The Massacre of the Innocents

Charles Le Brun, Massacre of the Innocents

A group of paintings commemorating not only the innocent lives of the schoolchildren taken yesterday in Connecticut, but also those of children massacred due to the depravity and senselessness of current US and US-backed Israeli war policy. There is no excuse for unmanned predator drone attacks that are simply executions performed without trial in the Kafkaesque nightmare we all now inhabit. These are war crimes by any definition and all the more odious because the innocent civilians killed as part of the practice are simply ignored and written off with the sickening euphemism “collateral damage.”


PIeter Bruegel, The Massacre of the Innocents, 1565-71

Peter Paul Rubens, The Massacre of the Innocents

Cornelis van Haarlem, Massacre of the Innocents

Viewing the immense emotion contained in these paintings done by artists down through the centuries can only make one acutely aware of the kind of degraded kitsch junk that passes for artwork in our woeful excuse for an art world, where pseudo-artists and pseudo-collectors and pseudo-critics and pseudo-curators endlessly parade around in their empty finery that says nothing whatsoever about the world we inhabit. Art for and by insensate morons that has grown just as infantile and self-absorbed as the population crowding into the latest Hollywood rubbish invariably promoting violence and self-gratification.

Giotto di Bondone, Massacre of the Innocents

Tintoretto, Massacre of the Innocents

When I attended art school, one of the worst decisions of my life, it was common indoctrination that artists should at all costs avoid emotion or “sentimentality” in their work. And thus we find the hopelessly vapid glop that is at best interior decoration but generally far worse than that. From Warhol down through his smarmy descendants American Art has basked in its cynical detachment, thinking it a pose of superiority when in fact it’s just the opposite. Self-infatuated egomania parading as artistic genius, backed and supported by predatory capitalists who have ruined the lives of millions of working people isn’t great art. In fact, it isn’t art at all.

Francois-Joseph Narvez, Massacre of the Innocents

Fernando Botero, Massacre of the Innocents

One can only imagine what the people in the not-too-distant future will think of the spot paintings and children’s scribble and nude performance art promoted  by the class of charlatans and thieves who are busily destroying the planet in an orgy of excess that makes prior decadent regimes seem small timers by comparison.

Fra Angelico, Massacre of the Innocents

Guido Reni, Massacre of the Innocents

In America, the self-proclaimed beacon of freedom and liberty, we now have 22 percent of our children living in poverty. The richest country the world has ever seen has a child poverty rate that is the worst in the industrialized world, barely ahead of the impoverished Romania. This is a crying shame that is not remotely addressed in our political debate, which invariably centers around how much money we are going to have taken from us by the government in our taxes. There is never an examination of the fact the majority of our tax money is spent in military spending on ceaseless and endless wars while our population becomes more infantile and brutal, not to mention the police state that grows larger by the day. All this while our artists bend over backward to please the jaded tastes of the head-up-their- asses population. Be it high art or low art, it all amounts to no art.

A people who care about nothing but their own narrow self-interest and pleasures and who are willing to destroy the rest of the world to continue in them will reap the harvest that they have sown. If history proves anything at all, it proves that.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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10 Responses to The Massacre of the Innocents

  1. Raye Mayo says:

    Very touching tribute .. made my eyes well up..

    About art school: not only did instructors demand emotionless work, but they ridiculed and laid waste to the sensitivity of idealistic young people. (Then there was the glamorization of the hip, and the wordy intellectuals.)

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks for the response, Raye. I agree entirely with your characterization of what passed for art instructors and imagine from what I see locally that there’s very little difference in the art schools today from those of the past.

    To me the complete corporate takeover of our society is reflected in the paucity of any kind of value system whatsoever in the art world other than money. An empire that is intellectually and morally bankrupt naturally produces teachers with nothing more in mind than behaving as petty tyrants cramming whatever particular doctrine they happen to adhere to down the throats of their students. There’s a vast difference between setting standards of craft and draftsmanship that are rigorously followed and bullying students with delusional and doctrinaire notions of what art is based on what is currently selling in New York City.

    There was an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago who told my wife, who was a student there, “You gotta get a gimmick.” That boiled down the entire purpose of American Art school instruction into a single pithy sentence.

  3. Thank you once again. I have seen the Fra Angelico so many times in Florence, and now I will see it with new eyes. I so wish you could see what some of my students have created this semester. I think their work would bring you hope. I will share with you soon.

    • trueoutsider says:

      Margaret, I’d love to see the work of your students. I’ve seen the Fra Angelicos more than a few times myself and could sure use a trip to see it nowadays. With all the treasures of Florence, including the Uffizi, the Convent of San Marco with the Fra Angelicos would be my top priority to visit if I can ever make another trip to Florence.

  4. trueoutsider says:

    Raye, I just ran across this youtube which indicates that, while it’s referencing science and not art, it amounts to the same thing. From my point of view, what artists are tasked with is to hold onto their sense of wonder and mystery while the socialization process that begins in junior high school attempts to crush them for trying to maintain it. The great theoretical physicist explains it simply:

  5. laila says:

    Bart, my man, I’m so with you in this! My fav. qualifier, when it comes to the cohorts of validated artists is “impostors”. “Gotta have a gimmick” perfectly summarizes the sorry state of the art and implicitly art instruction. Your write-up and your quitting the gallery reallly hit my spot. Bravo

  6. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, Laila. I love your little picture. Best, Bart

    • laila farcas-ionescu says:

      Hey Bart! I will be “incomunicada” for a while, until sometime 2nd week of Jan., if we’re still around, hehehehehe All my best and a restful and peaceful season.LAila

  7. trueoutsider says:

    You too, Laila. I’m going out with a friend for the End of the World (i.e., End of the Mayan Calendar on Friday) up to the Valle Caldera. Haven’t seen it in a long time. Spectacularly beautiful. Peace. Stay in touch!

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