore. Imagine Kanye off for ten years fighting mythical beasts and enduring the wrath of the Gods. You think Kim would be saving that mighty ass for that long?

What is that ass gonna look like in 10 years anyway? Oh, yeah, we the finest cosmetic surgeons so I imagine it will last forever in perfect condition.

oh… here’s something interesting. Anybody have any thoughts on this discussion:

Is everybody out there comatose? Like Buckley appears to be here? … Is everybody off staring at their Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock and Rauschenberg silk screen and painted taxidermied yak for enlightenment? Singing along to “The Times They Are a-Changin’?”

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