Giovanni Piranesi, etching from Le Carceri, no. XIV, 1761
On an earlier post I’d noted Chris Hedges’ description of the current reality of American life as a cross between Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. In a blogpost today on Salon.com, Andrew O’Hehir added another author to make the picture complete, Philip K. Dick.
America now has more prisons in operation than Stalin did at the height of the Soviet Gulag. And the numbers continue to increase. As Walt Kelly presciently noted, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” By and large certain makers of comics and comics books have had more to say about current reality than the “contemporary artists” with their vacuous corporate lobby art. If anything speaks to the pathetic state of affairs it’s embodied by the idiotic Robert Irwin installation at the Whitney Museum now on view.
If any artist sufficiently captures the brain dead American Art World and its public it’s Robert Irwin. “Don’t Worry. Be Happy. Stick your head up your ass.”
Robert Irwin installation, Walker Art Center
And what else does the above image bring to mind but where the prisoners are kept in George Lucas’ THX 1138 (1971)?
Note the prisoners are walking around a structure resembling the Guggenheim Museum ramps at 1:00. Both Wrights’s Guggenhem and Breuer’s Whitney easily bring to mind prison/fortresses. :
And just how different is the Guggenheim interior from Jeremy Bentham’s (1748-1832) Panopticon prison?
The strategic adversary is fascism… the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.– Michel Foucault
Giovanni Piranesi, etching from Le Carceri, no. XIII, 1761
Still from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, 1927
Still from G.W. Pabst’s Threepenny Opera, 1931
To get an idea of just how closely Big Brother is watching: