La vita è breve e l’arte è lunga, (or in Bad English) – Life is short – but Art lasts forever…
(Ancient Italian expression – possibly from the Renaissance)
I’ve decided that art is just a habit-forming drug. That’s all it is, for the artist, for the collectors, or for anybody connected with it –
Marcel Duchamp, Dadaist
Os gustan las cosas por snobismo desde el momento que son caras. Quien tiene dinero es un hombre honroso. El honor se compre y se vende como el culo. Es como vuestras esperanzas, vuestras paraisos, vuestros idolos, vuestros politicos, vuestros heroes, vuestras artistas conocidas, vuestras religiones: NADA…
or in Bad English –
You, (meaning rich art collectors, rich gallery owners and rich museum directors), really like things for ‘snobism,’ right from the moment that they are expensive. Whoever has money is an honorable man. One now buys and sells honor for some ass. It is the same like your hopes, your heavens, your idols, your politicians, your heroes, your world-famous artists, your religions: NOTHING…
– Francis Picabia, Dadaist
What happened? What went wrong? Who’s to blame?
Or should I write, how did the Fine Arts transform from a magical discipline of sacred craft and guild to a rich kid, hipster identity stage?
Technology actually gave the coup de grace, or the final sword thrust into Fine Art’s plastered soul. If we want to blame a specific technological innovation, then we must point the culpability to photography. The Photograph killed the drawing-etching-painting guild magic.
Before discussing the history of Fine Arts, specifically, drawing, etching and painting, we ought to first analyze the other subjects included within the Fine Arts group. Ceramics now plays a double role. First, ceramic artists will often build large installation pieces, generally combined with other media, like metal or wood. Such installations are usually inside the Sculpture fine art world.
Most ceramic pieces tend to function as green eating ware for the organic-natural food market. Food Coops and natural food stores generally sell them.
Sculpture has successfully escaped the marginal art deluge, since sculptors are also often accomplished carpenters, architects, structural engineers, welders, builders or electricians. Rich and powerful investors still like those bulky bronze statues-public art works anyway. Sculptural installations also look cool in massive party-festival events, such as Burning Man.
Psychobabble ideology has stolen and bludgeoned the Art of the Mind from our World Religions – and most specifically Buddhism. The Modern State and Spy Master-Militarism ideologies have exterminated the Art of Persuasion out of Ancient Philosophy and Oratory. Global Monopoly Capitalism has annihilated the Art of working in a community for the greater humanity.
But this time, a cabal of elites, or elite art snobs, and who also use inconsequential, Academic, post-modern vocabulary, have tortured and imprisoned the open creativity of the Fine Arts. Around a little over one hundred years ago, those elites concocted the parasitical monstrosity of Captialist-PostModern Art.
They have done this through mastering and controlling four crap, urban institutions, all of which imprison the fine arts under the security codes of Capitalism. They are Gallery Stores, Art Investor Markets-Collectors, Art School-Institute Scams, and Contemporary Art-Modern Art Museums.
The intellectual support for this apparatus of greedy shame comes from the paid shill, art critic who defends the crap art for money with postmodern, meaningless vocabulary.
The entire pyramid scheme functions wonderfully. First, the Gallery Stores, sell only paintings, and rarely sculptures, which their wealthy buyers-collectors, or actually investors, believe, will hopefully resale for higher profits in the future. All gallery store owners are also wealthy individuals with lots of capital, so the flim flam operation benefits both parties.
If the artist becomes a celebrity artist, i.e. another Picasso or whatever, then the investor will resale the work, not in another gallery or an unknown auction space, but at one of the two famous British Auction houses, such as Sotheby’s and Christies. Nowadays, this is rarely the case, since there exist more self-proclaimed artists living in our contemporary world than queen ants forming insect colonies inside an entire desert.
This is where the Contemporary Art Museum Director sashays onto the rotten cabaret stage. The Modern Art Director finds some pieces of work, originally purchased through the art investor-collector-gallery owner clique, and so the museum chief needs to form a retrospective show of the now cool and respected artist, at his new museum grand opening. The museum boss hopes to attract those same art investors as his personal, regularly paying members of the new Ponzi business. Have you ever wondered why so many wings or sections of museums have particular last names, such as the Getty wing, or the Rockefeller wing?
Yet, almost all Art Museum Directors are highly paid, state-municipal employees, regularly earning their salaries in the middle six figure range. The Modern Art Museum Director can now double dip from both the public tax trough and from the wealthy art investor trough, while always keeping his or her salary and benefits as one of the best paid executives in the hipster section of the gentrified part of the city.
Contemporary Art Museum Directors, Gallery Store Owners and Wealthy-Elite Art Investors all clean each other’s egos. The Contemporary Art Market runs itself as a closed, elite game of passing the money between the rich, while the Art Market also adds an air of prestige and respectability to the previous fortunes of great, legal crimes.
Where does the Art School Scam fit in? The Amerikan University Monster has already destroyed both the guild system and technical colleges through its Community College Fraud System. Now students have to pay higher and higher tuition money, so they can learn the old artisan skills, originally instructed through master artisans, such as Barber work, Welding, Machinists, Mechanics, etc.
As I explained earlier, wealthy elites now control the Fine Art Market of painting and particular sculpture pieces. Poor students have to attend Fine Art classes at the same Community College Fraud System, while wealthier kids can attend Fine Art classes at the Public State Universities.
For those bizarre, elite wealthy kids, who could never fit in at prep schools, there are particular Art Schools-Colleges just for them, such as Bard and Bennington. Or for those students who consider themselves – the truly serious artists, there are exist thousands of private Art Institutes found across the United States.
All of these Art School Fraudsters have one thing in common. They charge high tuition money for years of course work. The students often have to take out usury loans in order to afford such instruction. When the students leave, then the School-Institute drops all responsibility for them. Those same students cannot find any decent work, or even any work at all – with those useless BFAs, or Bachelors of Fine Arts Degrees. Who said fraudster crime doesn’t pay?
What about the instructors at those thousands of Art Colleges and Art Institutes? Well, one needs an MFA, or Masters of Fine Arts Degree, in order to teach at that level. But there now exists a serious glut of MFAs on the Art Education Market. How to get that stable full-time teaching job? You had better have an inside hook to the administration.
The real jobs are where those administrator deans, assistant deans, provosts, assistant provosts, and presidents of the Art Schools-Institutes have their spacious offices. All of those skimmers make six figure salaries with steep benefits and even steeper severance packages, also in the six figures, just in case they have to leave. Art School Administrators also tweak the egos of the Museum Directors, Gallery-Store Owners and Elite Art Investors. Again, the Modern Fine Art Racket always runs circular into the rancid sink drains of unearned privileges.
There was one movement of artists that publicly attacked such an art fraud when it had first appeared on the historical scene in Europe after World War I. But the elite art swindler-investors just bought out some of the more outlandish artists. The art investors later transformed the artistes into Modern Art History Cool – so the movement lost – but the Anarchist spirit was still alive.
All of this rejection to snob-elite art had the name of Dadaism. Dada didn’t actually mean anything. This anti-art art movement was another part of the nothing, void, emptiness. After their sell-out, Surrealist Art birthed, often attended with Dada refugees – but some of those so-called starving artists also sold out to the elite art collectors, gallery owner snobs – and especially to the Modern Art Museum Bosses.
The date was an early autumn evening in 1919. The dark red-brown place was a dingy, red light, cafe-prostitute den-indigent hangout in a more notorious section of Paris. Dada artists would purposefully perform bad art for the unwary public. Black grained tobacco smoke and stale red wine filled the consumptive air of the den-cafe. Outside, a light rain hit the facade, and which gave the whole ambience a poverty-bohemia vibe.
The Dadaists performed music in discordant notes, read poetry of a few disjointed lines and suddenly walked off the floor-stage, others painted over prints of famous paintings. One artist tried to have sexual intercourse with another patron – in front of everyone present!. The captive audience, almost all of them, dada sympathizers, patiently waited for more marvelous surprises.
Dada did have its moments of shock and awe, mostly against the hypocrisy, horrors and mass murders of World War I. Other artists went too far with the shock. A few artists mistakenly joined the Leftist agitation of that time, and especially in Berlin, another bohemia-poverty enclave in post-WW I Europe. All of this political, avant-garde art agitation only encouraged the Fascists, Reactionaries and National Socialists to exact some revenge on the fag, cowardly, artist traitors.
Most of the Dada artist-bums were quite cowardly – and some actually fled to the arch-conservative United States during the second round of WW I, called World War II! Others just left the movement because the bad art was going nowhere fast – while another group had joined the Surrealist club, mixing Psychobabble, Anarchic libido and so-called hidden sociopolitical messages inside of their masterpieces.
Artists from all over Europe, and even the rest of the world, took on the Dada urge, and so there were no more bourgeois Impressionistic or Realist paintings. Marcel Duchamp exhibited a public urinal in one of his art openings; and even Picasso took a liking to all of the big middle finger posturing. Next, there was an explosive vomit of artist movements-ideologies ransacking old, decrepit Europe.
All of them exhibited subjective art stuff, or performance related pieces geared to the artists’ imaginations, or mental sufferings. The list has included Expressionism, Cubism, Pointillism, Constructivism, Surrealism, Futurism, Dada, Minimalism, Abstractionism, Anti-Art, Pop Art, and most importantly, Modern Art or Modernism.
Those anti-art rebels actually helped their own supposed worst enemies. Their lifestyles and art work often displayed a celebration of rich-kid, trust fund bohemia, drug abuse, or parasiting off family and friends for money to burn on partying.
Some of the bad attitudes encouraged lazy living, sleeping in bed until midday, playing chess or card games to kill time, spending whole nights of intoxication in cafes, pubs, bars and taverns, and ultimately, the hard life of arrogant poverty, ravenous scrap eating, multiple sexual encounters, recurring homelessness, and disregarding basic hygiene.
Some rebels refused to do any wage slave work, while others snubbed their noses at the regular idiots who trudged to their jobs every morning. Hard working artists did emerge from the group. But all of those hard-working rebels eventually had to bow their heads to the elite, rich bourgeois bastards.
Enter the modern art collector. Who were the first modern art collectors post World War I? They were often single Jewish women from America who inherited great fortunes, Gertrude Stein was one in Paris, and Peggy Guggenheim was another one in Venice.
The art collectors seized on the avant-garde, bohemian coolness of the Dada movement. They correctly understood that the anti-art art movement was actually a wonderful, up and coming art revolution – and especially for the growing industry of modern art museums, whether the Tate of London, Le d’Orsay de Paris, or the Museum of Modern Art, the MOMA, of NYC. New York City even became the premier center for Modern Art enclaves, with other massive modern art museums, such as the Guggenheim Corporation and the Whitney Trust.
What made an art revolution? It was something new and outrageous, something that shocked the conservative establishment, and while at the same time, artists had to actually live the authentic avant-garde, rebellious, cool spirit of art. The artist was not an accomplished craftsman – those were boring idiots. The artist was rather a wild, free rebel with money, a possible jazz music-addict-vagabond-bad ass!
The old, accomplished artist of forty years that painted beautiful, realistic landscapes was another boring loser – but a heroin addicted, part-homeless, art school kid with dreads – and who died of AIDS – was completely sellable. Marcel Duchamp, the Dadaist of urinal fame, still has had some of his works displayed at the MOMA and at the Guggenheim!
What also makes the final sale into the hundreds of thousands of dollars is the art critic parasite. This species of hack writer regurgitates postmodern prose into a vaguely coherent art review. Such pomo writers regularly use particular terms: canvas to assemblage discourses, spatial constructs, subjective agency, post-structural forms, post-colonial imaginings, self dialogues and the other, coloring relays, formative planes of place and space, environment-displacements-dislocations, range of processes, and there are thousands of other postmodern lingos that those dissemblers regularly use.
This postmodern crap verbiage mixed with trust fund, rebel kid, artist cool has completely destroyed the modern art world. There have been great works of art from the minimalist, abstract and constructivist categories – but now, most artist statements, work titles and even museum exhibit intros use this postmodern garbage. Postmodernism always kills the vibe – because it is meaningless academic speak.
The real reason for such language foolery is that it separates the uninitiated, philistine, right-wing buffoon, wearing the lame wardrobe – from the cool, pseudo-Leftist artiste, often polygendered, with multiple piercings, colored hair – and a super cool clothing style, usually black colored, which even runway models don’t know about. The horrid history of Modern Art does not end here.
During the 1950-60s, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism began to make inroads into the Modern Art World of the United States. While the Amerikan Empire battled the Soviet Union for the Space Race, (through using ex-Nazis for the NASA program); the CIA had to do battle with Russia’s contribution to Modern Art, called Constructivism. The CIA, John Hay Whitney, (former spy-the Whitney Museum Trust), Nelson Rockefeller and J. Paul Getty, (both elite art collectors), pushed the American answer to Communist Constructivism – American Abstract Expressionism.
All of sudden, the modern art world uncovered its new modern art stars: Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko. Their pieces later sold in the hundreds of thousands – and even in the millions! All Modern Art History books have special sections on those geniuses. And still the putrid story does not end.
After the Kerner Commission and Council of Foreign Relations pushed for urban renewal to put down the rebellions against the elites, the deindustrialization of New York City in the early 1970s happened. Many non-white, poor lumpens either ended in the prison gulags, homelessness, or died on street corners as drug addicts.
For many artists with white skin privilege and middle class backgrounds it was different. They would rent abandoned small factory floors as live in-work spaces, sometimes referred to as loft spaces. A massive community of artists took over the urban dead zone. Landlords went into ecstasies of unstoppable greed.
Suddenly, a horde of gallery stores, and later furniture stores opened their doors in the area. The next arrivals were eclectic restaurants, pseudo-European style cafes and dark bars of craft beers. The City of New York, which once considered that area part of Little Italy, the Industrial District and the Lower West Side, Tribeca, then renamed the section as a world-famous London area – SOHO, or the so-called, South of Houston Street area – and right next to the West Village too!
Next in line, Art Schools opened their doors around the area, such as the School of Visual Arts (SVA), Pratt, and the Art Institute – and even the museum gangs invaded: The New Museum of Contemporary Art and Guggenheim Soho! Most of the original struggling artists had to relocate to afford cheaper rents, a few got lucky and had their galleries sell their works for hundreds of thousands of dollars. This urban art-heart attack was a terrible precursor to the Amerikan gentrification Katrina.
Now, across the United States, the artists, most of whom possessing white skin privilege, have transformed into the official patron saints of urban gentrification schemes. This explains the love that those corrupt, third world dictators, or mayors, found amongst most of the Amerikan Empire’s urban hells, feel towards bringing in the artists.
Even small, loser cities have jumped onto the attract the artists bonanza. Now an actual corporation works with local politician crooks, called Art Space. This corporation redesigns buildings and then offers affordable rents to artists only, while the rest of the city population struggles under the slow murder of landlord-property pimping and extortion rate capitalism. Many property pimps also advertise their gentrified spaces as artist loft condos!
Once again, the Amerikan Empire of Sociopaths and Global Monopoly Capitalism have strangled Art with a vomit laced pillow.
Let us remember that we are all artists – and the elites can never take that away from us. Cooks, clowns, athletes, historians, writers, welders, videographers, drivers, baristas, gunsmiths, cleaners, builders and gardeners, and etc. – yes, those of us who love and create while working – are indeed artists – true artists of the craft and of the profession! We shall continue to work hard and to perform our arts to the best of our abilities – money or no money.
As Artists and Anarchists we must completely avoid those once a month urban gallery art walks. Yes, they offer free wine, beers, even hard liquor, and GMO snacks – but so what… Are we so lame that we cannot organize our own art space parties? If those few African-American store owners in the ghetto allowed such open street drinking – the donut cops would close down their businesses within a day!
Never enter any of those art gallery stores – nor could you afford their price gouging anyway. Most of the owners are wealthy art seller-swindlers. Those galleries are the second wave of the urban gentrification schemers, inclusive of furniture stores, cool-expensive thrift stores, dark hipster bars, high-end cafes, and ethnic restaurants with vegetarian options of course, always prepared by workers – without any legal papers to work. The rich always pay poor salaries to their wage slaves. Nowadays, no service workers live in the same area where they work.
Modern and Contemporary Art Museum admission prices are about the same as seeing a crap Hollywood movie at a dingy movie multiplex. Which would you rather pay for? Yet some of those museum scam operations have free entrance days and free artist lectures. Attend those free dates for your own enjoyment. Never pay anyone, nor any institution, to experience art – since we are all experts and artists within our very own particular fields.
And please don’t attend any art school or any art institute. If you want to draw and paint, just go out there and do it. Enroll in an intro to drawing and painting course at a local community college for the basic skills. If you want to understand art history, or a particular artist, then go to the 700 section of your local library – and read. It is all free.
As Anarchy is the natural order for Human interactions, so the Artist, like the Warrior and the Lover, live inside all of us.
When the spectacle is over, the artists’ stage is bare and naked. We have already spotted the lame and rotten institutions that have claimed a monopoly on Art. We have uncovered their lies and deceit, and so we reject their entire capitalist art project.
Power and freedom come from one’s own effort, one’s own work. Rejecting such elite cravings, nonsense and greed, we open our own studios – first of the Mind, and then of the Heart.