Cultural Marxism and Postmodern art

The politics of the cultural marxists are reflected perfectly in their art and architecture. In Modernism and Postmodernism, art seeks to create disorder just like the Frankfurter Schule did in politics. The status quo is challenged, not so much to cause friction, provoke thought or bring about change – the challenge became a goal in itself. Modernism is the politicization of art (and anti-art). Art is to be celebrated if it aims to destroy the framework of Western art, and shunned if it doesn’t.

Art is no longer determined by aesthetics or artistry, but by the acknowledgement of an in-crowd, an elite, that something is art. So if I would sit at a piano doing nothing for four-and-one-half minutes I would be called a moron. But when John Cage does it, it is a work of artistic genius. The same could be said for Piero Manzoni’s 90 cans filled with his own faeces, Carolee Schneemann’s 140 self-shot photos of her kissing her cat, Mark McGowan’s exposition of photos he made of 47 cars that had been vandalized by the ‘artist’ himself, Wim T. Schippers’ floor made of peanut butter, Marcel Duchamp who turned a urinal into ‘art’ simply by bringing it an exposition and not doing anything else with it.

I could fill a book with examples of ridiculous works that are considered High Arts by the arts establishment, but I will spare you the frustration. In short: what central planning does to the economy, it also does to art. One of the first Modern art movements was Dadaism, which since its emergence in the early 20th century has had close ties to the far left. Dadaism was anti-art, an attack on reason and logic. It broke with everything art used to stand for, and paved the way for abstract art, performance art and other modern art forms that almost nobody voluntarily pays to see.

The audience for the contemporary arts is eager enough to be duped that it oohs and aahs a pair of glasses left on the floor of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. They would not admire it, contemplate it or photograph it if they came across the same pair of glasses anywhere else, but the context of it being in an art gallery is enough to ascribe some higher meaning to it. The same happened in 2017, when a student left a pineapple in the middle of an art exhibition in Scotland. In 2015, a stabbing attack at an art gallery in Miami was at first believed to be performance art by onlookers.

(This is not by any means unique to the arts. Similar responses can be seen in other elitist settings as well, as demonstrated by two Dutch vloggers who call themselves the Lifehunters when they served McDonald’s to ‘experts’ at a food convention and received praise for the “pure, organic product”. People are attracted to the idea of being part of an elitist in-crowd, of understanding something that others don’t, but a big difference is that in the arts, the aim of destroying familiar frameworks is deliberate – artists and the art world take advantage of this ‘weakness’ to further an agenda.)

Art has devolved to the point that skill is no requirement anymore, the display of skill may even set an aspiring artist back. The supposed meaning behind one’s work has become more important than the work itself. With all the works of art mentioned before, you may look up their creators’ intentions in wonder, and some come up with very elaborate criticisms of our societies and culture, but their work is still nonsense of course. It might be more of a challenge to translate one’s critique of Western civilization into a well-crafted work of art, but again: the point is not to critique, the point is to destroy.

Art is no longer a unifying factor, it is no longer meant to please or soothe. It does not elicit emotion. It does not even really provoke or criticize – it is so far disconnected from most of us that it does nothing at all. Disconnecting from the audience has become a goal in itself; if it is understandable or relatable, it dismissed. Contemporary art offers only the pretence of the in-crowd that they all understand something that the plebs don’t. This serves as nefarious fuel for the arrogance of the establishment:

A deputy mayor for the Dutch city of Apeldoorn defended the local government’s decision to renovate city hall for 27.5 million euros, including 300,000 for the addition of an awning that no one seemed to like. A survey showed that 85% of the city’s residents thought the awning was ugly. In a TV interview, Mr deputy mayor said he was “relieved”, and that it would be a shame if 90% would have liked it. “Because art is meant to cause friction. Where is your own idea, your own identity?” Well, perhaps it is in your own wallet, and not the tax payers’?

This is precisely the added insult of the art world – we are not supposed to like it, and not supposed to understand it, but we are all expected to pay for it. Of course, when we object, we are ‘brutes’ and ‘cavemen’ who are too stupid to understand. While modern art thrives on challenging existing standards and norms, to challenge them is a cardinal sin. And it is no coincidence that I use a religious metaphor here.

A Dutch art-critics duo under the name of Keeping It Real Art Critics (KIRAC) has taken on the arts establishment multiple times, as documented in their vlogs6 and the experts get angry, yell and walk away from conversation. When they were scheduled to speak at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, their presentation was canceled after student protests for its perceived ‘sexist and racist’ content, which appeared to mostly have been caused by the makers’ refusal to go along with the narrative that black person’s points are valid because they were made by a black person, or a gay person’s points are valid because they were made by a gay person – rather than judging everybody’s points on their own merits. A former Rietveld Academie student and member of the audience of the public debate that was held between KIRAC and the board of the Academy made a good point (and he identified himself as ‘queer’ so even the Cultural Marxists must agree with him) when he said: “What is going on with an art school that is afraid to test the boundaries?”

Isn’t that precisely what we are seeing with the art world establishment and the political establishment alike? Born from protest and rebellion, now they stomp out dissent by attacking, censoring and ostracizing critics. Both in art and politics, the Cultural Marxists seek to destroy, but they offer no replacement – and certainly no improvement. They have sown disorder, but on the ashes of their destruction they have built their own ivory towers from which they now judge us, and rule us. And just like that, challenging the status quo and causing friction have lost their virtue. Now we are meant to accept the views of the in-crowd as truth, disorder has lost its appeal and rebels are shunned not celebrated. All because yesterday’s rebels are today’s leaders.

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