TOMBS 3: Yale School of Art by Michael Newberry

Martha Kuzma, Dean of Yale School of Art

The crime against the human spirit is when you give incompetents, who cannot draw their way out of a paper bag, positions of educating young artists. I used to think of Yale and Harvard as two great American Universities. Now, no longer. When I see those names all I can think of is TOMBS: Termination of mind, body, and soul.

The problem is to be free in art, to express anything, you have to master it. The lessor the skills the more you are confined to a prison of rage, frustration, and hopelessness. Looking at art from artists with no skills is like watching a deaf, blind, and mute person try to communicate. Giving them the job of spiritual communication is unconscionable.

They say their motive to give artists freedom to do anything they want and to be original. But if you look at the works of these faculty members — none of them are original. But the worst part, they cannot communicate anything of mental, emotional, or sensory value (we can quibble over some partial exceptions).

There is a small chance that these people know nothing. But what is more likely is that they have embraced self-immobilization and the need to inflict immobilization on innocents and to do everything they can to squash value in art and artists. Prick an envy and rage-filled incompetent and you get a spiritual dictator that must control masses through malfeasance.

If you are a parent or grandparent sending your children to these types of schools, you are defaulting on your job to help evolve your kids. You are not a good person.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 5/24/2020

If Art is About Evolution WTF is This? The 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship Winners

josh-blackwell 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship Award Winners

At least Marcel Duchamp was clever.

Though he was a silly old cynic he knew how to play devil’s advocate and he didn’t mind throwing away any talent he might have had. His Nude Descending a Staircase has its interest, Duchamp took the concept of overlapping sketches and turned them into a painting. Hardly original because that honor would go the Chauvet Cave painters. He was honored because he threw everything away so he could disintegrate in to crustiness. A dream the disgruntled have at their most disgusting low points and which normal people watch in morbid curiosity. The 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship Awards for “Fine Artists” would be a tribute to Duchamp except the judges, referrers, and artists have no self-awareness. If they did they would not inflict their anti-humanism on the public.

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Roger Scruton’s Why Beauty Matters; And Did I Have a Small Part in It?

Artist's Shit, 1961, Piero Manzoni

Roger Scruton’s excellent presentation Why Beauty Matters, a BBC production, has seen a resurgence, over a million views on this embedded YouTube video. Several people have forwarded it to me and I remember seeing it ages ago. In re-watching it I was struck by the coincidence of the same four postmodern works in his presentation and in my article Pandora’s Box Part III. I was kind of horrified that I might have subconsciously lifted them from him without being aware of it. I didn’t.

I was relieved that my article Pandora’s Box Part III was published in the Free Radical (magazine and online) in 2002, while this Scruton publication was released almost 8 years later in November 2009. The four works are canned shit, Manzoni’s Merde d’artista; empty room, Creed’s The Lights Going On and Off; a urinal, Duchamp’s The Fountain; and bricks in a room at the Tate by Andre.

Scruton discusses them at 5:25 to 5:48 and he says: “It has been interrupted in another way by showing that anything can be art. Like a light going on and off, a can of excrement, or even a pile of bricks.”

In a section from my article which I discuss the postmodern works I write: “Kant’s concept of the formless nature of the sublime is the ideological birthplace of the postmodern aesthetic that art, visual art, doesn’t need to be expressed through the means of representational painting or sculpture. In practice, this aesthetic opened up the floodgates of a nihilistic revolution in the 20th Century in which postmodern artists deconstructed art and/or substituted any object but painting or sculpture for art, i.e. arranged rubbish, excrement, installations, etc.”

Bemusedly, I was wondering if my article was the source for “It has been interrupted…” I am just having a little fun figuratively flexing my muscles showing that I have been ahead of the curve. BTW, Pandora’s Box Part III is a wonderful article touching on a few of Kant’s concepts of the Sublime how they are connected to some horrible postmodern works, and I optimistically share some magnificent contemporary figurative works.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 2/14/2020

Before Everything There Was Visual Art

Chauvet Caves, Horses Heads, 32,000 BC
Chauvet Caves, Horses Heads, 32,000 BC
Chauvet Caves, Horses Heads, 32,000 BC

They Will Destroy You

The embedded rocks and still-green tumble weeds were flying towards my tennis shoe covered feet, my outstretched hands steering my downward trajectory were being cut to slivers by the crystal rock veins lining the 40-ft ravine incline—the unexpected push and gravity created a reckless momentum that my brother hoped would be fatal. It was not. 

Never turn your back on some people, or they will destroy you. 

The Eyes of Rembrandt

If light could kiss this would be the most loving, achingly sensitive kinetic caress. Shadowed waves rose and glided back to the recesses, like invisible currents of air witnessing a glint of moisture and a warming pulse. This is where goodness lives. In the eyes of Rembrandt

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A Victim’s Vindication: Pierre Huyghe at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens 12 February — 8 April 2001

Pierre Huyghe's The Third Memory

(Authors note: This is one in a series of reviews of what is going on in contemporary museums of art. Like many of you I go to a contemporary art museum with an excited expectation that I am going to see today’s best living artists. Please keep that in mind after your read these reviews as it might seem that I purposefully sought out isolated freak shows–nope, just visiting the most respected museums of contemporary art and reporting what I see.)

The recently-established National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens gives us a look inside media manipulation with Pierre Huyghe’s The Third Memory. It is a documentary-like presentation about a notorious 1972 bank robbery in Brooklyn. The audio-visual installation, on loan from the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Pierre Huyghe's The Third Memory

The Third Memory contains side by side two synchronized video projections that last about ten minutes, and reference materials and clips. The video projections juxtapose Huyghe’s reenactment/documentary-like reconstruction of a bank robbery that took place in Brooklyn, New York in 1972, and footage from Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon (1975), a movie about that robbery. In Huyghe’s work the actual robber, John Wojtowicz, many years older and out of prison, retells, acts out, and analyzes the robbery on the sets used in Lumet’s movie. About The Third Memory Huyghe says it is “…the story of a man who was robbed, who was dispossessed, of his own image … the “author of an action” is given the opportunity to “speak up…in order to regain his place at the centre of the plot…”

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