adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Empty Art

Any new art that is accepted and admired by the academic establishment is almost certain to be utter crap. That is as true now as when the Impressionists were denigrated a century and a half ago, even though we all think ourselves more enlightened now.

What mainstream critics love, I find, for the most part, boring. Nor do I have much liking for the poetry and painting coming from MFA programs and academia in general.

I prefer art that is about meaning rather than concept. Too often, the art of today (and for quite a while, actually) is the opposite. I prefer art that deals with the questions of existence, that has a spiritual (in the broad sense) element. Clever anti-art deals with nothing but itself. That may have been interesting for a time but it has no more to say; it only repeats itself, becoming increasingly pointless.

Which seems to be the point, these days.

This is why I semi-aligned myself with the Stuckist/Remodernist movement for a while. It was the true ‘alternative’ movement of its time, the anti-establishment to an establishment that claimed anti-establishment credentials.

Quite bogus credentials, to be sure – the work of such establishment artists was fashion-show art, putting on punk-rock accoutrements in an attempt to appear something more than it was. The Stuckists certainly represented a breath of fresh turpentine-scented air.

However, I don’t particularly like most of their art. This is not too say it’s worse than the art of any other group or movement. I do think it looks back a little too much, romanticizing the early days of Modernism. Those were days of artistic vigor, so perhaps they shouldn’t be blamed too much!

Most of today’s art certainly seems stale in comparison. Is there any true cutting-edge work out there or only clever imitations of the avant-garde?

Today’s artistic mainstream seem empty, but I’ve no doubt that the pioneers of new ideas are out there, working away. And, as usual, the academy has not noticed them – it is too busy selling its fashions.

SB MMXII

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