In one of my hubs, "Sex and the City for Real", I mention that one of my favorite pastimes is to enjoy the art openings in Chelsea on Thursday evenings. Although my primary motive for attending has nothing to do with art per se, I do have some thoughts on the creations (amalgams?) that fill these spaces. Don't get me wrong--the works I see are often interesting... not, however, from an artistic point of view by rather as indices of the climate of modern life. It is a climate that finds its highest meaning in a crude activism in which true value and meaning are reduced to those of a revolt and dissolution. Modern art is a REACTION, a nay-saying anarchism. It is not sufficient unto itself, but seeks to undermine, directly or indirectly, any idealism, to deride any principles, to attack venerated institutions, to reduce ethical values--the just, the noble, and the dignified--to mere words and disjointed images. It gives rise to nothing constructive, permanent, or durable. It places on a pedestal the banal and gift wraps it with unintellgible interpretative verbiage, and smugly calls it "art" or "poetry" which the "ignorant masses" could "never understand"! In reality, this so-called art clumsily fills an empty spiritual space.
In a different epoch, it is precisely in that space that a new "objective" art might have taken shape, in that "grand style" to which Nietzsche referred: "the greatness of an artist is not measured by the beautiful sentiments that he arouses--only girls can think along those lines--but by the degree to which he approaches the grand style....he forgets to persuade, rather he wills...To make himself master of the chaos that one is, to force his own chaos to become form, mathematics, law--that is the grand ambition. Around such despotic men a silence is born, a fear, similar to what is felt at a great sacrilege."
Alas, to think this way in the present world is absurd: our epoch lacks any center, any meaning, any objective symbols that could give soul, content and power to this "grand style." Art in a traditional and organic civilization never occupied the central "spiritual" position that humanism and liberalism accords it today. Before the modern era when art had a true, higher meaning, this was thanks to its pre-existing contents, superior and prior to it, neither revealed nor "created" by it as art.
The "art" that I see in these galleries serves as a looking glass which reflects a fracture of an ontological character, wherein human life has lost any real reference to Transcendence.
Oh. My. God. You are so off on this one I don't even know where to begin the education, suffice it to say.
Also extremely apparent that you did not write this, even though this piece's sentiments in their own right are at best, confused. Yeah, let's return to Nazi Germany and social realism, shall we? Sad, man.
Don't worry, I'm sure you'll have a string of followers on this one, what with the educational system disregarding the arts in general and as they have through both republican and democratic administrations.
Please see the hubs of Michael Ditlove--very under-rated hubber not around too much for a good START... Suppose you've never even heard of modernism and postmodernism, either? I'm so laughing, but I've got to run....
"It places on a pedestal the banal and gift wraps it with unintellgible interpretative verbiage, and smugly calls it 'art' or 'poetry' which the ignorant masses could never understand!"
I'm still laughing. Just who is ignorant? Gotta ask yourself that...
Ignorance is apparently the label one receives from artists who can't articulate an actual rebuttal to a powerful critique their work.
I'd have to ask you to step out of your conservative box and go back to the time of the Impressionists for technically modern art started with them and their primary objective was to push for art which is an end to itself, an effort to differentiate themselves from the forms that preceded them, And impressionism was just the start. Modern art spawned diverse art movements and styles that you might not know were/are part of the "epoch" (a term you rather use loosely). Modern art is not just about candy wrappers though candy wrappers can be used in art - but that depends on where you're coming from, and sadly if the box is closed you won't see much or in fact, nothing at all.
I'm well aware of the Impressionist movement--as most with at least a high school diploma are--and had the privilege of enjoying some of the best collections both in NYC, where I currently reside, and in Chicago when I lived in IL. The point of this post has nothing to do with labeling different epochs and movements (you're welcome to create an Art History 101 Hub), it is to diagnos an artistic malady that has existed at least since the time of the Impressionists, probably earlier. I can appreciate comtemporary art but I think we need to really consider from a larger perspective what this art signifies culturally.
And I already addressed this: "Modern art is a REACTION, a nay-saying anarchism. It is not sufficient unto itself, but seeks to undermine, directly or indirectly, any idealism, to deride any principles, to attack venerated institutions, to reduce ethical values--the just, the noble, and the dignified--to mere words and disjointed images."
Sometimes that needs to be done.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori?
Anyway, protest art is nothing new. Surely you've read Lysistrata?
Yes, I've read the Lysistrata in the original, and it is well know that the Greeks did not rank comedy high on the aesthetic totem pole.
Nobody does, but even Homer was reaching toward protest, however briefly, in the Iliad, Book 9:405-409 (Lattimore) and the Odyssey when Odysseus meets Achilles's shade. (ETA: Odyssey, XI: 577-581 Fitzgerald)
Let me hear no smooth talk
of death from you, Odysseus, light of councils.
Better, I say, to break sod as a farm hand
for some poor country man, on iron rations,
than lord it over all the exhausted dead.
Can you really suggest with a straight face that something like this is of higher artistic merit than Guernica?
If the Greeks did not rank the comedies highly, why were they always the show-stoppers at the drama festivals, after the tragedy cycles had elevated the mind through catharsis? The Greeks also knew that laughter has a cathartic effect, and should be used to full measure. The term "low" comedy is not necessarily a snobbish intellectual opinion.
And if perhaps a strip tease or a episode of American Idol "stops" the show we should rank it high on the aesthetic totem pole? Hard-core pornography is "cathartic" for some men--where would you rank that?
All human functions can be considered by their aficionados as art. I appreciate a striptease as much as the next girl, although I don't consider it art myself. But there may well be true artists in among the strippers who know how to present the materials in the most significant manner. Although I doubt it.
There certainly are true artists among strippers. Erotic dance is an ancient art and in some case connected with religion. I believe there are temple dancers in India...
Oh! There ya go, then! Thanks!
I've been contemplating taking up belly dancing myself, now that I have a belly, but I'm rather clumsy on my feet.
It's funny how fast one's tolerance of pseudo-intellectual bullsh*t vanishes once one has graduated college. Anyone wanna translate that into English for me?
It sounds like he's trying to simultaneously complain that modern art smears traditional values in elephant sh*t and argue that art should transcend concepts like "traditional values" in the first place. But I am open to being corrected. I never could stand Nietzsche, or philosophy in general, really.
I think you just lost me there. I thought you were doing a philosophical analysis and now its from a cultural perspective? I will no longer argue but i do recommend brushing up on your art appreciation - and please do not mistake this for interpretation of art as it is the usual pitfall that ultimately narrows one's enjoyment of art, particularly modern art
By the way, I so dig your big, deep words!
I didn't realize philosophical analysis must be divorced from a cultural perspective--thank you for sharing that insight, I will attempt to be more perspectiveless next time. It is very telling, and all too typical, that your response targets me and my "ability to appreciate art", rather than the content of what was expressed with regard to art.
Which has NOTHING to do with Nietsche and social realism.. Just, ignorance, lol
Apparently he's stuck with the concept of art as something conventionally and traditionally pleasant to the eyes. Otherwise, it's a malady. And how regressive is that?
"the greatness of an artist is not measured by the beautiful sentiments that he arouses--only girls can think along those lines"
So now you're qualifying you earlier argument? I don't get you...
I qualify nothing--I'm reiterating. And I'm in no way advocating for art that is "conventionally and traditionally pleasant to the eye." I challenge you cite in my initial post any language that even suggests I advocate pretty pictures as "art". To put it simply for you, I am criticizing the motive and "inspiration" of what passes for art today.
Modern art by its very nature is rebellious and this rebellion is most evident in its proponents' quest for originality and a continual desire to shock. That's the inspiration.
I do not disagree with this statement, nor is it inconsistent with my initial post. In fact, it furthers my argument. A "quest for originality" doesn't mean that the object of the quest is achieved in a deeply significant way, nor does the continual desire to shock amount to much unless you believe art is nothing more than transitory, intellectual fire-works contrived to titillate our sensibilities.
But it is. You want to be shocked but in any way that does not stray from your definition of what is art. So if you believe that a piece of art "seeks to undermine, directly or indirectly, any idealism, to deride any principles, to attack venerated institutions" then it's no longer art or art as you define it.
Again, I repeat, ignorance about 3 different ways.
And I say you're ignorant in exactly 101 different ways...
Morning folks - Don't mind me. Just taking my ringside seat!
I'm with you on that Sufi, it looks like a good cage match in there.
Or at least conventionally and traditionally pleasant to one's pre-conceived notions of the world.
Motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The use of labels, categories and ellipses does not an argument make.
Since the appreciation of art requires an education in its development and social responsibility, it needs no defense in a court of law. Rather, it demands the same social responsibility from the viewer as was present in the artist. The necessity of art (since it is one of the functions of any society to create it) in any given period demonstrates the influences of society on its creations, yes. Modern art may well appear superficial to the untutored eye. So do icebergs.
Yes, but if a particular advocate makes accusation, that advocate is obliged to justify his claims. Conclusory statements are meaningless, and rightfully warrant dismissal. There is no substance--it's just noise.
Social Responsibility?! So do you propose we use art to inculcate "social repsonsibility" on the "superficial eyes" of untutored masses.
Sounds like propaganda to me--but even propaganda may have artistic merit!
This is no forum for me, but I went to the Getty Museum once. good sunday morning to everyone. Cris, that cup of coffee in your avatar looks good right about now.
American art like everything else in America is about money, like selling wall paper. I liked Andy Warhol's line - 'I would attend the opening of a letter'.
Art is something coming from the heart. Coming from very deep of the heart is an excellence in art. Real emptiness feeling, if any, may be considered very good for an art.
In my total state of ignorance and lack of scholarly virtue, I think and feel there is emptiness in some modern art.
In my humble opinion there is reality and Reality, human and Divine. Most of what humanity spends their time on is a waste of time in accordance with what is truly important about life and death, the universe and everything.
The souls that choose to waste the time and space of the "turning of worlds", does nothing but add to the chaos that perpetuates imperfection. The goal of perfection, Divine perfection, is the only True goal of life in the universe. The rest is a waste, an indulgence and creates bad karma.
Thank you and goodnite!
p.s. ( I do have to admit that I watch James Bond movies...how utterly revolting, yes !? )
For those producing works of art, it is actually ABOUT transcendence--not waste, not indulgence and certainly not incurring bad karma. Unless you believe 'understanding' in a very prosaic fashion and doing that which is not your true destiny to be doing--such as any work, cultivation or practice for an entirely crass materialistic or false gain--would be incurring good karma.
There is some evidence that the creation of art and the ability to create art is the mark of the divine in humanity, and the ability to make every endeavor into an art form is the purpose of human culture. The very reason we are here.
I would not live in a humanly conceived world of 'perfection,' for as soon as we start talking about such perfections, despotism enters any realm--be that of faith, philosophy, religion, free expression, or art. True beauty can be found in imperfection, as almost any serious artist knows--and I dare say, perhaps so did God--which is a mystery.
OK, off soap box. Jewel--enjoy your James Bond. No, not revolting. Probably considered genre classic by this point.
However, that not all contemporary art manages to adequately "transcend" does not negate the fact that art is almost always a response to the times. Just the fact that people can genuinely be shocked in a way that provokes introspection or re-examination still implies that there are still things that hold such power over us. As long as they do, the work has merit. Many of the works we retroactively label valuable art were held in similar low esteem by the masses or dismissed as the whims of the elite. Basically, I'm questioning the obviousness of said transcendence.
Ok so I am terribly unedumicated and a lot of what has been said in this thread has gone right over my head (probably for the best) and unfortunately calebd, got there first with his use of the word contemporary.
My work is contemporary, I find myself wondering if people would understand my art. I think its simple to understand but then I would seeing as I created it, dont get me wrong there is always something hidden within the depths of my work for those who choose to look further but essentially its really simple and easy to understand with the added bonus of looking interesting or so I would like to think.
Here is a piece for you to look at if you would like to see
its called Black Hole UV the medium used is stainless steel.
In my opinion some of the best modern art around ....but then i would say that wouldn't I.
Jake Howard ArtsApart
Very cool, ArtsApart. I like it. !
And yes, it would have been more appropriate for this thread to have used the word 'contemporary,' lol. You are right there. 'Modern' actually ended a while ago.
You do not have to be educated in art history or contemporary discourse to be a true artist--of course, I don't think that hurts, unless it hurts your work (!). Which I think it can! (You then have a freedom there some do not have.)
I think that this was an argument about Nickny's preference for figurative art, actually, which is fine--but is a different thing from understanding any contemporary work.
Clement Greenberg would be ideal reading for you! I'm not saying you are right and neither you are wrong. In art never the result important, rather the way how you get there.
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