Tag Archives: art

Modern art is the biggest scam in the history of art

A dramatic change in the world of fine art took place in the late 20th Century. The acceptance of modern art into mainstream culture irrevocably changed the way we define art. While the origins of modern art went as far back as the 19th Century, it didn’t enter the forefront of cultural consciousness until many decades later. Aided by the post-WWII rise of mass media, movements such as abstraction, expressionism, and pop art were given the support they needed to mutate the world of art.

The more I look at modern art, the more I realize that it is the biggest scam in the history of art. For many millennia, art had to meet certain prerequisites to be considered worthy of the label. Before accepting a work of art into a gallery, the curator typically asked common sense questions such as:
· Does the artist have talent?
· Does the artist have something interesting to say?
· Does the artwork tell a story or convey a message?
· Does the artwork do justice to its subject?
· Does the artwork have aesthetic value?
· Does the artwork represent a substantial investment of time and energy on the part of the artist?
· Does the artwork evoke an emotional or intellectual reaction?

With the introduction of post-WWII modern art, these prerequisites (with the possible exception of the last one) went out the window. Suddenly, artists with no discernible skill or creative talent were catapulted into the limelight and revered as great artists. The speed at which this happened suggests that the redefinition of art was not part of a natural evolution, but of a pre-planned strategy, conceived behind the scenes and foisted on an unsuspecting public. In the space of a few short decades, the world of art was turned on its head.

Why, you ask, would anyone wish to do this, and what would they gain from it?

To tackle these questions, let’s begin by looking at the economic model on which art is based. For many millennia, wealthy families, who were typically called benefactors or patrons, used their power and influence to selectively support artists and projects which furthered their agenda. A simple example would be a wealthy family commissioning a family portrait for the sake of posterity.

The patronage model served the art world for several millennia, and it provided a benefit to both patron and artist. It was a culturally neutral model, because wealth was distributed amongst artists in such a way that the competing influences of rich families would usually cancel each other out. No single family had enough wealth to completely overshadow another and cause broad social or cultural changes by virtue of the projects which got the green light.

But then something changed in the 20th Century: the concentration of wealth increased to such a degree, that for the first time in history, some families had accumulated enough riches to change the destinies of entire nations. Rather than being content with commissioning portraits of themselves, these wealthy families wanted more. They decided to leverage the world of art to change society itself.

The rich and powerful wish to remain that way. By exerting an influence on popular culture, which includes art, they have a means to achieve their end. How then did they achieve their goal?

The nobles who lorded over their fiefdoms in medieval Europe knew that the simplest way to stay in power was to keep the serfs weak, disorganized and dependent. The last thing they wanted was for their serfs to develop a capacity for independent, critical thought. That could lead to them questioning their lot in life, which is how revolutions start. Serfdom was eventually abolished, but the same techniques which kept it alive are still being used today. They’re just more carefully disguised.

So what does this have to do with modern art?

By glorifying the trite and the trivial, modern art retards the development of high aesthetic appreciation and intellectual discourse. It’s another self-preservation tool in the toolbox of the wealthy elite, and it’s used to stop the serfs from getting too smart. You don’t need a lot of brain cells to process Andy Warhol’s painting of a soup can. Now compare that to Michelangelo’s David. The elite don’t want you thinking too deeply about great works of art and the questions they raise about society, culture, religion, and life. Those are dangerous thoughts, because if enough people think them, they could overturn the whole apple cart. And that is something the elite fear.

Given their control of the mass media and academia, it was easy for the elites to push their agenda in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and tear down the principles that had defined art for many millennia. Newspaper critics were instructed to write glowing reviews of artists who a few hundred years ago would have been committed to an asylum. Art professors were told to sprinkle their lectures with talk of “irony” and “uprooting assumptions” to create a phony mystique around modern art and hide its inherent worthlessness. And gallery curators had to follow the same script or be shunned as outcasts in the artistic community.

None of this was important enough in the general scheme of things for the average gallery goer to protest. Most artists (and wannabe artists) didn’t complain either. In fact, they were thrilled, because having no talent was no longer an obstacle to becoming a famous artist. Anyone willing to shock the public with works that were increasingly obscene and disgusting, was guaranteed a spot in the limelight. If all this seems hard to believe, do a quick Internet search using the terms “CIA ugly art” and see what you get.

Looking back at the carefully orchestrated madness that took over the world of art in the late 20th Century, we now have the benefit of perspective. At this point, we can call out modern art for what it is: a social engineering tool which was not a natural phase in the evolution of art, but a catastrophic mutation.

Dioramas are the antithesis of modern art, because they meet the time honoured criteria of art which I outlined earlier. If you have a good eye and a steady hand, and spent several months designing, building and perfecting your latest diorama, you probably achieved an artistic accomplishment which would put many modern artists to shame. So instead of supporting the cultural brainwashing agenda and attending your local art gallery’s Jackson Pollock exhibit, take my advice and invest in a new set of brushes instead (something Pollock didn’t have a clue how to use).

-Ivar

Is the diorama art?

As someone who loves art, I’ve often wondered how many diorama builders see themselves as artists, and see their creations as works of art. We accept without hesitation that a photograph, sculpture or painting is a work of art. But what about dioramas?

We could take the easy way out and remain agnostic, like The Joker who said in Tim Burton’s Batman: “I don’t know if it’s art, but I like it.” But let’s explore the issue and see what happens.

Since the vast majority of dioramas are populated with commercially available plastic models, the purist might argue that they contain content which is not 100% original. Therefore, they cannot be considered original works of art. And although some dioramas rely more than others on off-the-shelf models, the purist would argue that any non-original content immediately disqualifies the diorama as a true work of art.

I would argue that the “original content” argument is of little or no relevance in the present day world of art. Ever since Pop Art emerged in the 1950s, measuring the amount of original content in a piece of art has become irrelevant. I recently saw a sculpture at an art show which was made entirely of Lego blocks.

Photography is another art form which does not hold up particularly well to the “original content” argument. The landscape photographer does not construct anything that appears in his photo. The content was conveniently created for him billions of years ago. He “borrows” content from his immediate surroundings every time he presses the shutter release. By manipulating variables such as lighting and composition, he creates a work of art which qualifies as “original,” even though the physical content depicted in the photo is not of his own making. Most of the time, the photographer is able to borrow the content for his photos with little or no protest—but not always. Photographers have gotten into costly and embarrassing legal scrapes for photographing people and places without permission, which is arguably worse than being unoriginal. I have yet to see this fate befall a diorama artist.

Another protest we often hear when debating the diorama’s place in the world of art is its association with children’s crafts. But children make lots of things when emulating adults. A child’s sand castle is a sculpture, but no-one would accuse Rodin’s sculptures of being glorified sand castles. Children also love to finger paint, a technique appropriated by numerous modern artists of the 20th Century. Painter Jackson Pollock liked to lay his canvases on the floor and then fling, drip and spatter paint over them. Luckily, his parents were not around to make him clean up the mess.

If we adopt the position that anything exhibited as art is a work of art, then the diorama easily qualifies. Several have been featured at art fairs, alongside art of every description. And in countries around the world, people pay admission to admire professionally built dioramas. I’m not talking about museums which often contain historical dioramas to support the exhibits, but dedicated diorama galleries.

So how did the diorama become a wallflower at the art world’s high school prom? Without a dedicated PR team, perhaps it was inevitable. We diorama artists tend to be quiet types who don’t care what the world thinks of us. We are not likely to be found trumpeting our achievements on Facebook or Twitter, or taking selfies in our studios. And it’s a safe bet we’ll never have our own reality show. We prefer to create, not promote. And for most of us, the satisfaction we get from finishing a project is enough.

But if you feel that recognition is an important part of the experience of building dioramas, I have a simple suggestion. And you don’t need a PR team. Here is what you do: The next time someone asks you how you like to spend your spare time, don’t hang your head sheepishly and mumble something in hushed tones about plastic models. Look them in the eye and tell them you’re an artist. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better by the end of the conversation.

-Ivar