Guernica (Modern Civilization)
Partial Transcript of THIS IS CIVILIZATION, Part IV, on Ovation TV.
Theory of Relativity. Disruption. Abstractions. Surface Appearances is deliberately left behind. You are in an experiment, where you’re asked to see beyond appeareanes, to see beyond illusions that art has always dealt with. An experiment is always uncertain. No answer. This is the experiment — the question — what is it telling you? Delibrately openended, obeying only its own rules. Starting a painting was taking a line for a walk with no idea where the line might go. Haven of Riches. Riches of the artistic imagination. Tune in. Nazi Degenerate Art Problem: The World is At It Is. Conspiracy of the Sensitive against the Rest? Ordinary People Keep Out.
Our world is appearances and surfaces. Everything subtly other. We ask Art to show us this game of changing values. Test taboos. Approaches sincerity like any – modern woman born without arms and legs. In Trafalgar Square. Mark Quinn. Modern social values — what did we use to think important? Conceptual art. Presses the buttons. Human perfection — white marble — human imperfection – stimulating — nude — something that doesn’t fit the old moral framework — moralizing — society ought to have sympathy and compassion for outsiders — disturbing and anarchic and sensational — politeness and provactiveness — fit together seamlessly. Past — aspirational — unreal — ourselves as we were better — excellence which suggests power structures.
Mirror to our modern selves.
Hard to love, with all the thinking. Dead fish. Christ on the Cross in a previous age. Equality and Difference. Rustic parts. Peasant simplification. Mystical enervation. No Single God. Materialists. I am my body. Delight in the elegant shimmer of modern life. Mondrian. Straight lines and rectangles — all there in the look of the modern world — the grids of New York skyscrapers. Paintings not shorthand skyscapers. Visual – balance of elements – taken to another place. He’s in the immaterial world. The test of purity. We want to be shaped, we want to be connected to others — Oh, this Modern World — where are we???
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Jenny Craig. Attractive girl with big hips — down 40 pounds. Kathy made all the decision. Stay in control and lose control — another phone number — conversion — don’t wait another year — call JEnny today.
Plants growing. Birds reaching. If you love Spring, you’ll love a Subaru. 179 a month.
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Lights of New York City. Back to Mondrian. Post Second World War New York. Abstract Expressionists. Pollock. Rothko. De Kooning. Neuman. Look into this — the void. Felt tortured by modern life’s dark side – sci and tech make things more comfortable — but also made the holocaust and the atom bomb. Couldn’t accept the values of consumerism that made humanity blind — Reality had become Neurotic — Modern Life’s a Bust – who you gonna call? Abstract. What are they Expessing? Edges and Lines and Negative and Positivies but nothing else — rackign up the integrity — amplification — no longer the charm of Klee. Journey is harder. Gamble is that the unpolluted part of you will join them — Barren Desert. Pollock. Love it. Artist’s Reality attacks Society’s Falseness. Pollock is floating marks and space. Zen. Delicate dance. Gravity defying dance — will it remain balanced, or will it collapse?
Chaotic Life. All reinsurances are hollow. De Kooning. The way it’s done. Battered impacted look. Gestures, erased, trace is point – building and erasing — every stroke is a whole — you must do something, but you’re guided by nothing — distractions that keep us from wondering why we have to die. Rothko — looming void — loveliness mixed with portentious happening — in there — in the modern world — but facing some profundity — art is a trial for facing your doubting self — a heavy moral responsibility — doubting lonely doomed self — ineffable mystery of existence.
Barnett Neuman — epic. Historical.
Uncertainty. Is that so bad?
In the 60s, money wins. We can reflect ourseslves back to our ourselves. Consumerism. We love it, but ehh — confident and unhinged — Pop Art. We don’t believe anything — why shouldn’t we bring it into art? Synthesize — no reliable truth — surface and not debth — ironic eyebrow at old highmindednes — us looking at our own disillusion — we’re disillusioned with AE’s disillusion. Why does it have to be moral to be important? Why stare earnestly into a dematerialized void to find values? You can look at Elvis, and a wealth of stuff will well up. What is the status of Elvis? Compared to Saints? Is he in it because he’s important or not important? Why are there two of them? Uncertain about the status of everything.
How shall we live? High and Low — are they opposites anymore? Aren’t they in the throwaway? Can’t we read anything? Why did the popists do it? To be opposite. Popsters — we can’t tell what the emotion is. Accept challenge, but don’t see why the only way to be challenging is to worry about why man is base, what history teaches us, and to always be damning society. Cruising society in new mood of elegant discsombulobated fragmented forgetfulness — you might not like it, but that’s us, babe. Paint my numbers. Schematic. Ads. Existence becomes more and more like pop art. Relaxing.
Paper or plastic. Ad. Purple or pink. Easy choices and then waht to do with your money. How bout Bank of America? Keep it safe and growing. Make the smart choice at Bank of America, bank of opportunity.
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College chemistry class. Cooking. Transferring to International Culinary school at Art Institute. Launched his career. Find out what they can do for you.
Snoring? Go to sleep? Pure sleep. Stop snoring solution. Casual and wary of greatness. Our own mixture of cynicism and – modern art is fascinating. Should we be hopeful? Window dressing for consumerism? China is sthe Hyperpresent. Grows at 10% a year. Seven of the world’s 20 largest shopping malls. Most polluted. Totalitarian and propaganda art. No questions. As China plugged in to to international markets — rushed to express avant-gardeism. (Big Bird Goes to China).
Is this art? Is this art? Have we really sunk to this? Amusing, but is this really all we are? Nakedness of the overall art system. Understand what moves they must make in a purely market driven system.
We are unbelievers. No Chairman Mao. How shall we live. Advertising says: Consume. Instead of know thyself, numb thyself. Artificial worlds of staged uncertainty. Western commercialism. Hypercapitalism. Values are only illusions. Art confirms the cynicism.
Watto — life is sordid, corrupt, but art is only enchanting if it is connected to hard realities and strangeness. Films and photos are mass enchantment. Art still wants to show reality vivid and intensified. Seems to be about hopelessness and the hell that society has become. We can’t believe in anything anymore. Everything we thought made us what we are are empty — nostalgia — art is no longer heroic — democratic, everyone can have a go — higher feelings are not fake — they’re wat we’re taking into account — production values and contrast — arrangement so that the eye is delighted — that is not despair — trying to make an image strike a chord — it’s trying to be an artist — when you become aware of it, you become aware of something profound in itself — maybe not heroic, but they are real —
Greatesty irony — jokes instead of heaviness – questions instead of certainty — new freedoms mean there is no high and low anymore — we are the low — we think its weird, but we are weird — our models for authority have changed — god can be anything — voice in the street — new dreams — new freedoms – enter the future