Fear and loathing of Modern "Art". -

Henry Bemis

Irony: Not even once.
Retired Staff
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An important point in art is that it allows room for contemplation -- there must be a sense of ambiguity, a room for interpretation, a space into which the audience's private emotions and desires may be projected upon. This is the reason I give when I tell people why I hate propagandist art: you get the message in one second. You flip a bird to the Great Hall of the People? We get it. You hate the Communist Party. Let's move on to the next room. Someone enacting the Judith and Holofernes scene? Yeah, she hates men. We get it.
"[The content] has to be clear...but it must also be mysterious...Something should remain unsaid, something just beyond our understanding. Of course, if it's only mysterious, it's condescending and pretentious and soon monotonous. But if it's only clear, it's kitsch."

- Stephen Sondheim talking about theater songs, but hey, those are art, and he wrote a thing based on a painting
 
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Trilby

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In the West, the most notable examples are Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, but I grant that Koons works at least show a modicum of craftsmanship.
No one can make a vacuum cleaner look that good anymore!

Some people think modern art is a way of communism subverting the culture, or the CIA/FBI attempting to do something similar.
Sometimes I find myself agreeing.

I once did this, I sat down on a nice couch and was told not to. Boy was I blue in the face!

The funny about modern art is that if you can't tell if your is trash or art then its maybe its trash. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯




Someone wanted to make a statement, the others, well, that's their problem!

Now imagine being that guy!

Anyone can make modern "art." You can shit in a toilet, take a picture of it, and it will be "art."

This post is "art."
Reminded myself of this guy...

Sometimes the best art comes out of the spoils.
 

Positron

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Necroing. Because it is not usual that going through a solo retrospective of an established artist made me change my opinion of her so much. The artist I'm talking about is Niki de Saint-Phalle, and what caused my change of mind was a series of lithographs she did in 2001, shortly before her death:

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Guns

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Abortion

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Untitled (I am God - Mr. Bush)

Someone please convince me these are "art"! They look like the average "infographics" by silly teenagers, the kind you see every day on DeviantArt, just without the magical anime girls and Steven's Universe characters. de Saint-Phalle has reputedly said about G.W. Bush, "he is a very dumb person with an outsized ambition", and I have roughly the same opinion for artists with political pretensions.

Also I'm surprised how easy it is to "read" de Saint-Phalle; she uses the same motifs throughout. Fear, for example, is represented by pistols, crocodiles, and plastic army men. One of the motifs that span through her career is the Tree of Life -- one side of the tree is riotously colored, the other half in black and grey. You can make an existential or a spiritual point in it, but in the 1990s, the woolly (and woo-ly) spirituality is invaded by politics. See this 1995 sculpture Tree of Freedom.

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The "Freedom" side: mixed-race couple. Not one single written word. The flip side, however, is studded with words: xenophobia, propaganda, appropriation of gods, a swastika (I'm sure she doesn't mean Buddhism, although this is what she drew). My attention is focused on the beautiful golden skull with bejeweled eye sockets at the base of the tree:

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I'm again struck by this paradox : Art is at its most powerful when it doesn't try to say anything. The more the artist wants to say, the less the artist ends up meaning.
 
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Thought precriminal

Quota exceeded. Precrime arrest imminent.
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The French political polemicist Henry de Lesquen made a pretty comprehensive video on the subject of modern art a while back. Here's the video along with an English translation. Pucker up your butthole if you read it, because it's slightly autistic and the translation into English makes it sound more autistic still (not 100% accurate translation, just conveys the central points and abridges a few of the digressions):

What is degenerate art?

It is an artform that turns values upside down and promotes ugliness over beauty.
The term was coined by a Jewish Zionist intellectual, Max Nordau, in a book called Degeneration (1892). It was the picked up by Hitler denouncing Jewish degenerate art, but also by Stalin who also fought against it. The word “degeneration” was very popular in the 19th century, and personally I think it should become so again as it so aptly describes the decadence of society and the Western world today.
Art is founded on the criterion of beauty. It is the opposition between what is ugly and what is beautiful. So, it is a value judgement, an aesthetic judgement, a judgement of what is beautiful. Granted, beauty may be relative to a given people: our canons of beauty are not the same as those of Negro Africa or of Japan or China. Nevertheless, there is authentic art where there is a search for beauty. It is beauty and the quest for beauty that makes of a human endeavour an artform.
As for degenerate art, let’s show some examples. The most famous is Pablo Picasso, who painted women by disorganising and breaking apart their faces and bodies in hideous ways. Picasso is the best example of degenerate art, at least where most of his work is concerned. There are a few exceptions like when he painted his mistress Olga, some paintings that while not masterpieces are legitimate works of art, where he was striving to convey the beauty of his mistress.
There are many examples of degenerate painters: Lucien Freud (also Jewish), Emil Nolde (a member of the Nazi party and supported by Goebbels) who’s work was expunged on Hitler’s orders. So people say “OMG, but the term degenerate art was used by Hitler”‽
Well my answer is: Hitler liked dogs; so do I. Hitler disliked degenerate art; me too.
I agree on this point with Hitler and Max Nordau and even Stalin: to fight degenerate art.
Degenerate art has proliferated to an amazing extent in our society that has lost its way, especially in aesthetic matters. But we’ve now gone one step further, to degenerate non-art, which should be distinguished from degenerate art.
The painters I named earlier (Picasso, Nolde, Freud) produced degenerate art. But today’s so-called artists create non-art. It is conceptual art, even though the “concepts” are quite obscure. They are replacing the criterion of beauty by a conceptual criterion, in other words by the idea that the supposed work of art is meant to express. This isn’t art but rather non-art. It’s people like Jeff Koons, and many “artists” who believe that any given creation of theirs is art even when beauty is not of concern to them. This is a total sham. While degenerate art wanted to impose ugliness instead of beauty, at least it remained within the realm of art, but now we are entirely outside of that realm.
How to explain the success of this sham? It is partly a mystery to think that so many people would spend so much money on objects that have no artistic merit. How can this be? The main reason has to do with the way the fine art marketplace operates.
This market confuses commercial value with artistic value. This isn’t actually new; it goes back to the invention of the canvas painting. All sorts of extraneous criteria have thus corrupted how we regard a work of art. Take a painting by Rembrandt, for instance. If it turns out to be a fake it would instantly lose 99% of its commercial value, even though its aesthetic value hasn’t changed. I happen to contend that only the artwork matters, not the artist. Thus, only the aesthetic value of the artwork should count, not its signature; for collectors this may be a different story, but for amateurs of art who care only for beauty it should not matter.
Thus, the marketplace for art was corrupted, and the marketplace for contemporary art (or cosmopolitan degenerate non-art) built upon its original corruption. This happened because once the financial value of the supposed artwork is separated from its aesthetic value then anything goes. It’s a purely fictious and conventional value: because such and such a work is auctioned at Sotheby’s for US$ 50 million we consider it to be a masterpiece. And based on this mechanism a strategy has been established to create fake talent where the price of an artwork rises simply to give more prestige to the pseudo-artist and his work.
Though it may be wishful thinking on my part, I tend to think this is a pyramid scheme that will come tumbling down. Either way, this aesthetic catastrophe is easy to explain: we live in a consumerist society. Great art has always flourished in societies that preserved aristocratic values, for instance during the Italian Renaissance. It’s the destruction of the aristocracy in all its guises that has led to bourgeois billionaires with massive fortunes, who don’t know what to do with their money and who want to virtue-signal by inflating the prices of these false works of art and by propping up this artificial market. They do so because they have no taste, they’re upstarts. It’s this society of social climbers that explains the situation, but it’s also linked to a political project: it was one of the Rockefellers who really launched contemporary art in the 1950s in New York, and so one must keep in mind that contemporary degenerate non-art is part of a global political project whose goal is to destroy cultural and artistic identities, to replace the creation of real works of art with the creation of non-art, to do away with the various criteria of beauty.
The ideology of cosmopolitanism, embraced by the global superclass, doesn’t only seek to destroy the physical boundaries between peoples but also the moral boundaries within a people, so that ultimately every distinct people is subsumed into a great indistinguishable universal mass. To that end they must erase the distinction between good and evil, between right and wrong, but also between what is beautiful and what is ugly. So in degenerate non-art, or what they call contemporary art, there is a political or metapolitical will to get to the heart of our identity.
The notion of beauty is objective, but the sensation or the feeling of beauty is subjective. This distinction may seem arbitrary but it’s essential. Judgement values on what is good or beautiful are primary judgements. So, while it is true that no two men are alike and have the same experience of beauty, because they are influenced by their environment and determined by their genes, while it is true that they may have a subjective aesthetic judgement of beauty, nevertheless the notion of beauty itself is objective; it is a primary category of human understanding. It was Hyppolite Taine who said in his Philosophy of Art that art is the expression of the soul of a people. So it’s normal that in each of the various civilisations of the modern world the criteria of beauty are different, it’s normal that within each civilisation or each people there’s a somewhat different vision of beauty; it’s how their identity expresses itself.
 

Positron

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Have we discussed Harrell Fletcher? Because that mofo pisses me off. Most of the time he doesn't even make his own shitty art. He has other people do stupid shit and then takes credit for it.
This is very common among modern art. Damien Hirst hires a lot of grunts who churn out dot paintings and butterfly mandalas, factory like (he is an "Idea Guy", ladies and gents).
 
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TungstenCarbide

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To produce modern art nowadays you don't need any kind of craftmanship or talent. Back in the day visual arts depended on techniques that required time to be mastered (color theory, anatomy, perspective, how to put colors on the canvas, sculpting techniques and so on), now you can nail a jacket to a board and call it art.

Last time I visited the Biennale years ago, the exhibit consisted only in 'installations'. Barring a few impressive sculptures, and an artist who painted photographic-like portraits using tar, nothing there could have been called 'art'.
EG, some tard sent a piece that consisted of hundreds of small plastic animals (the cheap ones you buy for small children for 3$ a bag) glued to board covered in green velvet. Even my 6yo niece can do that.

IMHO, this could be modern art:


Italian sculptor Livio De Marchi reproduces common objects sculpting wood. But apparently he's considered more of a carpenter than an artist.
 

Positron

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Italian sculptor Livio De Marchi reproduces common objects sculpting wood. But apparently he's considered more of a carpenter than an artist.
These look really nice to me. If he can attach a narrative or story to his work I'll call it gallery-ready art.

They reminds me of the works by the Hong Kong ceramic artist Sara Tse Suk-Ting. Tse, however, takes less crafty approach, by impregnating fabrics and paper objects with liquid clay. The organic matter disintegrate after firing in the kiln, leaving behind a pale, fragile shell. It is very romantic process, symbolic of the transformation of reality into memories: a fleeting impression seems to be set in a solid form -- but how solid really is it?

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The most touching work of Tse is Mother, an installation in which she created, with ceramic clothes and various tiny ceramic objects, the little corner where her mother lived. At the time of creation her mother is suffering from worsening dementia.
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