The War On Art

There was a time not so long ago when art was associated with beauty. Today, however, most people ‘don’t get art’. How did it come to this? How is it that even regular folk were once stirred by the beauty of art whereas today art provokes feelings of bewilderment, and in extreme cases, even revulsion? Let us examine the character of good art and how it stirs the human soul. Traditional art is often inspired by the mundane. A moment captured by art possesses a certain poignancy due to the fleetingness of that moment. As Arthur Danto stated: “a celebration of the momentary, a melancholy exaltation of what will not come again”

Ink work by Miyamoto Musashi. That perched bird will poingantly captures the fleetingness of the moment.

Ink work by Miyamoto Musashi. That perched bird  poignantly captures the fleetingness of the moment.

study-of-hands.jpg!Blog

The mundane is beautiful, the mundane is life.

Danto’s comment was addressing Japanese art but there are plenty of examples from the Western tradition as well. Consider Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of human hands above.

The subject is mundane and so are the gestures depicted in the picture. Yet as I focused my attention on the fingers and wrists I relented to the urge of examining my own hands. I extended and retracted each finger of my right hand and gently felt my knuckles and finger joints with my left. We use our hands to perform various activities everyday yet seldom do we stop and marvel at their wondrous complexity. The human body is a biological marvel that billions of humans will take for granted every day. Da Vinci’s artwork guides us to penetrate the structure of the mundane and glimpse the inner beauty contained within. I think we can safely agree that good art is inspired by the mundane but ultimately transcends it.

The scope of Art

The Alternative Right and various others (including the Occidental Observer) have diligently cataloged the atrocities committed against traditional Western Art at the hands of Abstract Expressionists and Post Modernist ‘artists’. Yet very little is said about their motivation in tearing down traditional western art. Before we tackle that question we must turn our attention to the scope of art within culture and civilization. Artistic endeavours have traditionally been more than a solipsistic attempt at “self discovery”. The motive that underlies so many great works of art is an attempt at communicating a civilization’s understanding of the universe.

The floating perspective of Chinese art conveys the infiniteness of the Tao. The misty mountains and unending horizons symbolize the path through the cosmos that has no destination. Flowing water, a recurring motif in Chinese art (and the Tao Te Ching), is generally interpreted as a metaphor for the Tao. Water intuitively follows its path effortlessly and thus also embodies the Taoist principle of Wu Wei, or effortless action. Chinese art (atleast from the 10th century) articulates a Universe envisioned by Taoism.

Taoist art at its finest

Taoist art at its finest

Indian artwork similarly articulates its own interpretation of the universe. The prodigious forms on temple facades, humans, beasts, gods, can overwhelm the senses. Individually, the forms register in the mind but when observed from afar, the numerous distinctions collapse into a vague singular mass. The ancient Hindus discovered the paradox that beyond a certain point in human perception, distinctions/diversity converges with homogeneity. Hindu art attempts to convey the illusionary nature of reality and draws the viewer towards the singular ultimate reality that lies beneath the illusionary surface. That reality, as the Upanishads instruct, is Brahman.

 

The paradox of perception. Perfect diversity = perfect homogeneity.

The paradox of perception. Perfect diversity = perfect homogeneity.

The Western view of the universe

What does Western art convey about the universe? We know that the Greeks saw the universe as a temporally infinite, structured system. That beneath the chaos was an underlying order that could be deciphered. The Miletian philosophers were particularly obsessed with cosmology. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximeses, each proposed his own model of the universe governed by an underlying arche. It was Pythagoras, however, who first proposed that the structure of the universe could be deciphered through numbers.

“To this day, the theorem of Pythagoras remains the most important single theorem in the whole of mathematics. That seems like a bold and extraordinary thing to say, yet it is not extravagant; because what Pythagoras established is a fundamental characterization of the space in which we move, and it is the first time that it is translated in numbers. And the exact fit of the numbers describes the exact laws that bind the universe…Symmetry is not merely a descriptive nicety; like other thoughts in Pythagoras, it penetrates to the harmony in nature.” (Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent Of Man)

The Greeks were obsessed with symmetry. Brownowski argued that humans were hardwired to recognize and find symmetry appealing. Consider that we inhabit a horizontal plane upon which we are free to travel using any means of locomotion at our disposal. Gravity intersects this horizontal plane at a right angle. A right angle is half of a square, a perfectly symmetrical shape. Greek art and sculpture prized symmetry as the highest aesthetic virtue.

The human form, the very embodiment of symmetry. Riace warrior (Greece)

The human form, the very embodiment of symmetry. Riace warrior (Greece)

The Church did not discard the Greek paradigm of the structured universe, but superimposed the intelligence of God onto this order. The elements that have characterized Western art over the past 500 years, form, symmetry, and geometric perspective, reflect the Western view of the universe as a structured system; a structure that can be deciphered through rational and empirical means. Despite the conflict between the Church and Galileo, Western civilization was to embrace the latter, partly due to the empirical obsession with nature that the Church itself had fostered.

It is precisely this idea that leftists find so abhorrent, the idea of a structured universe. George Orwell warned us in 1984 that the greatest threat to Marxism is a structured universe that can be appreciated through empiricism:

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

The left has been attacking empiricism for decades. Western academia has gradually shifted away from the positivism of the Enlightenment to the anti-positivism of the Frankfurt school. The Cultural Marxist academics who instruct gullible university students that reality is ‘socially constructed’ are issuing this most essential command of The Party. As an example, let us briefly turn our focus to feminism. The Bible instructs us that the sexes compliment one another and this is confirmed by evolutionary psychology as well (2 + 2 = 4). This empirically grounded approach to gender relations is threatening to the feminist narrative which insists that men oppress women and that the 2 genders, save for anatomy, are identical (2 +2 = 5).

What does all of this have to do with art?

That becomes obvious when we look at the ‘art’ that was to replace the traditional Western schools. Examine the abomination below.

Let the buyer beware, the emperor has no clothes on.

Let the buyer beware, the emperor has no clothes on.

This work of ‘art’ by Jackson Pollock is the very anti-thesis of traditional Western art. There are no forms, no symmetry, and no perspective. If the essence of traditional western art was order, then this piece is a clear expression of chaos. We’re told that this monstrosity is a snapshot of the artist’s subconscious and that it empowers viewers to to interact with it by drawing their own interpretations. This is utter rubbish. Traditional art enables the artist to engage in conversation with the viewer. Abstract Expressionism is a dialogue an artist has with himself. It is impossible for the viewer to access this dialogue and thus the viewer engages in a dialogue with himself as well. Traditional art is about engaging the viewer whereas Abstract Expressionism is an exercise in solipsism.

Clement Greenberg: The crusader for Abstract Expressionism. Look at his nose and guess his tribe.

Clement Greenberg: The crusader for Abstract Expressionism. Look at his nose and guess his tribe.

The war on art is a war against the soul of western civilization. While Abstract Expressionism may no longer be in vogue, art is still getting uglier with every passing decade. A culture that has no conception of vulgarity is a culture that practices tolerance without boundaries. Tolerance without boundaries is a formula for cultural suicide. The modus operandi of post modern art is to “push the boundaries” whereas traditional Western art was all about preserving those boundaries. Art encapsulates a civilization’s worldview, and without boundaries, what separates the Western worldview from others?

Orwell stated in 1984 that “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”

If he were alive today he would undoubtedly add: “Ugliness is beauty.”

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This entry was posted in art, Asia, China, Christianity, conservative values, Cultural Marxism, Feminism, Hinduism, India, Subversion, Western Values and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The War On Art

  1. Ex-Liberal says:

    My artist parents had a joke in line with this topic, and it goes something like this:

    “Barnett Newman closed the door, Mark Rothko shut the windows, and Ad Reinhardt turn off the lights on the Fine Arts.”

    Search for images on their works for clarification.

    As for empiricism, David Harriman does a good job in the book The Logical Leap describing the scientific method and it’s history. Interestingly, he uses Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Epistemology. I have not read her works other than Atlas Shrugged, which I was not impressed. However, it seems Harriman found value in her philosophic writings. It gave me a clearer idea of the philosophy and method of the sciences than my degree in Physics ever did. I wish I had been taught in the way Harriman outlines with the history that led to discovery, particularly the lines of thinking that went into it and the failures along the way.

  2. Bay Area Guy says:

    All of you should watch a Simpsons episode called “Mom and Pop Art.” It parodies the manner in which any creative form of expression can be passed off as “art,” regardless of how uninspired, bad, or just plain chaotic it is.

  3. HP FAUSTUS says:

    ‘ art is still getting uglier with every passing decade. ‘

    A local Art University has a banner announcing its degree show it says something about the

    ‘search for beauty in every new generation..’…

    Really? I thought they meant search for the next extremist barbarity….

  4. GulliverFredrich says:

    That statue that you are displaying for the Western Greek perspective doesn’t seem like a Ancient Greek creation. It’s a much more later modern representation of what people later through was Greek art. Also the statue in question that you are showing in the picture looks like a replica made by a museum or private sculpturer rather then being an actual Greek statue. Museums and statue makers can make a Riace Greek statue for about 6000 euro’s and you can buy it for that price level.

    The Greek statue looks way too polished and clean to be some sort of an ancient Greek statue; the bronze doesn’t seem to show the enough weather erosion on the bronze for it be dated to about 450 BC. Also his head and nose doesn’t show the typical chipped off and erosional imbalance typical of Greek statues from that time period combined with the structural chemical corrosion and imbalances.

    Like this:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Greek+croatian+statue&biw=1920&bih=979&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=J0ODVYj4I43XoASWobfAAg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#imgrc=jCTXFNHozFZHjM%253A%3Bs2KgLBgwKXAjDM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.culturenet.hr%252FUserDocsImages%252FEnglish%252Fslike%252Fap4.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.culturenet.hr%252Fdefault.aspx%253Fid%253D23638%3B250%3B332

    It’s either some of a reconstruction or a fake replica, eitherway it’s a poor choice and bad example….

  5. Dota says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riace_bronzes

    They are Greek statues and the pictures I’ve used are those of genuine Riace bronzes discovered by Stefano Mariottini.

    • GulliverFredrich says:

      No i’m sorry, wikipedia is a not a great source or a valid source in this case especially given it’s lack of authenticity as of recent and the fact that most anyone can interject things there. Those bronzes don’t show bronzes typical of Bronzes that one would expect that’s gone through the aging process, since we are talking hundreds to thousands of years.

      THIS IS WHAT TYPICAL BRONZE WOULD LOOK LIKE IF IT WAS AN ACTUAL AUTHENTIC BRONZE:

      That statue seems inauthentic in many ways, starting with the fact that it does not show real authentic corrosion and weathering due to age. Restorers make sure NOT TO edit or try to fix bronzes because it lowers the AUTHENTICITY of Bronzes. That statue seems to show little if any signs of bronze weathering as expected from hundreds of years and expected running off of corrosion. Not to mention, a lot of ANCIENT GREEKS DID NOT ACTUALLY HAVE MODERN MEDITERRANEAN FEATURES OR SHARP FEATURES LIKE THE STATUE!!

      Case in point:

      I’m sorry but those statues are recently made fakes being passed as authentic statues, I would have expected better analysis and authenticity instead of downright ignorance and stupidity from a blog like this. But then I shouldn’t really expect the bar to be that high when it comes to opinionated blogs; it’s very disappointing that there are three upvotes on Dota’s reply, when it’s clear he doesn’t know what he is talking about and doesn’t actually know much about statues and fake artifacts, and is just pulling stuff out of thin air for his baseless confirmation biased opinions. I would have expected better critical thinking skills from readers on this blog but oh well I should not expect too much from “blog” that’s really just opinions and not reality.

  6. Guy from Montréal says:

    Having explosive diarrhrea on a canvas after swallowing several different colors of paint has never impressed me at all, it’s just pure laziness, it’s the same garbage approach I see many hipsters practice when they attempt to create art, hipsters just suck.

    • Dota says:

      Part of the problem is hierarchy. One might be a skilled cartoonist but those skills pale in comparison to a real portrait artist that uses graphite and charcoal to create realism. Yes, they are both art, and yes, they both require skill. Yet the portrait artist produces art of a higher quality. As far as modern society is concerned, “It’s all art.” The unstated implication that one would subconsciously arrive at is that because they are both art, they must both be equal in value. Art is now subjected to the same Marxist equalism doctrine that is eating away at the fabric of Western Civilization.

      • Guy from Montréal says:

        All art is not equal, never! anyone who has an understanding of art knows this, though the masses can be fooled to think otherwise.

    • Dota says:

      We truly live in a decaying civilization.

    • Guy from Montréal says:

      Everything you’ve just posted here Qaurtermain is true! it’s all part of the dumbing down and brainwashing of society as a whole, when you look at the state of things today how the hell are we gonna climb out of this one? there just doesn’t seem to be any hope because almost everyone has become zombified and blind!

  7. Guy from Montréal says:

    I’m Glad I was able to find this clip from a great Italian film I’ve seen this past winter, it portrays the war on art as discussed above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plG2KDit-Kc

  8. Guy from Montréal says:

    Here’s another from the same film, it’s a shame there’s no subtitles but I think the message gets across. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJJl_UDx0A

  9. Aiden says:

    Probably the worst I have seen in modern art is a sculpture called Sugar Baby.

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