Friday, September 9, 2016

Removal of Our Culture

                                                         We're in no danger of ever thinking any more.
                                                         Then what are we complaining about?
                                                         [S.Beckett Waiting for Godot Act 2]

I see two large wheels trampling meanings underneath. One is flattening,emptying art in art and another is embossing “art” everywhere else. What an apocalyptic sight.
There was a gradual removal of art from paintings,sculptures or music. Seems that the calamitous process started right about the time that German Neue Sachtlichkeit,Novecento movement in Italy died and Magical Realism {Germany and USA] has been kept at remote margins. It happened roughly between 1940s and 1950s. The art exhibited,promoted and made central resolutely was removing any traces what up till then was understood as art. It was not replaced by different art: it was replaced by provocations without art


Soon after the very act of placing something inside of the charmed space of “art gallery”,”art museum” was and is now offered as art. In any past of our culture nobody would argue that a naked woman standing in art gallery is art. Why? Were they bound by their cultural horizon and could not open their minds to see naked woman as “installation”? Or,as I believe, all those previous generations of art lovers were united by one common understanding of meaning of the word “art”? There is nothing “limiting” in insisting that only “art” is art just as only clouds are clouds. Someone could argue that art is much more nebulous than clouds and that smoke is not nebulous enough to be a cloud,while some crafts may be art. Smoke of certain density graduates to a cloud and craft sometimes shows the layer of “pure intentionality” associated with art. True,but then such smoke is fully a cloud and such craft is simply a piece of art. There is no ambiguity there. The „ambiguity” is a mental tic,an automatic habitual reaction as cheap as seeing „paradoxes” everywhere.

As art is replaced by all manner of junk and presented as art -another phenomenon is spreading in all directions. What in the past has been a well respected,even admired craft of cooking became art of cooking.Rose gardening is now art of rose-gardening.There is,sorry to say art of love-making and „art of manliness”,not far from „art of living”.Not a skill of successful living, not simply „living”,but a phoney ,elevated „art” made of rhythmic breathing,taking sustenance and removal of waste.Could it be that now just about any activity is in danger of being wrapped in pink tissue and handed back to us with accompanying brochure as „Art of...fill in the blank”?
Perhaps these two phenomena are not just contemporaneous but indeed obscenely intertwined. When anything that is not art can be exhibited,collected,valued as if it was art,than the deflation of meaning would allow for anything outside of art to claim that,now worthless faux-elevation. 


Clarity demands that we distinguish art from craft and skills and keep them within their appointed meanings..When one is looking at a earthenware pot presented as „art” its lack of serious craftsmanship is overlooked and it would seem rude,even irrelevant to observe that as a piece of craft is embarrassing.As „art” is,of course, „great”. There is three reasons for this corruption.One: a well made pot would cost at most some tens of dollars.The same pot as „object'art” has a price in hundreds or more.Second reason is status. Many potters are not interested in very demanding craft of its discipline.As „artists” they are elevated into a status of inspired visionaries whose spirits are too ascending to bother with craftsmanship.There is also a third reason why nearly anything is unaccountably „art”.It is in the air,it is in the water -it is on all sides: bombast,over-sizing,over-praising,adding elevator shoes to everything.Crass salesmanship infects entire social exchange.If only what we just called „great” would ever deserve to be almost good.

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