The Avant-Garde Redux Blues

Damien Hirst now finds himself behaving like Starbucks or DisneyCorp., crushing anyone with the gall to interfere with his brand through using it in reproduction. Can Hirst be really so insecure as to feel threatened by a 17-year old kid? Does he really think his Pharmacy is an “iconic” piece of art harmed by a few pencils missing from it? What kind of Duchampian is this faker? Duchamp thought it grand that his Large Glass cracked during shipment. Anti-artists don’t believe in art. They’re dadaists. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? No. The point of the Hirstian dadaists is power and money, as is quite obvious from his behavior as reported in the following article. Can anyone imagine Duchamp behaving in the corporate authoritarian manner Hirst is behaving in?

Meanwhile avant-garde art marches on in Russia. The Russian government is doing a great job of giving these guys some real credibility by putting plastic bags over their heads and allegedly kicking and abusing them. Stravinsky’s music was merely booed and caused a riot. The authorities didn’t handcuff and beat him. But perhaps instead of composing the “Rites of Spring” he had been throwing cats at cashiers and staging orgies he would have received similar treatment to that which Voina received?

These next guys have even managed to infuriate “liberal art critics.” Now there’s an achievement. Although we are talking about Australia:

The “What is Art” debate continues to stay provocative, heated and endlessly fascinating, particularly to those who like to see naked ladies. Who is Lily Cole? Don’t ask me. You have to read paragraphs of tedious prose to find out:–really-art-950798.html

The ever-hilarious Banksy goes on sale. Hopefully, we’ll be treated to many more years of Banksy sticking it in the eye of “the man”, while he and “the man” pile up endless mountains of cash together selling a bunch of tedious Duchampian retreads. Apparently Mona Lisa and Nighthawks at the Diner are used up but there are countless more Western masterpieces to be ridiculed. One can’t help but marvel at the reviewer saying that Banksy’s work is “based on” Hopper’s well known painting.

We can only suppose he would describe Duchamp’s painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa as one of Duchamp’s works “based on” Leonardo’s well known painting.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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2 Responses to The Avant-Garde Redux Blues

  1. johnk823 says:


    After reading from all the links above, I hope your alright? Sounds like 5 woes and 2 more to come! So, how was your trip to the Phinox Museum anyway?

    Let’s get back to some Turner or something exciting and enjoy ourselves!!

    Just a thought!

    Blessings, John

    • trueoutsider says:


      The Avant-Garde Redux Blues don’t really bother me. I’m interested in how the art world functions, and by that I mean its economic structure. At this point in art history, high art is inextricable from high finance. That’s just how it is. It’s the reality of the situation. I accept reality. I’m not trying to change it. You know that AA quote: Lord, give me the strength to change the things I can change, the courage to endure the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

      Well, I’ve achieved the wisdom to know that I can’t change how the art world defines culture. I work separately from the contemporary art culture. I see myself as in that culture but not of it, if you understand what I’m saying. I’m also trying to examine what art used to be in the past. That’s why I was drawing the distinction on the “John’s Picks” post between the kind of high art of the past and into the 20th century and what I’m calling “illustration” or popular art.

      Of course, now, the lines have become increasingly blurred, right? It was fascinating that you put Warhol on your post because Warhol is the prime mover in making “illustration/commercial art” considered as “fine art.” When I went to art school they were two separate vocations. You could either get a degree in Commercial Art and go to work for advertising agencies or Hollywood or whatever. Or you could get a Fine Arts degree and go to work as a janitor, which is what I did. Fortunately, it was a union job, where I had health benefits and a decent salary. That’s what unions provided not only for me but that’s what kept American wages up overall. That’s what’s being destroyed at the moment, as the American middle and working classes are moving toward the conditions of third world workers. Why? Because the corporations want it that way. They want the unions destroyed, and the politicians who they paid to get them elected through massive propaganda campaigns want their puppets to fulfill corporate legislative agendas.

      America has less than 10 percent of its work force unionized. Germany has more than 25 percent of its work force unionized. Germans have universal health care, a sterling education system available to all, pension benefits, over a month paid vacation, child care, maternity leave, etc. etc. etc.

      Unlike American workers, those workers didn’t think it was a great idea to elect politicians who believed that sending jobs overseas and giving wealthy corporations and individuals enormous tax breaks, was going to provide a wonderful economy and prosperity for all. They realized that trickle-down economics was was going to give workers a shower, but it wasn’t going to be money showering on them.

      Incidentally, its corporate money that supports the kind of art that I’m detailing above. Corporations sit on the boards of all the major museums. They decide what will be bought and displayed. It’s not a random or arbitrary process. It’s entirely controlled by the über-wealthy. Charles Saatchi, who promoted Damien Hirst (the artist in the first link) into multi million dollar status ran the advertising campaign that put Maggie Thatcher into office. Thatcher/Reagan launched this free-market nightmare that has not only destroyed the middle classes in their countries, in the process turning the US from the greatest creditor nation into the worlds greatest debtor nation, but it’s given us the current art world and Museum structures.

      Museums have been successively defunded and infiltrated with corporate boards. The robber barons also provided the collections that we now enjoy. But the robber barons had Old Master tastes. The robber barons built and created things. They didn’t destroy things. Our robber baron class are hedge fund investors, consumer goods makers, etc. They favor entertainment art, ephemeral art, shock art. Art that can be used like stocks to advance wealth and power. There is no interest whatsoever in building a lasting culture.

      At any rate, that’s my simplistic explanation of how things are at the moment. Reading the kind of material above allows me to gain the kind of insights I’m able to gain. It doesn’t make me particularly upset. It doesn’t change what I think art is, nor does it change my enjoyment of it. I actually don’t want to rule the art world or have my work influence millions of people. I’ll leave that to Damien Hirst and the cat throwers and what not.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the Phoenix Museum! I had to talk to the director of the ceramics research center in Tempe about getting somebody to slipcast ceramics for me, and the director being an extremely nice guy took me around for three hours looking at hidden ceramic treasures and a famous ceramics artist’s studio. Zack, being fourteen years old, was bored to death and really upset that I’d dragged him around. So as penance for my selfishness, the rest of the trip was devoted to doing whatever he wanted to do. We had a great time just hanging out together and we saw “Rango” that new animated film, which Zack loved…. and which I fell asleep through the middle of.

      Great animation, and wonderful illustrations, etc….. but no content other than the same formulas that appeal to children, which have brought in massive box office over the last few years. That’s what happens with the lowest common denominator. That’s why culture nowadays is so empty of intelligent content for adult viewers. That’s how advanced capitalism works.

      And, don’t worry. I’ll get back to Turner and company. For me, all the 20th century artists I’m posting about are as interesting as Turner for their own reasons. They all create their own unique perceptual universes. That’s the key for me to great art. It’s art that isn’t directed toward a mass audience. It’s art that explores the core of an individual artist’s feelings and perceptions. Not art that’s directing to pleasing an audience’s tastes.

      Other people no doubt see it differently, which is fine with me.

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