April 7th, 2013
Sometimes I feel the need to wade out over my head in the deep end of the pool, get on my soapbox and spout off. So, here goes a rant that’s been building up for a while. We’ll get back to the irregularly scheduled nudity soon. I’m sticking a bunch of Wikipedia links in this post to get you started if you want to look into the things I’ll mention. Please don’t assume that Wikipedia has everything you need to know about any of these subjects or artists.
Dada is my favorite period of art. Dada was a reaction to the horrors of World War I. That’s one of my favorite pieces of Dada art up above, “Indestructible Object” by Man Ray. It’s a reproduction Man Ray made of his earlier piece, “Object To Be Destroyed” which was destroyed by a group of protesting art students, much to the delight of some of the original Dadaists.
This quote is in the linked Wikipedia entry for Dada:
“Dada is the groundwork to abstract art and sound poetry, a starting point for performance art, a prelude to postmodernism, an influence on pop art, a celebration of antiart to be later embraced for anarcho-political uses in the 1960s and the movement that lay the foundation for Surrealism.”
That’s a quote from Marc Lowenthal, translator’s introduction to Francis Picabia‘s I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, And Provocation
I would go even further and say that everything that has happened in art since Dada has been a continuation of Dada, a commentary on Dada, or a reaction to Dada.
And the basic message of Dada is, “Screw the Academy.” Dada rejected everything in the world, including the world of art, that lead the world to the disaster that was the First World War.
Jackson Pollock’s paintings are certainly the obvious, inevitable result of the thinking begun by Dada. It presents the same message in more specific form: “Screw Painting.” Painting has yet to recover from Pollock.
Well, here’s the problem with this century of artists delivering the message, “Screw The Academy”: They have become The Academy. It seems all that can be said now in The Academy is “Screw The Academy.” Kinda funny, actually.
A friend said a few years ago, “Isn’t it time someone took Postmodernism out in a field and put a bullet in its head?” Well, Post-postmodernism hasn’t really caught on. I don’t think the art world can really figure out what’s next because The Academy is all caught up in saying, “Screw The Academy.”
I love Dada. But, really folks, it was a century ago. Really, it’s been done. It’s over. Let’s get on with making some art.
So, what next? I don’t know. I actually don’t really care. Well, it would be nice if we went back to something like Romanticism with a 21st Century perspective, since I think my work tends to fall within that tradition. Maybe, heaven forbid, artists could be allowed to make art that is beautiful again. That’s what I like to do, but The Academy hates beauty. Well, you know what I say to that:
Screw The Academy.