A couple of entertainers. Anybody recognize them?
Continuing along from Eric’s comment to my last post “Who is the Stupidest?” I want to extemporize on his remark: “Warhol pretends to be completely superficial in the hopes we assume it signifies underlying brilliance, but ends up sounding stupid and boring.” This is for me a key question. Is Warhol pretending to be stupid or is he genuinely stupid. I believe the latter is the case. Is Warhol a moron (as Gore Vidal asserted in a slighting comment “Warhol is the first genius I ever met with an IQ of 60”, not to mention de Kooning’s slighting reference to him as Andy Asshole) or Rothko (as recounted in the bio when being introduced to Warhol turned on his heel and walked off in the other direction) ? I don’t seen any evidence whatsoever that Warhol was pretending to be stupid. The evidence is all to the contrary.
If one wants to see him as possessing genius is would be that he was smart enough to realize that his stupid (as in stupor-inducing) work and “ideas” were perfectly suited to the art world of the 1960s and forward. In other words, he was the first artist to fully realize, as the reception to his work proved the case, that the hour of the Stupid Artist had arrived.
We might say that Andy was the first artist to capitalize on what thousands of artists in the “fine art” world would capitalize upon in his wake. Banality, infantilism, decadent sex content and so on would replace the kind of serious content that characterized Western Art prior to the ascension of the American businessman collector class. Because it has to be recognized that we were not dealing with art connoisseurs in people like Robert Scull and the numerous investors who sensed there were truckloads of cash to be made on the pop and op and be-bop coming out of NYC alongside Warhol, as the “serious” Abstract Expressionists with their “intellectual” content (such as it was… ie., the pseudo-intellectualism of Greenberg and company) were being being pensioned off with God-like status to their Clyfford Still Museum and Rothko Chapel Valhallas.
Are “artists” like Koons, Hirst, Prince, Baldessari, Nauman, etc genuinely not very bright people? I find it patently obvious watching video material or reading their interviews. There’s nothing put on about Richard Princes’ dumb work and dumb actions (giving back Ivanka Trump his share of the money she paid for one of his dopey paintings). As Warhol himself said, “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” (1967 interview with Kynaston McShine) in the Warhol retrospective MoMA catalog. The real question is why do so many people calling themselves artists believe in all this malarkey.
Why do the artists of today think that Keith Haring and Susan Rothenberg and Julian Schnabel bear more than the vaguest resemblance to real artists like Van Gogh, Courbet and Lautrec? It’s patently obvious to anyone who gives five minutes thought to it that the comparing David Hockney to Ingres is ludicrous. I saw a show of Hockney late watercolor paintings next to a show that featured artists like Girton, Turner and other great watercolorists and Hockney’s work was laughable in comparison. Were the curators aware of what they were doing by juxtaposing the greatness of old master artists vs. the magazine illustration weightlessness of Hockney and Company? I’d be surprised if they weren’t.
Yet nobody says anything. Or perhaps in whispers off stage and sotto voce. But why not admit that the whole thing is absurd?
Take Truman Capote’s remark that Warhol was a sphinx without a secret. That goes for the lot of them right down the line. There are no profound thoughts or social or psychological insights whatsoever in the work of these various “contemporary masters.” Banality and boredom are the very essence of it all. Often combined with simplistic politically correct liberal messages.
Pull up some videos of hundreds or even thousands of other actual thinkers, as opposed to “art thinkers”. I’ll post one at the bottom to serve as a juxtaposition with Andy. Or if not Andy, contrast actual thinking to the kind of spaced-out vague ( and invariably self-promoting) nonsense that Bruce Nauman is talking in the rare instances one can even find him talking.
Or read the summary below of what a Rauschenberg interview with Dave Hickey amounts to. Pure self-promotion having nothing to do with anything whatsoever outside of Rauschenberg and his magic circle of Twombly, Duchamp, Johns, etc. Art for art’s sake totally divorced from the real world. And who in the actual world, pray tell, particularly in the crisis situation we face on all fronts, has the slightest interest in anything that any of these buffoons thought or made outside of the insular self-admiring echo chamber of the con art world?
Read through the description of Rauschenberg’s various stunts and superficial “events” and see just how much you think it compares to any artist of the past whose work hangs in Art Museums, to the extent they’re even trying to maintain their traditional roles of protecting the cultural works of past civilizations, not only that of the West.
And yet the art world goes on spinning and spinning like a mad dervish with every kind of witless entertainment spectacle as if there is some deep meaning or significance to any of it outside of total cynicism and destructive avant-garde nihilistic antics that are intended to delight the global monied class building underground bunkers to horde their wealth in against the coming collapse.
What it all amounts to is a combination of utter stupidity and complete madness. That’s how I see it anyway. It’s somewhat astonishing to me at this point that no other artists see it this way, as their complete silence on matters of utmost seriousness and consequence is hard not to recognize.
Here’s a podcast of a couple people who are thinking about reality, something that art world people are resolutely opposed to as they insist on living in a world of complete fantasy, all the while dreaming that miles of Robert Rauschenberg and Warhol silk-screened newspapers and slathered on paint will be lasting testaments to our glorious civilization. The only question that I find interesting is just how long they’re going to go on keeping up this absurd pretense while the world Kunstler and San Giorgio are describing in this podcast lurches into being.