Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

I was so excited when the San Francisco Museum of Modern art finally opened in January 1995!! Somehow I didn't get around to taking my family to see what was inside until June 2001. I needn't have hurried so much...

As we wandered through that 100 million dollar building, we were amazed to find there wasn't any real art in the whole place. Nearby is an art school, so there were hordes of students, notepads in hand, inspecting the stuff on the walls, writing furiously, muttering to themselves. In one room I saw a very large canvas that was painted monochromatic ketchup red. The painting, by Kasemir Malevich, was called "Red Square: Painterly Realism of a Peasant Woman in Two Dimensions".


The painting can be viewed on the internet at the Paris WebMuseum. This art form is referred to as "Suprematist".

I remember looking over one young lady's shoulder as she wrote, "the woman looks like she is uncomfortable in that heavy dress," or some such drivel. A young man wrote, "The woman doesn't appear to be very happy." I don’t really remember exactly what they were writing, but it was garbage like that.

Can you say, "The Emperor’s New Clothes"? Arghhhh....

I think that was the moment when I became interested, really interested, in finding out what art is all about and why there is so much garbage in the world masquerading as art. Since then I've collected nearly 56,000 images of the works of about 6,000 artists on my computer.

The fact that people can take something like "Peasant Woman in Two Dimensions" seriously is a sad commentary on our society.

Let me give you a basis for comparison. Here is a painting of a peasant woman, "Vendangeuse" (The Grape Picker), by William Bouguereau. Note the red scarf...


Which would you prefer, that lovely red scarf, or that plain red square? Or am I missing something?! When I sent the above to my sister, she wrote back.

I much prefer looking at the girl in the scarf, but I admit I could probably produce the red square better!! Art for the masses may mean art that any of the mass can produce and that can be mass-produced!

Wow! My sister is pretty brilliant, isn't she?! Many "modern" artists seem to have little artistic talent. But not all. Some of the famous modern artists CAN paint like Bouguereau if they want to. But it isn't avant garde and it doesn't make money.

Avant garde: I believe "modern art" arose as a spoof. The weird thing is that people liked The Emperor's New Clothes, and bought into Modernism hook-line-and-sinker.

Making money: It was also obvious that such "art" could be churned out at the rate of one canvas an hour, whereas it probably took Bouguereau several months to complete The Grape Picker.

The Internet can supply many wonderful articles about what I've summarized in these two short paragraphs. Of course you will find overwhelmingly more out there supporting the opposing view.

You've heard the idea that the bigger the lie the more people will believe it. Here is the origin of that idea from Mr. Schicklegruber's Mein Kampf.

But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall [of Germany in WWI] precisely to the man who alone had shown a superhuman will and energy in his effort to prevent the catastrophe which he had foreseen and to save the nation from that hour of complete overthrow and shame. By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice. All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true in itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper stata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily, and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.

From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. He (Schopenhauer) called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies." Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.

Or in other words:

The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.

I guess I'm still stuck on extolling truth and exposing falsehood.

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