June 19, 2012

The Ideology of Art

[ Commenter Minta Marie Morze on art in the discussion The Cult of Ugliness ]

My personal assessment is that until about the middle of the 1800s, a lot of people who were artists or scientists were those who had both a driving desire and a true ability to follow such a career. A lot of people who might have been economically unable to follow art or science were recognized by their abilities and then apprenticed or brought into the art or scientific world by those they impressed. More than anything else, it used to be the quality of the work they were capable of doing that gave them entrée to the worlds of art or science.

For the last century or so, there have been ideologically-driven departments organized in colleges and other training arenas that receive large funding for their departments from those who have similar ideologies and have access to both private and public funds that can be disbursed. This has led to (1) criteria for "€œofficial"€ entrée, curricula, educators, and credentialing following the ideology; (2) great numbers of students going into the fields who would not have been able to do so if it were still a matter of determination and measurable ability; and, (3) ideologically mapped-out routes for achieving professorships, peer reviews and/or private reputations, funding, gallery exhibition, and so on. Now, more and more, OUTSIDE of engineering, technology, and certain sections of science, and, in a parallel way, "€œmere illustration"€ (for instance by the above-named Boris Vallejo and Norman Rockwell) -- €”all of which demand Skillful Results -- €”[IDEOLOGY] has instead become the MOTIVE behind the art or science that has largely channeled entrée to these vocations. (This is true now for a lot of other fields, too, such as Journalism, the "€œsocial sciences"€, and so forth.)

Now a true desire connected to a true ability too often meets with fierce and immediate roadblocks. In art, the official prestigious critical, gallery, and museum pathways are [open] by motive only. In science, more and more "peer review"€ and publication is becoming limited by motive-driven work.

Motive is becoming everything, and the Big Money follows the Motive. There have been some remarkable frauds discovered in science lately, and a lot more [are] suspected. And an examination of modern artwork shows that in too many prestigious areas it is hollow and ugly -- €”and carries unbelievable price tags. And these works are being purchased, and others ignored.

Yes, I am well aware there is still excellent science and art and reporting and teaching going on. But the sheer numbers of the others, and the prestigious reputations and really incredible amounts of money that can be had by taking the already set-up motive-driven routes is almost overpowering to some people -- €”and to those with little or no talent in their chosen field, it is often the only path to money and position. And they take that path that has opened before them. Sometimes they even lie to themselves about what they are accomplishing, because they really want to do something worthwhile; but, sometimes they know precisely what game they are playing.

Posted by: Minta Marie Morze at June 18, 2012 4:56 PM

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 19, 2012 7:58 AM
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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.

Counterfeit culture is what the counter culture has become: Grades mean nothing. Language is jargon-filled nonsense. Politics trumps all.
We need a counter-counter-cultural revolution. In a word: Restoration.

Posted by: Jewel at June 19, 2012 8:18 AM

She said that so well. People wonder... Where is my SKY CAR!!!!

Well there you go....

Posted by: Bill Henry at June 19, 2012 9:03 AM

Yeah, I remember thinking that was a great comment when I first saw it. Deservedly promoted.

Posted by: rickl at June 20, 2012 4:10 PM