Lion of the Blogosphere

About contemporary art

THE SHORT ANSWER

The elites will always choose to like stuff that proles don’t like in order to separate themselves from the lower classes. Thus in the case of art, this manifests in the elevation of non-objective and weird-looking, even ugly, art. Art that proles like, pretty, realistic, requiring skill on the part of the artist, is looked down upon as being “kitsch.”

THE LONGER ANSWER

The very word “art” has changed its meaning a great deal during the last two hundred years. The main definition of “art” from a 1928 dictionary, “The disposition or modification of things by human skill, to answer the purpose intended.”

There is also the following note about the “polite arts”: “The liberal or polite arts are those in which the mind or imagination is chiefly concerned; as poetry, music and painting.”

But even as art evolved to being primarily about things like poetry, music and painting, for a long time art was synonymous with skill. As in not any schmuck off the street could create a decent painting or compose music or write a poem. All of these things required skill.

The term “art” has since evolved to be not about skill, but about something more transcendent and metaphysical, perhaps even a substitute for religion among those elites who don’t believe in conventional religions like Christianity or Judaism. If you read Tom Wolfe’s book “Back to Blood,” one of the major points of the book is the difference between how the elites and proles see art.

The development of mass reproduction technologies obviously had a significant impact on art. There was once a time when, if you wanted something pretty to hang on your wall, someone had to manually paint it. And there weren’t Chinese painting factories back then, so the painting had to be created by local artist. But today, with cheap color printing, even the poor can afford to decorate their walls with beautiful prints.

One way to distinguish the wealth of homeowners is not to look at what’s inside the frames, but to look at the frames themselves. A high quality frame is often more expensive than the reproduction that’s inside it. At the bottom end of wealth and sophistication is the typical prole teenager’s room where posters are affixed to the wall without the benefit of any frame at all.

There was once a time when the value of art was determined by how skillfully it was created. It didn’t matter how famous or unknown the artist was, if it was a skillfully created painting, it was worth money. In the contemporary art scene, this is no longer the case. For starters, no one can tell the difference between highly skilled non-objective art and unskilled art. The people today who call themselves artists aren’t even trained in the careful craft of drawing and painting or sculpting, art school is just a bunch of lectures about the “meaning” of art, the meaning always being from a leftist perspective.

To become famous in contemporary art, one needs only a modest amount of artistic skill compared to, say, Norman Rockwell (one of the most-skilled mid-20th Century painters, mocked by the elites for being kitsch). To become famous, an artist most come up with some gimmick or scheme that’s unique and hasn’t been done before. Then the artist has to market himself against all of the other artists trying to do the same thing. Contemporary art is very much a winner-take-all endeavor in which only a lucky and select few have success (because they won the competition to market themselves and know the right people), and the rest of the artists create stuff that no one would display in their homes even if it was given away for free. Only the works of famous artists are valuable.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 11, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Art

30 Responses

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  1. About 15 years ago at the LA modern art museum I went to see a Warhol exhibit that was touring the country. Went with a buddy of mine who was interested in higher culture and liked discussing things besides just sports and chicks. We saw the prints of famous people, and the prints of prints and the tomato cans. When we re-emerged into the sun after a few hours inside I asked him what he thought and he hesitated for a second and then said, squinting, “I think Andy pulled one over on everyone.” I was a little relieved he felt the same as I did.

    “I’ve always felt that a lot of modern art is a con, and that the most successful painters are often better salesmen and promoters than they are artists.”
    ― Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal

    Andrew E.

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

  2. An artist from my hometown who is starting to blow up. While I don’t like modern art, I do think she’s talented but you have nailed it with this post and the prior one on success in the arts.

    https://news.artnet.com/art-world/how-wunderkind-allison-zuckerman-went-from-gallery-assistant-to-a-solo-show-at-the-rubell-collection-in-one-year-1168823

    Lion go for it – she’s a Penn grad as well and a nice jewish girl.

    anon

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

    • Her paintings are hideous; i’m sure she’ll be successful.

      I can see lena dumpham buying pieces from this girl.

      fakeemail

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • Yes, I agree, her stuff is terrible to behold, absolutely devoid of talent or even simple taste

        Your comment put me in mind of a story about Willliam Faulkner. It seems that while walking the streets of Oxford, Miss., he was stopped by a rather genteel lady who said to him, “Mr. Faulkner, I understand that you’ve published another novel.” This was Sanctuary, a novel about which Faulkner had decidedly mixed feelings. Faulkner acknowleged that he had indeed published the book. The lady said “I want to read it, but tell me, before I buy it, do you think I’ll like it.”

        “Madam,” Faulkner replied. “you’ll love it. It’s trash.”

        ice hole

        December 11, 2017 at EST pm

    • Gross. Looks like the perverted garbage podesta has in his home.

      toomanyspiders

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  3. My first thought after reading the title of this entry was of Back to Blood and the Miami Art Basel. In the book, one of the “artists” engaged in a performance called “De-Fucked” in which she pulled out a string of sausages from her vagina while chanting “de-fucked, de-fucked”.

    And to prove that art imitates life (or is it the other way around?), well this happened at the Miami Art Basel two years ago:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/visual-arts/art-basel/article48069515.html

    . . . and as the article reports, some attendees thought it was part of the show.

    sestamibi

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

    • Damn, I was thinking about going to Art Basel. Too bad I missed out.

      GondwanaMan

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  4. Frames – you’re not kidding.

    I recently had a small historic map framed by a friend of the family and it was still $240 (with his “discount”). It looks wonderful and I love having it on my wall but I am still in shock that forked over the dough.

    Worse still, the framer is a bed-wetting liberal who mistakenly believes I’m on his side. I had to listen to him blab about Trump’s “fascism” etc. If he knew what I really thought he would probably have a nervous breakdown and start charging me a lot more.

    SWPL2

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

  5. Stephen Pinker outraged a lot of elites when he said much the same thing in “The Blank Slate”,

    Rosenmops

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

    • Elites in the Anglosphere are low class who signal their virtues with money and consumption. Donald Trump is what you call an American elite on steroids.

      French Canadian elites are intellectual types, and very much aligned with those in Paris. The same goes for Spanish and Italian elites, who are also intellectual types.

      JS

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  6. Read “Beauty” by Roger Scruton for a solid treatise on the degeneracy of modern art.

    B.T.D.T.

    December 11, 2017 at EST am

    • Or this:

      Andy Byron

      December 12, 2017 at EST am

    • I mean, this:

      Andy Byron

      December 12, 2017 at EST am

  7. The unrecognized artists of our age are comic book artists. Some of the art is mind bogglingly beautiful, really it surpasses the genre (no offense to comic book fans). If I ever have the money I want to open a museum of comic book art on SI.

    I really don’t get modern art. I know it’s an elitist thing but still, I don’t get it? When I was in college I was friends with a couple that kept up with the modern art scene. They once described to me a piece that sold for 2 million $ — it was a paper bag with a stale donut in it.

    toomanyspiders

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

    • I used to be keen on comics books (I like the stuff from the 60s-80s) and would agree that have been BRILLIANT artists in the field.

      However, comics/superheroes ARE juvenile. That’s what made them great and that’s where they belong. It’s a genre I enjoyed, but I’m not going to lie to myself about it.

      To elevate them as “high art” is a disservice. MIscategorizing things in an attempt to elevate can strip something of it’s inherent worth.

      fakeemail

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • Well if I ever did manage to open the museum it wouldn’t exactly be the met… lol.

        speaking of art, lion have you been to the newly opened staten island museum? On the first floor are historic paintings of SI including some landscapes, many are quite beautiful.

        On the second floor is a little gallery with art ranging ancient to medieval.

        toomanyspiders

        December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • I have not been there yet.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • Not all comic books are superheroes. There are many “adult” comic books which are just regular stories. Some of them are quite good and interesting, both the story and the art. I am saying it as someone who didn’t grow up in the US and was never into comics, it was that popular where I grew up and always looked to me a bit idiotic comparing to a regular book.

        Hashed

        December 11, 2017 at EST pm

    • Comic book shops in Staten Island is what bookstores are in college towns.

      JS

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • Staten Island has one Barnes & Noble and a few comic book stores.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 11, 2017 at EST pm

      • Comic books are a big thing among the prole demographic in Staten Island.

        Occasionally, you will spot a guido wearing a t-shirt with a superhero logo.

        JS

        December 13, 2017 at EST am

  8. I would guess there is a high correlation between appreciating “modern art” and belief in Leftist political nonsense, e.g. that men and women are equal in math ability; that global warming is a serious threat; that racial problems are due to white racism; etc.

    Because in both cases, it’s the same mental process at work — adopting beliefs in ridiculous things in order to demonstrate your superiority to others.

    fortaleza84

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  9. The cultural elites can’t even bear to call Rockwell an “artist,” Instead, he’s merely an “illustrator.” Right now, his Wikipedia entry identifies him as an “author, painter and illustrator” but not an “artist.”

    Hermes

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

    • Elites can’t even teach Western Civ. or Shakespeare. It’s all part of the dismal tide, to use a phrase from “No Country for Old Men.”

      fakeemail

      December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  10. if terrorists had high IQs they’d visit great art museums and spray acid on the paintings.

    contemporary art demonstrates that the elite are not the best. so let’s stop calling them “elite”. let’s call them kakocrats.

    Flying Guillotine

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

    • The terrorists don’t see the elites as their enemy. Islamic terrorists seem to target ordinary people, preferably doing happy everyday things like walking on a promenade, going to a Christmas market or attending a rock concert. The idea that non-Muslims can enjoy happy normal lives apparently makes these losers viciously angry.

      Peter Akuleyev

      December 12, 2017 at EST am

  11. THE SHORTER ANSWER:

    Skilled artists were rendered obsolete by color photography, so artwork now expresses conceptual rather than technical virtuosity. A modern piece is a puzzle to be solved — what is its underlying meaning? — but is rarely aesthetically pleasing. The viewer displays his intelligence by solving the puzzle.

    tl;dr: modern art is a circle jerk

    hard9bf

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  12. Surely the leftist principle is that mindless admiration for anyone, owing to their social status or their “reputation” is a horribly elitist legacy from the bad old days of privilege and patriarchy and hierarchy. (So, for example, Royalty should be abolished.) But modern “concept” artists who have achieved fame and wealth are in just the same position. They are famous, not because they have exhibited outstanding technique in their art, but because they have managed to ingratiate themselves into powerful leftist establishment social circles. (I suppose that such artists, by pretending to believe in the usual leftist pieties and at the same time creating art that is subversive, may be useful to the leftist establishment in making some dim witted young people think, by association, that the liberal leftist narrative is somehow subversive and cool.

    What I find fascinating is the way that leftism thinks itself progressive but actually takes us back to a more primitive state. Artists are famous because they are famous. Labour Party politicians have affairs with and children by multiple women, because they are the “Big Man”, just like the Chief in primitive societies.

    martin2

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  13. Yes it is interesting that in modern art the most important thing is to be original, to be different. But in Ancient Egypt artists were admired precisely to the extent that they faithfully and exactly adhered to artistic tradition. This was a completely different conception of art from our conception of art.

    Jim

    December 11, 2017 at EST pm

  14. “One way to distinguish the wealth of homeowners is not to look at what’s inside the frames, but to look at the frames themselves.”

    or, look at their homes.

    😉

    rivelino

    December 13, 2017 at EST am


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