Friday, May 18, 2012

I hate modern art.

I consider myself a very cultured person; I mean my name and blog title are in Latin! But one thing I will not pretend to understand or like is modern art.  I went to a little event with the girlfriend this week; she volunteers at an art museum and got invited to an after hours soiree.  The first thing I see when I walk in is this.

The name escapes me but
I know this is made by some
'great artist' from China
It's a bunch of cars suspended in midair with LED tubes sticking out of it at various angles. I suppose when viewed as a sequence it would look like an exploding car flipping over itself; and I won't deny there is a slight 'cool' factor. But this is somehow great art worthy of being placed in a mueseum in a good sized metropolitan center?

Anyone with the proper tools and time can do this. Granted, this would be far more difficult than what the majority of us could do. But that seems to be the impetus of modern art these days, foisting crap upon the public and proclaiming its greatness.

Carboard stuck to a wall. If card
on a wall is great art. Then I got louve worthy
material at one of the buildings I help faciliate.

A bunch of barbed wire and some electroluminescent light.
I'm sure this is a modern citique of American capitalize and beneath the lights of prosperiety lie
the ever oppresence of conformity.
This stuff is just mundane and pedantic, not even the worst of the bunch.  In this art museum, admist the modern art section, there is a Jesus flipping the bird holding what looks to be a joint. It's offensive for a variety of reasons, none the least of which is it insults an important deity that billions of people round the world worship; and it wasn't even well made.  And that is the worst thing about modern art. It fails to elicit any sort of emotion response, and from a technical standpoint, its terrible. 

Go to any art museum and you will see and an Ancient Greek and Roman section.  Now at our museum, sadly, the Greek and Roman section only encompassed a solitary wall.  One of the greatest artistc epochs of our history warrants a paltry space.  Now granted, the museum may only have few items on hand, though I have been told the museum has more in storage. This is in contrast to the modern art section that got an entire floors worth of garbage, literally, some of the art was garbage!

Here are two examples of Roman sculpture and art.  One thing I found interesting was that the Romans and Greeks were masters when it came to carving lifelike statues; yet their painting seemed not up to the same level as their sculptures.  Not that it is bad mind you, but there is a noticeable discrepancy with the proportions.  But either way, when you compare ancient Roman art to say Egyptian, Sumerian, Etruscian, Celtic, and Babylonian, you notice that the Romans were simply head and shoulders above them in terms of quality.  None of the aforementioned civilizations were bad; the Romans and Greeks were just that good.   Then you move on to Medieval art.

Not to pick on all artist during this period, as there were certainly some skilled ones. But over all the art just isn't up to the same level of quality that existed.  Makes sense, considering that the Medieval period was a time when the west was just picking itself up after the chaos caused by the collapse of a great civilization.  Walking through the art museum I had this deep sense of loss while wandering through the medieval art section.  The west had truly lost something when Rome fell, and I thought about how more much scientifically and cultural advanced we would have been if Rome had not fallen.  We forget the ancient Greeks and Romans discovered concrete, and had created the beginnings of a steam engine.  Just think how much different the world would have been if the steam engine had been discovered in 500 AD, and not the 18th century. 

We see the rediscovery of human imagination and progress when we view Renaissance art. The rediscovery of proportion and the golden mean, a renewed emphasis on human development!  This sparked a period of every increasing human advancement. After the Renaissance we have the enlightenment.

And after the enlightenment. Just look at the play of shadows in light in a painting.  This was the area when Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity and when a new concept called liberalism, the real sort not the bastard child we have today, came into being.  The science of economics was created; everyone should read 'The Wealth of Nations.'

The Industrial revolution, increased human productivity and wealth

The Victorian age, scientific discovery and the rapid advancement of human knowledge!

Human beings progress ever further and further, culminating in....this.

When art like that is celebrated; is it any wonder when we get people like this

Artist used to be the most intellectually superb amongst us. DaVinci was a painter, a sculpture, and architect, and an inventor. True he was a giant amongst geniuses, but at one time it wasn't uncommon to expect those inclined towards the arts to excel in a variety of fields.  That is what the liberal arts used to mean.  It meant a broad mastery and knowledge of the entirety of human knowledge.  A true liberal artists would know biology, astronomy, physics, the law, art, history, literature, politics, theology, philosophy, finance, and engineering.  But how many liberal arts major fits that description today? How many are renaissance men, or women?  No, today the average liberal arts major is just like the art we see in a modern art museum, or the fetid turd atop our beloved flag.

I left the museum in a dour mood, my girlfriend knowing how much I detest modern art, express gratitude that I accompanied her. I spared her the rant of the collapse of western civilization that was burning inside me.  And I don't know if our republic can be saved, but one thing I do know. Modern art is the perfect symbol for what is wrong with us today.

ADDENDUM (6/8/12)

Now it isn't as if there aren't great 'modern' artists today. But that sad fact is they labor in obscurity. Museums today seem to honor the sycophant, not the genius. If you want to see real modern artists your better off going to deviant art than an art museum.  I'll quote something my brother once quoted me. It was a professor of his who taught art.  This professor detested art today because it had become a sham of what it once was.  The quote is this.

"Those great 'artists' that you see in the museums today, the ones that show blank canvases, barb wired, garbage, or a paint splattered board as something with deep meaning. The ones that draw in distorted styles that are supposed to be in the style of cubism. Do you know why they do so? Because they cannot really create art, they never learned the basics and built from there.  Go to any one of those artists and ask them to simply paint their mothers face as it is. And I wonder, how many of them could do so? I am sad to say that there probably not many. Sad because what is more personal than the woman who gave birth to you? If a man or woman cannot draw theirs mothers face, every detail and age line on it, then that person is no real artist. Because if you cannot draw the very thing that is most personal to you then how can you be expected to use art to convey truth?"

Quoted for truth professor.



  1. It warms my heart to see that there are more people who hate the post-modern era. It has become clear to me that sometime in the late 19th century, things started going awry in both art, literature, science, politics, etc. I think it was the rise of ideological movements that destroyed Western civilization. Since then, its been steadily downwards, and we are now fast approaching collapse.

    You will be added to the permanent reading list, if you don't mind.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree save, its no coicidence that the late 19th century also saw the begninnings of the progressive movement. And thanks for the addition, I follow your writings regularly.

  2. Hi,I was wondering who did the painting of the industrial revolution workers? and where did you find it? thanks

    1. Joseph Wright painted this picture back in 1772. I can't remember where I found it.


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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.