Silence

As far as God helping us, I find that certain things help staying in touch with him. And why should He help us as most of us ignore him around the clock. I don’t myself. But that’s just me.

For staying in touch I draw every day as I have for 60 years or so. A compulsive draftsman. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on top of all my other maladies, wouldn’t you know. Some of us are more cursed than others.

Also very little computer surfing. Doing a blog post and writing in my journals intermittently. Often sketching people at coffeeshops which I’ve done since the early 1980s, which is how I understand what is happening to people in this society better than those actually living in it, which I’m rarely doing.

It’s not good, friends. That’s all I’m saying here. Total Artificial Paradise. I apologize for adding to it here but hopefully it might have some tiny countereffect on the odd character. That’s the main reason I write. Ann odd character it’s had a large counter effect on is yours truly. Very odd. Almost eccentric. Eccentric artist? What ever happened to them? No doubt underground without access to a computer. I’m planning on joining them myself. Hard enough to type this up. Much less have to field comments from people of the caliber of intellect of Eric Wayne calling me an asshole, a maggot,  phony narcissist or whatever he was describing me as. An insane person? Well, sure. Why not? I’ve been called pretty much everything else. Insane Bart. Insane in the Membrane. I wrote that yesterday for Bob Dylan to sing. Bob the plagiarist turns out. But that’s PoMo Fo Yo. They don’t mention his plagiarizing Cartier Bresson photographs for his Gagosian show or wherever it was. You tell me for a change.

Anyway, this article came as a real shocker. I rolled my eyes when I read it:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/shortcuts/2017/jun/14/its-alright-ma-im-only-cheating-did-bob-dylan-crib-his-nobel-speech-from-sparknotes

Alas! Alack! The Great Bard a phony! Don’t tell me his ads for Victoria Principal bras was insincere! Where will it end? Noam Chomsky selling Men’s Hosiery? Nah. Noam always had integrity. Bob lost his when he decided to pretend to be an authentic Socialist and American hobo hero when he was a guy pretending to be Woody Guthrie.

Time loves a hero. But only time will tell. If he’s real he’s a angel from heaven. If he ain’t he’ was sent here from Hell. – Lowell George

Too bad nobody’s ever heard of Woody, though I can assure you he’d never get any award for his songwriting, much less a Nobel Prize. Although he deserved on. A real hero of min anyway. God Bless you, Woody Guthrie. Arlo? Too much pot and good times to be a great songwiter. But a nice kid nevertheless and a super lyrical storyteller. More Arlo, less Bob, and our generation might have done a hell of a lot better.

Sorry. There I go again. Like Jack Kerouac i’ve been poppin the Bennies. How else can I write On the Road… to Mandalay Bay.. way out Las Vegas Way… where they tested the nukes and ran the casinos that paid for it all. Now it’s time to pay it all back!?!?! But I’m in debt up to the eyeballs.

A little more silence in my busy mind actually goes a long way. … to keeping me at least somewhat sane. So I’ll turn it over to someone sensible to explain. Thich Nhat Hanh, the South Vietnamese Buddhist :

Our need to be filled up with one thing or another all the time is the collective disease of human beings in our era. And the marketplace is always ready to sell us every kind of product to fill ourselves up. Advertisers continually scare us into avoiding the supposedly pathetic situation of living life without this or that item. But many of the things we consume, both as edible food and as sensory impressions, have toxins in them. Just as we might feel worse after eating a whole bag of chips, we often feel so after we spend many hours on social media sites or playing video games. After we consume like that in an effort block out or cover up unpleasant feelings, somehow we only end up feeling even more loneliness and despair.   

Now I’ll go on blabbering away and you can tune out as Thich gave you the message to tune out. So tune out. Go out and draw, Junior. That’s how it’s done. And not on a computer.

I try to stay outside the cyberuniverse as much as possible. Particularly lately. Watch little TV. Of course that makes me a bore in social company as all that is being talked about is the in depth knowledge everyone has of where the Impeachment Proceedings are at the moment and expressing their deep thoughts about the shooting of a US Congressman in the working class suburb I grew up in of Alexandria, Virginia. We were so broke we didn’t even own a TV for a bit there.. And when we got one it was black and white and not that interesting. So I didn’t form the TV habit that everyone else is addicted by.

I don’t think of myself as morally elevated and above everyone else. Just not so much into it and a complete bore socially as I have little to add to conversations of how great the Broadway Musical Hamilton is as it really gets to what America is all about. Rap music and dancing, and not bothering to read much about who Alexander Hamilton really was. A lawyer and Big Time Wall Street guy. Made sure the working class stayed in their place. Shining his boots. Aaron Burr, a kind of gambler and hustler, with a penchant for running away from debts and threatening to sue whoever came after him. Another lawyer for you. Love those Lawyers. Donald Trump’s a gold mine for those guys. I guess. Not keeping track.

You can read a good book with the actual history of New York City included in it about H and B. A page turner. Not as exciting as Hamilton the Musical I imagine. Haven’t seen it yet. If I’m misjudging perhaps someone will straighten me out. The book is Duel with the Devil . I have a lot of books with Devil in the title. He interests me. What can I say? Way more exciting than God, who just sits in a cloud reaching out to touch Adam on the Sistine Ceiling. At least to most people in consumer heaven.

Next up, if I remember to pull a quote: The Devil’s Delusion. A Hell of a book and the atheist Fundamentalists Paul Rumsey loved so much, i.e. Sam Harris, Chris Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, come away with the short end of the stick. A longer version that dispels the delusions of the Fundamentalist Atheists is Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. A brilliant tour de force by one of the greatest writers on Comparative Religion who has ever lived. Unlike the Hitchens war mongering crowd, Karen Armstrong knows what she’s talking about. Small wonder Chris Hitchens would only debate if he was up against Al Sharpton on Chris Matthews rotten tomato of a show.

For you wits wanting to tell me I should practice what I’m preaching. I only stay silent during meditation, when I’m drawing. Other than when I’m interrupted when I go in and out to answer a question like: “Do you sell those in a gallery?” or “Are you ‘shrooming?” No I just naturally hallucinated on a piece of paper. Cheaper than buy LSD, which I’ve heard is pretty expensive today? You could get it by the handful at reasonable prices in certain locations back in the good old days. I’ve hallucinated since I was a kid. I thought everyone did. My son did anyway. He had an imaginary friend named Bobby Shake. Wonder if he remembers him.

Also I run my mouth to my wife and various other people driving them crazy. Most of them want to keep watching TV or read their smartphone news or tweet, which is more interesting than anything I can say to them.

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What Is Art?

Visions. Visions that come from the Sacred Universe and are translated by human beings into material form. No visions being translated by artists (as we started calling them toward the end of human history) no Sacred Universe.

A world filled with technology and material objects that have no meaning whatsoever outside of egotistical and narcissistic notions of what “art” is promoted by corporate owners of museums and galleries. Galleries are what, now? LLCs? Who knows? I don’t care what they are. Nor do I care about Galleries or anything in them.

I care about the visionary works that are in Museums. Without them humanity perishes in chaos and madness.

Visionaries today, like myself, the few of us that have survived the reign of atheism and technology and scientific materialism and so on are known as Chaotic Madmen, who need to be either drugged up or lobotomized or driven out of public sight in any way possible. By who else by the members of societies perfectly happy with all the Mod Cons… and I mean that last word in literal sense. It’s not short hand for conveniences. There are no conveniences. Only inconvenient truths that people on earth want nothing to do with.

Instead they’re stuffing their heads full of every Mad Con by any mad con artist who has a Beautiful Dream to sell them, at prices from a few bucks at the local coffeeshop to 100 million plus for a silkscreen electric chair…

Well, you guys think about it. Converse among yourselves. See what you come up with.

Hit Eric Wayne’s blog or Jerry Saltz or Tyler whatever his name is at Modern Art Notes or Natural Pigments forum where they tell you how to paint just like the Old Masters. I can’t wait for the next Rubens or Rembrandt to show up. … Or hmm… what else. MoMA site… Greatest art ever as far as the eye can see and the mind can boggle.

Cat still got everyone’s tongue? Is my writing too confusing? Too insane? Too brain fogged? Too ignorant about the clearly articulated writings great thinkers from Marcel Duchamp to Clement Greenberg to Roberta Smith to Robert Hughes about what art is and why today’s art is worth 100 plus million bucks for a silkscreen of an electric chair… one among tens of thousands of similar photo silkscreens untouched by human hands.

But it’s the seminal one… The Electric Chair where prisoners are executed with a dazzling Electro Shock that gives off one brilliant flash of illuminating light to the Criminal who we all agree, being judge, jury and executioner has to go to keep us all safe from the Dark Forces of Satan’s Armies of the Night.

But I don’t think that’s used any more. We use gentler methods that aren’t so shocking. Predator drones. Massive aerial bombardment. Nuclear weapons in reserve having shown their effectiveness in Japan. Flying Planes into buildings. Suicide bombers. Anything and everything that will halt the forces of Evil that threaten to destroy the planet.

Meanwhile, there’s always great art at the local galleries and museums that will help raise our consciousness onto a higher plane. That’s what art is meant to do. Hope there’s enough room in the Rothko Chapel, Matisse Chapel, Ellsworth Kelly Chapel and other chapels like the Museum of Modern Art to guide everyone to enlightenment so that we can bring on a new era of Peace, Love and Understanding.

Plus Bruce Nauman Videos and Paul McArthy sculptures of George Bush that will stop the Fascist Tyrants from destroying the land we love..

Yes. God help us all.

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As You Were. Carry On

Carry on! Love is coming! Love is coming to us all!
–Lyrics to famous Crosby, Stills and So On Hippie Love Generation Anthem

I have to give Freud credit for this one. He was right that the Oedipus Complex was real and it’d clearly alive and well in America. Of course we’re now at the Saturn eating his children stage as enough of these rebellious youth. We’ve got them tranked out on their computers and VR helmets and computer chatrooms and total brain death (more opiates for the people than they know what to do with.)

Anyone recall Oedipus? He kills his father and wants to you know what with his mother?  Homer wrote about Oedipus in the Oddyssey. He goes down into Limbo to fight the Black Snake of the Himalayas with Tintin. Gets back home after fighting bad guys for years  and every guy in town has been tryin’ to bang his wife. I know a couple of vets told me the same story. Women! You tell it, Brother Homer! Guys too! You cannot trust these people. Don’t trust anybody. As Pynchon said, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being followed.” Most likely someone from Homeland Security, which is pretty much anybody with a portable computer or smartphone.

Homer Freud the Boy Wonder… That’s the title of my latest graphic novel. You should read it. I wrote it down last night but lost it on the way to the Bay of Mandalay to put my money in the the wide open eyes and wide open hearts and wide open minds of the good people of Las Vegas. Last time I was there with Hunter Thompson things were weird. Now you don’t even need the LSD to have your mind blown, but your dick as well on any given streetcorner if you call the number on the handbill the homeless person without teeth is giving out up and down the strip. Or take a ride in Las Vegas. That’s where they used to test the atom bombs and we all watched in wonder. Nuclear Radiation? What’s that? Is it anything like the Global Warming that doesn’t exist?

But this isn’t the kind that normal people want to discuss. They’d rather just watch it day in and out on TV and laugh and laugh. Then put on their pink pussy hats, pick up their Black Lives Matters signs and head off to make it all go away. Can’t wait for Impeachment hearings. Trump resign like Nixon? Don’t count on it. He’s the Bill Clinton type. Both of them used to head down together with Kevin Spacey to boff willing sex partners on sex slave island.

But who cares if you’re a democrat. As long as Bill balanced the budget and bombed Yugoslavia into obedience and on and on and on. Hand off to Brother Obama. What was that Bill Maher said about his being a House Nigger? I thought that was a term that Cornel West reserved for Brother Obama.

Satire is no longer possible as art people are too moronic to know what you’re satirizing. Couldn’t possibly be them as they’re the great geniuses who find all of this human degradation so hilarious, illuminating and they are naturally against it, as the biggest monied collectors in the world pay them top dollar for being against it. It’s just great. But throw tomatoes at me. Ignore me. Call me a phony. Call me mentally ill. I’ve heard it all. Believe me it’s music to my ears at this point. At least I know I’m not normal, like you are.

First came the first Homer. Then came Homer Freud. Then came Homer Simpson. Then came  Bob “Homer” Dylan getting a Nobel Prize for providing the musical background for our Noble People who now rule the world with an iron fist belonging to Donald Trump. Good job Bob and the rest of the Peace Generation. I can’t imagine who else that could have pulled of a loss to Donald Trump other than the deeply hated Hillary calling Trump supporters degenerates. Has any person running for public office anywhere in history called half of the voters in an election degenerates? That kind of language was reserved for the artists opposing the Nazis during the Weimar period if anyone recalls.

Not that it matters. At least not to me. I quit. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of you anymore. And I could care less about hearing from any of you on this blog. Believe me. I’d say the lot of you should be ashamed of yourself. But narcissists don’t know the meaning of shame. Shame is for the lesser people living in squalor who should be ashamed of themselves for hanging around with signs and various mental illnesses you need to get out of the neighborhood so you can put up your next cool hipster coffeehouse complete with trendy high rises.

I haven’t seen any of the anarchist rebels wanting to overthrow the system doing much hanging around with the impoverished and homeless mentally ill either. You don’t want those kind of people showing up at OWS or it will bring down the cultural quality of the entire gathering, not to mention dampen sales of Banksy and Shephard Fairey t-shirts.

Guess what? I’ve given up hope that America has any future at all. Sue me. Why have I give up? Because for thirty or more years I’ve tried to talk to anyone I could about our senseless war policies. Our greed and myopia. Our treatment of the poor. Our lack of any political alternatives. And what has been the invariable response? And this response came at me in places from the Socialist In These Times to the ultra Liberal New York Review of Books. It was “Shut up! Who do you think you are exactly, asshole! You don’t even have a gallery you loser!?”

Frankly, I don’t think I’m anybody at all. I have no airs or pretense that my works ranks up there with the Old Guys. But I’m unwilling to stop trying to make the cut, like everyone else I meet in the arts. Like Townes van Zandt I’m just waitin around to die. But depressed? No I’m not depressed at all. Why should I be? We all have to die. Too bad so few people stop to think about this and what it will mean when their turn comes to do so and they have to look back on what they did with their lives. I feel ok with what I did with mine even though I am a “failed artist.”

It doesn’t bother me. I’m not envious of the big successes. Their work is crap and they don’t look all that happy. Why would I be envious? I never got into making art to become famous or anything of the kind. Doesn’t interest me. Unlike AbEx and so on I never had any interest in being in MoMA. I don’t like the work that’s in it all that much. Not a big Cézanne either. Ensor, Henri Rousseau, Grosz, Ernst, Delvaux. Modernism and all it’s flatness and broken up shapes and what not? Spare me. When I see that stuff, yeah I get depressed, just like the people who made it.

It works in music, as music is all limbic brain. Emotivism. That Dionysus stuff doesn’t work at all in fine art. Show me anyone in the past throwing paint around. Pollock talked about following the Native American sand painters. Why not the Tibetan Buddhist sand painters? Don’t make me laugh. What a farce. But keep on playacting it. Pretend it’s all some big breakthrough into some new era of deep human cosmic awareness.

Heres a beautiful tune.

Meanwhile the rest of you can sing along to this. And after that the Clinton Theme Song by that other great rock group of eternal youthful hopefulness… .that somehow never dies no matter how many walking corpses are the ones singing it. Like Bill and Hillary and their supporters.

A moment I’ll never forget … without wanting to throw up. But for you optimists all we need is to get through the impeachment of Trump. Getting rid of the Supreme Court and taking back both houses of Congress. On to the next election. I might suggest a few people talk some basic common sense, cut down on their consumer addictions, and Al Gore and Bill McKibben might stop jetting around the country talking a lot of horse manure that keeps them in plenty of money to pay for their plane tickets. But what the hell. Fantasy is better than reality, particularly when you get this kind of cultural glory along with it.:

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Sacred and Profane Art

True Outsider: “And I’ve yet to find a single artist who even questions this state of affairs, much less bothers to make any objections or to clarify for themselves what it is that makes something art.”

Eric Wayne:” It’s so weird that you keep insisting on this. I am sure there are thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of artists that question this shit all the time. The real question that occurs to me at this particular juncture is how many of those tens or hundreds of thousands of artists think they are the ONLY one, the “true outsider”? Bah! What grandstanding. What self-glorifying pomposity. There’s a whole army of artists on your side..”

Thanks for the comment Eric. I asked you when you made it to name me ten contemporary artists  you’re aware of who resemble me in any way, shape, or form. Naturally you haven’t since there aren’t any that I know of. And if I don’t know of them it’s quite certain that you wouldn’t either. However, I’m still awaiting you to name even one. I’ll be happy if instead of producing the hundreds of thousands of artists who are just like me and think themselves the ONE true outsider, you just name me one. Your comment is so absurd I begin to doubt your basic sanity.

This brings me to the issue of why you’ve been badgering me on my blog for the past few months with what can only be described as self-glorifying grandstanding.   It’s the same “pompous grandstanding” that I’ve been pointing out in all contemporary art. Go into the Museum of Modern Art or any other Contemporary Art Museum (as they’re all identical now). What else do you see in them but pompous grandstanding?

And as I’ve pointed out tirelessly for years, this all begins with Pollock and company, Greenberg, Duchamp, and succeeding generations of artists all modelling themselves on those artists successful methods of achieving worldwide fame and global domination. Conquering hearts and minds, so to speak, while our troops supply the firepower.  The Action Painters and Color Field painters of the 40s, 50s and onwards are the very definition of pompous grandstanding in art. Who else would fill up miles of canvas with little to nothing whatsoever that speaks of anything other than their own individual egos? Look at Titian, Tintoretto, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Turner if you want to see the kind of artistic vision and talent to pull that off with anything remotely convincing.  Those artists are not bombastically proclaiming their own selfish egotism. They aren’t Selfie Artists. (see below)

Jasper Johns and Bruce Nauman? How is that remotely connected to the real artists I just named. All your blog amounts to is Nihilistic verbal masturbation and self-promotion. So kindly lay off charging me with doing exactly what you are so I don’t have to spend time clarifying what should be perfectly obvious to any reader. That what I’m saying is perfectly obvious is why I have few to no readers and that is something that doesn’t concern me in the least. All that concerns me is finding out the truth and reporting here on what I find to be the truth. I’ve done nothing over the years so much as request that if anyone find what I’m writing to be wrong or false or off-base or unfair I am willing to rescind whatever it is they reveal as a false statement. But I’m going to need more evidence than somebody spouting off of me that they LOVE that artists work and how dare a fraud like me say he’s a fraud.

In fact, anyone who is accusing me of being a fraud is an obvious fraud themselves. Just like you the minute I respond they run off to the hills with their tails between their legs because they’re too cowardly to back up their charge that I’m a fraud. This doesn’t make me mad. I just find it annoying. I don’t expect people to be heroes. I’m not asking for some kind of fisticuffs or verbal combat. If anyone wants to have some civil exchange where they want to refute anything I see as true I’d love to hear it. In fact, I’d far rather not think that we’re awash in Greenberg’s and Duchamp’s fraudulent notions but it’s an unavoidable fact as far as I can tell.

The only reason I write the blog is to try to address the moral quandary we are in, where artists with any sense of deep moral purpose are entirely excluded from participation in the art world. Where art has been entirely defined as something pretty or thought provoking. Something that provides a bit of a laugh and finger in the eye or mustache on the face of the Mona Lisa. Something that, as Matisse worked so hard to do, provides a nice comfortable armchair for the tired businessman. Matisse is the worst painter who ever lived. I’d rather look at the work below any day of the week than the phony Matisse and his beautiful lines. The guy never learned to draw from day one. An absolute bungler. Worse than Cezanne. Yet, in the Barnum and Bailey circus of 20th century art he becomes the glory of the age.

Our own Michelangelo. Here. Somebody tell me how great this is while keeping a straight face. Most people would pass on this if they were shopping for a shower curtain. But let’s just pretend it’s a colossal achievement that the Ancient Greeks themselves could never have achieved. And that there isn’t an artist out there who can admit to just what a mentally defective notion of art this dimwitted thing actually amounts to? No. We’re not a collapsing culture. We’re at the apex. It’s all up from here. Frank Stella has shown the way. He said so himself. Try reading Stella’s Working Space if you really want to read the words of a deranged person who is even more out of touch than the senile Matisse :

 

It’s a direct line from Matisse to the work below. We are descending into cultural oblivion with no artists willing to say a single word that might have us change course. That is why I say there are no more real artists. Anybody who was really an artist would never sit back and allow this to happen without uttering a single word about why it’s happening. Who started the descent. And how the only way for it to stop happening is to entirely reject the work that has been proclaimed the greatest art of all time by the Museum of Modern Art.

Thus spake Zarathustra. Nietzsche predicted this to happen. Just like Duchamp. They also were among many influential “thinkers”  who provided the key instruments that insured we went into the abyss.

And I’m not talking about artists posting comments to me. Or raising the battlecry on this blog. I’m talking about them thinking about it to themselves. Talking to others. Spreading the word in places other than the imbecilic inferno of psycho-cyberspace.

 

 

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The Anti-Modernist

To continue my relentless examination of the current stage of degradation:

https://firstclasse.com.my/a-look-at-jared-kushner-and-ivanka-trumps-art-collection/

Yes, of course. I understand. No comment. Best not to. Best to just keep moving forward.  The works in Ivanka and Jared’s collection are an aberration. It’s an odd coincidence that their tastes in art are an exact fit for the rest of the other art collectors shopping at Saatchi/Gagosian Inc.

No comment, right? Baffling to me as well… Like everyone else I have no idea what any of it means. Fortunately the NY Times article helps:

For those too lazy to read the entire article I’ll pick out two quotes :

Wendy, an art adviser based in London, who was formerly the international head of 19th-century European art at Christie’s,  said….

“The issue is that this period is just not sexy any more. So many collectors have moved through Impressionism and now over to contemporary.”

Over to contemporary? I’m glad she avoided the cliché “on to contemporary”… Although I  would have preferred the more direct, “So many collectors have moved through Impression downward into the rotten fruit cellar of Contemporary Art.” Who can blame them, really. As we all know, that’s where the money is and after all art is a business. So it’s gotta be taken seriously and only serious art need apply from now on in.

Let the business men handle it. They know what it’s all about. They’ll tell you what to make by buying the stuff they like. Your job is to make the stuff they like. Nice and simple.

Howard, a New York dealer who specializes in traditionalist art, said….

“It’s anemic.” He remembered the Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions in London in the 1980s and ’90s, which regularly offered 300 paintings from the 19th century. “There’s a domino effect. People see high levels of unsold lots and it becomes difficult to attract works that can carry the market. Where have all the paintings gone?”

There you have it. Traditionalist Art?!?!? Never heard of it. But I don’t like the sound of it. I’m not into traditions. I’m even bored with the latest ap already. Paintings? What are those? Oh, yeah, that’s what artists make on their computers, like David Hockney. It’s way way advanced over painting! Like Dave said, the Old Masters cheated by using “optical devices”. So it isn’t cheating to use computers today. If Rembrandt were alive today he would have painted The Night Watch on it rather than using the old fashioned optical device he was hamstrung by.

Anyway, I’m gonna stick with New Contempo as that’s where the collectors are now. And I want to get their attention with my pompous grandstanding.

Like Lisa and John Yuksavage Currin. As a preview my new art criticism that I hope you will like it and it will make you think about art and the possibilities of art selling to the people who like art the most. The collectors.. And where it might sell best.

The first thing, as Lisa Yuksavage demonstrates in the Times piece above, is to make it wildly inventive, cool pastel colors that are tasteful in the way of the latest Katy Perry video. And Super Sexy.  That appeals to the folks of today. Plus the shock of the New that never gets Old, which would make it too traditional.

Unfortunately I’m not as enthusiastic about Lisa’s newer work as I am about her old work, which is quite ironic, don’t you think?  I prefer the way she painted breasts in her early work. Her classic period. My expectation is that the early work will hold it’s value much better than her later work, even though the late stuff is much better painted. It’s far too well painted to be really authentically felt like her early work. And all of John Currin’s work. John feels it deeply. I can tell even in the digital image below.  In my mind John Currin’s “big tit paintings” (as I believe the critics refer to that particular period) are more satisfying than Lisa’s on a visceral level. The visceral level is where real art hits you. Plus his work is quite political. He’s against Radical Islam. Good. Somebody has to say it, right!?

As John said, when explaining how his later full on porn paintings were fighting the battle against radical Islam.”It’s definitely possible to be better than I am. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to be better than I am, but I hope so. I want to get better.” You bet. Plus show those ayatollah’s what it means to live in a free society and have great artistic masterpieces like the one below in our Art Museums.

Let’s look at an early Lisa so that you can see that my criticism of her handling of breasts is on target and not just being a white male chauvinist pig who always things men do a better job of painting breasts than women do. And don’t get me wrong. Lisa’s stuff is great. And I have never said that  a male artist is better and painting boobs than a female artist. And I will never say that because I don’t believe it. I don’t believe anything about art. So why would I believe that? I think all kinds of things about it and that’s what I’m saying. And then I think different things and that’s how art is able to move forward. People thinking new thoughts that are never like the old thoughts, which are pretty stale at this point.

OK? To be clear, and so there aren’t any misunderstandings. I think there are also women artists who paint better breasts than John Currin. Just not as big. And big is important in Art, as the Abstract Expressionists,  Richard Serra, Paul McArthy and so many other great ones have made more than clear. Males are better at bigness. Or projecting bigness which is pretty much the same thing. Art is perception and vice versa. And it’s a matter of taste and I’m the one who has the best taste as I’m a real artist! Just like everyone else. I have a degree and everything.

I’m not saying my taste is better than yours. Some of you might have a different opinion, so I am keeping an open mind. If you think Lisa’s painting is better than John’s let’s get into it a bit here. That’s the entire point of art criticism. You establish what is the best work by explaining why one thing is better than another and then everyone votes on it and the person who has the most money to afford it decides.

Well. I could say more but the main thing is how much greater this new art is from the old art how it was back in the old art i mean when they didn’t dress that cool and were pretty smelly and rude. I’ll be the Impressionists didn’t even change their underwear! Or know who Calvin Klein was or wore Armani like Jean-Michel Basquiat. Plus they were against the common man! They were stuck up, man, and didn’t know how to party like John and Lisa do, plus John and Lisa and the other New Artists are hip business guys and know that business guys are pretty hip too once you get to know them and you find out that they’re just regular guys like you and have yachts and things that you like too. Can you imagine trying to party with a guy like Vincent van Gogh?  Boring guy. Boring Work. Exciting guys. Exciting work. That’s the rule. Oh yea. I forgot! Ladies too! They’re just as exciting as the guys any day of the week.

Hey. I hope you guys are finding some cool things to copy and make them more contemporary to fit into the tastes of today.  I think this guy Paul Rumsey is doing some great new innovative stuff. Penises in a skull. There’s a combination that is really shocking and both penises and skulls are timeless themes that when juxtapozed like this boldly bring out entirely new and more provocative meanings. Plus it’s a lot more newer than women’s breasts and allows the objection of the male body more so that it shows he isn’t a sexist. And he’s also against Islamofascism and for women’s rights and against anti-Semitism. You can’t tell so much from the work except when it’s deconstructed by talking to him like I did a while back. As to what he’s saying in the work, I’m still a little vague on that. Perhaps some of the more informed and thinking artists out there can give me an explanation. Or if they don’t know they can give me some guesses? Anything? A starting point at least? Yes. You’re right. I admit it. I’m way behind the times. I’ve let myself fall behind in the new idea department as I haven’t had any new ideas since I was in the 6th grade.

Posted in Post-Contemporary Art | Leave a comment

Ten Years of Round the Clock Therapy Won’t Cure PostModern Thinking

(FILES) Photo taken 13 November 2001 in Paris shows French philosopher and sociologue Jean Baudrillard posing. Baudrillard died 06 March 2007 in Paris according to his entourage. The author of around 50 books, Baudrillard was one of the most influential post-modern thinkers, renowned for his criticism of the consumer society. AFP PHOTO ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Jean’s last name translated into English is “blowhard.” The photo gives me a good idea though. For my next few posts I need to take a Selfie holding an unlit cigarette in front of a corner of my library shelves.  That’s pretty much all it takes for people to take whatever gibberish anyone spouts with utmost seriousness. The Selfie with library books is essential. No great intellectual figure is complete without a Jean Blowhard-style Selfie. Of course the other ingredient is to talk total bullshit day in and out, something I’m incapable of doing. That’s the reason I’ve never been allowed to teach art. Talking total bullshit is mandatory.

OK… enough jawboning, guys. On with the post:

For some odd reason I’ve yet to understand the mechanism of, but let’s just call it synchronicity for old Jung’s sake, whenever I happen to be thinking deeply (like Jean Baudrillard except minus the bullshit)  I invariably stumble across an insight in line with my own thinking.  The insight is never in the same location, but scattered across hundreds of books or articles I habitually pore over in my obsessively compulsive manner. Oddly, and with uncanny accuracy I happen to open the books or articles right to the exact spot where I receive a striking illumination.

This, of course, is a confirmation to many of the shrinks I’ve consulted for a few sessions before realizing that they’re hopeless imbeciles, that I have some kind of untreatable bipolar disorder, Asperberger’s syndrome, acute anxiety disorder or what have you. All which require medications up the wazoo, which I’ve always politely decline at first. Needing to eventually tell them to fuck off, symbolically of course as I just tell them I won’t be needing whatever services they think they might be providing people. Guys like Mark Rothko were into this, which is as good explanation as any of why they’re painting stunk to high heaven. And the pharmaceutical fog that most artists today, along with coke highs and whatever else they shove into their mouths is the explanation for why the other paintings stink even worse than Rothko’s.

In my delusional state I also consider the Internet the Source of all Evil and run by Satan, but every once in a while there are some illuminating things found on it as well. In this instance, it’s a remark I ran  across it on the Dark Ages America blog where Morris Berman ventured the opinion that serves as the title of this blogpost. The exchange runs as follows:

Cel Ray Tonic said….

A good article here (some of it relating to our Po-Mo discussion earlier):

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Teaching-Humility-in-an-Age-of/240266

“Our cultural embrace of epistemic or intellectual arrogance is the result of a toxic mix of technology, psychology, and ideology.”

And from earlier in the article, “One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency or overestimate our knowledge of how the world works. Most of us know what it’s like to think we remember more from high-school physics or history than we actually do. As the cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach have detailed recently, such overestimation extends farther than you might think: Ask yourself whether you can really explain how a toilet or a zipper works, and you may find yourself surprisingly stumped. You assume you know how things work when you often don’t know at all.”

Morris Berman said…

Personally, I think pomos need 10 yrs of round-the-clock therapy; altho I don’t think it wd work. But again, speaking as a declinist, I’m opposed to Americans developing any type of wisdom or humility. What we need is arrogance and more arrogance, and I have a feeling we’re going to get it!

True Outsider adds….

I’m also a declinist, although there are many differences I have with Prof. Berman’s point of view other than that. Declinist means, in Berman’s vernacular, somebody who believes that the US is undergoing a permanent and irreversible decline that has been picking up speed since the beginning of the Obama Administration. This resulted from Obama’s absolute failure to address in any substantive way at all the widening problems brought about by the collapse of the Wall Street just prior to his election.

Frankly, I don’t see how anyone with even rudimentary rational abilities and critical thinking skills can argue with the case Berman makes. My reason and critical thinking skills are hardly of the caliber of the Ivy League intellectuals so all I can do is try my best. Being  an inarticulate and generally insane (as proclaimed by the psychiatric community in America), not to mention being a visionary artist (which in my insanity I consider myself to be) I have very little to no use for reason or critical thinking when I’m making a drawing.  Reason and artmaking do not mix. If they ever come together the results are invariably disastrous. Take, as sterling examples, Duchamp, Greenberg and their million acolyte global armies of Postmodern Artists.

All I can do is stand in front of the steady stream of excited lemmings waving their PostModernist theories and hurtling themselves off the cliff as soon as the generation before them has gotten out of their way by leaping into the abyss themselves.

Nietzsche was quite right. “If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” I even did a little artist’s book that is all about this called Sailing Into Oblivion. This was made back before, after and during  9/11 alongside another book I made called Memories of the End of the World. But did anyone look, much less listen? I’ve been speaking as a declinist since the early 1970s. My attack against GreenbergDuchamp the year I entered art school in 1972 is no different in any way whatsoever than it was the first year I entered art school. This is the reason when I was in art school I lived in poor all white neighborhoods initially before moving to a poor all black neighborhood. One thing I like about poor people is they by and large agree with you when you tell them the country has entered a state of permanent and irreversible decline.

All that’s happened since 1972, from my perspective,  is that my analysis and predictions were one hundred percent accurate. I’ve watched helplessly as they’ve played out inexorably within the rotten art world system that was cemented in place in New York City before I’d even been born. I long ago gave up the hope of persuading anybody at all about anything at all. They aren’t going to listen to somebody who doesn’t have a huge personal fortune or a list of degrees after their name or world wide fame and recognition. How many people do you know go up to a homeless person with a sign asking for money and ask him what he thinks of the current state of affairs? I have a habit of doing it from time to time and have invariably found they have a far better grasp of it than anybody the lemming masses go to for insight and advice. Namely, their television set or its portable version, their computer.

With the kind of critical thinking employed by virtually all of our news organizations and TV media, along with their fair, balanced, and politically neutral coverage, it appears to me that we’ve moved from Sailing Into Oblivion to heading there in a speedboat named Trump, Inc.

Let’s take a listen to Sun Ra’s It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet? as I hate to end on a down note. I saw Sonny Blount and company perform this on a number of occasions. Sonny changed my life.

Posted in Art and Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Fine Art of Hate

Above: Francis Bacon’s pathetically inept imitation of a Diego Velazquez painting from the 17th century. Corny mock-horror taken as the fruit of artistic genius by people who didn’t know any better, not being familiar with the paintings of the real Velazquez. Bacon is one of the cornerstones of Postmodernist fakery. Seldom has pompous grandiosity said so little while at the same time achieving so little. The astounding thing about this as Bacon and all of Modernism have actually been taken to be the proof of Progress in Art. From the Spanish Golden Age to Keith Haring, what we see around us is the fruit of the steady progress from art’s primitive past into its glorious present.

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”-Philip K. Dick

D: What is reality?
B: Reality must always be real. It has no names or forms but is what underlies them. It underlies all limitations, being itself limitless. It is not bound in any way. It underlies unrealities, being itself Real. It is that which is. It is as it is. It transcends speech and is beyond description such as being or non-being.”

D: Do Buddhists deny the world whereas Hindu philosophy admits its existence but calls it unreal, isn’t that so?
B: It is only a difference of point of view.
D: They say that the world is created by Divine Energy. Is the knowledge of unreality due to the veiling by illusion?
B: All admit creation by the Divine Energy, but what is the nature of this energy? It must be in conformity with the nature of its creation.
D: Are there degrees of illusion?
B: Illusion itself is illusory. It must be seen by somebody outside it, but how can such a seer be subject to it?
So, how can he speak of degrees of it? – Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

The wisdom and mysticism of the East have, therefore, very much to say to us, even when they speak their own inimitable language. They serve to remind us that we in our culture possess something similar, which we have already forgotten, and to direct our attention to the fate of the inner man, which we set aside as trifling.- C. G. Jung

The difficulty of grasping “shamanism” lies not so much in the concept itself in the gaze of those who use it. The academic analysis of shamanism will always be the rational study of the nonrational–in other words, a self-contradictory proposition or a cul-de-sac. – Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

In his book, After Virtue, philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the present cultural moment to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. He argued that the West had abandoned reason and the tradition of the virtues in giving itself over to the relativism that is now flooding our world today. We are governed by what MacIntyre called emotivism: the idea that all moral choices are nothing more than expressions of what the choosing individual feels is right.
MacIntyre said that a society that governed itself according to emotivist principles would look a lot like the modern West, in which the liberation of the individual’s will is thought to be the greatest good. A virtuous society, by contrast, is one that shares belief in objective moral goods and the practices necessary for human beings to embody those goods in community. – Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option

Emotivism is the religion of Postmodernism, which is little more than another word for Solipsism. Solipsism = the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. The fashionable PoMo that first took hold in Paris before its total conquest of art programs in American universities is an updating of Descartes’ crackpot notions about reality.  Another name for Postmodernism is Nihilism. The Pseudo-Poetics of Nihilism. Postmodernism’s singular concern is with meaningless linguistic games that when comprehensible are no more than ordinary insights a teenage kid would have. The incomprehensible part is the 90 percent of it ground out in Ivy League universities by a lot bullshitters who no doubt randomly cut and paste snippets from the internet without bothering to provide any context whatsoever.

Friedrich Nietzsche, with his similarly convoluted and unconvincing philology depicted Christianity as nothing more than a linguistic hoax. It’s written out tediously in Beyond and Good Evil . Within a few years, Nietzshe turns to spewing out incomprehensible gibberish that is what sets the pattern for philosophy of the PostModern variety.  Small wonder that the absurd philosophy of Nietzsche has led not only to the absurdities of PostModernism, not to mention their great appeal for psychopaths with delusions of omnipotence like Hitler. Clearly the primary architects of early Postmodernism had psychopathic characteristics, as Louis Menand characterizes Paul de Man in the pages of the New Yorker.

It’s a rare event in a periodical like the New Yorker to have another academic, particularly one of de Man’s stature, referred to as a psychopath. And de Man is hardly atypical compared to the delusions of grandeur his fellow Deconstructions possessed.

At any rate, being a PostModernist myself (at least when I write my blog if not in my artwork), I’m just making all this shit up off the top of my head. Perhaps some Yale grad or a student of Harold Bloom can correct everything I’m writing in Deconstructionist prose.

The following  passage from Nietzsche’s Human, All too Human is an example of how he was the model for the convoluted and unconvincing writing of those to follow (e.g., Lacan, Derrida, Baudrillard, Foucault and fifty thousand others all saying exactly the same thing. Nothing. Friedrich the Great’s pseudo-poetic language set the protoype for the mentally deranged style of writing of the PoMo MoMA-ites. It was, of course, given added fascination due to the convolutions going on in syphilis-riddle brain. Hey. That’s what I’ve read anyway, in the history books. Same disease that got Al Capone. I’m still hoping for Al’s late philosophical works to be deconstructed by the latest graduates in Literary Theory at Harvard.

Christianity as antiquity.– When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed – whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions – is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross — how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed?

Nietzsche ridiculous recounting of the story of Christ reads more like venomous rage by someone at the local asylum than it does reasoned philosophical thought. And little else he wrote gives me any reason to think his writing was little more than impotent rage at the academicians of the time who rejected his deranged thinking. Plus Richard Wagner and other artistic geniuses stealing Zarathustra’s Thunder from on High. Of course, in the deranged 20th Century of the Zarathustrian Modernistists (see Clyfford Still)  that kind of muddled thinking would naturally have become all the rage. The Theosophists were a bit more cool headed, though equally boring when it comes down to having to look at their paintings.

Heres’a  typically unenlightening Nietzschean “aphorism” from The Birth of Tragedy:

Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life’s nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in “another” or “better” life.

I particularly appreciate all the commas. Makes it hard to rush through it, missing all the subtle thinking.

While this description bears no resemblance to Christianity it strikes me as a rather perfect summation description of Nietzche-inanity. To wit, his complete disgust with the human being, who must be transcended by the übermensch, a figure who (surprise surprise) turned out to have great appeal to life-loving people like the Nazis, Stalinists, Leopold and Loeb,  as well as PostModernists with their striking academic joie de vivre. Is this a comparison between PostModernists and Nazis? (just making sure you’re actually reading the text and not imagining things… that means you, Eric).

Nietzsche has great appeal to all kinds of power hungry people. Try reading Will to Power. Francis Bacon was a big fan. You get the idea. Christianity is about Loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Nietzsche appeals to those who are itching to invade Poland, invade the Middle East, or take over the entire University systems Humanities departments.

Much like Hitchens and Dawkins with their fundamentalists atheism, morality is one of those things that gets in the way of having to follow naive rules like the Geneva Conventions, much less outdated Monotheistic religions. Freedom Art, which is the term Rockefeller used to refer to the Abstract Expressionists. And Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loot. And I don’t know about you guys, but it looks to me Rocky’s heirs in the global kleptocracy have just about reached the limit in their looting. As McDougall writes in  Freedom Round the Corner.

The most striking—and certainly most controversial—of McDougall’s arguments is that America has been, from the beginning, a nation of hustlers. That term, initially jarring, becomes more persuasive as McDougall fleshes out his meaning. Americans in every period of their history, he shows, have been hustlers not simply in the negative sense of “self-promoters, scofflaws, occasional frauds, and peripatetic self-reinventers” but also in the more positive sense of “builders, doers, go-getters, dreamers, hard workers, inventors, organizers, [and] engineers.”

He got that one right.

The painting at the top is a great example of both a self-promoting fraud and the joys of free expression. Francis Bacon in his paintings evinces the kind of disgust with life and human beings themselves that the PostModernists bring to perfection in their mind-numbing prose. Duchamp, of course, being their leader in pointing the way to clear thinking achieved his purpose of returning art to the service of the mind. And if you believe that one, I have a few urinals in my garage to sell you as well.

Duchamp was no slouch in his portrayal of the degraded female form, as Bacon had pretty much covered all the ground there was examing male mutilation. In Etant Donnes Duchamp gives of a good facsimile of the Black Dahlia’s mutilated corpse complete with spread legs and exposed vagina. Very tasteful stuff. Well, Jasper Johns and Bob Rauschenberg loved it. It’s one of those things that I guess only the truly great artists can see and appreciate. Plus everyone else combing through S/M photographs to jerk off to.

So great that Duchamp took art to such heights that one could only surmount them by having live fuckfests of the Santiago Sierra variety. As a critique of Capitalism no less.

Hat’s off to Karen Finley for stuffing yams up her ass though.  I’m hoping Marina will spray Cheez Whiz on her tits and have one of her art critic fans lick it off at her next MoMA performance. Too bad Arthur Danto’s dead or he’d no doubt be first in line. Wait a minute, I think this might be an archival photo of the younger Arthur. Apparently they’ve cropped off the part of the photograph showing him holding the can of Cheez Whiz.

Ah yes, but never fear. I’m reassured by Eric Wayne in his comment on my previous post that I’m not alone. There are not just thousands of other artists who are just like me and think just like I do. Tens or Hundreds of Thousands of artists just like me who think they are the only ONE (his caps). And all this time I thought I was alone! That I was the only ONE! How deluded I’ve been all this time. What a relief.  Now all I need to do is find where the So-Called Resistance is located.

I hope you haven’t run off again in one of your periodic snits, Eric. I really do enjoy talking to you, even with the insults and the derision I have to admit to a growing fondness. The bit mystery for me is why in the hell you take what I write seriously? It’s not as if I really give a shit about any of this bullshit art talk. Critiques of PostModernism? What do I care? I just like to reminisce back to the Golden Days when America was really great. When Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol first showed the Beer Cans and silkscreened Marilyns! It was mindblowing man! You should have been there. Joseph Beuys and his coyote. Acconci jerking off under the stairs. Art was changed forever. Before that it had just been a lot of boring paintings.

I was inspired. F0r my graduate show I went out to the park and and had my film crew document me taking a shit in a trash can. I showed the film on a slow motion tape loop for the entire art school. They were awestruck. I’d outdone Bruce Nauman’s film of him greasepainting his testicles in slow motion.

Anyway, it’s good to see that your teacher Paul McCarthy, a man Bacon and Duchamp would no doubt have greatly admired had they lived long enough to see the video below. Here he is in a performance that, while illuminating, I think was surpassed by the Iggy Pop’s performance where he pulled his dick out on stage and sang “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”  When I see this film it takes me back to art school… how much our teachers taught us about art and what Avant-Garde Art in America was really all about. How to think. And I give thanks to Duchamp for having saved us from retinal art (as he called it) and returning it to the service of the mindless.

By the way, Eric, I took a look at the  George Bush sodomizing a pig you were so impressed with. Have no idea why you find it something that needs to be acknowledged for its power (or whatever phrase you used). I’d be fascinated to know just what you find so edifying or artistically pleasing in the work exactly. One thing you might answer is: Would it be just as meaningful and powerful if it were Obama or Clinton sodomizing a pig or does it have to be a Republican President? How about Bill Cosby sodomizing a white woman he’d drugged? Roman Polanski sodomizing the 13-year old girl he’s still facing jailtime in the US for, were not France so enthusiastic about sheltering an admitted child molester?

Would it work with anyone else besides Bush, not to mention the fact that it’s not a very convincing Bush. In fact, had it not been titled with Bush’s name I would never have guessed it was supposed to be George Bush. Does that matter at all? I mean prior to McArthy artists like Daumier, Grosz, David Levine and whomever were required to make a recognizable caricature were they to undertake satirizing someone. On top of that they needed material a little bit wittier than showing the object of satire sodomizing a pig.

Take James Gillray. I mean he’s no Paul McArthy. Nowhere near the artistic skills McArthy displays in the video above. But you know, the art back in the 1700s was so much more primitive. Back then there was no progress at all in art. Hard to tell what artists were even trying to say. Of course, back then they didn’t have fluorescent tubes and gallons of enamel paint and video cameras. So the means for expressing their deeper thoughts and emotions weren’t available to them.

Posted in End of Art, Postmodernism | 4 Comments