Archives For Art

Gene Veith once wrote, ‘secularists are genuinely unable to tell the difference between art that has aesthetic merit and art that has none.’ His words were part of both a critique and lament of the ‘State of the Arts’, and what the world of art has become.

Calling art ‘the plaything of the rich’, ‘art is now considered to be whatever the artist does.’ Art has become a slave to the post-modern mind. Under the foppish, vain lordship of the unhinged, vague emptiness of moral relativity, art has lost all meaning. An ‘impersonal, dehumanised’ and desensitised public, is no longer capable of distinguishing between good modern art and bad.

Rather than speak of and to the human condition, the art of this post modern world is ‘anti-art’. It ‘rejects humanness’, worships ‘the cult of the artist’, and is controlled by the often contradictory ‘elitism of the art world’, whose global membership only amounts to the ‘size of a very small town.’ Where the ‘wealthy elite’ pose as proletarian, as they patron ‘bohemian’ artists in an irony that ‘combines Marxist poses with upper class social snobbery.’

Veith’s criticisms and lament is justified. Notorious examples include ‘a performance artist in Milwaukee who entertained his patrons by screaming abuse at them, stuck fishhooks under his skin and cut himself with razor blades’; and partially U.S. Tax payer funded artists such as, Anne Sprinkle, a self-described “post-porn Modernist” ‘masturbates, then invites patrons to come up and inspect her genitalia with a flashlight.’ [i]

Add to this the masochistic art of Robert Mapplethorpe, Andre Serrano’s ‘Piss cross, photographs of a crucifix in his urine’, Duchamp’s 1917, urinal entitled ‘Fountain’, and more recently Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian‘ – a banana taped to a wall with duct-tape.

Last week, Cattelan’s duct-taped banana, called Comedian, was sold to a French collector in Miami for $120, 000 (175k AU) U.S. dollars. The banana was then eaten by David Datuna, a performance artist.

Gallery officials questioned Datuna then asked him to leave the event, later stating that the performance artist didn’t actually destroy the ‘Comedian’ because the banana is meant to be replaced. As SBS noted, ‘the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity.’

EJ Dickson for Rolling Stone adds that the Art Basel festival is ‘one of the biggest and most prestigious art shows in the country, even if few know about it.’ The saga didn’t end with Datuna. Dickson stated that after the banana heist, artist, Roderick Webber arrived and wrote on the wall: ‘“Epstein didn’t kill himself” in red lipstick.

Unfortunately for Webber, Datuna’s destruction in the name of art appears to have been more appreciated. Webber’s attempt at protest art saw him ‘arrested on charges of criminal mischief.’ With police escorting Webber out, he could ‘be heard saying “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?”

Dickson said that the banana “art work” has now been removed from the gallery due to the “compromised safety of the piece, and those surrounding it.”

Cattelan isn’t new to melodrama. His 18 karat gold working toilet, called America’ was stolen in September, from Blenheim Palace, and is yet to be recovered by police.

The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan rightly called the banana heist saga a metaphor for Western Elites, stating,

“These are our elites: where eating a banana someone else paid $120,000 dollars for is considered a work of art, because somebody put the banana on the wall and called it art.”

Klavan then reminded people that this is from

“the same civilization that created the Sistine Chapel, Hamlet and King Lear. Now art is a banana taped to the wall, and someone is willing to pay six figures to do this. Someone else thinks it’s art to eat the banana, which at least is a joke, and then when they put up something that is actually true about our elites, such as, “Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself” they cover it up!”

Had Klavan read Vieth’s criticism in its entirety, I think he’d agree that they were on the same page.

Cattelan’s $120, 000 edible banana and 18 karat gold working toilet fortify Veith’s criticism of post-modern art as anti-art. Artists using “art” in the ‘utter annihilation of art.’ (Veith, p.93)

Cattelan, Mapplethorpe, Serrano, Sprinkle, and work that mimics theirs all embody the content of Gene Veith’s lament and critique of the art world today. Although Veith’s analysis is grim, especially when weighed against these examples, he looks to a recovery of the arts where the divine Logos is rediscovered; where ‘artistic talent is not thought of as some innate human ability, nor as the accomplishment of an individual genius, but as a gift of God.’ (Veith, p.107)

To paraphrase, Calvin Seeveld, this recovery will mean the complete abandonment of the foppish, vain lordship of moral relativity, and the subsequent awakening of a desensitised, dehumanised public to an appreciation of the difference between cheap deodorant and good perfume.


References:

[i] Veith, G. 1991. State of the Arts, Crossway Books

First published on Caldron Pool, 11th December, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Guest post by A. Lampard.

“The Man in the Iron Mask,” by Alexandre Dumas, is a continuation of Dumas’ classic, “The Three Musketeers.” The story takes place in France, where the three musketeers have retired, and d’Artagnon remains in his majesty’s service. Unknown to d’artagnon, his two friends, Aramis and Porthos, seek to remove the current king of France, Louis XIV, and put his twin brother, Philip, on the throne. While the plot is underway, d’Artagnon must decide where his loyalty lies: with his most trusted friends or his King. Dumas’ use of heartbreak, loyalty and conflict in “The Man in the Iron Mask” creates a narrative that fascinates the reader, but ultimately leaves them hanging.

The “The Man in the Iron Mask,” has gaps in its storyline. The first gap consists in Raoul’s (Monsieur de Bragelonne and son of Athos) heartbreak.[i] Raoul’s fiancée, Mademoiselle de La Valliere, appears to have fallen in love with Louis XIV, and him with her. Raoul’s lover seems to have then left him for the corrupt king, leaving the young man drowning in depression and heartache. The result of this action causes Raoul to long for death, however his overall role in the narrative is unclear and mostly unresolved.

The second gap, concerns the futures of Monsieur Fouquet and (particularly) the prisoner, Philip. Fouquet’s role is mentioned once in the epilogue long after his being captured. However, his role is not spoken of again. Philip is not mentioned or acknowledged in the book after his arrest. His future seems to imply that he will continue to be mistreated and left to rot in prison. Unfortunately, a drastic plot twist causes him to be arrested, which dulls down the intrigue of the story. The outcome of their fates is anything but complete, as information concerning their futures is left out, and the story ends.

Porthos’ death was the worst part of the book. One of the most painful experiences in “The Man in the Iron Mask” is his death. Porthos’ death removes a boisterous cheerfulness that brightened the story.  Good Porthos’ kind heart and humor banished the dark atmosphere of the book. After “the Death of a Titan”[ii] (as Dumas put it) the story seems overly burdened by its incessant despair and gloom.

“The Man in the Iron Mask” is not as much a swashbuckling narrative as “The Three Musketeers.”  The themes constantly present in the story are despair and sadness, which contrast deeply with its predecessor. “The Three Musketeers” is an incredible story full of danger, intrigue, and drama, leaving the reader enchanted. The same cannot be said of “The Man in the Iron Mask.” The plot of this story isn’t nearly as adventurous or mysterious as one would hope, leaving the reader to wonder about the ending.

The lack of swashbuckling heroism and adventure, which was constantly present throughout “The Three Musketeers,” was disappointing. Despite this, “The Man in the Iron Mask” did have some good parts. For example, when two hundred men heard they were fighting two of the legendary, four musketeers,  and were struck with both terror and enthusiasm. The dull story-line isn’t affected by this though, which still leaves the reader in confusion about how Dumas ends his story.

In conclusion, “The Man in the Iron Mask” is often tedious, dull, and leaves the reader hanging. Unnecessary changes throughout it slow down the story. There are frustrating gaps in the story-line, such as: Philip and Fouquet’s futures, and what Raoul’s overall role in the story was. In addition to these gaps, there is the death of Porthos, which causes all humour to disappear from the book. Dumas seems to have lost his flair for the adventure and boisterous, in “The Man in the Iron Mask” he isn’t at his best.

 


Notes:

[i]  Please note that I have only read ‘The Three Musketeers’ and ‘The Man in the Iron Mask.’

[ii] “The Man in the Iron Mask,” Chapter 50 (‘The Death of a Titan’) – Dumas calls Porthos a ‘Titan.’

(Disclaimer: no remuneration of any kind was received for this review.)

Darth Metal

June 7, 2016 — 1 Comment

My daughter drew my attention to this display of awesomeness. First words out of my mouth were: “That’s what you call, Darth Metal.” That the stormtroopers are actually hitting the notes makes me suspicious of its authenticity. 😛

The Glow Of Holly

December 10, 2015 — Leave a comment

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……………………………..In all the winter in our woods there is no tree in glow but the holly.’
– G. K. Chesterton, Heretics 1905:50

Since senior high school I’ve been interested surrealism.

Here are three experiments, using some new tech for graphic art that we acquired for our homeschoolers.

I tried two separate approaches. The first and third are simple black and white images, whilst the second uses colour and complexity to illustrate the underlying point expressed in it’s title.

As for the titles, I’ve tried to reflect the theological framework that informs them, although, for now, they remain tentative.

They’re not perfect, but at least it’s a start.

Urban Forest Dwellers: Entertaining Angels

RL2015_Forest Dwellers

The Zeitgeist Juxtaposition: Scroll, Like, Ignore, Repeat

The Zeitgeist Apocolypse

The Zacchaeus Tree

Dragon Flower

 


RL2015

It’s almost Winter in Oz. So, our home schoolers are bogged-down in schoolwork for the duration (With a two week break in between). But, that means doing more cool activities like art with their talented Olmatje (Grandma)

Here is a collection of recent compositions made with charcoal on paper.

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Garden Greatness

February 3, 2015 — 2 Comments

That generation.

A garden will make your rations go further_drop shadow


For the full range of these check out:

Plant a Victory Garden, Google Images

Canada At War