Time’s Up

April 7th, 2013

Objectdestroyed Times Up

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.

190px No. 5 1948 Times Up

No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

As the quote above indicates, Andy Warhol is just restating Dada.  Tilda sleeping in a box presents the same “Screw The Academy” artistic statement as Duchamp’s urinal.

Duchamp Fountaine 400x423 Times Up

“Fountaine” by Marcel Duchamp

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.

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3 Responses to “Time’s Up”

  1. 1Dave Rudin
    April 8th, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. (And the beards have all grown longer overnight.)”

    I remember what one of my professors at NYU once said: revolutionaries tend to become very conservative once they themselves take power. The Roman Catholic church became the new Roman Empire and did to people like Galileo what the Romans did to people like Jesus.

    So it seems to be with the art world. I guess what it needs is another revolution. (Perhaps we can call it Mama.)

  2. 2Joseph Crachiola
    April 9th, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    “Maybe, heaven forbid, artists could be allowed to make art that is beautiful again.”

    Good post. More artists should ask these same questions.

    That’s where I’m at. I’ve seen enough ugliness in my life. It’s in the news every day. It’s in my neighborhood when I look around at the remnants of Hurricane Katrina. I see it in “art” that seems to celebrate pain and suffering. Maybe I’m just getting old. I’m not very hip I guess. Maybe I’m not really an artist. I just shoot things that I find appealing and play music that makes me feel good hope that someone else will feel the same way.

    There’s a handful of us moving into the Lower Ninth Ward who are saying “screw the galleries in the French Quarter”. Screw the academy all over again. We will have our own little revolution here.

    Be forewarned.

  3. 3Unbearable Lightness
    April 10th, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    What a great post! You might want to locate a copy of Robert Adams’ book “Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values.”

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Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

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