Is It Just Me?

Anybody out there with half-a-brain? Just checking to see the consensus on Banksy’s Dismaland. You can use a pseudonym when you write so that you aren’t stoned to death and banished entirely from the contemporary art world for voicing a critical opinion. Or you can let me know why this stuff is so fantastic using your own words, if you have any.

Or you can chastise me for paying so much attention to this kind of total crap and not turn my minds to the higher things, like photo-realist painting or abstract grids or Jasper Johns’ Targets.

It’s at the top of today’s art world, written about with panicked excitement by art critic geniuses like Peter Bradshaw in “The Sheer Joy of Banksy’s Dismaland” (Is this irony? Is he perfectly serious?  It could be both… It could be neither.. It’s so enigmatic!. … Bradshaw writes with the kind of devastating wit and critical depth that has gained him so much respect and prominence in art critical circles:

The attraction that sounds best has been devised by David Shrigley, a Turner-nominated artist for whom the word genius is not too strong. He has invented a fairground-type game called Knock the Anvil. You try to knock an anvil off a broad, sturdy pedestal by throwing tennis balls at it. The prize is an anvil. I think Shrigley’s brilliance consists in enigmatically declining to make it clear whether the prize anvil would be the one you are pointless trying to knocking it over. Or perhaps there are dozens of anvils waiting to be won.

Everybody else think Shrigley is a genius? Anybody else in the art world have a thought in their heads outside other than how to sell their work and keep up the pretense that art in 2016 has any kind of purpose or meaning whatsoever?

Grunt or tweet if the answer is yes.

No. This isn’t a vitriolic diatribe. It’s a recognition of reality.

Who out there thinks that the tireless self-promoters Bansky et Al, Inc. are doing anything whatsoever to change or destroy the system they’re so opposed to? Since Johnny Rotten’s role in Jesus Christ Superstar got cancelled with the production running out of money, why not have the Sex Pistols regroup to perform in Dismaland their bold and fabled attack on the Queen…. At least Johnny had the coherence to formulate something specific he was attacking. Is there anybody in particular that Banksy et Al, Inc. are attacking? Perhaps a Charles Saatchi or Cameron or whomever?

Awhile back Johnny Rotten was attacking Russell Brand for telling kids not to vote. Maybe Banksy et Al can put up a dartboard with Russ’s face on it.

Ah yes…. I missed the point. You’re attacking Walt Disney. Well, if Disney wasn’t the source of Evil in the Western Patriarchal Capitalist World I can’t imagine who else would be. He sure was a tyrant with his workers. Really demanding. Some neanderthal political beliefs. But compared to Jeff Bezos and his treatment of his workers and his neanderthal political beliefs? Come on, guys. Give Walt a break. Find a real target.

But apparently you’re all too brainless to find the real targets as I don’t see any appearing in your devastating critique of the “system.” And apparently you haven’t noticed capitalism is imploding and taking everything else down with it? Your attack on capitalism is about effect as a mosquitos attack on an elephant dying in the Africa from the permanent droughts.

So, Banksy, are you just like the other nihilists Bruce Nauman and his wife, one of the largest buyers of local real estate? What exactly are you doing with all your money… besides wasting it on self-promoting slag heaps like Dismaland? Perhaps set an example, like Oprah or one of the other pious celebrities, to get people read books? I imagine that many of your enthusiastic fans need some reading lessons.

I love how the deeply spiritual Agnes Martin and her brilliant pals Bruce and Susie live in the most poverty-stricken states in the US,  but none of them have ever made a peep about the abysmal third-world conditions that persist there? I wonder why none of the ultra-wealthy artists and Hollywood people do anything but flit about in their glory living on their wealthy estates. When we attack the 1 percent, how is it that the big name artists and Hollywood royalty are kept out of the equation? Hedge fund investors like Steve Cohen is one of the evil 1 percent, yet all the artists he’s collected and promoted are brilliant geniuses we all admire?

I think if Marx were alive today, he’d change his formulation to: “Art is the opiate of the people.” I’m perfectly serious. The banalities of Koons and Hirst and everyone else in the art hierarchy perfectly reflect the banal tastes of the general public. The cutting edge nihilism of Paul McCarthy or Mike Kelly are pale echoes Walking Dead or True Blood. But presumably we’re supposed to think they’re reflecting society by telling us about who we are? It’s pretty fucking obvious who we are guys. Turn on a TV. We hardly need artists to reflect that do we? But thanks, Andy. Thanks for showing artists the way. The way to make some bucks.

Wow. What a country. Breathtaking psychopathic lack of empathy on the part of the ultra wealthy, which, yes, include all these brilliant artists. It’s great to see all the bottom feeder artists stridently opposed to the 1 percent by copying the 1 percenter artists at the top of the shitheap. It’s a wonderful world.

Anybody thinking about it out there? Scratching their heads? Wondering how the fuck did it come down to this? From JMW Turner and William Blake to the genius Shrigley making Knock the Anvil. And instead of a Ruskin they have dimwitted blockheads like Peter Bradshaw to explain art to them…. since Banksy and Shrigley are so enigmatic…

You ever notice how all the cutting edge comics never attack the capitalist system? How when Jon Stewart leaves the air he and Obama have a love fest? Ever wonder who else is part of the 1 percent besides the evil corporate bosses? You think any member of the 1 percent wants to see the system changed? Seems to be working out just fine for them.


About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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8 Responses to Is It Just Me?

  1. shep says:

    Yes sir, good man, your comment on Jon the fake Stewart is the best one yet! Celebrity 1 per cent bastards. Thank you!!!

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks for the comment, Shep. I simply don’t understand why anybody thinks of Stewart as anything other than a complete fake. I haven’t watched him for years because I can’t stand him or the other “political” commentators who have no political point of view whatsoever. I did see a Colin Quinn laugh fest that’s “political”… the object of his satire are the morons in the audience as well as himself apparently, as no actual politicians or the capitalist system or anything else are being attacked. It’s all about how totally stupid we are as a country. Guess why? Because we’re so kind heartedly going around the world to try to solve everybody else’s problems. By bombing them, right? How fucking crazy has everyone in this country become?

    When I was watching Stewart’s show years ago he was making fun of the person tasered at a q and a session where John Kerry was speaking… as if a kid being tasered for trying to ask Kerry a question was as hilarious as it gets. Not only that he’d have slimeballs like Cheney’s wife, Gen. Mushareff (Pakistani military dictator), Alan Greenspan, John Woo (of the torture justification memo on various shows as they were promoting their books. Hard-hitting questions and accusations? No. Behind their odious activities, they’re really quite warm and hilarious people. Me? I always thought somebody writing a memo justifying the torture we inflicted on Iraqi prisoners would be a pretty heinous individual. But John Woo? Turns out he’s a really decent guy with a warm sense of humor. Hopefully, Jon helped him sell a lot of books explaining why torturing prisoners was the right thing to do.

    He continued to have Greenspan on after Greenspan the rigged the financial system to implode while keeping interest rates artificially low allowing the housing market to go into the stratosphere and explode. Then the shitbag says he didn’t realize it would happen?

    And he and Stewart sit around cracking jokes about it while his moronic viewing audience explodes in laughter? Just how moronic have Americans become at this point? They’re robbed blind by both sides. Their country is totally destroyed. And yet somehow people continue to think there are major differences between the two political parties? They haven’t noticed that Obama’s political agenda and the results of his tenure as President have been more damaging to America than was Richard Nixon’s? Increasing the scope of the wars? The national debt? The environmental wreckage? The joke of a health care system that is a complete giveaway to corporate interests at the expense of citizens? They don’t realize that the political class has thoroughly bankrupted us morally, financially, culturally and in every other way imaginable…. .and we wander around in a stupor making our art, or ginning the housing market back up or strapping electronic devices to our heads laughing ourselves silly over Jon Stewart or Bill Maher on one side or Rush Limbaugh and whoever else is cracking them up on the other?

    In the art world, we just pretend that nothing whatsoever is happening other than enrapturing ourselves staring like lobotomized lemmings at our mystical tie-died paintings and the the buffed sheen of encaustic paint. The Roman decadence? Those fucking guys had nothing on the glorious Capitalist Apocalypse… Perhaps if they had predator drones and nukes they would have managed this kind of epic decline?

    There’s a good question to debate…. Maybe I could ask it at the next Iowa caucus, get tasered, and have whoever Jon Stewart’s replacement is turn it into a laugh fest… I’ve always wanted to be in a viral video. It’s my life’s ambition. Isn’t it everybody’s?

  3. sydsart says:

    love your comments. I stopped paying attention to artspeak about 20 years ago when I was told my photographs were too photographic. I could never figure out what that meant.

  4. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, Syd. I haven’t tried to read a “high art” magazine since some time in the mid-early 70s when I was in art school. I keep meaning to pick one up to read. I took a glance at one about a decade ago to read a glowing review of Dan Flavin’s neon sculptures by Donald Kuspit, that a bunch of fluorescent light fixtures with different colored tubes in them were examples of sublime transcendent aesthetic experience. Welcome to Las Vegas, gang! If you’re having a transcendent experience looking at colored neon in an art gallery go the Las Vegas. You’ll be blasted into Divine Consciousness in no time.

    Saul Steinberg once observed that the Art World is closer to the Pimp World than any other world.
    Gee… really, Saul? Thanks for the insight. Ah, how I long for the days of the sophisticated New Yorker covers of Saul Steinberg. Perhaps a piece of fiction by one of the Johns? Updike or Cheever? I do appreciate the recent thought piece on Jennifer Weiner and their illuminating exposition of the genius of Lena Dunham’s Girls. I also think that it’s super-awesome that that they’ve finally begun printing Stephen King stories. If they could just get rid of the pretentious stuff that nobody understands and feature more writers that appeal to the common man I’d probably start reading the New Yorker again. The New York Review of Books praising the writing of Miranda July is also a welcome development but I wish they’d stop with the multi-syllable words in their pieces and take Miranda July’s example. like July herself has. Let’s get back to the Hemingway and Fitzgerald mode with work that Americans can understand because it’s clearly written. Miranda is a good start. But what about some Tom Clancy and Lee Child?

    I really can’t understand why others would call Miranda July’s work as narcissistic indulgence typifying the worst kind of postmodern faux-profundity. After appearing in the The New York Review of Books to glowing admiration that certainly isn’t the case!

    To understand why your photographs are too photographic I imagine you’ll have to read through the entire writing of Jean Baudrillard. Unfortunately, a former editor of Art Forum from back in the day and notable authority on what is just a photograph and what is a photograph that is art is Ingrid Sischy and she’s passed away. She did however give the benefit of her wisdom about what is and isn’t art for years, apparently to the covers of Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine. I’ve never noticed as I rarely can look at a cover of Interview without wanting to blow lunch. After this she worked at Vanity Fair where her great eye has set the standard for the latest Vanity Fair cover of Caitlyn Jenner.

    Anyway, I was unaware of all this until reading the Guardian piece a couple months ago. Just as I was only aware of the Jenner cover by reading the news about it. I rarely look at magazine covers these days as my urge to hang myself becomes hard to keep under control.

    Basically, Syd, I’m completely out of it. … waiting for grim death to put me out of my misery. I just sit around drawing, taking pot brownies which have helped to loosen me up as I used to be quite uptight, and tearing things up. Whatever doesn’t get torn up I stick in a file cabinet. Nothing else worth doing with it I can think of at the moment.

    Really, life is pretty good at the moment. The smoke isn’t so bad from the raging wildfires. They’ve taken off the breathing alert so I’m not wearing my gasmask anymore. The market stabilized somewhat so my optimism has returned and I’m putting what little is left of my IRA account into Amazon… I’m reassured by the reports that Jeff Bezos is keeping his workers in slave-like conditions to minimize labor costs and getting the biggest bang for the unfortunate part of his billions that has to go to his employees. He’s the man to bet on in my book.

  5. goetzkluge says:

    As someone who doesn’t know anything about the artists behind Dismaland I think that this kind of art is what we deserve. The “moronic viewing audience explodes in laughter” because the laughter helps a bit to cope with helplessness and hopelessnes.

  6. trueoutsider says:

    Thomas Jefferson: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”

    H.L. Mencken: “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.”

    Mencken also said: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    These quotes all apply to the current art world, as you note. The art is form-fitted to contemporary tastes. Some people want pretty colors and shapes and soothing landscapes and still lifes. Others want the wonderfully “outrageous”. My sense, though, is that the Duchampian nihilism has been increasingly markedly as when cultures decline they go in only one direction. They don’t reverse themselves. And the people in those culture become more brutal on the one hand and more apathetic on the other, so there’s some truth in your notion that the laughter is a coping mechanism. But I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

    Then would we also say that laughing at minorities being beaten by police in the American ghettoes are employing coping mechanisms for feelings of helplessness? Perhaps. But it’s not a very healthy way to cope with those feelings. When Jon Stewart and his audience are laughing at someone being tasered by a policeman it should be kept in mind tasers have caused any number of deaths. If the person had a heart condition he’d have been another police statistic, the kind the liberal types like Stewart now seem so upset by. Personally I think people like Stewart could care less, as what are they doing to actively oppose it exactly? is the way to deal with police violence and the kind of nightmarish society we’ve turned into to make jokes about it?

    I’ve heard a lot of people make this argument… If we ridicule the fascist types with our humor they’ll wither away from sheer humiliation. Too bad the Italians under Mussolini or Spanish under Franco didn’t try that. Are we turning into a corporate fascist type police state? Signs are pretty clear to me if to nobody else. And I think they aren’t clear to anybody else because they’re all dealing with their helplessness by laughing at Stewart type comedians.

    What I see is a widespread indifference or numbing to violence of all types, I think much of it brought on by all-pervasive violence on TV, movies and newsmedia that Stewart and the like are very much a part of and should be held responsible for. I’d suggest viewing the movie Nightcrawler. That is a close examination of the kind of people bringing us this disaster footage, as well as the economic motive driving them. At this point I believe people aren’t so much indifferent to it as addicted to it on a neurological level.

    I find it hard to think of people laughing at the residents of poor neighborhoods being beaten by police a coping mechanism. I was sitting with my Uncle watching footage of the the Democratic National Convention in 1968 where blood was running down the heads of kids being beaten senseless by Daley’s Chicago police. He was laughing uproariously. I think a lot of the laughter in Stewart’s audience was of that type, and if it’s a way of coping with hopelessness I don’t think it’s a very healthy one. And so I don’t view what Stewart is doing as a useful steam valve for people who are anxious. It’s on the order of desensitizing them to brutality so that when they see police beatings in other contexts they might even think it funny depending on who is getting the beating and who is giving it.

    Am I totally crazy? I certainly begin to think that I am. I recall all the cheers and exultation as the bombs tore the homes of the people of Baghdad to shreds along with their inhabitants. Is that the appropriate reaction? As if it was a football game? That’s not total detachment from the pain and suffering from others? Keep in mind that these were people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the WTC bombings, nor did they have WMD. And America’s version is that we were liberating them from an evil dictator? I don’t think so. But it must have been reassuring for the Iraqi parents digging their children out of the rubble the next morning to have known that. Just like half a million of them dying under Clinton’s sanctions was worth it to Madeleine Albright since it was keeping Saddam in check. A little callous, perhaps? A bit detached from the pain and suffering of innocent people you’re murdering?

    Anyway, Goetz, I appreciate the thoughtful comments. And I take it into consideration that there are benevolent aspects to comics helping people dealing with their helplessness and hopelessness. I only wish there were a few people outside the Universal Comedy Forum helping them to get a better grasp of reality.

  7. shep says:

    Yeah, The Clintons and Albright. Pieces of Shit. Justifying killing of 500,00 children, can u imagine! I assume they are christians? I wish a big giant bird would fly over and crap in his gaping mouth as he accepts the adulation of his poison speech admirers. The trio are sick pests.

  8. trueoutsider says:

    My opinion, not that it matters to anybody as nobody listens to a word I say or takes anything I say seriously, is that the Clintons, Albrights, Banskys, Trumps and so on are certifiably insane. I think the mast majority of Americans should be under serious psychiatric care instead of self-medicating with God knows what kind of concoction of prescription medication.

    Mike Huckabee, a devout follower of Jesus Christ, is wandering around Jerusalem appealing to his base by giving the green light to Israel to ethnic cleansing of any Palestinian land their care to take possession of. Why? Because it’s necessary for the temple to be restored to bring on Armageddon and return of Jesus Christ.

    So, yes, totally religious fanatics and maniacs are are serious Presidential material on the Republican side, as Ronnie R believed all this as well or at least said he did. Who knows what anybody in this country actually believes. Perhaps Ronnie was just reading whatever script handed to him just as he had read whatever his sponsors at GE told him to read or his Hollywood directors told him. Recall this is President who thought he fought in World War II as he rambled on at Bitburg. Also recall that there was little to no differentiation between his usual performance and when it was finally announced he had Alzheimers. His answers to the Committee investigating Iran/Contra were invariably I don’t recall a damn thing. Some people thought he was obfuscating. But I’m convinced he was totally Alzheimers and had little to no idea what Casey and North had concocted.

    And the American people could have cared less about Iran Contra although it amounted to a miltary coup as the CIA and military were acting entirely in violation of a Congress law and the President hadn’t a clue to anything happening around him. But who gives a shit, really? He still sounds good and his hair is holding up well. All cheer and bonhomie as always. We’re happy to have Generals running the country anyway. Draft Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, Petraeus…

    What does all this have to do with art? Art is to turn everyone’s brains to mush wandering around Dismaland picking their noses and farting while Guardian critics tell them they’re seeing works of real genius. The rest of art is to be “beautiful” and bring on transcendental spiritual experiences of color rapture.

    I guess I’m just a terrible cynic, somewhere along the lines of Karl Marx. Of course I share none of Marx’s optimism about some kind of revolution of the proles. What? Led by Banksy and Johnny Rotten in England? The successors of those great revolutionaries Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith?

    Chrissie and the Pretenders… note the audience of enthralled revolutionaries… With strings no less! We’re almost there, Freedom Fighters!:

    Here’s Ron Paul backed by Chrissie:

    Yeah… any day now. I can’t wait… Maybe Jay Z and Marina can reunite for another rendition of Picasso Baby. How can we fail with the avant-garde forging the way??!?!

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