Monday, February 27, 2006

It says here this stuff's made in New York City....NEW YORK CITY??!!!??!?

Let's play a game, shall we?

All you have to do is scroll down the page and do what I tell you. I don't care if you cheat or if you just look at the pictures and don't play the game at all - this game has a point that is deeper than the gratification you will receive for answering correct or the inner humiliation you may endure for an incorrect response. The point is this:

Contemporary art is, by and large, a practice in hedonistic self-absorption that has swung far and wide from technical or creative skill and toward particular lifestyle and personality choices. To illustrate my point, pretend that I am the greatest portrait artist in the entire world. My technique is flawless and my sense of hue and tone unparalleled. My brushes imbue the body of my work with a sense of purpose and wonder, and all far and wide are deeply impressed with the clarity and power of my creations. Now pretend further that I have executed a nearly flawless interpretation of the virgin Mary as an expression of my deep-seated religious faith. Theotokos veritably radiates my artisitic prowess and the sheer wonder of such an artisitic creation is enough to make even the pope blush with envy....ok, you get the point. Do you thing the New York Times art critics would give me the time of day? The answer is a large, deafening, echoing throughout the hallowed walls of the exclusive, elitist art world, F-NO!! But now pretend I'm a mediocre painter at best. My tone and hue lack intuitive drive, and my palette is considered average at best....but....but.....I decide to smear the fecal matter of a certain, well-known, Loxodonta africana all over my painting of the virgin Mary. Guess what? I'm now the "King of the World". Why, I'm so fresh and so new that you might well call me "hot shit". All because I combined my feeble artistic skills with my lifestyle choices that happen to mesh so well with the mulitculturalist mindset of the bullcrap snobbery of the liberal elite. Not only have I done something that's never been done before, I've bashed the ancient religious tradition of the oppressive caucasion establishment. Why, I'm the new Vincent elephant shit Van Gogh! So you get the point now I hope.

"Contemporary Art" is nothing more than a bunch of "I'm so much smarter than you that I'm depressed at your stupidity" combined with some "I feel the right to mock your traditions because they represent your oppressive cultural history" with a little "I will forcefully expand your mind by shocking your moral sensibilities" thrown in for good measure. These people, for the most part*, lack the capability to create aesthetically pleasing pieces, but they have been raised in a culture that says "it doesn't matter if you're actually good enough, what counts is that you feel like you're good enough". This unwieldy concoction of psyhological pathologies has spawned a generation of artists who honestly believe that they are so much more intellectually robust than everyone else that they must 1) enlighten the masses through provocative renditions of meaningless garbage or 2) communicate with one another through asinine, meaningless garbage in order to reflect the emptiness that they feel on the inside because they have shunned the traditional values and morals of a life-sustaining culture that they feel is below their level of intellectual prowess. Whichever avenue you choose to drive, it is a lonely, bitter road upon which to travel.

So that's why I was disgusted when I went to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and saw an entire wing of their museum dedicated to the "artwork" of a man named Cy Twombly. Cy Twombly is hailed as a genious of the contemporary art world. His sensibility is revered, his name is hallowed. His art sucks. This brings us to our game:

I am going to post some pictures below. They will each be either a) made by Cy Twombly, or b) made by a small child, either in the "fingerpainting" or the "mindless scibbling" tradition. Your job is to choose who you think made the piece of "art". You will be scored on the number of correct responses.

The Contenders:











vs.
















Here are the pieces:


1)

2)


3)


4)


5)


6)


7)

8)


9)


10)


Before I give you the answers, reflect on this for a minute. If you were stumped at any point during this game, or if you had any doubts about any of the paintings whatsoever, then Cy Twombly should be a bum living on the street. If his artwork can even begin to be mistaken for that of a toddler ( and that was not its stated goal, which it wasn't, and even if it was that is a stupid goal) then he is a miserable artist. Before you go "well, art is an expressive medium and if that's what he wants to express, and people are willing to buy it, then so be it..." on me, just think of how ridiculous of a notion that Leonardo da Vinci, or Vincent van Gogh would have thought that. That's it, I rest my case, may Cy Twombly be exiled to mediocre starving artist purgatude forever.

*There are a large number of "contemporary artists" who produce good work. I've seen it. Unfortunately, their accomplishments are outweighed by the vast amount of mindless garbage that is produced in the name of "artistic freedom".

Answers:

Cy Twombly - 1,2,4,7,8,10

Children - 3,5,6,9

98 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WD, couldn't have said it better myself. I'm not gonna lie I thought the answers just went a,b,a,b in repetition, I guess I have something to learn about art. I just wanted to add real quick that the new york times did indeed publish something to the effect of what you described: fecal matter over a shrewdly drawn portrait of the virgin mary. It was hailed as a classical means of free speech challenging the status quo of religious thought in America. But the Times refused to republish the "offensive" danish cartoons depicting mohammad. So the times can deface the native faith of its nation, yet is terrified of a few radical islamic threats. I think I heard Voltaire's crusty skull vomit just now. Cowardly enough not to defend the very freedom they trumpet themselves by.....well its 2 am I thought I'd give you some ammo for next time.

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the public who lived during Leonardo's and Van Goh's time, thought they were terrible artists who lacked skill and were not worth attention. However now they are famous and very important to the development of art and the way people approach the world. even you speak about them with appreciation. Art is prgressive, one of its goals is to get people talking....maybe cy twonbly has gotten too much press...he does not fit my tastes any more than yours...but its gotten people talking and though his work is abstract he does pay careful attention to proportion line quality, spacial issues and color which are the same formal issues that say...Michaelangelo explored in his work...Contemporary art has many facits...thats the beaty of art, there is something out there for everybody...evidence that beaty is subjective and in the eye of the beholder...Im going to bet that Cy Twombly is not some Northeastern elitist liberal...Im going to bet that he is a passionate kind man dedicated to his work...so if you must always be on the attack maybe you should attack the media and art critics...anyone who is passionate enough about art to struggle with it their entire lives deserves respect...I think your attacking the wrong people...and though Cy twombly is not my artistic taste im sure somebody appreciates him because he touches something in them they do not know how to explain themselves.

7:35 PM  
Blogger kushakov said...

Apart from the rest of the ideological nonsense which this post contains, I would point out that while Cy Twombly was considered "contemporary" in the 1960s, his work is far from contemporary in the sense of current production or paradigms. I just took your test and found all the Twomblys - it isn't hard to do, because he does the same thing over and over again, big or little loops, and occasionally some scribbles. Sometimes there is writing.

The "New York Times art critics" (as if they all agreed with one another, which they seldom do) would likely ask you exactly what, in your mind, qualifies as aesthetic competence - the ability to create something "aesthetically pleasing." It has been several hundred years since Western philosophy has been able to come up with some idea of what beauty or even "the aesthetic" might consist of. There is no reason why art critics should not do their job - that of thinking and writing about art which they find interesting and relevant. And for your information, the work of Chris Offili, the elephant shit artist (a painter who used dung in one painting), is not universally praised. Among art critics, the attention directed upon his work and others of the "Young British Artist" movement had more to do with the questionable marketing/funding tactics of the exhibition, "Sensation," at the Brooklyn Museum, than to the supposed controversiality of the work itself.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Will said...

So what, Mr. Kushakov, Ms. Anonymous, exactly is your problem here? According to your definitions, my blog could be considered art, as long as some art critic somewhere decided it was and did his or her "job" by talking about it. I do care deeply about it, and I've thought a lot about its presentation and compostition. We sort of agree about that, I just don't think it should qualify, per se, but you all apparently do. And aesthetics? You all must not have actually read the post but instead simply reacted on emotional impulse instead of taking the time to digest its intellectual beef - I take issue with the artists' mentality mainly, their aesthetically displeasing pieces simply attest to their nihilistic, iconoclastic, shallow belief system. And I do note that I think some contemporary art is good, do you really think that my blog should be "art"?. So relax, your tone betrays your motives.

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Now, I don't mean that she actually has sex with farm animals. No, not at all. I'd say with almost 100% certainty that she does not. That was just an insult aimed at you. A contemporary twist on the 'yo momma' jokes that I so enjoyed in my younger days.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are horrible and that it is very likely that God hates you. I certainly hate you, but I am definitely not God.

I hope you have a terrible day. You deserve it because of your ignorance.

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