On Truth

It is a general rule that when the grain of truth cannot be found, men will swallow great helpings of falsehood. –Isaac Bashevis Singer

Truth is not determined by a majority vote.–Pope Benedict XVI

In the American art world, the truth is the thing that’s covered over with mountains of bullshit. In his book On Truth  (his follow up to On Bullshit), Harry Frankfurt largely foregoes any complex definition of what is the truth but merely designates it as that which corresponds to reality. The entire point of the Contemporary Art World is to deny reality, in Jean Baudrillard’s term to create a simulation or simulacra of reality. Baudrillard goes off into outer space as he then wants to view the entire world as a simulacra, but that’s what happens to academics who spend their lives inside the simulacra of the contemporary art world. It’s what happens to academics who arrogate the right to themselves exclusively to define what art is. They confuse the art world with the truth, when they’re actually looking at complete bullshit, at which point they as well become swept up into the bullshit itself and do nothing more than spin bullshit.

The entire project of not just Baudrillard, but every other art writer and critic is to murder art. Why do we have every single one of them going on about The End of Art, the Death of Art… Art no longer exists. It’s a simulation. It’s false… Dave Hickey’s choices of Rauschenberg and John Chamberlain were the real art… The New Art is bullshit… Not possible whatsoever that Rauschenberg and Chamberlain are total bullshit, of course. Or Frank Stella. His art is the real McCoy but the MoMA under Lowry (according to Frank Stella in his vitriolic condemnation of Lowry’s MoMA as the Museum of Mickey’s Art, as in Mickey Mouse,… ha ha)  is total bullshit. No possibility that Frank Stella’s work is total bullshit.

No chance whatsoever that Greenberg and the money grubbing elite who began reaping enormous profits from the artists he selected could have been total bullshit, could have been nothing more than a typical American financial swindle. The Teapot Dome of the latter 20th century. Nobody can even contemplate that. It’s not a topic that’s fit for discussion anywhere on God’s collapsing earth. Or in America’s Potemkin Village reality.

I wouldn’t choose Baudrillard’s definition of the art world as simulacra. A far better word is fraud. Or a swindle, a deception, a con game or any number of terms would serve far more pointedly to describe it than simulacra or as hyper-real, another favorite pseudo-intellectual the art world is proud of coining. It’s not hyper-real at all. Unreal is the term best used to describe it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Reality exists and the art world has precious little connection to it. Reality is where the human race is destroying itself and the planet. And that’s what the art world does everything in its power to avoid any serious mention of as it continues its travesty of life and of art, and of art’s place in life.

The Contemporary Art World is engaged solely and exclusively in total bullshit. Faux-concerns for so-called social causes to camouflage the utter degradation of art being served up to viewers. Egocentricity and narcissism are the only thing on display in this world. It’s a world that reflects only the egotism and narcissism of Consumer Capitalism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Only the fictive surface social reality.

Baudrillard basically asserts that the simulacra is all. That it is now the truth. He writes: ” The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth–it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.”

This is utter bullshit. The simulacrum  is fake. The art world is fake. What the fuck does this overhyped nitwit think the word simulacrum means? It’s the arrogance of the art world, including Baudrillard’s participation in groping for status within it, that has it seeing itself as the center of the universe. Nobody outside the art world gives a plugged nickel for the stupid fakery that goes on within it, other than to amuse themselves while with audio guides, video displays and a nice lunch. Real (as opposed to fake) artists in America are viewed as complete imbeciles. They have about as much stature socially as janitors. Unless of course they make loads of money or a good living at it. Then they’re considered valued members of society. They’re contributing to the economy, which is the single value that Americans have.

If you don’t make money, you’re a bum. You’re a nobody. You’re a loser. You’re a lowlife. You’re barely tolerated at best.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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3 Responses to On Truth

  1. goetzkluge says:

    As for art becoming fake, there may be regional differences. In some countries, laws and rights are more fake than in others. Art can thrive on that. Sadly, in the not so recent history of my country, there has been a time, where art, which was not clearly understandable to the thugs, which run the state, was called “degenerated art”. The nazis were afraid of the part which they did not understand clearly enough – because the ambiguity was clear enough. In “the western world” of today an artist can express almost everything in art without being in real existential trouble. The more serious you get, the less serious you will be taken. Couldn’t lampooning bullshit art with even more bullshit offer an option to address fake? Pile it up. How about making use of the wisdom of greek gods: They punished the mortals by fulfilling their wishes.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks for the comment, Goetz. You might note that not a single American artist within the fake art world is ever going to join in with me on a serious real discussion about the current situation in the arts. That, in and of itself, is indication that just what I’m saying is true. They’re terrified to death of the truth and to even take a baby step toward admitting it will send their entire belief system plummeting into the sea like Icarus, who was one off those punished by the gods. For what? His delusional arrogance. And if there’s delusional arrogance around now, it’s only the logical outcome of the canonization of the delusional arrogance of American artists of the 1950s.

    As far as your idea of lampooning bullshit art with even more bullshit art? That’s a very interesting notion. How could one lampoon Robert Rauschenberg, as he’s already a lampoon of art? In a sense Rauschenberg and his manifold artistic brethren finished the job that the Nazis started of labelling Modernist artists like Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, German Expressionists as degenerate artists and mocking their work. Rauschenberg started out mocking the Abstract Expressionists, who descended directly from these European painters. An artist like Donald Judd considered all of that “European” art completely finished and set about making prefab boxes that are now considered as the sole legitimate “art” of the NOW…. If anyone is going to try to paint in the tradition of Beckmann, van Gogh or Picasso they’re automatically labelled copyists of a dead tradition… But to copy what Judd or Rauschenberg were doing? You’re considered a viable NEW potential genius. Take Rauschenberg rolling across the stage on rollerskates in a Merce Cunningham Ballet. … Well, put on a Cowboy Hat, whistle Yankee Doodle and smack your fanny while calling yourself a performance artist will give you a greater chance of ending up at MoMA than painting like Max Beckmann or Otto Dix or George Grosz will.

    And that’s the Truth. But you’re right that piling more bullshit on top of the original bullshit will collapse the entire thing. That’s what we see at the International Art Fairs and what is perfectly parodied by Tom Wolfe in his last novel Back to Blood. A carnival of total stupidity and greed.

    Anyway, please understand I’m not denouncing any other artists who are participating in it instead of going to the battlements and waving protest placards. That’s not going to do any good at all in terms of effecting anything. I’m not raising a call to arms. I think there are plenty of good artists and serious artists still working in the art world… I’m really just trying to look at and analyze the entire system, which is a construct of Crony Capitalism/Casino Capitalism. If various artists want to believe in the delusional hologram, the simulacra vis-a-vis Baudrillard, best of luck to them. I’m writing for other artists who aren’t interested in that route, particularly younger ones, hoping they might find some use in an older artist who has an alternative point of view.

    Duchamp was an anti-artist who made anti-art. He won. Game to Marcel and the anti-artists. In effect, I think of myself as the Anti-Duchamp, the reverse Duchamp…. The anti-art must be slain in order for the real art to at some point return. But it has no chance at all as long as this Financial Swindle is all-powerful. The 1 percent are propping it up and defining anti-art as art.

    That’s how I see it anyway. I’m still waiting for any of these Institutional Art genius intellects to show up and challenge my central assertion, (Donald Kuspit? Dave Hickey? Are you reading?) . But I’m not holding my breath. While all the contemporary art world is about is MONEY, that’s by necessity the one thing the art world will never seriously examine. Yes, they’ll ring their hands that it’s corrupting everything. But they won’t even remotely consider that it completely corrupted things a half-century ago…. It’s only been in the last couple years when the oil sheiks, Russian oligarchs and so on showed up… Ha ha to that.

  3. trueoutsider says:

    PS. Also keep in mind that I haven’t been to Europe since the week George W. was elected when we were in Paris…. and sadly I’ve never even been to Germany although my wife was in Berlin a couple months ago for work. I’ve long wanted to visit there, as well as a lifelong wish to see the Bruegels in Vienna… But it’s always been unfeasible economically for us as a family (we have one son). One day I hope to get there. So my awareness of what is happening in the European art world is speculative. I know the American art world well having been in it my entire life.

    I’ve visited Europe many times but I can only imagine how dramatically it’s changed since our visits there, which were largely from 1985 to 2001. We worked in NYC and the dollar was strong and flights were cheap. My wife works for a Swiss company and she’s over there every once in a while, so I get a bit of second-hand reporting. I also know a couple people that I correspond with that tell me a bit about what is going on in England and France from their perspective. But the rest of Europe, Asia, etc. is largely speculative based on media reporting.

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