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.