To stay forever young. To defy aging. to somehow cheat the odds and glorify in a kind of infantilism; a taunting provocative sort of dissent, like children peeing on the living room carpet. We are definitely in a post-art age where almost everything is conceptual. The Marcel Duchamp mantra that everyone is an artist. Its not true. There is an art supplies chain in Canada called Omer De Serres and in their fall flyer they ran a banner, “you are all creators” which is patently false. The idea being to buy these overpriced art kits and seize the Picasso in you.Buy a hundred dollars of scrapbook junk and be a John Heartfield. All bunk.
But this is the illusion and its part of the process of aesthetic marketing today. The elevation of pretentious garbage. In a previous post, I mentioned how I was mentored by an old-old school type marketer. He said we buy crap at the cheapest price and put it together to look like gold. So, the modern art world, its money licking values are totally rooted in a business maxim. When Lennon met Ono at an exhibit she was hawking some bauble and Lennon asked the price. Her response was some ridiculous amount in the thousands to which he roared in laughter. She got the last laugh.
From Donald Kuspit. Mr. Kuspit is also old school, but he’s hard to disagree with:
( see link at end) Youth lacks the willpower and strength of character to unflinchingly face — and cunningly outsmart — time. Traditional art aims to do so, and decisively does so in classical art, the inspiration and source of most European art until avant-garde art repudiated and trashed it. What avant-garde art offers instead is a face-saving artificial paradise, which is Baudelaire’s idea of art. Paradise is a place where there is no time and death — where one is always young and innocent, that is, does not have to face the real world, and have one’s face marked by it, because there is no real world. At least until one is expelled from paradise. But the avant-garde artist believes she will never be expelled from it as long as she keeps making young-looking art. In contrast, traditional art always discovers death in paradise, disillusioning us about youth, as Poussin’s Et in Arcadia Ego suggests. A face-lift is a fear-filled falsification of the truth of time, of transience. A face-lift is a futile attempt to deny the trauma of aging, decay and finally death. The signs of time can be eradicated on the outside, but time eats one up from the inside….
Getting back to Lennon, I understand his fascination with the avant-garde as being not so much these moments of trapping eternal youth, but in avoiding the traps of musical semantics, to cross the boundaries of convention and be challenging as Adorno said. Tradition is always a Janus faced enterprise that is potentially emancipating, liberating and also imprisoning. But to avoid a dilemma of emotional impotency there has to be a process of maturity which pure avant-gardism is intrinsically inequipped to handle. Going back to Rimbaud and the ridiculous antics of an Alfred Jarry with the nihilistic pataphysics. Beleive me, if you pointed a gun at the little turd, he’s be the first to fly. there is a conscious effort to cheat the fear of somehow growing old and being commonplace and ordinary. A Rockwell archetype in housecoat and slippers. Ultimately, is the purity of the avant-garde a response to the trauma of becoming obsolete, and does this self-spawned and festering anxiety haunt creativity, stabbing in the jugular a different type of anxiety which catalyzed its youthful burst?
Kuspit: …The face-lift the avant-garde gives art implies denial of death — the inability to deal with tragedy, which is the tragedy of avant-garde art. I think the emergence of death imagery and memorabilia in post-avant-garde art — art which uses avant-garde and traditional conventions to convey death in an unconventional and untraditional way, for example, the installations of Christian Boltanski, which use found imagery and objects in a grid construction — portends a healthy future for art. I am always optimistic about art when it engages death, however inadequately — and one can never adequately represent death and convey its inevitability.Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/kuspit8-17-07.asp
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