Sad state of the arts

In my search for anyone, anywhere who has anything worth hearing, I came across this site, a sneak-peek advertisement for an upcoming art exhibition in New York. It will be an exhibition of a single artists collection of work on the theme of conservative animosity toward our President-elect. Take a look at the site and scroll through the photos using the ‘next’ button at the top right corner of the page, and then read on. There aren’t a lot of pictures, so it shouldn’t take long.

……glad you’re back. Hope you enjoyed it.

Now, all political leanings aside, what did you think? Did you gather, from anything you saw, that the artist’s point is that the popular conservative attitude toward Obama, and criticisms made of him are an attempt to “assassinate [his] reputation,” or were an example of “the extreme effects of a society intent on castrating anyone in power”?

Yeah. Me neither. But I did catch the gigantic black penis wrapping its way around the wall of one of the rooms. Penis detached from a body? Castration? I think I’m getting you… Oh, and who could miss the (nauseatingly un)clever insinuation that Obama might be assassinated, when the artist paints Obama and J.F.K. next to each other? He was assassinated too, you know. Oooh….

But I’m being antagonistic. There’s a reason though; this exhibit is, from what it shows on the site, an absolutely glowing example of the state of high-brow (“sophisticated”) art: It’s art made to be consumed by shallow, uncultured yuppies who abandoned their parents’ nominal, judeo-christian morals, and think that that, plus their MBA and their money, makes them sophisticated. The people who gladly consume this sort of art (and that’s all you can really do with it) are what you would have if you instantly injected three years of a liberal-arts education into the head of a fourteen year old male whose favorite movie is Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Somehow they haven’t matured to the point where we all acknowledge that penises exist, and are normal things that are best kept veiled except for certain occasions. So they get shocked (and tickled) rather than roll their eyes. But they’ve developed an adult vocabulary, and probably have heard of Freud, so they know penises can symbolize power, but they haven’t developed the depth of their souls to realize how trite, contrived, and juvenile the metaphor really is. So they probably chat with feigned enthusiasm about how avant garde (they heard that term somewhere – they think it might be French) the artist is while sucking down some hors d’ouevres they can’t pronounce and don’t really like.

And my tangent is over. But these people’s shallow character to which much modern art panders is a big deal because these people have the money, and so they get what they want. And that means art that they can understand, and tickles them. So now the line between the upper echelon of modern art and the stuff that makes its way into the two-for-ten dvd bin at Wal-Mart isn’t all that definite, because the lines of people leading to both are essentially populated with the same people.

But you can help turn the tide in a small way toward the deepening of society by forcing yourself (yep, you’ll have to) to only open your mind and soul to art that will form it into something worth being, rather than something worth rolling your eyes at (like these people).


Check out the movies The Fall, The Village, Session 9 and The Fountain, visual art by Andy Moses, Damien Hirst and Michael Parkes, cd’s by Over the Rine, Porcupine Tree, Tool, Sigur Ros, James Newton Howard, and The Decemberists. May we keep our eyes wide wide wide open.

  1. #1 by Corey Scogin on 11.7.08 - 6.31 pm

    After reading the press release for the exhibit, I don’t disagree with the artists intent to show the degree in which people unjustly criticize the more visible figures. But to call the exhibit “all-encompassing” is more than a stretch. It’s also quite a stretch to say that “everyone”, the “media, electorate, and society” were trying to assassinate Obama’s reputation. As is always the case, it is the opposing organizations that attack a particular person of popularity, not “everyone”.

  2. #2 by Josh P on 11.11.08 - 2.35 am

    I find the satire found in “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” a greater, more encompassing, and, in comparison, a far more beautiful form of art on the same subject. That exhibit is the very definition of NY elite: pretentious, condescending, faux-deep inkblot-y and, with the greatest irony becoming lost to the exhibitors: an inability to introduce rationalization to those who live/think differently from themselves. And I consider myself more lenient and forgiving on these ideas and kinds of people. Although I will disagree with you about their shallow understanding of things like “avant garde.” I believe that it’s not that they’re not understanding it (I’m sure they’ve read more books on it than I own in my entire library). It’s more like they picked it up, ran with it, tripped, and faceplanted their noses into cow plop and, to save face and preserve their pride without the faintest of humiliation, called it art.

    I also liked what you said about the penis.

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