Art Conspiracies

repinIlya Repin, Religious Procession in Kursk Province, oil on canvas

Here’s another article in Hyperallergic which runs through what should by now be familiar to anybody who has been regularly reading my blog regarding the story of how the CIA/MoMA/USgov/Greenberg put over Abstract Expressionism. The article is How Cold War Politics Sabotaged Norman Rockwell by Rob Colvin. It’s a misleading title as Cold War Politics didn’t sabotage Norman Rockwell at all since he was part of mainstream propaganda at the Saturday Evening Post portraying America as an idyllic society, populated entirely by New England white people.

This isn’t a criticism. I like Rockwell’s paintings and I envy his being able to paint in a world devoid of the political correctness that pollutes art to the point art hardly exists. If it exists at all, it’s certainly on the far margins. And what kind of art could possibly exist when any artist wanting to put their work up for consideration by the Contemporary Art community must automatically swear allegiance to NeoLiberal Neo Democrat values?   Contemporary Art is now just as false as anything being produced under Stalin and in most instances more so. Look at the Repin and compare it to the latest bilge exhibited by Jeffrey Deitch or the Whitney Biennial.

I’d far rather look at at an Ilya Repin  artwork painted in 19th century Russia than the moronic bilge spewed out in the politically correct circus that Rowan Williams writing in the New Statesmen accurately calls “the nihilistic void at the center of modern cultural life.”

I bring up Repin because the ignoramus Clement Greenberg  identified his paintings as the  kind of kitsch art that is made in totalitarian societies. And so works like those shown above needed to replaced by real high art such as the drawing below that he and Harold Rosenberg personally selected out from all the tiresome crap being shown in New York at the time, such as George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Max Ernst and so on and so forth. Communist types that they were. America needed a pure art devoid of foreign influences and politics. And so we got this:


So who can look at the de Koonings below interspersed with the Ilya Repins and tell me why de Kooning is high art and Ilya Repin is kitsch junk? I’d really be interested in their explanation.

I mean other than the fact that American Art post WWII is invariably better than anything made by European artists or Russian Artists or (God forbid) Chinese artists. We live by a simple rule. A simple rule for a simple people: If MoMA says it’s so, then it’s so. What else does one need to know? What else does one need to look at?  The Europeans seemingly have understood who’s boss, at least as far as the work that has to follow the Post-Modernist fashion pioneered here in the USA, or the conceptual fashion, or the minimal fashion or performances. Happenings! Art Happenings! Aren’t they special!?! Go to the museum and have your art happening experience. For less than 20 dollars.

Americans are the best businessmen who ever lived. You can take that to the bank. But as far as art goes? Sorry. Put a Basquiat up beside a Dürer. Any questions who’s better at art? But let’s just pretend and jump up and down in our art costumes to Bobby Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” now that the Swedes have put our greatest writer up on top where he should be. Thanks, Sweden. Stupid second-raters that you are.

We can put it over on anyone. As de Kooning remarked about Castelli : “That son of a bitch” could sell bronze beer cans. And Jasper Johns made it so… Hah hah.. Joke on de Kooning. Of course the de Kooning joke had to be put over first just as did the Duchamp joke. Rosenberg had sold the rather limited (in comparison to the European artists of the time like Grosz, Beckmann, Ernst, Picasso) de Kooning as the greatest artist of the 20th century, so why not Castelli shoehorning Johns into the position with Bronze Beer Cans? In America, anything goes. The more outrageous the better. Bring on Andy and his stable of exotica complete with blow jobs and whips. Nobody did it better than Andy. Ah… those were the days. Now all we can do is reminisce nostalgically.

So here are some Repins interspersed with de Kooning women. Maybe I can get somebody to write in explaining to me, without using the hyped up Rosenberg/Greenberg bullshit and price tags, why exactly de Kooning is a great genius and Repin is hollow kitsch.



Grecto_R, 8/4/11, 11:20 AM, 16C, 5188x6215 (116+952), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2,  1/15 s, R35.0, G23.8, B37.3




Greenberg was no more than a cold war political operative patently and obviously trashing Soviet art. He had the backing of both the CIA and MoMA and he politicized art in a way that thoroughly destroyed it. Anybody that doesn’t understand that is living in a world of delusion. The same delusion that would have one believing that graffiti scribbles, be they by de Kooning or Jean Michel Basquiat are enormous achievements, while Ilya Repin and the world he belonged to are tiresome kitsch.

De Kooning and Basquiat are art for generations of TV watchers… who can sit on their asses and dream they’re making “action art”…OH. ! How exciting it all is! Repin belonged to a real culture, a contemporary of Tolstoy. A great artist. One of the greatest in history.

We give you Basquiat, Haring, Rothenberg, Schabel, Dan Flavin and his lights, Turrell and Smithson digging up the desert pomposity. Andy with his exotic and cheap cabaret films.   Las Vegas Art. Yet no artists (outside Eric Wayne by my counting) have any complaints or criticisms at all  … Too gutless to even say a word. What a pathetic mess we are.  And we’ve infected the entire world. Will we blow it up as well if we don’t get our way? We’re certainly going to allow global warming to take us out. No doubt about that at all.

I agree with Eliot. I think we’ll go out with a whimper and not a bang… Whimpering and simpering artists in their little outfits bought from Gucci or Smoochie or wherever they buy them. As Vonnegut noted back in Cat’s Cradle days, and I paraphrase, “There’s a shitstorm coming.” You gotta that right, Kurt. And I’m looking at it.

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Bob Dylan 2

Keith Potter complains: “Come on Don, the man is awesome, ‘The pump don’t work cos the vandals took the handles’ this phrase alone deserves a Literature prize. I like his ‘Bobness’. Even his harmonica playing!”

T.O.: Glad he makes you happy, Keith. And that his “Bobness” is your idea of great literature.

As Gary Shteyngart wrote: “I totally get the Nobel committee. Reading books is hard.”

Gary, no doubt, is aware his chances of a Nobel are nil as who can both pronounce and spell his name correctly? GS a great writer, by the way, not that you’d be able to understand it if you think Bob Dylan is a great writer.

But, you know, anti-intellectualism is all the rage nowadays. It’s pretty much all that defines contemporary art nowadays, not that you or anybody else really gives a shit, right? It would be so uncool if they did.

Like Irvine Welsh with his tweet that the Nobel Lit Prize for Dylan was “an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.”

To be honest, I’m actually quite enjoying watching the writing class get a pile of manure dumped on their heads while they smile away as if they’ve been knighted by the Queen. They’ve cheered and applauded as the visual art went down the toilet to the point that this kind of Bob Dylan type bullshit is now all the rage everywhere one casts their eyes over the American Wasteland:

And if you want to know what I mean by Dylanesque bullshit here’s a scene from his cinematic masterpiece Renaldo and Clara, a must viewing for all his fans, just to see how sexy he is if nothing else. Just like he is today doing Victoria’s Secret panty commercials.

I don’t know about you but that soundtrack of Dylan singing gives me a splitting headache as much of his live recorded stuff does. The guy can hardly carry a tune or stay in key most of the time, not that it isn’t characteristic of much of those mythic music makers. LSD or heavy pot helped a lot in making it all sound so fantastically brilliant.

Why everybody mythologizes those days as being some magical Golden Era I’ll never know. I don’t find them the least bit different than they are today. It’s only instead of Nixon playing Nixon, we have Hillary playing him.

The Dylan film is in the great cinematic tradition of Andy:

See how much of this next one you can sit through. But it was all riveting stuff. The Village Voice said so, after all.

Or this early masterpiece by the reigning intellect of cinematic art criticism at Art Forum, John Waters:

And the witty dialogue doesn’t stop here. Pink Flamingos is a feast of hilarious wit. We’re indeed fortunate to live in an art world where intellectuals like John Waters writes catalog essays in pig latin for the Walker in Minneapolis. That’s where only the greatest of Contemporary Art is featured in stunning shows curated by these incredible talents.

I loved this line from the Times review, as I do so much of what I find written in the Times Entertainment Art section these days.:

“In the Walker show he has included some sacred cows, like Willem de Kooning, as a reminder that they weren’t always accepted. ‘Who’s going to have the nerve to say anything bad about him now?’ said Mr. Waters.”

I have the nerve, you milquetoast New York Times mother fucker. I don’t a flaming fart whether any of you chicken shits like it or not. Too bad no other artists have enough balls left to make any objection to anything written in the Times art section, or even the dimwitted Hyperallergic.  And people wonder why I think that art is dead as a doornail? The sicko jackass John Waters gets off with saying the wimpy artist sycophants don’t have the nerve to say anything bad about de Kooning. Why? Because they don’t. How much more pathetic can it get that there’s now a sainted figure in the American Art pantheon who is above any criticism whatsoever?  Fuck de Kooning and the horses (Greenberg. Rosenberg, CIA and Rockefeller) he rode in on.

Even if I actually don’t mind de Kooning that much, I’m saying fuck the guy just on the general principle.

The entire thing is a load of horse manure big enough to fill the Louvre end to end. But everybody, please, please…. by all means, pretend that it’s all real. That every last bit of it are works of timeless genius. That every MoMA selection since 1945 are flawlessly accurate and none of them are to be questions. I don’t think I could go on living if it turned out that I was, in fact, right in my dark judgements of where we are as a culture today. Not to mention where it all stemmed from with the hyperbolic overestimation of work that in any other period of art history would have barely even passed muster much less have ascended to the pedestals of every Art Museum in the world.

And the farce now plays on in high gear with every kind of “fuck you, art” gesture that can be dreamed up taken as a new stage of cultural evolution. From Giotto to Giant Buttplug. What an achievement.

So now as we gallantly ride forth into nuclear confrontation with Russia. Or we set up the conditions (no fly zones over Syria) where if there’s any misreading of a gesture we can be in a shooting war, given the anger and paranoia the Hillary-ites are stoking against Putin on little to no evidence presented about what they say. Note also we have just fired into Yemen. Wherever that is. Is it close to Somalia? Did some pirates attack us on speedboats or something? Who knows? Let’s wait until the movie starring Tom Hanks comes out so we know what happened and what to think.

Back in the days of Iraq War 2 the lies the Times printed first required Colin Powell to tell them before the UN, so the Times could build the case for war. Now, who needs to build any case. Just bombs away, Griswold. Now the Times just print whatever accusations they want, lies or not, as  long as the Obama White House is feeding them the material.

I recall also all the mea culpas from the Washington news media that they were hoodwinked by the lies of the Bush Administration. Now here they are today printing whatever the Obama-ites feed them without even bothering to investigate its veracity or accurately report about what transpired in the Ukraine or what has gone on to date in Syria that has led to this confrontation.

All so the Dems can stir up war hysteria to get elected.

Well, I pray it isn’t going to blow up in our faces, just as Iraq did after I uselessly protested in marches and conversations that nobody listened to or paid attention to at the time. Of course, I was living in New Mexico, but I found it little different than the I did New York City as far as how much attention anyone around me was paying to global events. As why would anything outside of US borders be of the least bit of concern to any of us living inside them?

We were all sleepwalking through both Iraq Wars, just as we continue to sleepwalk into disaster now…and as we have been sleepwalking for years going back to Dylan and Warhol and further back to the McArthyite witch hunts of the 1950s. … and still further to our hustling roots where we mythologized our past through Hollywood film, taking over from the live mythologizing presented by Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show. When we’re ever going to try to see the truth about anything is the main question that concerns me lately.

And, frankly, I don’t see that it’s going to happen. I don’t see that many of us at all will wake up in the least until it’s way past the time we can do anything about averting the disaster we’ve so laboriously paved the path toward.

Everybody is taking a very big bet that Hillary, once in office, is going to behave rationally although her entire record in the past has been not only to talk as a belligerent warmonger, it’s also been to  act on that belligerence. Time will tell. But don’t say I never warned anybody.

I do the blog as a form of witness to our collapse. I certain don’t see that I can have the least effect on changing anybody’s minds as they are firmly devoted to the Matrix-like Potemkin Village illusion built on an ocean of debt. In reality over 60 percent of American wage earners have less than $1,000  dollars to their names in the bank…. And that is about as think ice as one can be skating on while being at war with half a dozen countries while thinking it’s a grand idea to threaten a nuclear superpower in a country that is part of their vital local area of interest to the South, (Syria) after just funding/backing the overthrow of another country on their northwest border (Ukraine) which is the same country both Hitler and Napoleon came through to attack Russia.

This is real madness… and with fatal consequences. But meanwhile we argue on about Bob Dylan or Donald and Bill groping women. Anthony Weiner and his cock photos with his wife one of Hillary’s top aides. How much more farcical will it get? As Matti Taibbi wrote, are we waiting for the news of Donald whacking off outside a nunnery? Or in grim resignation for the Trump cock shot? Or perhaps Monica Lewinsky tell us the distinguishing characteristic of Clinton’s cock or whatever the hell it was all about?

This is a country that thrives on National Enquirer journalism, and all of it for one reason. It will do anything whatsoever it can possibly do in order to not have to face reality, to not face itself in the mirror. And all it sees when it does so is smoke and more mirrors… and who knows what is true and what isn’t?

Certainly not me. Who can tell what is propaganda and what isn’t in the news today? All we can really do is inform ourselves about all the lies of the past and ask ourselves: why in the world are we believing everything we are reading in newsmedia today when we’ve experienced so much of the past stories written in newsmedia to be absolute fabrications?

We all live under the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

Posted in Art and Money | 4 Comments

Congrats to Bob Dylan

kubrickGreat to see the Nobel Committee has finally stopped giving out awards to duds like T.S. Eliot, Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Bellow and other surly males lacking the kind of sensitivity that Bob Dylan with his concerns for racial justice and the end of war and the bohemian lifestyle in general has in spades. (not a racial reference!).

Although, personally, I’d rather have seen the award go to more deserving writers such as Stephen King or Lena Dunham whose work has the common touch and speaks to the heart without complicating things all up as Dylan often allows himself to do. I like to do it myself, but I’m not a great poet like Bob so it mainly comes out as gibberish.

But listen, Bob, seriously. Just because one considers himself a poet is no reason to keep using references to literary figures like Rimbaud and Verlaine that people aren’t going to get at all, particularly those in their early years, the younger generation who we’re all depending on to carry forth the lighter of Western Literature. Mr. Know It All Showoff!

Like the other Nobel Lit Prize winners of the past few years! Come on, you guys. Enough with boring your readers to death! Imagine the string of prizes going to writers like JMG LeClezio, Jose Saramago, Wislawa Szymborska, Naguib Mahfouz, Tomas Transtromer, Kenzaburo Oe, Wole Soyinka in the past. Were the Nobel Members drunk? Who can even pronounce those names, much less read any of them?

It’s about time an American White Male won this award. So it comes as the greatest relief that they at least chose our greatest representative. But another criticism:  if the Committee had a any sense of justice  they’d have also given Bob the Nobel Peace Prize. Other great warriors for Peace like  Barack Obama and Henry Kissinger and Yitzhak Rabin have gotten theirs. These are men who have moved the world away from the nightmarish savagery of the past into this era of brotherhood we all enjoy.

And certainly Bob with his insightful lyrics about misunderstood psychopathic thugs like  Joey Gallo has shown us how homicidal maniacs also have their sensitive side, which they acquire by reading Wilhelm Reich and Friedrich Nietzsche while in prison for murder.

I know the lyrics are almost unintelligible given Dylan’s singing voice but the effort made to listen to them are more than amply rewarded with the blinding illumination this great Poet has delivered regularly throughout his career:

Of course when men like Kissinger and Obama were given their prizes the Nobel committee wasn’t in its current politically correct state, so the acknowledgement of Dylan which is long overdue is hopefully a sign they’re moving in the right direction… back to a time when the Nobels really meant something with members unafraid of the P.C. Police and were ready to support the real Police!  And I’m not talking about Sting!

But speaking of Sting, there we have  another great writer who is no doubt deeply disappointed due to choice of an American when any music lover knows that the Sting songbook and certainly Lennon-McArtney were simply disregarded entirely due to their not being Americans. Hey, Brits! Eat our dust! We’re better than you! And it’s about time the Nobels (stupid fucking Swedes!) recognized us with the Award we deserve.

And you, Nobel Peace Prize committee! Get with it, bumpkins!

Let’s have a joint award shared between Hillary and Beyonce next year once Hillary  cleaned up all these global aggressions going on against us. And Beyonce has settled down racial tensions with some more dance videos.

Or perhaps Barack can get another one in the first threesome Peace Prize? As he is still hard at work today sending a message to Yemen that we’re at war with them. To be honest, I think the main reason Barack might not really deserve another Peace Prize is by being so weak he’s in fact encouraged even pipsqueak countries like Yemen to think they can take a crack at us. I have no doubts in regard to Hillary being weak. No! She is tough as nail, as Mr. Putin is sure about to find out. Imagine the nerve of the guy hacking her emails in a feeble attempt to get Donald Trump elected!

That’s right, Barack Hussein Obama.  Your continual weakness has given every little one of these towelheads the notion that they can get away with kicking their desert sand in our face. Nuke some the fuckers, like Hillary is prepared to do! See if they keep up with their aggressions then.

Just wait until Hillary steps up to the plate, she’ll teach all these basket of deplorables a lesson just like she did Quadafi. “We came. We saw. He died.!” Get the message, you backwards savages!

If you didn’t the first time, here it is again. We laugh in your face, motherfuckers!:

And you know how Muammar died? A bayonet shoved up his rectum! And shot several times for good measure. What a laugh, right? Hillary isn’t just a brilliant policy wonk, she’s also got a great sense humor. And he got what he deserved because he didn’t do what we told him to do! That’s how justice gets meted out when you’ve got God on your side, right Bobby? Profound lyrics coming up! Listen! Absorb! Repeat them to your neighbors. Or sing them as you hold hands and sing kumbaya and other ethnic tunes showing your love of all humanity as we are all one! Innocent children with hearts as big as the great outdoors (what are left of them).

But, really, Nobels! This Dylan is a bit over the hill, dont cha think? Don’tcha? Let’s get with some of the new talent. How about Madonna, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Coldplay. Howzabout it? Check this out! Now we’re talkin’ World Peace that is real. That is real change! Real Hope! Except HOLY COW! The Illuminati is behind Beyonce, Madonna, Katy Perry and Coldplay!!

Who are the Illuminati? You don’t know? Well, stay tuned to this blog as we here at True Outsider are determined to check into this disturbing phenomenon that has been going on for centuries. Did any of you see that quick cut of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut? You know, Kubrick, right? The guy who filmed the moon landing to fake out earthlings that we had landed a man on the moon? Yeah. That Kubrick!

Posted in Art and Politics | 3 Comments

CIA funding 2


Friedel Dzubas

“Pictures from all stages of Dzubas’s art since the 40’s will in time to come thrust themselves increasingly into attention: enough of them to establish him once and for all where he belongs, which is on the heights.”  –Clement Greenberg, 1977 

Eric W: I think I have a different angle on Pollock’s “no accidents” claim in regards to his painting. He must mean that the level of unpredictability is intentional, and thus not accidental. He probably had a lot of control over his technique after years of practicing it. If people can get really good at throwing darts, they can probably get quite precise with flinging paint. But, in a nutshell, the accident is intentional. That said, I can’t imagine restricting oneself to drip paintings for years on end, other than to satisfy the market’s demand for brandable commodifiable objects.

T.O.:  Yes. One can get very good with throwing something roughly where you want it to go as I discovered many years ago throwing patterned clay pieces onto ceramics, as you mention throwing darts at a dart board. . But on the other hand, I would never have said something so absurd as that I “deny the accident.” There’s a big difference between a pointed projectile like a dart thrown at a target or a bowling ball rolled down an alley at pins. I don’t see how anyone can see the drips thrown off as well as the configurations made by the interlacings of paint lines as anything but accidental in the final overall form that’s taken if by accident is meant chance playing a decided role in the results. Just as Warhol parodies the drip paintings with his piss paintings or hirst parodies the process with his spin art paintings. And, of course, it isn’t just Pollock who’s being parodied but Frankenthaler, Jenkins, Poons, Louis and so on. Of all of them Louis has the most control of the flowing paint which only goes toward his making incredibly predictable and banal work precisely because the spontaneity/chance that’s the core of that mode of painting is “denied”. Rauschenberg is also parodying AE in his early works, erasing De Kooning’s drawing, etc.


Rauschenberg bed 1955

That’s what I mean when I say that the triumphal arrival of Abstract Expressionism was almost immediately obliterated and refuted/refused by the next generation of artists, who unlike Pollock/de Kooning never bothered to even learn the rudiments of drawing as all that was necessary after the elevation of AE to the heights was to come up with some “signature” style that one’s “genius” would then rest upon for a lifetime after being canonized by MoMA.

I’m not disagreeing with you as I don’t think there is any absolute way of looking at this. My interpretation has to do with how I see Pollock trying to mythologize himself, playing along with Greenberg’s game and eventually suffering the consequences in blocked creativity combined with fatal alcoholism. The Surrealists, who were the originators of automatic drawing, (Ernst even dripping paint from a suspended can prior to Pollock using his hardened paintbrushes) would never have claimed that what they were doing was controlled or without accident. In fact, the entire point was to to be in contact with the unconscious/subconscious. By denying the accident Pollock was, in effect and in tandem with Greenberg’s agenda, claiming superiority to Surrealist automatism. In other words, the American point of view was that the Surrealists floundering around with their little pictographic mish mash (which American artists such as Rothko, Gorky, Gottlieb, Newmann, Pollock, etc. were furiously imitating by the way).

But in the new “criticism” Pollock was “energy made visible”  as his biographer (and early collector of abstract expressionism) B. H. Friedman used this as the title of his book on the new American Master. All total nonsense, of course. But why not? Whatever the audience will buy or as Warhol laid bare, art is whatever you can get away with.

Pollock had to claim that he was making his paintings with conscious control and intent to a far greater degree than the Surrealists. Otherwise what was the big deal? All he was, in fact, was a Johnny Come Lately to the Surrealist/Picasso discoveries/innovations.  And there was a good sized community of people investing in his work, beginning with Peggy Guggenheim, who have ever interest in making fanciful and hyperbolic claims about his work to get return on their investment. Guggenheim, not so bright as she was, in fact dropped Pollock after his work didn’t initially sell, returning his paintings. She simply wasn’t awake to the fact that the time was ripe for an American Master to be declared within the space of a couple years as global economic power now resided in America with USSR/Europe/Japan in ruins.


Masson, 1941


Pollock, 1938-41

If you look at Pollock’s paintings just prior to the drips they’re pretty close to Andre Masson, only a hell of a lot worse…Note the “Jungian archetypes”, Pollock going into Jungian analysis and it all being part of the de rigueur mythos of the time among artists and pseudo-intellectual critics. (Greenberg was in analysis with a shrink who was into the liberating power of sex orgies. Next to Greenberg a Donald Trump or Clinton look like Boy Scouts. )

Anyway, back to the typical male chauvinism of the 50s. Pollock is a prime example as he’s imitating Picasso bulls and the whole point of the exercise is to go mano a mano with Picasso and become the dominant Ape. And if one views Pollock through that lens it becomes immediately clear that his work is entirely derivative and his one-trick solution to besting Picasso (which he obviously has no chance of doing given the disparities in talent), is to switch the playing field. Representational work is now retrograde, with Greenberg bullshit taken as the tablets of Moses. Gorky as well begins making Cezanne imitations, then imitation Picasso. At one point he and Matta are working so closely in tandem that there are works that one can find work where the too are hard to tell apart. And they’re a hell of a lot more sophisticated and successful as paintings than Pollock’s work of the time.

So Pollock’s entire claim to fame rests entirely on his having discovered the drip. If people want to see this as some startling breakthrough catapulting painting over top of Gorky, Matta, Surrealism, Picasso then they’re entitled to what I view as their delusions. But I see this clearly as an entirely stage-managed affair involving CIA, Greenberg and to a lesser extent Rosenberg and the rest, US Gov, Rockefeller, Duchamp (who advised Guggenheim to promote Pollock),writers and early collectors like Friedman. And, to be clear, I’m not talking about a smoke-enshrouded room rented from the Illuminati. It’s simply that all kinds of economic and power interests dovetail post-War and the entirely new economic alignment of monied interests converge on NYC in the 1940s.

I think that one really has to believe in fairy tales if one thinks that by some magical coincidence every single one of the greatest painters in the entire world happened to reside in NYC in the mid-1940s, many of whom had no artistic training whatsoever and others with little to no talent in basic artistic skills like drawing and painting. Yet somehow they managed to have triumphed over the entire history of Western oil painting by making large basically single image canvases that were interpreted as reducing painting to the bare essentials of  a flat colored surfaced. And that this is what constituted the pinnacle of painting glory. Move over Turner and Rembrandt, Kenneth Noland and Jasper Johns have discovered that the target was the ultimate form of art, not only triumphing over the Renaissance but over Malevich and Mondrian rectangles.

And it’s this preposterous notion that makes way for the various forms of imbecility that come along in its wake.

The preposterous notion begins with Greenberg’s assertion that by discontinuing the use of a paintbrush and instead flinging paint off a stick Pollock had taken the great leap forward into an entirely new painting/art dimension rendering centuries of paintings suddenly obsolete. Then follow Still and his palette knife hack jobs, big paint brushes a la Kelly, Newmann where one might just as easily be using a paint roller, staining, spraying, pouring and so on and so forth.

Note also that Pollock himself realized just how ridiculous the claim was as he didn’t continue the drips but tried to go back to his prior paintings with Easter and the Totem and Portrait and a Dream, bringing back in the “primordial” subject matter or “representational” elements. Pollock himself repudiated the drip paintings by seeing they were a dead end.

Greenberg critically demolished Pollock’s late paintings saying that “Pollock lost his stuff” and etc. By admitting that the drip paintings were going nowhere Pollock was also repudiating pure abstract painting. Greenberg couldn’t have this, as that was the whole basis of the “triumph of American Painting.” If the guy who had “broken the ice” allowing all the non-representational abstractionists to ascend to the peak of Western Civilization suddenly repudiated the entire thing? Fuhgeddaboudit.


Pollock, Portrait and a Dream, 1953 (he stopped painting altogether 2 yrs later)

Greenberg thoroughly trashed Pollock’s late paintings that repudiate the drip work and then totally abandoned him…. He moved on to Clyfford Still and the next great geniuses he was marketing. In effect, the artists that he could count on to go nowhere near representational art (as they didn’t have the talent to undertake it).

Jules Olitski, Ron Davis, Jack Bush, Friedel Dzubas (see Dzubas painting above along with quote where Greenberg categorizes his work as the height of  American Painting), etc. etc. ad nauseum

See how much of the gibberish in the link below you can read. Then take into account that Greenberg largely single-handedly defined the roster of great American Painters, then validated by MoMA and distributed out into American and European museums/collections. Then ask yourself how reliable the charlatan who wrote the puffery below was at determining what was significant art. And how much longer are artists supposed to go along supporting and embracing these ridiculous assertions simply because know nothing collectors, critics and museum curators have embraced all of it and continue flogging the most absurd and laughable “art” ever created simply because the know-nothing public finds it all so amusing?

Naturally, we have an art world that is as ridiculous as our political class and tasteless super wealthy patrons. As another critic of the current debacle, JH Kunstler writes: “Is the USA a nation, or just the world’s biggest comedy club?”

This is what’s claimed as Pollock’s last painting .


And this one is authenticated as one of his two last paintings:


If these aren’t an indictment of Pollock’s actual accomplishment as an artist I can’t imagine what would be. Imagine if the two above paintings were found in the studios of any other painter of the late 19th century as the culminating statements of a lifetime? Take Cezanne, van Gogh, Pissarro.. Take any of the other artists whose works Pollock’s were billed as having transcended and imagine them being as entirely lost as Pollock clearly was by buying into the notion that the his drip paintings were a major breakthrough in Western Art. It’s entirely clear from where he went subsequently that the only breakthrough Pollock had achieved was into decorative stylings that are totally undistinguishable one from another as they rely entirely on technique and are entirely detached from the world of human reality.

In effect, their entirely divorced from the entire history of Western Painting and thus Western Civilization. They’re not the pinnacle of that tradition, they’re its entire repudiation and demolition.

Posted in Post-Contemporary Art | 4 Comments

Why CIA Funding of American Art Matters

The BBC has now published a short piece “Was Modern a Weapon for the CIA?” to which the answer is an obvious yes as it’s been written about and established with the release of official records many years ago. Nice of the BBC to finally break such a big story. Serge Guilbaut’s How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art published in 1983 was where I first read the details about how the US government, CIA and Rockefeller MoMA had all colluded together funding the “triumph” of New York School painting, and thus both selecting and defining what would be considered significant art.

By doing so, they naturally entirely delegitimized Picasso, the Surrealists, all realists and all other figurative work as being retrograde. I didn’t realize at the time, as I was still naive and enmeshed in the art world and dreams of being an artist, that the fact that the American state and corporate world funding and selecting what art was significant and what wasn’t delegitimized that art as well.

The irony, of course, is that America was presenting Abstract Expressionism as Freedom Art in distinction to the state-funded Soviet Realist art with it’s representational and academic “backwardness” while America itself was state-funding abstract art as being infinitely superior to any representational art, which of course included the entire history of Western Art.

So the art that was the apogee of progress and Civilization was the art which entirely obliterated any kind of connection whatsoever to the actual world in which it was made. One can only imagine what we’d think of Greek civilization if we were looking back on colored squares, colored, fields, dripped paint, or all of the other Clement Greenberg nominees for artistic genius he selected for inclusion in the glory of American Civilization.

It should also be noted that immediately after the selection of artists like Pollock and de Kooning as the hight of Western Civilization their way of painting was immediately repudiated by the next wave of young painters, who entirely dispensed with the rigamorole of arriving at mature abstract style over many years of work and (see Stella, Judd, Noland, et al) all one had to do is have the brain power to deduce the pure reductionist simplification which required no artistic skill whatsoever to elaborate. No drawing, no paint handling (a housepainting brush was sufficient as there were no details to put in).

And as this was so obviously absurd, not to mention boring, “pluralism” blossomed with everything but the kitchen sink described as the next New Breakthrough by who else, but more American geniuses, even greater than the genius Abstract Expressionists as they’d taken that early breakthrough to ever greater heights..

Of course, the absurdity has to be underscored here. Not that more than a handful of anyone reading this will understand what I write anyway. But let’s take Degas (who some of you might recall). Imagine that Degas was hailed as a great painter by his colleagues in France as he was carrying forward the light of Western Civ in his brush.  And then three years later all the other French painters decide that no, that kind of painting won’t do at all. Better to make Bronzed beer cans and happenings and sculptures of giant household utensils.

That would totally repudiate Degas and his work, would it not? But no! Not in America! The Abstract Expressionists are still the greatest. And so are Bronze Beer cans! It’s all the greatest art ever made. Plus Degas is still totally retrograde and there’s no point whatsoever in that old stuff. As a matter of fact, the only thing that makes something art is that it’s NEW! And in America, if it was NEW once, as in Abstract Expressionism, Silkscreen Andy and Bobbie… It’s always NEW..

And artists actually believe this. As far as all the ones I’m aware of anyway. As I keep saying, the only definition of art that anyone has nowadays for art is “whatever MoMA says it is.” The Myth of Progress blends into the Myth of Rockefeller as genius. … and Trump… and Clintons… and Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates… Whoever has power and money is a genius. Doesn’t matter how stupid their ideas are (Hillary: Lets knock off Quadafi, Syria, Putin, … etc.) they’re all brilliant. Our leaders are brilliant. The art they’ve chosen, by letting the people decide! is brilliant.

Don’t you all just love Andy? And Jeff Koons? Jeff Koons at a Steve Wynn casino. If that isn’t the height of civilization can somebody tell me what is?’

Oh right… a couple floating color lozenges, 10 running yards of cadmium orange with a couple vertical stripes, paint arbitrarily flung across 10 running yards of canvas.

In regards to his drip paintings Pollock said: “I deny the accident.”

This is a delusional statement. Anybody flinging paint off a stick onto a canvas is creating accidental effects. So Pollock believes he’s just an intermediary and the Divine Hand is putting all his lines and rips exactly where they should be? He’s the possessor of artistic magic and when in his creative state nothing whatsoever is accidental? This is patently ridiculous.

Yet, we accept and even worship this kind of false religious proclamation (as Pollock is just one among many with pseudo-religious proclamations regarding their work from Malevich to Kandinsky to Mondrian to Newmann/Rothko/Still/Resnick)?

Quite obviously, if these pseudo-religious claims are hogwash so are the paintings themselves. Or I should say, they’re pretty objects or not pretty objects depending on one’s particular tastes in color and design.

And how could all of these various pseudo-religious claims be true. Manicheanism and Theosophy and Christianity are not compatible beliefs (Malevich was a self-proclaimed Christian mystic). In other words, if Pollock’s or Rothko’s paintings are not describing some profound mystical order then what are they other than pleasant visual decorations?

And if that’s all they are, why are we making such a big deal of them, outside the fact that they’re worth millions and millions of dollars? This, of course, indicates what the True God of American Capitalism is that everyone is worshipping. Money and Power. Might makes right. If we say Pollock and Warhol are the greatest painters of the twentieth century it is so!!

The real achievement of American art was to first blur the lines between fine art and commercial art and then eliminate those lines altogether. Instead of recognizing this artists want to live in some kind of fantasy world where they’re living at the height of some majestic civilization that is constantly making new innovations following on the amazing achievements of a paint spattered or paint-soaked canvases.



Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Superbugs and Supermorons

herri-met-de-blesHerri met de Bles, A Fantastical Moonlit Landscape with St. Christopher Carrying the Christ Child Across a River, 16th century

Here’s a piece in the LA Times reporting that thousands of patients in California hospitals are dying from infections they pick up in the hospitals, any number of them from antibiotic resistant superbugs. This also points out the fact, that contrary to the routine blather by politicians that we have the greatest health care system in the world it’s largely unavailable to the citizens of the US.

See also Paddy Chayevsky The Hospital (1971) and/or the updated version of NYC hospitals Nurse Jackie (2009-2015).

But enough melancholy. For lighthearted humor news I suggest this story in the Hollywood Reporter (the pinnacle of American journalism IMHO), PANIC, ANXIETY SPARK RUSH TO BUILD LUXURY BUNKERS FOR L.A.’S SUPERRICH. This has been going on for many years of course and while there’s a sizable uptick in construction because of the threat to them they see posed by the matching twin grotesques Trump/Clinton. While Stephen Hawking and company are taking the exploding rockets of Elon Musk up to their Mars colonies (no doubt complete with lap dancers to take the edge of Hawking‘s and others voyages)  a good chunk of the supermoron class that have destroyed the country are planning to stay on the planet in vast entertainment bunkers underground where they will communicate back and forth through the communication systems that the people above ground will happily be maintaining for them.

They’re no doubt completely secure from attack by desperate surface people deprived of the means of survival as planetary temperatures rise to levels making much of life on earth unsustainable. No doubt the workers who built their superbunkers, as well as all the family and friends who were well aware of what they were building will have forgotten where food and vast riches can be found and they’ll no doubt be without access to the weapons and explosives they’ll need to to get to them.

As a matter of fact, I know all about Shirley McLaine’s underground bunker from one of the guys who built it. Certainly she’s in no danger whatsoever at the moment, but if the circumstances that she imagines will occur in the future actually do occur she is good and fucked. How she doesn’t know or understand this is testimony to not only the low intelligence of the supermoron superrich but to the fact that spending one’s life in the Hollywood/California fantasy world (which extends across all 50 states and beyond).

In case my readers are unaware, the supermorons at the top and in the government consider all of you morons as well. As this new study (probably by government) indicates Washington’s governing elites think we’re all morons. And, really, I don’t see how their belief can be refuted, as we’re the ones who elected them.

Naturally, this is the reasoning of the supermoron class. That in the Mad Max world of the future they’re obviously envisioning (as they’re spending billions preparing for its eventuality) the morons up above them will be completely incapable of finding them and bombing them out of their delusions.

IMHO, while I think the American people are largely living in total fantasy at the moment, if things do go south they’ll be more than capable of finding these superbunkers, just as much as they were perfectly capable from finding gold in the Black Hills, California, Alaska and throughout the country and extracting it in ways far more difficult to manage than it will be to knock over any bunker the superrich luxury bunker these flaming idiots think is going to protect them.

Meanwhile, let us pray.


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Normalized Ignorance

Christ bearing the cross *oil on panel *57 x 72 cm *1525 - 1550

Christ bearing the cross
*oil on panel
*57 x 72 cm
*1525 – 1550

An insightful piece by Henry Giroux, Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance can be read here. Giroux’s title recalls Orwell’s remark that in a time of universal deceit  telling the  truth is a radical act.

Willful ignorance has become a normalized political tool and form of public pedagogy that both provides the foundation for what Noam Chomsky labels as the rise of the “stupid party” and which works incessantly to create a “stupid nation.”…

American society is now dominated by a pervasive commodified landscape of disimagination machines that extends from Hollywood movies and video games to mainstream television, magazines, news, and the social media. These mind-numbing desiring machines which thrive on speed and sensation function mostly as workstations of ignorance to create a fog of distractions that promote forms of social amnesia that erase from memory and public discourse the structural, systemic and social forces that reinforce what can be called organized powerlessness and massive human suffering. This is the stuff of a politics of disappearance that erases the presence of the poor, unemployed, the “approximately 11 million Americans cycle[d] through jails and prisons each year,” black youth, immigrants, ecological disasters, class warfare, acts of state sponsored terrorism, the rise of the police state, and the rise of the warfare state.[6] As the machinery of social death accelerates, America’s most precious investment, youth, also disappear.

The only criticism I have of Giroux’s description is the one I have of most writers on the current endgame. They almost invariably leave out the contemporary art world. His list includes video games, tv, magazines, news and social media. He leaves out what has been the primary incubator of the “art” that one finds in pop media, video, etc.

The all-triumphant American Art of the 1950s and 1960s, which advanced the simplistic trend that European Modernism had diverged into, which shed all the characteristics of the art of the past that had given that art meaning. Modernism evolved into the absurdity of “art for art’s sake” where art no longer had any connection whatsoever to human realities. It ascended into a cloud cuckoo land of visual pleasures thoroughly devoid of any spiritual meaning or social meaning, as the two are inextricably joined.

The early abstract paintings based their meaning, such as it was, in various pseudo-religious believes like theosophy or Manicheanism and all kinds of other self-designed or egotistic mystification for the most part cribbed from some kind of pop Zen. Thus Dada was magically transformed by Duchampian kabbalistic or occult references into Rauschenberg and Warhol and Johns, all claiming (through their well-paid art critic apologists) to have risen to the peak of Western Civilization, when in reality they were its demise.

One can read any number of real historians. Take your pick. If one reads Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence, Duchamp and Pop show up and are covered in all of two pages as a meaningless fart into the void in comparison to what has come before our pathetic burping and belching and tweeting, all with immense pride and chest pounding. We’re absurd buffoons and the only way we have of covering up how pathetic we truly are as a culture and civilization is to throw immense amounts of fake money at the kind of art that artists in any other century of human history would have not just been appalled by, they wouldn’t have even considered it to be art.

Of course, to speak any kind of truth, something which is as plain as the nose on anyone’s face, is to have gone completely beyond the bounds of decency and social propriety. How on earth could anyone not recognize the historical genius and importance of a lot of flat color squares or colored dots or spray paint graffiti?!?! And be so arrogant to think he is better than that! Imagine the gall and the hubris! The narcissism!

When, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The arrogance, gall, hubris, narcissism and complete self-delusion is all on the side of the people traipsing around in their high-fashions and pretentious babbling throwing money away at tedious kitsch monstrosity which, as Giroux rightly points out, has led to a generation of youth with no imaginations, intelligence, purpose or meaning in their lives other than to pleasure one another with whatever game or cheap visual attraction that will delight the mindless of America (and at this point, most of the rest of the world). The enormous achievements of traditional art of all kinds is by and large seen as irrelevant or is perceived in the same vacuous fashion contemporary art is perceived. .. A curiosity that one troops through on a guided tour, in and out in 15 minutes and on to the next civilization.

This all started with Hoving’s making the mummies dance at the King Tut exhibition when the museum world discovered their holdings could be monetized and art turned into a lot of cheap reproductions put on t-shirts and handbags and the dumbed down and decadent masses of today would be perfectly happy with it, just as in the earlier part of the 20th century Modern art was all about making the incredibly sophisticated art of the Western Tradition into simplistic work perfectly suited to posters or other forms of reproduction.

Thus it was no big step to move from Georgia O’Keefe type flattening and simplifying of Western landscape that had formerly inspired great works of genius by men who went off into the mountains and made art out of what they saw rather than sit around in a little adobe paradise looking out the window. But why look at a Bierstadt, the Hudson River School painters, the Canadian group of seven? That isn’t art. Van Gogh is old art… Artists are no longer like that. They have all these ideas and politically correct messages to impart that have all the weight and depth of the Oprah Winfrey show and are made for the Oprah Winfrey audience. Hollywood Art. Stephen Spielberg Art. Audience pleasing as it is audience flattering.

And what does the audience want? Death. Violence. Hedonism of all variety. Low Budget/Low intellect Circus acts are fine for the Museum World as one is only paying 12 bucks. For the good stuff one has to pay 70 or 80 bucks to see Cirque du Soleil. Chris Burden nailing himself to his volkswagen. Acconci masturbating under the stairs. Beuys and his coyote act. Baldessari? Who do you people think you’re kidding? The same people watching videogames, of course. Only they are no longer interested in it. The kids, if you ask me, are brighter than the dipshit parents who would be going to see a Baldessarri show, since this is what the cutural illuminati have told them is genius. Small wonder the kids are ready to see Western Civilization go to it’s grave if this is all it has to offer.

On top of that, they’re perfectly aware that it’s already there. They’ve no interest in past civilization as we’ve sold them our exploding plastic inevitable as the greatest art or literature that’s ever appeared in the history of mankind.

America is awash in pure kitsch, while we savage and destroy our national patrimony, and to memorialize it all we’re left with art work that has all the emotion and feeling of the paint-by-number oil sets that were all the vogue when I was a kid.

Where Giroux misses the point entirely, as do all the rest of the egghead academics is that the problem is not solely the brain death that is so obvious everywhere one turns. It’s that we are soul dead. We have little to no emotional connection, not just to each other, but to the enormous beauty, grandeur and mystery of nature. About the only thing we find it useful as is a checkmark for our bucket list or a backdrop for our selfies we post to Facebook or a place we can practice extreme sports.

Now we’re all ready for Hillary. And of course those voting for her haven’t the slightest idea what her record has been, only that she’s saying all the things they want to hear. All the politically correct baloney that she doesn’t believe a word of, as her only interest is in herself and her own little 1 percent social class. And I have no doubt that over the next four years as she trounces them further into the ground they’ll look around as if poleaxed, completely surprised at her total incompetence assuming she doesn’t end everything given what the video below accurately indicates about her “temperament.” The voters simply haven’t followed her career of either sheer incompetence in everything other than pleasing her corporate sponsors.

As JH Kunstler imagines (at least a few people still have imaginations) Hillary will be left holding the bag when things come crashing down. And she well deserves to be, as she and her husband bear a large responsibility in authoring his travesty of an economy, with youth in unpayable college debt and parents in housing and other debt they’ll never be able to pay off were they to live another lifetime. This might or might not come crashing down in the next four years but it will certainly get much worse.

Of course, voters have paid little to no attention as they have better things to do like shop on Amazon or at the shopping malls for things they can’t afford even though they’re all working their asses to the limit networking and pretending that this is the good life, while knocking back the scotch, lighting up the pipe or downing the anti-depressants depending on what is socially a propos in their particular economic class. But it’s clear to me in talking to folks out there as well as my usual coffeeshop eavesdropping that the electorate hasn’t bothered to pay any serious attention to what Hillary and Bill have done to them, just as they have paid no attention to how Obama’s foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster that has locked this country into the glidepath of no return.

But let’s keep fiddling about while we burn ourselves down to the ground while poisoning our own well. For those with an interest in just how disastrous Obama/Hillary have been for this country there is an article below the youtube. Note that this is written in the American Conservative. If you’re going to only read one of the links provided I strongly suggest you read this one. The Liberal press have zero interest in printing the truth or informing their readership of anything, as liberal readers are happy with their infotainment and have little to no interest in finding out what is happening to them and their country. They can’t face it. The entire purpose of media is to thrill and terrify everyone into imagining Trump is a totalitarian lunatic and he obliges them as he’s having more fun, I imagine,  in his Presidential run than he ever had on The Apprentice or any of his other egomaniacal adventures.

This is just a subjective intuition, but my sense is that Hillary is far more the tyrant and bully than even Trump is, as well as far more dangerous. But we’ve put ourselves into a situation where our future is incredibly precarious given who we’ve put into office beginning in the 1980s with Reagan and his neoliberal economic disaster. As long as neoliberalism rules, we are going down the tubes.

The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy

Posted in Decadent Art | 4 Comments