The Modernist shell game

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The Modernist shell game

From Gerald King

Published before 2005


I'm sorry Khaimraj, but I have a problem with the points you make in your "practical point of view."

Khaimraj wrote:
I think one should look at all of this from a practical point of view,

[1] Fine Art is a luxury item.

I strongly disagree with this statement. Is religion a luxury item? Is government a luxury item? Art, and many other human creations or inventions are essential to humanity. They make possible the establishment of civilization and define cultures. Without art and the other life-sustaining inventions, man is merely an animal. Remove art from any society and you have mere existence and the survival of the cleverest.

If you wish to say that the art of picture making is a luxury you must explain why it has survived and thrived the turmoils of history and why every child draws pictures. It is this perception of art as a luxury item that enables not so enlightened educators of our time to eliminate art (specifically realistic drawing) from schools as "a practical point..." To look upon art as "a frill" is not an uncommon view. Most of what is called art of the 20th century (modern art) must be called a luxury. Not only can civilization live without it, its practice has been detrimental to the evolution of art as a vital intellectual pursuit. Fine Art cannot be a luxury unless the rich wish to make it so. The making of Fine Art is the desire of most artists and the best will strive for excellence no matter what their economic, political or social position.

[2] Bad drawing, bad painting, bad taste - won't kill anyone.

It sure can depress or kill the spirit of those who can see it and wonder why it is being celebrated as great human achievement by obviously intelligent human beings. Was it not Godward who committed suicide because he was depressed over the success of Picasso? In and of itself, bad art is innocuous, but in the hands of indoctrinated modernists it is a tool to discredit and destroy real fine artists striving for excellence. All they have to do it put it (bad art) into an art museum. It's called "in your face" self expression.

[3] Opinions are free.

Wrong. Opinions cost when they are expressed to the wrong crowd. Some years ago I almost lost my tenured teaching job because the department head and the rest of our faculty didn't like my opinions about what was called modern art. It may be true that opinions are free to 'hold' but not always expressed without adverse consequences. We have come a long way in promoting good art, but the modernists still rule the roost. This is not to say opinions should not be expressed, but be aware of the enemy and prepare yourself for rebuttal or worse. Powerful art authorities are not gentle with rebellious artists. Goodart has been an excellent venue for developing and expressing arguments and opinions about art used in defense and offence against the entrenched forces of modernism. The internet has been a vital new means, not only for freely expressing opinions but for people with what are considered "out of the mainstream" opinions (realistic art) to come together as a stronger force against the entrenched art authorities.

[4] It is easy to point out problems.

It is even easier to accept everything said as relative or the truth and go about our happy way. Problems stimulate conversation and a search for solutions. Many in our midst would much rather avoid even the mention of Modern Art. Does that mean they find no problem with it? No, they merely prefer to talk about other problems that they may find easier to articulate.

Let me review.
  1. Fine Art is not a luxury. It is a necessity of civilization. It is a necessity to an individual's sense of humanity. It is vital to the growth and development of caring and intelligent human beings and a society that nurtures excellence.
  2. Bad art is detrimental when it is held up as great human achievement by intelligent human beings "playing a shell game."
  3. Opinions are free on the internet, but not in the world of fine art. It is still necessary for tact and diplomacy when dealing with indoctrinated modernists. They can do you harm.
  4. It is easy to point out problems or find fault with any statement or opinion. It is even easier to ignore or avoid obvious faulty opinions, statements or philosophies. Reason and logic in art was lost a long time ago and the general public has given up or been beaten into silence by intellectual hucksters in the citadels of culture. It is up to us and real art lovers to question and rebut the entrenched give voice to.
Gerald King