Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Article on the Rejection of Beauty in Art

My brother would be outraged by the first (about) half of this article on modern art and the rejection of beauty, but it's worth getting to the end. He would also argue that he's not had this experience at his MFA program at UNT, but then UNT sounds like an exceptional program.


Anonymous said...

"[H]e who says that ‘I find this beautiful,’ or ‘This moves me deeply,’ reveals something very important about himself that makes him vulnerable to others. " Absolutely. Hence the hip irony of po-mo, of which the current current "hipster" fashion and attitude is a salient example.

I think Dalrymple is wrong to say art doesn't make progress, though--he seems to be working with a rather limited linear temporal geometry.

Todd Camplin said...

I think my brother may have misrepresent my views on art. Koons at Versailles is a wonderful idea for a show. Koons is reflecting the culture and the culture is no long focused on the transcendent, but the here and now. It just turns out the here and now is a gaudy as the glory days of Versailles. The root of the article should be attacking western culture. Koons is our mirror. If you don't like Koons, change the culture. I like art that acts as mirror.
The article also points out that artists are now making art about themselves. With the rise of things like self-help books, self-improvement books, and self-esteem philosophy; you artists are bond to be focusing on the self. The self is part of the human condition, but you can chew on that fat for only so long.
I am glad my school is different from the authors description of the students and teachers.
I do agree that all things are built upon traditions of the past. Science, Art, Religion, and even Commerce. Things in a bubble, which is impossible by the way, in a nonstarter and a irrelevant to the rest of us.

Todd Camplin said...

I read a few comments on the article. I think the fact that the author did didn't address specific critics was a weakness in the article. Plus that anecdotal evidence of the art school student was not very scientific and an ugly generalization. Also, the engineering and fabrication of Koons work is on the scale of a King of France. Koons is hit or miss with me, but if you have seen as much Koons as I have, you would have to say something good about some of the work. Is it beautiful? No, but that doesn't mean beautiful art isn't coming back.

To quote Stephen Kennamer responce to the article 'This is typical of hidebound conservatives: create a caricature of contemporary art based solely on its excesses and fatuities, and then give me a choice between the hideous present and the glorious past. But I want a third option. I don't want to return to the good old days of chattel slavery, serfdom, feudalism, divine right of kings, unceasing sectarian bloodshed, heresy trials, and genocide even if this provided an ideal climate for Raphael to paint his Madonnas.'

amen brother Kennamer

Troy Camplin said...

John, of course, is right about the temporality Dalrymple is working with, and which causes him to misunderstand the development of art.


You ought to post this article on your UNT blog and get them all riled up. :-)

Jonathan E said...

"The successful modern artist’s subject is himself, not in any genuinely self-examining way that would tell us something about the human condition, but as an ego to distinguish himself from other egos, as distinctly and noisily as he can... Of all the artistic disciplines nowadays, self-advertisement is by far the most important."

I'm not sure it's just the artists. Take online socialising, which appears to be not much more than publicly explaining yourself to an expected, assumed and perhaps ultimately unnecessary audience - selves expressing themselves like parallel lines, in close proximity but never touching. Reified user profiles partaking in formulaic self-exploration quizzes, not for comparison but simply to put more information about Who They Are out there.

Every so often people give forth opinions on an issue, but they're still hardly ever interconnected - most online discussions boil down to I give forth, you give forth, we all give forth, and occasionally take umbrage over the quality of each other's logic or informing experiences.

The irony in this post is not unnoticed.

Troy Camplin said...

Indeed. Some good insights (all irony aside ;-) ).