September 9, 2015

Why is Modern Art so Bad?

Posted by gerardvanderleun at September 9, 2015 3:16 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Quent Cordair is an antidote to all the ugliness of modern art.

Posted by: Jewel at September 9, 2015 7:07 PM

He has a colloquial definition of Modern Art that defines everything from the beginning of Impressionism until now as "Modern." At other times, he seems to mean by "modern" the things happening now, contemporary events. Yet he is a professor?

I talk with artists who follow the Art Renewal Center movement, and some of them know art, but some are prejudicial towards art made in the early to middle 19th century and then after that comes the craziness in their opinion. I briefly planned on co-teaching with one of their stars in NYC but we'll see if that works out. Maybe she's afraid of my art now! I hope not. I would love to have an eclectic event where the expressionist viewpoint meets the classical realist.

Anyway, I hope this guy learns his art movements before he goes on about them. There really is some fun stuff in there.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at September 9, 2015 8:14 PM

What a bunch of flim flam. Let's open the window get rid of the cant and let some air in. Who is this pompous clown of an art professor?

His big analogy is to compare the kitschy crap of figure skating standards with the standards of great art? He doesn't even know how to strike a decent analogy...

As a matter of fact, yes I would like to see some skater dude enter the rink and smash blocks of ice out with his skate and throw them at the judges and then go up and slap the guy playing all those caned boring 19th century symphonic waltzes and then take a piss and melt a puddle of ice and wallow in it -- Damn right! --- and maybe take off his clothes and screw his beautiful skating partner while wallowing in the puddle...why not?...that's what everyone in the audience would like them to do anyway....sure would be a lot more expressive and innovative and perhaps more reflective of our 'modern age' than the goofy $heisse you see at the Olympics every year...Sheesh....maybe the heads of Praeger University and retired Stalinists can put their heads together to decide what is appropriate art and what is not. Or maybe dig up the names of all the "Degenerate Artists" so designated by the Nazis in their big 1937 Berlin show.

Yes there is a lot of worthless spectacle in modern art (as in every aspect of modern life) - but bogus art is the result of the risk you take when you stop doing the same old thing...over and over...there are plenty of great artists out there...

Just for the record, I really like Jackson Pollock not because his drips are so great technically (he actually was highly technically proficient - see his sketches while studying under American Master Thomas Hart Benton) but because they are filled with life and they make me happy when I look at them...and as an aside I thought the professor's smock was very artistic, those were beautiful color what if his students thought Pollock did it....he misses the point that art is a way of seeing not a worship of technicalities...and I think Andreas Serrano's Piss Christ was a fine work of creative art - it digs to the core of the mix of the sacred and the profane that was the mystery of Christ's incarnation - peeling off centuries of encrusted gold and silver crosses and religious goo-gaws and stained glass church pomposity that time and man's vanity build up to smother the visceral nature of Christianity. Yes, Jesus had a penis and he peeed...

Yank this guy off the stage with a gaff hook or put him in a time machine and send him back to the middle ages when artists had to paint what a bunch of priests, who had no business doing so, told them what to paint....

Posted by: Dex Quire at September 10, 2015 12:51 AM

Whew. I'd say the artsies can call each other out better than the poetics can.

Posted by: BillH at September 10, 2015 7:05 AM

Modern Modern art sucks because it requires a back-story or context to make it relevant.
Politics and social engineering based artwork is propaganda.
When a piece evokes emotion (whatever emotion) just by experiencing the piece without being told what context you are supposed place it in; that is Art.
Whether or not it is made of normal materials is (pun alert) immaterial.

Posted by: Lazlo at September 10, 2015 7:14 AM

[sigh] I'm still trying to get this board to realize that "Modern Art" is not today's art. That term would be "Contemporary Art," which means art being made now. The Modern Era, including Modern Art, was roughly the middle of the 19th c until roughly the early 1970s when (shazam!) Post Modernism began.
Don't make me come in here and correct art terms again.
For the record, I dislike much of Post Modern Art but can't pretend it didn't happen. Sh!t happens, as they say.
Back to what's next: new art. Oh, I forgot. The nutty professor rejects the new in art. Kind of kills his point, eh?

Posted by: Casey Klahn at September 10, 2015 7:56 AM

There is a guy from Bemidji, MI who uses a paint ball gun on large canvases to make "art". His name is Iggy Moe and so far he's avoided black velvet. His roadside studio/stand is called Moe'sArt. He hopes to get it in the MOMA next to the petrified poop sculpture.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck at September 10, 2015 10:11 AM

He could have just said that today's art, like today's culture in general, seeks to marginalize the mainstream while legitimizing the marginal.

But. In reality one can't hope to "understand" art without placing it in context along with Religion, Science, History, Philosophy. Art, as man's first mode of expression is a lot like the infant child playing with the stuff in his diaper. It is merely - and somewhat unconsciously - posing a question. Who am I? What is this existence? As a bastardization of Art, Religion poses an answer, but is almost equally "messy" positing as it does the answer in an absolute other. Science as a further failure propounds this failure confusing measurement with understanding. Likewise History with its silly notions of "dialectical materialism".

These modes of knowledge or consciousness or being in the world, when shed of the detritus of materialism lead, hopefully, to Philosophy where finally we see consciousness instead of being directed outward returning on itself. It is only when you look inward that you begin to understand.

While eye consciousness, ear consciousness, touch consciousness, taste consciousness, and smell consciousness enhance our individuality they also impede our universality.

Think. A huge flock of birds will move with perfect syncronicity. Maybe that's because they share a single consciousness.

Posted by: John Hinds at September 10, 2015 12:47 PM

In the art world there seems to be 2 sides to the same coin. Both sides want the individual to appreciate and propagate their standards for art. To me I could care less what someone else thinks of a piece of art. My enjoyment of art is completely independent of another persons opinion. Personally I like Winslow Homer and Norman Rockwell.

Posted by: Bill Henry at September 10, 2015 9:08 PM

Since I am a composer, I'll stick with music, but the parallels are indisputably obvious. In music, the problem was the lesser followers of Beethoven, which includes every composer after him. He alone could make the grandiose profound, and he had profoundly deep understandings of both counterpoint - thank you, Marpurg - and harmony and form - thank you Haydn. So, he managed to create these vast symphonies - to take the most obvious genera - and make them cohesive and always interesting.

After came the Romantics, and so we got the gargantuan snoozers by the likes of Bruckner and Mahler (I can't get through a single movement by either). Brahms was a holdout, but he didn't have the spiritual depth that Beethoven (And Bach) had, so he was nonetheless a lesser figure, despite the fact that I love some of his music.

Schoenberg then appeared, first as an, "Ultra Romantic" and then with his ridiculous notion that all twelve tones could be arranged so that, "one tone relates only to another." This is preposterous, because music works because every tone carries with it an overtone series (This has the structure of a dominant seventh chord, but that may be too geeky for laymen). The end result, however, is that the mind ALWAYS attempts to put the tones into some sort of modal hierarchy. By constantly thwarting this, the listener becomes frustrated. That's why people hate atonal works - I'll not call them music.

But at least Schoenberg had genuine compositional technique. HIS followers did not. So then it became fashionable to be a know-nothing about historical practices - and requiring that knowledge was eliminated from the academies (Which is how leftists took them over, but a story for another time). So now we have nothing but profoundly ignorant dreck which is properly regarded as pretentious cr@p.

Fortunately for me, I had the resources to blow off the academic simpletons and do it on my own (After getting a BM from Berklee in jazz/pop theory/comp, an MM from TSU in trad theory/comp, and doing all the coursework at UNT for a DMA in trad comp).

Finally, if your art is inspired by politics, it isn't art at all. Political climates are transitory, while art is timeless.

Here's a fugue I composed while a doctoral candidate at UNT (CD quality AIFF file, so you'll need QuickTime to be active). One old leftist codger actually got up, interrupted, and shut down the performance with a tirade about, "musical archeology." I kid you not. He was jealous, of course. He's dead now, and I'm glad.

I've had an open challenge to any and all academic composers to come up with a better fugue for over ten years. No takers (And I've composed better fugues since that time).

I don't know how to fix this decadent and dissipated culture, short of razing all the conservatories to the ground and starting over.

Posted by: George Pepper at September 12, 2015 12:53 PM