Deconstructing Art Manifesto
Our great visionaries have gone away, while our teachers have led us to stray. Logic, Reason, and even Surrealism have gone, what we are left with is copied, reproduction, massiveness of nothingness which we call modernism or contemporary-ism. The imagination is reduced to rules and techniques until all we have are a vast number of poseurs, attempting to be the next van Gogh, da Vinci or Picasso, by reproducing that which has already been done. Instead of moving to the future artists have been drawn to the past and embodied an almost reverse Darwinian approach to art. During the Middle Ages art was known as the “ape of nature”, the ape was a symbol for the arts of painting and sculpture. The artist’s skill was regarded as essentially imitative and became linked with the animal known for its imitativeness. The idea was expressed in a popular saying, “Ars Simia Naturae”— Art is the ape of Nature. Today’s artists have reverted back to this primate idea of art, rubber-stamping their ideas in an almost mechanical manner.
This is not the doing of the artist but a design flaw in the institution of art in which artists have been made to believe that we are free to create that in which we like or feel is our own voice, but the reality is that the Enlightenment has failed us, it has become a passage in our history books that no longer holds truth. The artist has gone from being slaves to the King and Church but the day of the artist as a slave has returned with new management in the name of the art market, galleries, museums and institutions. We are forced to create to the masses but the masses know not what art is other than what they are told or what is pleasing to ones eye. For this reason art has become nothing more than an idea of beauty. But what is beauty? If we are to believe what we see than we are fooling ourselves that what we consider beauty as our own. George Carlin had it right we are not allowed to think for ourselves or own our own thoughts, for beauty belongs to the market, controlled by the corporations and government, designed by the rich and is pounded into us from a young age in our education.
The galleries are falling apart, while their represented artists are making bad art. They care not of your time or ideas, only about the wants of their clients who have stopped buying new works and only settle for those works which haven’t been new since the dawn of industrialism. While these directors and curators sit on their throne looking down their noses at the new comers their artists are becoming extinct and their clients broke in this bad market.
The educational system has failed us into believing that new is modern and modern is good. What we are left with is misunderstood youths working towards a future that is already past. What was once the first and most important universities in the world are now reduced to reproduction factories to meet the wants and needs of the government which controls them but does not know what art is, while they sit in their offices, chairs, and at their desks designed by the programs they desire to cut. Under the pretext of progress we have embraced the POP and spread the title of Contemporary over all things we create. Sadly the apprentices of today have misunderstood Warhol, Duchamp and the other POP Fluxes DaDa’s. Their ideas was to question art not make it into a mass mill of one boring object after another. They have seen the future and tried to worn us of what the future in the Age of Information would rain down on us, but like the monkeys we have seen no evil, heard no evil, and so we speak no evil, but the monkey of thinking evil is absent from the equation.
The information age is filled by those paper mill universities, handing out one degree after another with no care for the future of the human spirit. While the computer age grows around us, the skilled individual is reduced to the elderly and less fortunate. It is only fitting that at the death of Modernism Andy Warhol was the face of POP; he knew then what we don’t know now, that life is empty without meaning if you let it be. That people are so busy trying to be like the Jones’ that they are willing to sell their identity to do it. “It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about It.” – Andy Warhol
The Mass production of POP culture has spilled over into the studios of those few artists lucky enough to make a name for themselves. The pressure for them to produce works has replaced quality with quantity. These artists have become bosses and masters of their own demanding their workers to punch a clock and swear to secrecy the lack of actual work the artists commits to a piece of work. These so called workers are no longer apprentices learning a trade but merely skilled workers looking to make a dollar. Like much of the business world some of them have set up show in third worlds taking advantage of low cost labor for the desire of a higher paycheck. Many of these artists works focus on the ideas of inequality and injustice while exploiting those subjects they claim to stand against.
With the discredit of Freud we have convinced ourselves that the imagination is a bad thing. Freud was right; it is incredible that this important part of the psychic activity, imagination, has still attracted so little attention. Yet while we have stripped away the imagination, we have maintained the sexuality of the ID.
The state of affair in which we live has caused me to invite a few reflections:
1. We all live in the limits to which society places on us, and fear the idea of extending beyond the real world to look for our true selves. From our birth to our death we carry on like drones learning only what is taught and teaching only what is learned. The mind was not meant to be measured in books, but through ever-growing need to explore the depths of life. How easily our mind wonders to the ever-growing vision of pornography that is pumped out in mass production for all to see. As men we are weak, bending our wills to that of popular pressure or simply falling weak to the ideas of a woman. Women have a great effect on the imagination. What effect I cannot say. As women we are weak bending our minds to trends and our mothers. Media have the greatest effect on the imagination more then we can ever truly realize.
2. Modern is just a fancy way of saying new, and does not really reflect good or even better. The fundamental idea that we are unable to live without technology gives way the notion that man was basically a band of wondering idiots for the last 3 million years before the invention of the Boob Tube. This phenomenon is only topped by the idea that communication without email is beyond our basic concept. Our minds are reduced from flowing expressions of emotion to a computerized form of expressions in shorthand. This with the restricted study and knowledge of manual work we have reduce the future of art too two forms, digital and audio. I guess we can blame fast food and mass media. The idea of instant has moved artists to reduce the amount of time that we spend creating a piece of art to minutes not days, to days not months or years. The role of the artist has moved from great creator to a businessman, having to show and sell as much as they can in as little time as possible for this there will be no Mona Lisa’s in the Future. O’Keeffe said it best “I may not know what art is, but I know what art isn’t and this is not art.” I find myself say this about most art or at least what is being passed today.
3. Fantasy and emotions are no longer left to our dreams, but communicated for us through the use of mass media. No longer are people required to think for themselves or draw their own conclusions. Those are now property of Big Business, Big Government and costly textbooks that inform us what we are required to believe, feel and think. Their role is to remove and make disappear that in which we are born with back to from which it came. And if things were otherwise, of what might the mind not be capable? With such control over us the agonizing question of possibility does not arise. The pressure to be popular has forced the youth of today to strip away their true selves and conform to a BORG like existence of living. This ideology has forced artists to abandon the idea of creating art for the sake of making art to making art that will be accepted by the many. The first question Art Galleries ask artists is no longer their idea but how much they have sold in the last year. Becoming famous has now come with a price tag and admission is available for sale. Galleries and Museums no longer show only the best art has to offer, but is open for all that can afford to rent a space. While it has increased exposure for some it has also reduced standards to mere fine print at the bottom of the page.
4. The idea of rights is a myth. If we have rights why are they not equal and why can they be taken away? If something can be taken from you it is not a right but a privilege which is held over our heads like prize for fitting in and bending for all that command it. None are rewarded more than artists who bend to the desires of their patron for their pound of silver.
5. When the time is done what will we have to set forth of ourselves? By what methods will we determine if we have succeeded in our lives? What will we have to show for all that we are? Will the mind be once again free to imagine for itself? These are all questions to which there is no answer. Without the imagination it is impossible for one to wonder a future let alone relive the past in which we are trying to move away from. So there we are, in the middle, neither moving forward nor back, just standing waiting for instructions on how to begin. The idea of studying the past should not be for the mere idea of copying it, but to witness what has been done so that we can contemplate our own ideas and styles on the world.
Might it be possible to reflect on the life we are living depends on our ability to live the life we are given. Should we cave to the will of others then our destination is set for us, the paint is already spread on the canvas and the paintings are all the same. Warhol saw the future we were heading to, but that does not mean that it is the future that we should live. The crackerjack, cookie cutter society which we have strived for can only be undone by the opening of the mind, the exploration of the spirit and the wiliness to bend only to lift ourselves out of the faceless crowds.
If we are all to have our 15 minutes what is it that makes this place so special so different? The answer to Hamilton’s question would be nothing.