As with my tracing back the roots of Postmodernism to Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s as it was illustrated in the crackpot writing of Clement Greenberg and further back to the Dadaists and Jarry, Duchamp being merely a packager of Lautreamont’s Pre-PostModernist plagiarism, the only way to understand PostModernist thinking at its root is to go back to the thinking of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Should one even be interested. I understand that few if any artists are, as none of the names are familiar anymore, much less their work or their thinking (for what that’s worth). At this point I can only take the comic view that has long been part of my character as I’m more of the Northern Renaissance temperament than the Southern. The grotesque and vulgar don’t alarm, and certainly don’t shock me. I can’t imagine who is being shocked other than three and four year olds. Although I imagine they take what’s on TV as normal behavior that they need to imitate.
Excuse me for not being shocked and amazed by soft core porn and people fornicating, but I went through pretty much the voyeuristic gamut as a young man about town in various American urban centers. Not that I’m jaded, mind you. Boredom is more the issue here. Is there anything new out there that is the least bit illuminating? It would be wonderful if some of the lovers of the schlock of the new would explain to me the powerful emotions and provocative thoughts they’re experiencing when entranced in these spectacles, not to mention the reasoned political discussions they engender. At least I might be able to cast a few humorous reflections on your reflections and so amuse myself in a way that the artworks themselves fail to do. This is what I mean by the term meaningless when I refer to Contemporary Art. As to Nietzsche’s role (and no, I am not blaming Herr Nietzsche any more than I am blaming Monsieur Duchamp or Bubblebrain Greenberg) this is not a personal vendetta. For personal vendettas, like Vladimir Putin’s KGB, I prefer slow acting nuclear isotopes delivered James Bond style at the point of my umbrella.
This is my own PostModern effort to be part of the general festivities and take my mind off the heat burning down the Southwest at the moment. Fortunately this is a fluke and no worries about the temps a dozen years into the future, as we PostModernists have better things to think about. Like the fact that Jay Z’s iconic status seems to be in danger. I’ll play the timeless video at the bottom here as for me, nobody said it like it was than my man, Jay Z. I hope we will recover from his momentary challenge by Spotify, whatever that is. Before going on to the boring stuff (a quote from Simon Blackburn’s Truth) I wanted to be the first to break it to my readers that Barry Gibb suffered child abuse. I begin to wonder if a prerequisite to being an artist these days is to suffer child abuse. I need to remember that when I write my memoirs.
And now something from a writer whose thoughts are organized into coherent sentences. I myself prefer my own circular perambulations as that’s my PostModern signature style. The point I’m making is that there is no point i’m making. Isn’t that what PostModernism is all about? At least Nietzsche had a few points to make back before Google and Microsoft and Facebook took over the mind of Mankind (as I can only speak for myself as I embody the American übermensch while I’m on my computer). Other than that I’m just a regular Joe q. Sixpack watching NASCAR races with the other deplorables, my close family relatives. Is anybody aware of when I’m joking and when I’m not? No. Of course not. But that’s ok. Simon will get to the bottom of the abyss.
TRUTH CHAPTER 4.1 by Simon Blackburn:
in the introduction I remarked that the saying “There are no facts, only interpretations” could serve as a motto for the relativist movement. It comes as late notes by Friedrich Nietzsche, probably the greatest figurehead for that tendency since Protagoras (ed: more on him later as he is the real culprit!) We jump to Nietzsche rather than following the historical course of ancient and modern skepticism, for several reasons. First Nietzsche, more than any philosopher from the nineteenth century or before, is still with us. He is currently the most influential of the great philosophers. It is an axiom of many academic schools and programmes that he has something supremely important to tell us about the truth. (my itals) He is the patron saint of postmodernism. But secondly the bewildering varieties of Nietzsche interpretations perfectly illustrate the battles of the last two chapters (see the last two chapters). He appears to put himself quite willfully (note: will to power nod) to put himself in the firing line for a self-refutation (after all, that’s what PoMO is all about to the extent that it’s about anything whatsoever) or the charge of sailing in Ishmael’s boat. (Moby Dick reference… spoiler alert:. no happy ending). And the interpretative problem is worse given that he entirely throws over the the sober conventions of philosophical writing. (seen any of that lately? If not, try picking up any art forum published since the 1960s) Reading him can feel like listening to a great drunken bellow (as with Robert Hughes or John Berger’s art writings) a huge gust of wind attempting to blow down ancient forests, (I think of my own writing as farting into a hurricane. it has no effect but it relieves the pressure building up in my bowels) including those that shelter the rest of us.
We’re sheltering in ancient forests being blown down by huge gusts of wind? There’s the price of trying to disentangle Nietzsche, one becomes entranced by the poetic possibilities disregarding the nagging demands of common sense and clear expository writing. Then again, you can go the extremes of Herr Wittgenstein and go just as further into ancient impenetrable forests of indecipherable epigrams, which are what epigrams are all about. But how much insight do they really shed in the hands of writers who, at bottom, really don’t believe in anything at all but their own huge gusts of wind. Like myself at the moment. Of course, I make no claims to being a writer or philosopher. I just scribble. Doodlings for the Dark Ages…. As nobody believes that drawings have any meaning whatsoever unless they can be subjected to books of interpretations of them. For me understanding what a drawing means is relatively simple. It’s not rocket science, like understanding what the art of Jay Z and Marina in the video means. Not to mention understanding the obvious intellectual brilliance of the enlightened assembled who buy and sell it.
Of course, the wax museum dummy and plagiarist extraordinaire Bob Dylan got the Nobel for Lit (this is why Dylan is so loved by PostModerns as plagiarism is the essence of the art form). While once again the black man, the real original Jay Z, is losing iconic status already. Anyway, I’m Chinese on my mother’s side, which is why my writing is so Confucian to ya.
“You make yourself art. It’s amazing!” I’ll say. The talent in that room is beyond anything around in the Sixties. Apatow. Piss Christ Man. The king of Conceptual Art Larry Weiner. This is a fundamental document. That list of artists in the credits at the end pretty much sum up the end of American culture. Anyone thinking there’s going to be a rebound needs to have their head examined. Of course the entire apparatus will remain in dumbshow silence from here to the financial collapse. Count on it.
And why not compare Jay Z, with his matter of fact lyrical pyrotechnics to this trite folkie bullshit. Get me my earplugs. At least Jaz Z is making some nice dance music and he has a pleasant voice and is far, far more personable than the self-absorbed Bob, with his pseudo-poetic sensitivities. Before he decided that playing the millionaire “outlaw” was where the bucks were. We’re all outlaws. Against the Man. Boo Trump!! Boo!!! Booo Comey!! Boo… oh yeah.. FBI are the good guys now. I forgot.
Lawrence Weiner. The heir of Duchamp. Who will replace Larry now that he’s prey to senile dementia, like the others. But we’ll have these great memories to sustain as the mountains are washed to the sea and the people are allowed to be free. Note the clarity of thought. Note the joint he’s smoking… That’s where the clear thoughts come from.
Like Larry I too wondered as a child about the big questions just as he did. Like what if Einstein and Madonna had a baby? Think about it. Every piece of art is posing that kind of question. And every day artists are coming up with some really fascinating answers. What if Duchamp and Lawrence Weiner had a baby with Lawrence Weiner being given an artificial womb with in vitro fertilization of Duchamp’s frozen seed. .. What would that be like I wonder. Elon Musk? Pee Wee Herman? Son of Frankenstein?
The Zen Masturbator. How did empty headed intellectual pretention become the entire content of Contemporary Art? Well, that’s the question I’ve answered time and time again with each blog post. But just keep on believing. Never let go of the belief in Contemporary Art, as what would you be without it, art stars? :