Art

Art Day

Normally on an art day I just put up a piece of art (if I can get the one I want off my laptop onto the machine! computers… growl) and a bit of commentary. But I’m starting to research for a planned article on art, and I was curious to hear what you, my readers, have to say.

When did art die? No… that’s not quite right. There is still art, beautiful art, but it’s in unlikely places. It’s not in the museums of modern art, or the upscale galleries. There, you find installations the cleaning lady mistakes for trash and tosses out (I’m not exaggerating. This happened in Spain).

What happened to beauty? I know the current school of thought is that there is NO objective measure of beauty, and to that I respond… well, I can’t, in public. I’m a lady.

There is beauty, in art, in the world, in men’s souls. But it is no longer fostered, encouraged, allowed to spring forth and celebrated when it bursts out in a way that makes you stop and feast your eyes on it. Instead, that kind of art is damned with faint praise as ‘commercial’ and relegated to posters or something.

What is hanging on the gallery walls, at museums, being paid for in outrageous sums by Universities to ‘inspire’ their students? Simon Doonan summed it up in an article that had me chuckling and shaking my head.

So where do you think the downfall began? What killed art, and how can we revive it?

Lilac impressionist style

Lilacs: my first attempt at using the pentablet in conjunction with Corel PaintShop

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5 thoughts on “Art Day

  1. Two main things there were that killed art, and Eric Raymond has essays on both.

    The first he describes in his essay Deadly Genius and the Back-To-Zero Problem:

    A deadly genius is a talent so impressive that he can break and
    remake all the rules of the form, and seduce others into trying to
    emulate his disruptive brilliance — even when those followers
    lack the raw ability or grounding to make art in the new idiom the the
    genius has defined.

    Arnold Schoenberg (classical music). James Joyce (literary
    novels). John Coltrane (jazz). Pablo Picasso (painting). Konstantin
    Brancusi (sculpture). These men had the knack of inventing radical
    new forms that made the preexisting conventions of their arts seem
    stale and outworn. They produced works of brilliance, taught their
    followers to value disruptive brillance over tradition, and in doing so
    all but destroyed their arts.

    Artistic tradition can be limiting sometimes, but it has one thing
    going for it — it is the result of selection for pleasing an audience.
    Thus, artists of moderate talent can imitate it and produce something that
    the eye, ear, heart and mind will experience with pleasure. Most artists
    are at best of moderate talent; thus, this kind of imitation is how
    art forms survive and keep an audience.

    On the other hand…imitation Schoenberg or Coltrane is
    unlistenably bad. Imitation Joyce is unreadable. Imitation Picasso
    looks like a toddler’s daubings and imitation Brancusi is ugly junk.
    Worse still is when mediocre artists strain themselves to be the next
    disruptive genius. And perhaps worst of all is what happens when bad
    artists turn disruption into cliche.

    The second is political and is discussed in Gramscian damage:

    … in the 1930s members of CPUSA (the Communist Party of the USA) got instructions from Moscow to promote non-representational art so that the US’s public spaces would become arid and ugly.

    Of course commercial forces helped resist both these damages: Some of the best music in recent decades has been that written for movie scores, for example.

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    • Interesting. Have you seen the recent article about the CIA sponsoring modern art? Also, I believe the fall of art came about much earlier than that, in the rise of the philosophy of nihilism and humanism.

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      • I just Googled it. Haven’t heard this before, and it’s quite odd… and fascinating: The CIA trying its hand at Gramscian weaponry.

        I’m not terribly familiar with the visual art world, but ESR’s comments about deadly genius fit the classical music scene well enough that I assumed he knew what he was talking about.

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  2. There is still some really good art out there. It’s just not what the ‘elite’ (self-called) promote. Nihilism, humanism, communism, all have something to do with it. If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty roots, though, it’s a spiritual battle.

    Speaking of ‘art,’ Cedar, I’m going to scan some of Juniper’s paintings and send them to you, LOL! “Abstract” to be sure, but she does get some pretty colors in there!

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