“As the nation declines in power and wealth, a universal pessimism gradually pervades the people, and itself hastens the decline.”
– Sir John Glubb, The Fate of Empires
Extra on the set of True Blood? No. Great artistic genius Matthew Barney.
After looking at Austin Osman Spare as an example of an artist using his artistic skills to explore mystical/magical beliefs, by way of contrast I’d like to turn to Matthew Barney as an example of the kind of fatuous P. T. Barnum bullshit that the contemporary art world currently favors. Austin Osman Spare is an artist in every sense of the word. Barney is a trendy charlatan in the manner of Marina Abramovic and company, all of whom would be better placed on stage with Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey than in an art museum.
First of all one can read the trivial and idiotic art writing that the critics of the New York Times specialize in. Holland Carter, one of the chief adepts, in his review of Matthew Barney, serves up a typical malodorous stew which is about all the New York Times seems fit to print in place of an art review. :
One need only read the second paragraph to understand that Cotter is either a complete moron or a typical corporate shill bleating about whatever useless junk the corporate investors in art have chosen to fatten their bank accounts as if it’s the work of a timeless genius. Invariably, Marcel Duchamp is cited to give intellectual weight to endless piles of junk and debris that are supposedly invested with deep meaning since they were chosen and arranged by the latest artistic genius. And why not throw in the Marquis de Sade to indicate just how revolutionary an artist like Matthew Barney is? Of course, Sade spent 30 years of his life in prison and was loathed by the French state apparatus, while Matthew Barney is lionized, showered with fortune and written about as if he were Jaques-Louis David.
The ludicrous idiocies of these kind of comparisons never seem to dawn in the empty heads of the critics of the New York Times. But to quote Upton Sinclair, a writer well-versed in patent American charlatanism “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Let’s see if we can decipher Cotter’s authoritative pronouncement: “Encased in thick, pale, greasy-looking plastic frames, Mr. Barney’s drawings of the past two decades have the look of precious pages from sacred books.”
Below is Matthew Barney’s Perineum, a drawing of the region between the scrotum and the anus. Fortunately Mr. Barney titled it because without the title one would have no idea what it’s supposed to be depicting, given his lack of any noticeable artistic skill.
Holland Cotter is equating a drawing of an asshole by someone without any visible sign of artistic training to a drawing from the pages of a sacred book. Cotter must surely know what an asshole looks like if he bothers to look in the mirror in the morning, but does he have any notion of what the pages of a sacred book look like? Just as an example I’ll post a Dürer engraving from his illustrations of the Book of Revelations. Here are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse since I feel them approaching as I write:
Yes, but of course. And Tracy Emin’s scribbles always bring to mind the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. All in the minds of brain-dead New York art critics, who’ve burbled for years over this kind of tedious and imbecilic crap, all of it not having the least bit of differentiation from what’s next to it in terms of being completely vapid and lacking any artistic qualities whatsoever that wouldn’t belong to the average 12 year old. Below a typical Emin scribble:
The following images are from Les Tres Riches Heures:
Below more examples of typical Matthew Barney drawings. Cotter writes: “…This sense of the idiosyncratic promoted to the realm of myth is the strength of this drawings show.” At least one thing is certain. Barney’s inane drawings are certainly matched by Cotter’s inane writing.
We hear that the show is co-organized by “art historian” Klaus Kertess. And in what world is an art dealer who ran a trendy New York gallery from 1966 to 1975 considered an “art historian”? What books or scholarly research are we to credit to Klaus Kertess? None, whatsoever. What kind of “art history” might Klaus Kertess be familiar with that precedes New York art from the 1960s?
Klaus Kertess is a simple con artist of the noticeably American type. He and hundreds of others with the help of sycophantic accomplices like Holland Cotter have created a world of complete bullshit where they can pass off whatever the hell they feel like as “art” by simply selling shares of it into the international financial markets. It would seem as if the entire point of contemporary art today is to find something that is such obvious rubbish that only an art world that is entirely corrupt and possessing no values whatsoever would sanctify it.
This is the purest charlatanism. Anybody with half a brain knows it, only in today’s art world one would be hard-pressed to find anybody possessing half a brain. If they do they’re certainly keeping it to themselves. Why?… because the penalty of whistleblowing in this particular world is exclusion and banishment. Imagine the panic if artists and buyers realized that the whole thing was just a gigantic mountain of media hype and hucksterism. Not only that but how would life even be worth living if one were to be banished from the Art World?
The ninnies apparently don’t understand that the Empire has collapsed… That the Empire’s New Clothes are in motley tatters, covered in vaseline and plastic resins and bacon fat and various bodily fluids, and paraded around from Art Museum to Art Museum to the delight of the same kind of credulous fools that P. T. Barnum pulled into his Big Top back in the day that America was capable of at least providing some genuine entertainment.
The Merry-Go-Round just goes round and round… The same fashions appear over and over. For each new generation of art students who think they’re experiencing something NEW while being prodded to come up with their own advance into the further reaches of Post-Modernist wonderment. If only they can expose some formerly hidden anatomical detail (dammit, Matthew Barney already did the perineum!!!) or some brand new substance to slather up in while wearing some brand new androgynous outfit to explore brand new frontiers of sexual confusion then they too might perform their own exotic pole dance for the tribes of money men out to make some fast bucks.
Ain’t decadence a bitch?