What can we do to make things better?

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What can we do to make things better?

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Q: What can we do to make things better?

There are a lot of things you can do to help, here are a few...
  1. Get the government out of the arts, especially financially. The government generally doesn't do a very good job of determining where its money goes, and a whole class of political hacks has gained control of this money and used to to support their modernist cause. The sums of money made available are massive and they strongly influence the direction of art. Your voting and letters can help move the government in the right direction... out of the arts.
  2. Speak up when you see modernists asserting their positions and make it clear that you don't agree. They are usually very tied to the idea that they are right because people agree with them no matter how absurd the ideas they are expressing are. They usually find it infuriating that anyone would disagree with them and they usually try to bully anyone who disagrees into submission. Be strong!
  3. Patronize the good stuff. Regardless of the amount of money you have to spend, whether it is posters, books, CDs, or antique masterpieces, the more you buy and the more you show to others, the more the trend will pull away from the Modernist mess. It will create more of a market for more contemporary artists, more of a market for galleries and museums, and shrink demand for the bad stuff. This practice will also help you learn more about good art, find more about it, and that will make you a more informed and confident advocate for good art.
  4. Avoid the bad stuff. Our artistic institutions are constantly putting on exhibitions of rotten art. Avoid it! Don't let them count you as an attendee. Don't buy posters, calendars, or appointment books with bad art on them. Don't buy bad contemporary art. Don't attend concerts by terrible composers. If there's a program with some good parts and some bad parts (they do that all the time here in Los Angeles), walk out for a drink during the bad parts. Don't send your kid to study art at a university, send him to an atelier instead. Don't feed the beast either by participation or by contributing money.
  5. Improve your own understanding. Read books, browse the Web (especially at the Art Renewal Center), take painting lessons, enroll in an atelier, and visit good museums showing good art. The more you learn, the more effective you will be at spreading the good word.
  6. Complain! If your school is teaching lies about art, complain. If your kids are being mis-educated, complain! If your local symphony only plays rotten "modern" music (or plays it at all), complain! If your favorite painting at your favorite museum has been moved to storage in order to make room for a modernist work, complain! The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
  7. If you are able, create great works of art yourself. Excellence in skills and execution is one of the things we have that the modernists don't. and we should use it as much as possible.
  8. Join the GoodArt mailing list. We have a lively discussion of a bread scope of artistic issues via email. You can read all about the list and how to sign up at http://www.goodart.org/goodart.htm
  9. Join and financially contribute to the Art Renewal Center and other good groups. ARC does a lot of good, both through its website and other activities (read all about it at http://www.artrenewal.org/ or contribute at http://www.artrenewal.org/membership.asp).