THE MYTH OF MODERNISM

artgames2

This drawing is about the modernist artist, of a species long extinct. Was Rothko (suicide, 1970) the last famous one? In the top left frame we see the solitary poor—perhaps an addict—modernist having his flash of genius. In subsequent frames we see him slaving away to actualize his vision, only to have to sell his masterpiece for pennies to survive. In the biggest image we see the reality behind the illusion curtain of the modernist artist myth.

Two monitors and 4 programs up, listening to the Kronos Quartet channel on Pandora and taking way too-long breaks to click Stumbleupon or check on the chili cooking. Also gotta go to Salon.com to find that interview, by Thomas Frank with David Graeber about “bullsh*t jobs” he says that work that is valuable in itself is less well-compensated than work that contribute nothing to society. How weird is that?…

A myth is a particular kind of just-so story, a hypothesis–a guess, even–as to the how or why of something. Particular, in that it’s meant to further an agenda other than understanding an agenda that’s usually for the benefit of the myth maker at the expense of all others. Science and art are much less subverted, that’s the hypothesis anyway.

…So people who do nothing good—CEOs, investment banksters, lobbyists or celebrities—get paid lots more than those who do good—first responders, teachers and artists, even journalists, if they are not celebrities, that is. Gotta find the Brainpickings.com article about Allan Watts on money v. wealth…

Of course religions and nations are the biggest myth makers, but Artworld but puts on a pretty good show too. To wit, the marketing of the modernist artist myth where his or her tragi-heroic life determines the current investment value of their work more than any genius or vision actualized in the work itself. for example; a scribble torn from a van Gogh notebook would sell for more than a fully realized work from any number of accomplished and talented but unknown to the public artists even if said artist was a tragi-heroic long-dead expressionist herself.

…Making chili and cutting up amazon boxes to recycle, thinking about put voodoo faces of its CEO/founder on them before I trash them. That hipster entrepreneur turned plutocrat—the dead apple guy too—are as bad for the rest of us as the Kochs et al, you know…

The myth of the Modernist artist is a postmodern manipulation, a game played by investor-leaches and celebrity-hounds in for just the fame and money. It’s ironic—not to them of course—that the myth portrays the artists’ motives as the opposite of all that—the artists are driven by inner not external demons. I’m not saying that the artists didn’t want wealth and fame; most did, but they knew there was a difference between selling and selling out. The PoMo marketer/investors don’t see one.

…OK, maybe not as bad, as Amazon and Apple still have a use for consumers and you gotta have a job to that pays well enough to be as consumer. so it must be of the BS sort? Sad to say, yes. Fox-run hen-houses is the trope here…

Postmodern artists are a different species that’s not extinct, not even endangered as they have cross bred with marketer/investors to become artist/marketer/investors. The result? Brillo boxes, Chrome-plated balloon dogs and embalmed sharks. OK, the guy who did the brillo boxes could draw and was making an ironic statement. The other two are “sincerely” (sincerely insincere, maybe they are ironic too, but their work still annoys me) only in it for the money/fame. I believe if they could hustle swap derivatives for more money than by making “art” they’d switch careers in a flash.

…I’m all for rewarding accomplished art, as well as well-aimed irony or sincerity whichever serves the greater good at that particular time, if it doesn’t cause me too much grief, that is. Were wealth and fame to knock I would answer my door were. Neither has done so, though, and I’m not optimistic about that possibility. Nor is this a self-portrait I’m not the mythical modernist hanging outside the fence, hoping for a wild swing and a chance to get art back. Got no time for that. The chili’s near done and I’ve not sliced one box. Should I take a break from all this and read some, too?

Note: This borrowing of Robert Indiana’s sculpture/icon/industry has probably been done before my wholly independent coming up with it. This half apology for the seeming theft of intellectual property is based on the idea that if I can think of something someone else already has done so, like Indiana’s the figure five. Anyway I plan to make a drawing of it in its NYC incarnation with a homeless person sitting near it. NSFW, not suitable for work, get it? Unless a better idea pushes ahead in line, and they do that all the time.

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