Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Centenary of Infantilism

Time for a celebration! But wait; we are not going to pop champagne and pry-open  iced oysters.We are going to smear spoonfuls of greenish gerber-food across the booster-seat and the wall, cooing and hiccupping all the while because we were exposed for a hundred years to infantile smearing and stick-forms  presented as art as we nodded, congratulated, marveled  at these achievements.


                           The great,incomparable Pablo Picasso


“What simplicity! How direct, unencumbered and free! “ are the common reactions to such works by real and potential Mothers everywhere. These voices of the heart want to encourage the toddler in us and wish for a world described in baby-talk with valentine hearts and rainbows.
Instead of teaching attentive observation of perfection of forms of the world countless battalions of art-teachers introduce children to art as fun. Indeed everything has to be fun.


                              Another colossus of art: Henri Matisse


It seems that two powerful forces combined their enthusiasms to bring the triumph of infantilism to the arts. One is the modern art itself consisting of primitivism, dedication to basic geometry, hate of content and of serious observation of reality. Second is feminization of the world-view where according to women all children are talented, each scribble is “great” and everybody gets a gold star in pink kindergarten of life.
Modern art invites to lowering the standards of expectations. If one is looking for fun, ease and gratification without applying attentiveness or skill, modern art is just that kind of activity. Finger-painting taught to children promises fun without effort, a happy game without failures. The tedium connected with any achievement is blissfully removed. Modern art is a finger-painting for grown-ups.




Elements of art that are absolutely irremovable from its definition, like study, skill, refinement and thoughtfulness - all requiring decades of schooling and self-improvement- they are all removed at the broadly open, democratic gates of modern art. The Peoples Art. Anybody can do it! No aptitude? No problem: none required. No drawing skills? No worry; just manipulate somebody else’s images- it’s a collage, art of the skill-less. No original ideas? Plagiarize and we shall call it “acquisitions”. No sense of color? We need to be more open-minded and include the crude, the ugly, the toxic and the haphazard color to free our aesthetic sensibility from the tyranny of conservative expectations.... As the Russians like to say: the worse, the better.

9 comments:

  1. Bingo. Henryk presses "Point finger at the feminine world view #68". That's cute of you to blame the feminine world view for creating an experience where yes and fun are what children are exposed to. It seems it is a problem to create children who experience zero no and mistakes.

    But if you're going to point your finger at the feminine for creating a world of art that is devoid of it well then I say no way Jose. If it was the feminine world view then we would see something different when we arrive in the chapter Modern art. Instead we see art such as Mondrain who is quoted for detesting nature so much he would request windowless seat in a restaurant. He and Picasso are fathers of modern art not some feminine world view. A feminine world view would Glorify blood, dirt, and staring of into the trees dreaming. What about how the fantastic rule of Christianity that has done a beautiful job of crushing our connect with the feminine with Nature who is generator of form. I see that is the heart of the matter. Not that Christ was the bad guy but all those Interpreters of Christ so itchy to get their Power gloves on to tighten the chastity belts.

    It happens that I agree with you about form, celebration of it and that the vast majority of our art produced now is devoid of it. People are looking away from nature and towards the dark side of themselves that rejects the Source. However, I decline to completely ignore collage, finger painting and other loose work. Why? Because sometimes there is something happening there. Sometimes children's loose pots glow with the glory of the Divine. And sometimes people who are creating collage (some even have fantastic drawing skills) are connecting with the Divine to create profound images.

    It's not black and white. And plus, your resentment towards wretched canvas smears, blobs of clay, and magazine cut outs takes away from what you are doing: creating master paintings and graphics of imaginings using nature and your mind as your guides.

    Now, I have a crows foot and turtle shell to get back to...

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  2. "...sometimes people who are creating collage (some even have fantastic drawing skills) are connecting with the Divine to create profound images." writes Susan.
    Whoever has "fantastic drawing skills" would never exchange the irreplaceable delight of creating their own images by picking scissors and gluing pre-existent images into some "cute" melange. Collage was invented as a silly joke and was elevated into "art" by culture destroyers who interrupted Occidental cultural continuity.Their only contribution is the dubious gift of "Chutzpa".Collage is the art of chutzpa.
    As to the last paragraph suggesting that I have "resentment" toward smeary art I would rather say "robust contempt",because resentment is a sneaky feeling of the defeated.

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  3. Oh. You are in charge of a persons desire to take a collage interlude and take pleasure in it.
    So you do not feel the least bit defeated by the masses who regard smears as high art?

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  4. If you mean the people who come to view shows of smeary art they are mostly artist-wannabees and relatives of exhibitors. If you mean real masses than you do know they ignore modern art and "love" over-sweeten kitsch, like Kinkaid.That shall never change,therefore one has to accept it and blithely ignore them.I work to satisfy my own ideals....................

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  5. Right now I mean real masses of frosting on cupcakes. A few days ago, I meant real masses of people writing books about art. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe real masses of earthworms enjoying the fact that there has been no real hard frost here this year.

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  6. "Whoever has "fantastic drawing skills" would never exchange the irreplaceable delight of creating their own images by picking scissors and gluing pre-existent images into some "cute" melange. Collage was invented as a silly joke and was elevated into "art" by culture destroyers who interrupted Occidental cultural continuity . . . . ."

    Please take a look at the early work of Matisse., Picasso and Mondrian before talking like that; you clearly haven't. They didn't paint (or take use of scissors) like they did because they couldn't do better; they chose to, they had to, and that took a lot more courage then, than it is now to throw dirt at them over a hundred years later.

    And another thing; a more or less similar phrase like the quote above was used by the nazi's to declare everything that had interrupted the art of the "Abendland" to be "entartet". You know where that lead us.

    A little bit more historical conscience, would do you good.

    Besides that, what's the point in bashing artists that had to deal with their time, their society. Why don't you do your own thing, like they did, finding new directions.
    Don't forget that the point we are on now, would never have been reached without all those Matisses, Picassos and Mondrians.
    And who knows . . . . if they lived now, they might well agree with you.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Catherine,
      I fear I have to gently disagree with several opinions you brought up in your reaction to my post.
      You decided I am not familiar with early work of Matisse, Picasso or Mondrian, but I have known their work well enough. Except for early Picasso [which is the only Picasso worth looking at] there is nothing particularly exceptional about their early work. It was rush and perhaps a bit haughty to assume that my acquaintance with XX century art is lacking .My supposed ignorance is not the reason for my low opinion regarding their art.
      If one looks at early efforts of Mondrian or Matisse it is obvious how very modest, banal, cursory that work was.To get a good idea of their mediocrity one has to compare their work with their more or less contemporaries, say- like Kate Kollwitz, Otto Dix, Steven Spencer, Balthus and a good hundred others who knew drawing and painting much better. Your argument is well known to me because I too was using it when I was a fervent defender of modern crap at the blushing age of seventeen. That argument is meant to prove that those artists knew realistic drawing and verisimilitude painting very well but their unstoppable drive toward experimentation lead them to art that brought us yet un-seen, un-experienced new territories, enriching the universe of culture.
      That would certainly be splendid if it only was true!!! Mondrian’s squares of primary colors are are perhaps some of the worst visual experiences in the visible world. I challenge you to give me an example of even greater loud blankness, death of imagination or greater distance between human world and his stupid squares. When you close your eyes and remember the World is that what you see? The Mondrian’s squares? I don’t think so. Painters of all epochs essentially were above all showing us the Marvel of visible world and in it little Mondy failed pathetically.
      In some mechanics of arguing there is almost always a demon of spite and derision, both oozing toxic venom. I would hate to allow them to flourish in this missive.Let me say that my intention is to simply tell people who visit art-centers and museums and walk out disgusted that their reaction is correct. Than-there is roughly three thousands honest and well-meaning doctrinaires of modern art establishment who disagree with my contention that their emperor has no clothes.

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    2. "Let me say that my intention is to simply tell people who visit art-centers and museums and walk out disgusted that their reaction is correct . . . . "

      Sorry for my misunderstanding; I thought you blamed the artists.

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