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How to Fight Modern Art

It’s a pretty well known fact that modern art is bad. It’s supposed to be bad. Once, the purpose of art was to transcend the ugliness of this world and reach for the virtue of beauty, but that’s all done away with. One of the most heinous crimes committed by traditional art was preaching beauty was the same as good, but there are ugly things in this world that, when seen through a different lens, can also be beautiful. This is very true. Rembrandt took vagrants, elderly people, outcasts in general, and painted them in such captivating, ecstatic beauty while still retaining their shabbiness, wrinkles, and age.

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Modern art doesn’t do that.

Instead, artists like Duchamp, Manet, Jeff Koons, and so on seek only to desecrate and offend, not the artistic academics who hold the power over what is and isn’t considered art, mind you, but people who love beautiful art and long for meaning and beauty in their own lives who’ve long since given up on the art world after what the cesspool it’s become. They stole art from us. They distorted it so the only ones who can enjoy it are those who are “clever enough” to understand it. Of course modern art must be fought, must be rebelled against. By their (the Academics’) own definition, the ones in power are only there to lord it over the rest of us, and stole said power from the rest of us. Why should they be surprised if their precious and meaningful world of modern art was suddenly toppled down by an angry mob to tear down their vision and replace it with a more caring and brighter ideology?

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Tracy Emin’s “My Bed.” Where it’s not enough to just credit the artist, I couldn’t even put in this blog post without linking BOTH Wikipedia pages because “It’s so special” or something.

You see how evil that last paragraph was? How resentful?

Some of you might have enjoyed reading it (I sure enjoyed writing it), or a version of it where “modern art” was replaced by some other ideology you don’t like.

I’ve been writing (albeit not often enough) about this for years. I’ve always loved art. I love looking at it and making it. If I was to live alone anywhere in the world, it would be Florence or Rome where art and beauty is literally everywhere. I naively hoped that the Art School would nurture that love. Instead, all I got was snobbishness, disdain, and hatred from the teachers and students for any Classical art with a glimmer of hope and beauty.  I felt personally and spiritually injured by these people. As a result, many of my past blog posts have been attacks. They were criticisms that I was either to scared or too incoherent to convey in the classroom. While it was cathartic, it wasn’t helpful. Not in the slightest.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to Roger Scruton and G.K. Chesterton. These were two men whose beliefs I felt were similar to mine. Roger Scruton, in his almost pompous, Oxford-educated demeanor, also believed modern art was an enemy to civilization, but he effectively portrayed a great love for the beauty of art.

Somehow, around the same time of discovering this wonderful man, I also started listening to an audio book by G.K. Chesterton. His words were concise, intelligent, but also filled with a great love.

Gilbert_Chesterton
Anyone with hair like that is a guy worth grabbing a beer with… Or a cup of tea at least… he looks more like a tea person.

He did criticize rationalists, people like Nietzsche, but rather than in a disdainful tone, his criticisms were a mixture of light humor and sadness. To him, these weren’t people who were evil and just wanted to watch the world burn, like how we typically think of those we think are our enemies, but instead, pitiable (but still loveable) people who are missing out on a great joy and mystery in life.

The following words came into my head, they weren’t anything that Chesterton or Scruton explicitly said, they just kind of formed in my brain on their own:

“Love your friends more than you hate your enemies.”

I was thinking about these words, and I thought to myself,

“Do I really love art? Or do I just hate modern art? And if I do love art, do I love the art I love to look at and make… more than the art I was demanded to accept by my teachers?”

And, to be honest. No. I don’t think I did.  This was a scary thing to learn about myself. But I really had a lot hate and anger built up. For YEARS. It took me this long to realize it wasn’t doing me any good. I wasted so much energy on my hate than I didn’t have a whole lot left over for my love. I myself desecrated the art I loved by thinking “It’s better than garbage being made today.”

There’s so much ugliness, guys. There really is. There’s war, there’s tyrants, there’s people online who say nasty things they never say to that person… in person. In our political climate, all I see are people finally having an excuse to destroy, not people who really care or want to change things. Every day, we just want to use the misery of our own lives and ruin it for everyone else. I don’t have to be that person. Neither should you. I hope you’re not, or at least on your way.

If you want to fight modern art, or ugliness, or hate, or anything that’s damaging to this world, then think about what you love, and be the best of what you love. Be kind, make things that bring meaning to others. Don’t hide behind your meaning (and computer screen) as an excuse to hurt people or tear things down. There is ugliness in people, but there’s beauty in them too. When people see you acting this way, and that you fervently believe and act out your meaning, then it will inspire them to do the same. If they don’t agree with your ideas, but you don’t attack those people or tear them down, they’ll be more likely to listen to you.

And yes, there are truly terrible, psychopathic, malevolent people out there. With that in mind, love your family and your friends more than you hate the psychopaths. And certainly love those in your life more than those who disagree with you.

 

 

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Gods, Nature, and Terrible Beauty

First of all, hi everyone! I’m back from Italy! Now that I no longer have thesises and papers and reports to write for school, I finally have time/energy to work on this blog. My fiance picked me up from the airport. With flowers. I’ve been spending the past week painting them. I’ll post when it’s finished.


 

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William Blake Richmond’s “Venus and Anchises”

Several passages in the bible discuss the “Fear of the Lord.” To name a few:

 

Deuteronomy 6:24 “So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for its survival, as it is today.”

Psalm 31:19 “How great is Your [God’s] goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear you.”

Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, But the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”

 

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John Martin: “Sodom and Gamorrah”

 

It does seem cruel that it’s not enough to fear a vengeful god. One that could and has smite cities with not even a single word. No. He DEMANDS this fear from his followers. Perhaps it’s true that it is cruel and unjust, but anyone with an ounce of insight can see that these passages aren’t a simple, “Obey me and fear me, or else.” I’m sure even the most fundamentally literal Christians wouldn’t want to follow a god that demands one’s fear rather than love.

Then again, I dunno. Machiavelli himself concluded it’s more efficient for rulers to be feared than loved. Maybe on a deeper level, we can admire these rulers more than the kind ones.

The other side of this argument, perpetrated by those who see the Loving and Merciful God over the Vengeful one, will say that it’s not literal “Fear” of God, but to be in “Awe.” For a while, I thought that too.

 

 

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Lois Isabey “Shipwreck”

It isn’t just the Judeo-Christian god that demands this fear. Nature demands the same from her inhabitants, only she doesn’t give us the structure needed to protect us against her wrath.

 

We stand in front of an ocean, and we admire its beauty, knowing at any moment, it could swallow us up and drown us.

We gaze upon mountains, and climb them, knowing one wrong move, one avalanche, and we plummet to our death crushed under boulders.

Tourists come to Africa to see lions, a symbol of strength and valor from Richard the Lionheart to the Lannisters from our modern Epic, “Game of Thrones” knowing full well that if they’re lacking common sense, and the beast is hungry, they’re not going to live to tell their friends back home about their experience in the African Savannah.

Do we cower and blubber in front of these anthems to Nature’s beauty? We should, but we don’t (except for perhaps the lions I just mentioned). We love them. We emulate in our art. We attach meanings and write songs about them. Even so, if we live in a modern, civilized society, it’s highly unlikely that we’ve ever found ourselves in a situation where we have been completely stranded and at the mercy of Nature.

Thinkers such as Jean-Jaques Rousseau, and many of my peers in my past years at University, believe that if human beings lived uncorrupted by the socialization of society (or “The Patriarchy” or Western Civilization, or any other name for it nasty or otherwise), that our inherent goodness would shine through. It’s funny how someone like Rousseau being such an adamant critic of religion would instead believe that Nature is any more merciful and good than the gods.

 

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Seriously, Rousseau, what are you thinking?

 

I still have yet to read Rousseau’s manuscripts, and plan to, but already I find myself skeptical of his ideas. To be uncorrupted by society is to be instead corrupted by Nature. Where her laws demand to kill or be killed. I’ll stick with my warm, protected, heated house with internet and a cup of tea whenever I want it, thanks. I prefer having the leisure to draw and paint rather than constantly wonder what I’m going to eat or worry something’s going to eat me.

Say what you will about the fear of God, but the teachings of Judaism and Christianity eventually led us to the Western Civilization that we know today. In a wealthy civilization where even the poorest are still better off than many average people in developing nations, leisure time to create and appreciate art, and not being eaten by lions, bears, wolves, or any other predator.

Nature’s beauty is something to be loved, but we built protected shelters for a reason.

 

 

 

Funny Stuff

I Feel Bad for Philosophy Majors

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I was sitting in the computer lab at school looking at my transcript to marvel at how much closer I was to graduation. Turns out, it was lucky that I did because I thought I was only five credits away. In actuality, I was NINE away, and FIVE of them needed to be in art history. :O Oops.

I needed to take another online class because otherwise, I wasn’t going to have time to work, internships, and work and take classes at the art school.

I knew I needed to take organic chemistry for the eventual MA in art conservation I planned to take… oh darn, only O. Chem II was being offered this term…

My brain then wondered off about this past election, and how there seemed to be so much hatred and bigotry that rose out of it, particularly how everyone wanted to scream their opinions fueled by pure rage and anyone who disagreed with them were just selfish, lazy, entitled, evil (list goes on)… a lot of people were clearly ignoring facts, only hearing what they wanted to, and based everything they said and believed on emotion rather than log-

…LOGIC!

With glee, I found an online Philosophy: Formal Logic course and signed right up, thanking my lucky stars that it wasn’t filled up (though, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t considering how late it’s been since registration started).

Since I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy class for my brain (not because I’m dumb, but my brain is better at art rather than anything math-related), I ordered the textbook right away and started to read and study so that I wouldn’t be going in for Winter term completely lost.

I can’t believe I was just about to graduate without taking any courses in philosophy…

I don’t exactly remember how I originally thought this, but for a long time, I had this idea in my head that I should stay as far away from philosophy as I possibly could because anyone who goes into philosophy is an arrogant, self-righteous jerk who get’s punished for their hubris by working as a barista their whole lives .

For all you people going into philosophy, I am truly sorry for thinking this, and I hope you can forgive this art history major’s closed-mindedness. T_T

Now, while a philosophy major may not be the most lucrative of degrees, and as much as I think it wouldn’t exactly be worth going into debt over, I really wish that philosophy was given much more credit than it is now.

One of the first things that I think helped change judgement on philosophy was that it came up in a conversation about how the types of people who do well in the video game development industry are people who’ve studied computer science, math, or philosophy.

Wait. Philosophy?

Yes, because at the very heart of philosophy, the very foundation, is classical logic.

I never really thought of logic as being in the same category as philosophy. I always thought it was more of a math thing, and philosophy was just a bunch ideas of pretentious ideologies that may or may not have any basis in reality. As much as I want to blame the education system for the few times it did come up  and was executed poorly, I know that if I had any sense, and just took two seconds to learn ANYTHING about philosophy, I probably would have fell in love with it.

So, here’s a little bit of background about me: I’m generally an emotional creature. It’s very difficult for me to think logically unless I’m in peak physical condition. I’m sure many of you guys feel this way too.

Thankfully, I was raised by someone and even have a younger sibling that just think logically just naturally. I really admire those of you who can.

Some of you can take anything, for example, a post on the internet, and have the rational capacity to not only fact-check it, but think of so many different ways why this post either makes sense or doesn’t make sense just by looking at inconsistencies and patterns. You don’t question it because you don’t want to believe it, you question it because you want to get to the absolute truth.

I’m really grateful to have had a mother who valued thinking over emoting, because I think my personality would have made it very difficult for me to function otherwise. As someone who’s emotional, I do find myself getting anxious, upset, and paranoid over stupid things outside my control. It was really nice to be raised by someone who encouraged me to just take a step back and think:

Is there anything I can do about this?

If yes, then do it. If no, then there’s no point in worrying about it: the reason why you’re anxious is because you’re trying to avoid worrying about something you SHOULD worry about, or you’re just sleepy/hungry.

This kind of thinking is the very basis of Stoicism. It’s a philosophy that doesn’t have to do with how you feel about how the world should work, but what you can (or can’t) do personally about your situations, and it’s very much grounded in logic.

So, my friendlies, this is why I’m excited to be taking logic next term.

Logic isn’t simply just another fact you have to learn to be “educated,” but it’s a ground basis of how to think rather than just what to think. This is skill that I think, especially with everything going on right now, that everybody should learn.

I’m really enjoying my textbook so far too: Classical Logic and its Rabbit Holes by Nelson P. Lande. The writing style is sophisticated, but humorous like something a mad genius would write, and it even has a flip-book in the corners of the pages!

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