Hate Speech

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Hate Speech

From Gerald King

Published before 2005


Hi,

It is so nice to be among rational human beings who do not go ballistic when someone says something contrary to their beliefs. I don’t mean reactions of goodart members to adverse ideas are without passion and even anger, but they are usually followed by logical arguments. I have found that this is not the case in other art forums. We know it does not exist in a lot of art schools and university art departments were political correctness is the rule and those questioning the established art dogma do so at their own peril. Most of ideas and concepts put forward by goodart members are so contrary to those of the rest of the art world that they can expect not only strong rejection but to be hated and loath by the mindless modern art devotees.

A recent letter I sent to Marilyn vos Savant, who writes a column called “Ask Marilyn” in the Parade section of the Washington Post, may illustrate my point. After her first attack on Pablo she wrote the following in a second column.

Since I compared Pablo Picasso to the weavers in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in my Oct. 15 column, I’ve received many passionate and thoughtful letters from the artist’s supporters, proof that Picasso has touched their souls. Undoubtedly, that reaction is why his masterpieces have survived his life and why so many consider Picasso to be the pivotal artist of the 20th century: ... Because of your letters, I’ve decided to educate myself further on this subject: I’ll go to Spain, first to the Queen Sofia Art Center in Madrid to see Guernica (1937), the work most often recommended by my readers. Then I’ll go to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona for a few days: It takes time to get acquainted with a new world. Thank you, readers.

The point I am trying to make is best illustrated by her response to my letter. I have printed it below the letter I wrote to her.

Dear Marilyn,

I want to thank you for your speculations on Pablo Picasso. Your first letter (Oct.15) which compared him to weavers in “The Emperor’s New Cloths” was a truthful evaluation based upon pure observation and logic. One of my painting students brought it to my attention with an aerie of glee. As an artist who feels he has survived the last half of the twentieth century, I have been debunking the myths of modern masters for some years. I cannot, like most of my colleagues, lie to my student about some special qualities I see in Pablo Picasso that excuse the obvious flaws in his performance. He is a highly overrated artist who has been deified by unscrupulous intellectuals who profit from myth making. Today those governing all of the traditional art institutions sustain the myths. Their power as arbiters of art is largely based upon the effective indoctrination of legions of average citizens, artists, and art students who will defend them from any and all criticism. As I predicted to my students, your mailbox would be full of outraged and horrified myth believers. It would also contain many who would be in agreement with your assessment. I also predicted that these letters supporting your thesis would likely not be mentioned or presented in your next column for fear that they would be attacked as ignorant narrow-minded bigots. It is a tactic effectively used by the art elite to stifle public debate about art. Only they and those who support them are qualified to speak about art.

I want to thank you for your predictable response to critics of your views of Pablo Picasso. When a group of children is set down before a Jackson Pollack painting at the National Gallery of Art, a well meaning docent may ask “What do you like about this painting?” Thus begins the indoctrination of children. Here in the lofty galleries of a prestigious art museum, which is considered a repository of great artistic achievement, a canvas full of dripped paint is presented to children as great art. Rather than teaching children about art, they are first taught what art is. They are taught that art is what is in the art gallery. Art is what the learned men and women tell them it is. They are taught that art is not what they, as individuals may believe it is, but rather what others say it is. They are taught that narrow-minded people do not believe the art authorities. They are taught that stupid people do not understand what art is as defined by the museums and art educators. Even high IQ persons have a plebian bias, which closes their minds to the greatness of Picasso.

As predicted, you capitulated to those people intent upon stifling debate. Instead of looking at Pablo Picasso as you have in the past, you were persuaded to look at him as a great artist whose work has moved many. You already know the weakness of his work and called him somewhat of a fraud. You are now in the process of searching for enough positive features to present him to your readers as a great artist of the 20th century. It is an easy task for the world is filled with authoritative reference to Picasso’s greatness. What is lacking is objective unbiased evaluation of his work. What is lacking is honesty and truth as you presented in you letter of October 15, 2000.

As you stand before Picasso’s Guernica please give a little thought to me and the thousands of living artists who believe that Picasso is a product of hype rather than substance. I have a BS in art education, a M.F.A. in studio art-painting. I have taught art in primary and secondary schools, painting and drawing in college for 30 years. I am a tenured full professor who has maintained a professional art studio all of my life. I have produced and exhibited my art continuously and have works in both private and public collections. I became a copyist at the National Gallery of Art in 1992 and have completed over 27 copies of 27 different masters. These works along with paintings I have done since the1960s are on view in my personal web site (www.atelierroyal). I tell you this not asking that you look at my work, but to give weight to my conclusions about Pablo Picasso.

Picasso looks no better to me today than he did 45 years ago. His work is contrived and forced. Most works show a lack of drawing skills that seemed to get progressively weaker as he aged. His last works were merely graffiti. His works lacks expression of human emotions. He avoids expression by reducing his subjects to childlike schematics. His color was weak from the start and never matured. His paint handling was crude and lacking in sensitively and variation. I could go on, but it would serve little purpose.

At best, Picasso produced a lot of junk. At worst, he was revered as a master.

Thank you for the pubic airing of this subject. I would relish less rhetoric and more debates about art and what has become of it since the 19th century. I would like to see more letters from those who support your first letter, than those who contest it. I would not be interested in the usual art expert’s opinion. I know what is is, and it isn’t Picasso.

-- Gerald King

Response from Ask Marilyn, Dec. 4, 2000:

Dear Mr. King:
Thank you for your support. These have been trying times!
Marilyn

(Marilyn vos Savant is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame for "Highest IQ")