Revolt against academia

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Revolt against academia

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005

Julie wrote:
I am a student who is attempting to write a paper proposing that there needs to be objective standards for evaluating art, and that the lack of objective standards in modern artistic criticism is making art inaccessible to the general public, in contrast to traditional art which was and still is immediately accessible. For this essay I need to include scholarly sources and my teacher has informed me that I cannot use the ARC articles because they are not peer reviewed.

That's a rather restrictive requirement on such a topic because the academy to my knowledge has a zero tolerance policy for anyone expressing ideas that contradict modernist orthodoxy, thus no "peers" will ever allow such ideas to be published in academic journals. If you can only put forward ideas already supported by the modernist orthodoxy then you can never challenge their ideas. Our arguments are far stronger than theirs and therefore they would never subject their own positions to strong criticism in their own journals. Perhaps you could try looking at some 19th century writings from the British Royal Academy. Perhaps someone else has some other ideas for where you can look.

Would any of you happen to know of any scholarly journals or books that might aid me? I would like to also posit that the reason that objective standards are necessary for art to be accessible to the general public is because without them the GP is unable to assign a value to the works that they view (value being determined by goodness etc..). Would any of you happen to know what this process is called or how to find information on it?

There are plenty of good books that discuss that topic in general (Ives Gammell's The Twilight of Painting, Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word, Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, and Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto among them), but if you are looking for anything in peer-reviewed academic journals I doubt you will find anything at all. You'd have more luck looking for articles praising Adam Smith in the archives of the Soviet Union.

For what it's worth, I don't think that the lack of objective standards in judging art - making art inaccessible to the general public (though I do think that is one of its side effects) - is the root of the problem of the modernist insistence on the abandonment of objectivity in art. The deeper problem is that it has produced generations of "artists" who have no skills, no ideas, and can't make art. I wouldn't mind it so much if the result was excellent art that was only accessible to the most cultivated minds. Instead what we have is meaningless "art" that expresses nothing to anyone and only the pretentious few who know the latest trendy (and bogus) theories of "fashion" have any idea what is going on at all. The worst problem is that the lack of understanding of art has corrupted the ability of most artists and the institutions that train and support them to make or identify art at all, not that it has diminished their potential audiences.

-- Brian