Miklos Legrady ArtBlog 2019
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64-Whose expectations is that?
Miklkos Legrady, 24" x 36" - 60.96cm x 91.44cm, acrylic on canvas, May 19, 2018
“If one places the artwork outside of its historical context, whether in its origin, or its effect,” Hannah Deinhardt wrote in Meaning and Expression Toward a Sociology of Art, “one can give no explanation of the facts of the various arts, the many-sidedness of artworks.”
Deinhardt sees visual art as a social phenomenal aimed at making a statement to others, which is not quite true for visual artists. That a writer would think artists paint for others to read their work is because... writers.
It's different for painters. The painting's first audience is the artist themselves, who is engaged in understanding the directions emerging from the unconscious and intuitive aspects of the mind, that direct the act of painting. Painting is a non-verbal language as opposed to writing, it uses a different skill set and is much less conscious, even in photo-representational painting, which is still non-verbal, using a visual language. There is an explanation in this conversation between the artist and their inner self.
It's different with people like Jeff Koons or Damian Hirst, whose assistants do all the work. Their product is not painting but illustration, just like commercial art. It is less than art even when very beautiful, it is less than it could have been.
In 1617, Sir Dudley Carleton protested to Rubens that paintings offered to him as by the artist himself were in fact largely the work of his studio. Rubens was quick to replace them with works he could vouch for as being entirely his own — it would not do to acquire a reputation for passing off inferior work as original.
July 7, 2019
65- The Difference
Miklos Legrady,16" x 20" - 40.64cm x 50.8cm, acrylic on canvas, July, 2019.
One thing that Walter Benjamin got right in The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction was that photography would play havoc with the status of drawing and painting, since these media had utilitarian uses. For example, British officers were taught drawing so they could produce accurate spatial description of the conflict zone. A wide range of products from maps to portraits to technical drawings were superseded by a photographic medium that did the job cheaper and faster. Ah, the age of science.
Of course painting and drawing fascinate us for their non-verbal description of the artist’s individuality, the artist’s hand, the body language of the work. For many drawn by the siren song of technology such a subjective experience as found in painting is obviously not enough. The work is expected to have a conceptual grounding or a political theory, a postmodern view that comes dangerously close to degrading art into an illustration of ideas.
Blake Gopnik tells us that “We cherish everything in American art that is difficult, conceptual, anti-aesthetic, tough, and unsparing. Those were the neo-Dada values that began to win out in the early 1960s”. (1) This might be a matter of pride to some and yet the underlying masochism cannot be ignored. When neo-Dada values such as the anti-aesthetic, tough, and unsparing became dominant, we realized that anti-aesthetic is that is in bad taste, whereas tough and unsparing about what and to whom? Tough and unsparing means unpleasant, lacking tolerance for your antiquated desire for beauty, there is no longer place for aesthetics, that entire school of non-verbal languages on which art has been based since time immemorial. Instead art’s going to be tough, hard to understand.
The idea that art should difficult and conceptual evolves from Duchamp’s experiments with making art intellectual, which killed his interest in making art thereafter. It was like a broken leg he said. Blake Gopnik’s description of an art “that is that is difficult, conceptual, anti-aesthetic, tough, and unsparing” describes an art that is unpleasant and undesirable.
Walter Benjamin promoted an art that dispensed with aesthetics in favor of revolutionary propaganda made by a committee of the working class. Duchamp aimed for an art without personal taste, Dadaists proposed dispensing with art altogether, and photography dispensed with the personal touch in favor of a machine documenting scenes with a political message.
As a painter I often find myself influenced by an anti-aesthetic mindset pioneered over a hundred years ago. As an artist with a lifelong commitment to painting I came to the conclusion that Dada and our subsequent postmodern neo-Dadaism, the beliefs of our time, are terribly wrong, badly mistaken, and have nothing to do with the subject since they aim at the denial of art. Postmodernism was then the failed academic intellectual take over of art. I have always been interested in visual language, the grammar and syntax of images, their function. But even then I often felt insecure at abandoning the current trend and striking off on my own. It’s always a struggle.
(1) http://blakegopnik.com, July 25, 2016
July 14, 2019
66- Artist brain
Miklos Legrady,20" x 48" - 50.8cm x 121.92cm, acrylic on canvas, 2007
Often the past weights heavily against any effort at something new. Meanwhile, the struggle for a new idea to survive and achieve dominance, also means that it will eventually grow old and feel threatened by something newer.Tthe best must always make way for the better.
You can’t stuff that cat back in the bag, but conceptual art was abused. There is a place for intellect in art, but for many the idea replaced doing valuable work, Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, because an idea is faster and easier. Benjamin Buchloh says you don’t need skill in art, but the fact that he hires skillful assistants contradicts him.
We’ve learned that the act of studying creates new folds in the brain in areas dedicated to that function, for example the visual cortex or language areas. A small brain thinks small thoughts, so the more effort the more brain cells. Complex thoughts become possible; a bigger brain thinks bigger thoughts.
July 17, 2019
67- Elizabeth Murray
Miklos Legrady,16" x 20" - 40.64cm x 50.8cm, acrylic on canvas, 2005.
Elizabeth Murray once said in an interview, "Deep down, most artists are on the edge of feeling what they do is absolutely meaningless - and that's the fun of it."
That really sounds wrong. It might be the case for anyone after recognition and approval, since the instability therein would have that effect. My own work is driven by a concern for visual language, and the difficulties require such effort that the work is literally its own reward. I've experienced the strongest sense of self-confidence and meaning from pushing past my own fears and overcoming technical limitations, that feeling says there's no question but that your work is meaningful. First, it's meaningful to you. That's the most important. Second, past recognition and earlier successes are a reality check that your work meant something to others.
July 19, 2019
68- Art Train Wreck
The idea is clever of course but there's an unintended by-product. In the long run, it's depressing to live in a broken down environment. Now I'm thinking they could have used the same antique trolley in a positive way, but current trends are counter-aesthetic. That means counter to what we'd like. We laugh, but laughter is our defence against the unbearable. It's as though art was announcing the end of civilization, and by announcing it they're enabling that process. Science says aesthetic developed as an evolutionary advantage and thus we have art therapy. That also means negativity has negative consequences. Could we save the world by being positive instead of a train wreck? Just sayin...
July 21, 2019
69- Making art history
Back in Dec. 2018 when New Art Examiner’s Daniel Nanavati and Derek Guthrie came to Toronto, we went gallery hopping and stopped by the Korper Gallery. It’s a large two story brick factory with a connecting building that’s office, kitchen and such. The gallery is cathedral, open space up to the roof, the office itself is full of art. Olga looked up and invited us to espresso in her personal space, her kitchen to the right of the office.
Then came one of those moments just perfect for art history; things happened, Olga, Derek, and Daniel are an interesting mix. Olga pointed out that when you’re into art for the love of it you see the larger patterns and trajectories. Looks like both Derek and Olga have a gift for motivating others and stirring the art soup. Olga’s Speakeasy and my NAE blog came out of that meeting, so did the idea of a Toronto art writer’s group that will meet at the gallery.
Physics says the expansion of the universe constantly creates new forms that counter the laws of entropy. An expanding art network likewise creates new ideas that shake up the same old - same old. And it’s fun to be part of history. One thing though… there’s a reason why Duchamp rose to fame while Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven is barely known. Duchamp documented everything he did, Elsa not so much.
July 23, 2019
Miklos Legrady, 29" x 38" - 73.66cm x 96.52cm, acrylic on cardboard. May 25, 2016
New Art Examiner founder Derek Guthrie wrote on Facebook "Each candidate behaved well in the hope of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful who stood for election, and the weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office." - Niccolo Machiavelli (Italian writer and statesman, Florentine patriot, author of 'The Prince'.
In the arts, our top tier curators and artists behave well but much of the work is fake art, that is to say art that meets all the academic descriptions of art, except the work is pretence, talentless, and contributes nothing to our cultural dialogue. The people mentioned are sophisticated, well mannered, and in powerful positions, yet they think it fine when one of them wrote "no one knows what art is anymore". That's a level of irresponsibility that is causing harm to the art dialogue. Because they are powerful, no one within Canadian art dares call them to account.
July 24, 2019
I would call this one BOGUS with four pinocchios. I'm an immigrant, war refugee, and an artist. I often went hungry, struggled for years – I suffered under the status quo, and mindfulness meditation was a survival tool.
My experience with mindfulness came one of those years when I was just scraping by. The two businesses I freelanced for shut down, the school I was teaching at went bankrupt, my partner left cause of the financial stress, and the interest payments on my massive debt kept doubling. Then I discovered mindfulness meditation, it kept my mind healthy and balanced, I was able to grow from there and came out a winner.
Purser says I'm a victim. The justice warrior needs a scapegoat,
and often cherry-picks their facts while preaching from the pedestal of wisdom.
But he seems to lack experience with mindfulness meditation, which he wrongly describes as a great vehicle (Mahayana) take-down of the narcissism and limitations of the individual vehicle (Hinayana). This is literally superficial and (sorry) ignorant, since demeaning and demoralizing the individual is not mindfulness nor meditation; a contempt for the self is self-destructive, not healing.
Mindfulness is a practice that allows one to connect with one's inner self, the unconscious mind, to react properly to life's challenges, and those challenges are needed to develop the individual, if we can survive them, if we find the tools.
July 26, 2019
July 27, 2019
73-Practice and Institutions
I just read an article on practices and institutions with great interest, and as an artist, with horror! The author was complex yet clear in his speech, a brilliant example among intellectual academics. Yet it's true we all have a blind spot, our own field becomes the sun and everything else a satellite. Sheesh, them writers!
I was demoralized to learn that artists exist to give the critic something to write about, that art production is there to constrain art theory. I had to reply.
The bible says that in the beginning was the Word, but let’s not take that seriously, it’s likely wrong. It is probable that in the beginning was vision, and by necessity, vision created a non-verbal language describing the material world - to ourselves - within our mind, before we created a language to communicate with others. From my own experience, I do not think that art can be fully understood as a social practice, those artists sound like opportunists.
Rob Storr said that in the 1960’s, art moved from the Cedar tavern to the seminar room. Academic studies unfortunately led to a hypertrophy of the intellect, ref. Susan Sontag. Now I read that art is produced by culture… ah, the poor artist. I have never seen my work as a social activity; doesn’t match my experience of origins, process, and goals of creation. Yes, there’s a good argument for collective consciousness or civic duty as the Greeks put it, but for me an artistic practice is personal and only happens through doing.
You spoke of the expansion of media to conceptual, installation, performance, and participatory forms. A top tier Canadian curator opined “no one knows what art is anymore”! I was horrified, since every other profession knows what they are doing, so I have expect a recession of these permissive expansions; without limitations we dissolve in the boundless.
However a theme in your article made me tear my hair out and I now hold you responsible for the bald patches on my head. Concerning practice and institutions, the etymology of practice was swept aside. After a year of abstract painting I found I was losing my photo-representational skills. Practice is that which if you don’t use it, you literally lose it; maintaining your skill involves maintaining a practice.
Einstein played the violin and like others who learn music as children, he had an omega-shaped fold in the lower right at the back of the brain. In 1990 Neuroscientist Karl Friston developed an imaging technique that was used in a famous study to show that the rear side of the hippocampus of London taxi drivers grew in volume as they memorized maps when applying for a taxi license. The individual’s repeated behavior changes not only changed the brain but also the character of the practitioner.
Practice as a personal action, a repetitive creative action - neither social nor institutional - except for context and culture. In my experience the repetition needed to transform the doer cannot be ignored, that conversation with the depths of one’s soul. Social and institutional aspects are often the least important aspects; fluff to the creator but meat to the critic.
Surely design is form, a container for creative content,
while art is spiritual, defined as that complexity elusive to consciousness.
July 28, 2019
74-Beauty is better than ugly.
Miklos Legrady, 60" x 72" - 152.4cm x 182.88cm, acrylic on canvas, 2017 - July 29, 2019.
I added the spoon six weeks ago, then tonight the light blue sky bottom left. I'm fascinated by visual language, how elements affect each other to change the narrative. Since the discovery of non-verbal languages operating beside intellectual thought, science see ideas as only one element in art and likely the least important.
Albert Mehrabian, born in 1939 to an Armenian family in Iran and currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, is known for his publications on the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messaging. His findings on inconsistent messages of feelings and attitudes, often misquoted and misinterpreted in seminars on human communication worldwide, have also become known as the 7%-38%-55% Rule to capture the relative impact of ideas, tone , and body language in communication.
I'm not religious, have no place for dogma, but I am spiritual, a mindsetI learned from reading physics. Most renowned scientists used a language that included a spiritual component, quantum physics even spoke of charmed particle, and the idea of magic is infused in scientific language. And that's because we need a language by which to speak of the unknown, the barely known, the tentatively glimpsed, the might or could not be. Life is statistical probability and our sense of the infinite is spiritual; it's like when the number zero entered mathematics.
July 29, 2019
July 29, 2019
The more I read about Duchamp, the more it seems he made error after error in his pursuit of art. But his mistakes were mythologized and he went with the flow, as we read about in the Cabane interviews. The I CHING, one of the Five Books of Confucian thought, says that many a great men has not been able to resist the pressure of the masses and was swept along in their wake. One conclusion we draw from it is that the collective mind of a society that we call culture seems to have plans of it’s own. The linguistic forays of the Impressionists started a deconstruction in which movement after movement appeared, each one an example of the structural template of 20th century visual language. Eventually someone was bound to pluck the lowest hanging fruit, the contradiction of non-language, of denying art, the counter-aesthetic.
I critique conceptual art because it is so often abused by lazy non-artists cashing in to fame and fortune. Every field has exceptions and what I like about Ian Baxter& is his usage of non-verbal elements, adding to his art the non-verbal languages that run alongside the intellect. What makes some other conceptual artists weak is the same intellectual approach to art that Duchamp pioneered and which, by the evidence, caused Duchamp to lose interest and stop making art. Science today reveals that art is primarily the realm of the non-verbal. Tony Calzetta's paintings illustrate Albert Mehrabian's 7%-38%-55% rule for the relative impact of word, tone, and body language. The humour here is the difference between those two artists, yet their interests occasionally intersect. Keith Richard was asked how he comes up with those great lyrics and he replied that he just puts out his antennas and picks up the cultural vibe.
July 29, 2019
One guy said "I dare you
to write something that doesn't involve Duchamp". Problem is most people have no idea that Duchamp's philosophy leads to artistic failure, to losing interest and giving up art as he did. He came up with theories and ideas, actually mistakes after mistakes that were turned into dogma by academic interpretation.
Now can you say that without offending anyone? Nowadays everyone goes to school to learn to be an artist the right way like all other artists, and our art history is half invention that contradicts the original art god’s words. So when I said that Duchamp made mistakes, a curator I was then speaking to looked at me like I was delusional, he'd never heard this from anyone before. This person didn't know the urinal was not by Duchamp but by Elsa, didn't know Duchamp said "found objects" are not and can never be art..
An aerial view shows the art world as a financial animal, money circulates in lecture fees and teaching fees and museum fees, none of which you get if you shake the boat. The cultural canon is loaded chock-full of errors and misconceptions, failures of logic, and outright corruption, that anyone who writes about these topics looks rude and ill-mannered for bringing it up. “We don’t talk about those things, dear”.
At first they doubt the evidence but then seeing its logic they walk away embarrassed. Yet soon it’s back to an art that's intellectual, ephemeral, following the methods that Duchamp pioneered. He made art intellectual, then he stopped making art, he lost interest. Jasper Johns went on to say Duchamp tolerated, even encouraged the mythology around that ‘stopping’, "but it was not like that … He spoke of breaking a leg. ‘You didn’t mean to do it’ he said".
What Duchamp did in rejecting sensation and senses is senseless. It stops the non-verbal languages that are a foundation of art. By denying and disrupting his personal taste he blocked the mechanism of personal choice. Then if you say art is not worth making and you repeat it often enough, you will eventually believe yourself and lose interest in making art. Is this what we want; is our aim for artists to lose interest in making art?
Many promote the status quo, speak art jargon on art topics that evade the issue. A politically correct stance earns serious credibility, while an academically complex language impresses the gallery, but why evade the unavoidable facts that are even now changing art history? This kid of revision occurs regularly, so that's why I'm still talking about Duchamp.
August 4, 2019
Miklos Legrady, 23" x 55" - 58.42cm x 63.5cm, acrylic on cardboard, December 17, 2015.
I had a strange experience this week. I've been working on my Duchamp studies for five years, had two peer-reviewed papers published by RISD, a few opportunities came such as a post as Toronto editor for the New Art Examiner, and I found a publisher for the Duchamp book. I was in a position to help other writers and open doors for them also and so that happened.
There's one person whose writing I liked that I got into a writer's group and got an article of his published in the U.S. I've recently received emails from this guy telling me he's a wise old writer and he's doing me a favor by telling me my writing on Duchamp is an embarrassment and everyone's laughing at me. I should add that Dr. Glyn Thompson, a canonical Duchamp scholar, recently commended the same work, and a U.K. house will publish my book on Duchamp next year.
But this writer whom I've helped says his advice is to give up, cause I sucks, I need to lose faith in my vision; I need listen to him as he knows better, everyone sees how I'm embarrassing myself by putting my writing in public.
I wrote back that fellow writers should not undermine each other. He wrote back with hurt feelings that if I don't follow his advice I'm the only one to blame... my friend Xistine said she had a boyfriend like that, who was jealous of everyone and wouldn't admit it.
So I tell the dude he's got it backwards, I'm the one who opened doors for him and he's suffering from delusions of grandeur. Said sorry but I cannot work with him and won't be publishing his work until he grows up and apologizes.
Dude does not get published much and this was his first international exposure. Psychologist Carl Jung writes that when a person who suffered from lack of recognition finally gets seen, they overcompensate with ego inflation, at which point the first banana peel will do, and they're right back where they started.
Now this guy is a good writer, I like his work. The reason he's unknown became obvious in the emails he wrote me. That's narcissism, a failure to appreciate others. I was watching a video called The Last Waltz, about The Band, a clip of musician Ronald Hawkins after he was famous, on stage with others, and how Hawkins was cool and totally respectful of others. That's professional for you.
August 7, 2019
Fascinating how many ways there are to make art; this one is obviously stupid. So we begin to think of methods, why some are smart but others not, why there's good art and why there's bad. The entire corpus of postmodernism consists of ditching those standards, "art is anything you can get away with", and yet without limits we dissolve in the boundless. So if art is anything you can get away with, it's "non-art" or "not art"... it's not art. It might look pretty, but what's facile is never the best.
August 12, 2019
A recent exhibition blurb said "Five contemporary Canadian artists confront and destabilize issues concerning the body and self through drawings, masks, and performed paintings." Why confront and destabilize? Because neither the artists nor the curators have any concept what those words mean. The idea there's something wrong with the body that is kept hidden, is undesirable, and needs to be confronted and destabilized is bogus, used because those words are trendy at the moment. Destabilizing is this year’s word at the National Gallery, they use it till it wanes superficial and fades to a cliché. This level of irresponsibility and facile identification is certainly a problem.
August 14, 2019
Paul Branca and Damian Hirst both made artwork consisting of trash, that was cleaned up by a janitor after opening night. Hirst's was an overturned ashtray on the floor with ashes and cigarettes butts spilled around. Now the interesting question is why the art world thought that trash was art, much like glorifying rotting food at a dinner accompanied by out of tune music. Are cultural workers suffering a mass delusion? Add the urinal, which says that art is to piss on; why such low self-esteem in the academic-curatorial complex?
We can no longer ignore the embedded messages, the obvious statements in a work. When they consistently say art sucks, there's something seriously wrong with the mindset of cultural workers. The fact that nobody noticed is also surprising, as though our self-loathing seems most normal and obvious for our time.
There have been a number of mass delusions in the past; the Dutch Tulip Craze in 1637 was popularized in 1841 by the book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds", written by British journalist Charles Mackay. More recently we had the 2008 Banking Crisis of sub-prime loans. If Bankers can lose it then the art world can certainly go off the rails and I think it happened. That's what I end up writing about and it pisses off a lot of people, for whom art has taken the place of religion... they don't want anyone rocking the boat.
RA Fischer, talking about science, said that it's reason d’être is an increase in natural knowledge "and on occasion an increase in natural knowledge does occur. But this is tactless and feelings are hurt."
August 15, 2019
Miklos Legrady, 16" x 20" - 40.64cm x 50.8cm, acrylic on canvas, 2019
In his novel 1984, George Orwell describes the complaints of an old man who doesn't like the new system, as you can only get too small a glass of beer that doesn't quench your thirst, or else too large a glass, so soon you'll have to pee. Orwell muses how that dictatorial system is purposefully designed to be dystopic, to create discomfort. His model was post-war Britain, where scarcity made pride of austerity. It was the same with Cromwell's Puritans in the 1640s, and recently in Russia and China following their Communist revolution. In Brutalist architecture and utilitarian designs, a choice of discomfort was a correct political stance. The uglier and more uncomfortable, the less it resembled the luxuries of the Capitalists, who were put against the wall and shot
August 15, 2019
I just received this message on my phone. I know people whose business and banking info are located on their phone; if they click on that link it will download a virus that sends all that personal and banking data to some people who will make good use of it. That's how the Saudi government infiltrated Jamal Khashoggi's phone and accessed all his information. Here it's just a scammer after your bank account. Two clues; utilities always address you by name, and their phone number above is not a Toronto area code.
Manipulators online tell sophisticated lies to control your devices, your behavior, your beliefs.
August 20, 2019
84-Trolls, Fools, and Internet lies
Facebook is often a place for deception. Memes blame the media for not reporting the Amazon fires, or tells us to forget about science and exploring Mars, instead go plant trees. This strategy of mixing truth with nonsense seems effective in pushing subliminal messages and we don't even notice that we're being indoctrinated. When questioned, we double down on Amazon and trees, unconscious we’re soaking up message to mistrust the media and science and logic.
It's possible that in the future, exoplanets may be our main source of raw material, saving the Earth's ecology. And how many believe the media lies to us? I work with journalists, reporters and talk hosts who work hard to get the truth across, and they're the majority, the Fox network being the minority. So who is it that creates these memes, who seek to demoralize us by stressing our helplessness in the face of such conspiracies?
In the Amazon region, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading. However, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season. Both poor peasants and large corporations use fire to clear land for more farms. Typically, activity peaks in early September and mostly stops by November.
As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years. (The Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries.) Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database, a research project that compiles and analyzes NASA data.
The rapidly developing fires that now alarm the world came after August 16, the date of the NASA report. These fires, which increased quickly in the two weeks following, may result in some ecological awareness worldwide. The Amazon is being cut down at a frightening rate, it's time something caught the world's attention.
A Brazilian informant wrote how many in Brazil believe the U.S.A. achieved its wealth by cutting down its forests, and they want to do the same; they're the ones who elected Bolesandro to burn down the Amazon. Europe reacted by telling Brazil they will embargo Brazilian meat and leather, that country’s main exports, so now Bolesandro is back-pedaling.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.
Trump isn’t alone in saying we shouldn’t trust the news. The Mueller report said Russian trolls also try to discredit the media. MSNBC writes that a sophisticated clandestine Russian outfit attempted and continues to sow political discord along racial and other trigger issues, using social media and grassroots campaign... promoting its efforts on Facebook and Instagram, they also paid for rally materials such as posters and pins... Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but now we must take it seriously because it's real.
It's time to question Facebook memes, perceive the subliminal messages hidden within. No one would suspect the point of this meme is to lie and sow mistrust about the media. If the media are engaged in a conspiracy of silence, they victimize us. Quillette's Claire Lehman in a study of left-wing abuse described how victimhood became a moral currency, used in policing liberal ideology.
Roger Scruton also wrote how “we have encountered a new type of predatory censorship, a desire to take offense that patrols the world for opportunities. As with the Puritans of the 17th century, there is the need to humiliate and to punish." The emotional high of feeling superior while blaming others certainly motivates justice warriors. That is why the internet calls for a high degree of alertness, not to let ourselves be fooled into a narcissistic bubble.
Google says there have been 78,000 Amazon fires this year. Why a paranoid conspiracy shading the media while ignoring Brazil’s Bolsonaro? Again, why do some rush to stand on a pedestal and point their finger, rousing the reader's emotions with paranoid conspiracies? Blaming shaming and false logic are manipulative strategies. Readers concerned for the Amazon forgets the logic that reporters earn a living by reporting news, not by ignoring them for lack of billionaires leading the way.
At my local Kensington Market Street Fair, a musician was telling the crowd, "no matter who you vote for they're all the same". That's a lie. Obama gave them health care, Trump wants to deny it. Canadian Pierre Trudeau legalized being gay and his son Justin legalized weed, Ford and Scheer want to criminalize both, and take away your health care. It really seems that people on the right and the left repeat the first catchy slogan without questioning it, then double down on the stupid. What a terrible wrong, why doesn't anyone think?
Here's a reality check. You see Obama with happy children, you see Trump with lynch mobs. So there are differences, there's sides to chose. Idealists say there's no difference between the two because of the type of system we live in, but we can chose if it’s a better system or a worse one. To claim that since the system isn’t exactly how we’d like it means there's no difference and it's homogenous, that's a petulant claim, it's sour grapes. But it’s dangerous. Ignoring what's attainable eventually results in voting against one's interests, or in not voting, which in the past allowed dictators to win, remembering the 2016 election.
The text speaks loudly. It's obvious to everyone there's nothing in this image to trigger an algorithm deleting it, so we know it's a lie, one that seems to legitimize dishonesty and manipulation. If I know it's a lie but don't care, what does that say about me? Logical thinking: why ignore the obvious question if Facebook banned this image, why is it still up? Ethics: Is it a good idea to lie for a cause?
Years ago there was an underground pipeline break out in Western Canada. A Facebook self-proclaimed eco-warrior posted a photo taken ten years before that, of an above ground pipeline that was leaking because someone had shot a bullet into it, and the caption said this was the underground pipeline that was leaking presently. In an email exchange, the guy who posted it admitted it was a bogus caption "but it was for a good cause". I have no respect for that level of dishonesty. But what does it mean, what does it say about our culture, when those who consider themselves progressive are just as dishonest as those who embody our worst aspects?
It's up to us to see how we're being jerked, it's up to us to judge the logic of what we're told, ask if it's true, and also to become aware of our bias, so that others can't use progressive themes to get us habituated to lies
August 28, 2019
August 24, 2019
86- Arts and Crafts
August 25, 2019
87- Post truth Era
Miklos Legrady, 24" x 30" - 60.96cm x 76.2cm, acrylic on cardboard, November 30, 2015
Prehistoric art was a biological process, aiding evolutionary development by introducing laws of aesthetics including structuralism, contrast, balance, dynamic tension and other syntax. Throughout history art always presented a higher state to which a culture would aspire. That changed after WW1 with Dada, a movement rejecting all tradition in reaction to the horror of that war. "Art was a pharmaceutical product for idiots", said Picabia.
This rejection of art as a strategy took on a new life in the 1950s, following WW2, and it shaped today's postmodern movement. Rejecting art became such a dominant trend that Roger Scrutton wrote “it is now an effective requirement of finalists for the Turner Prize in Britain to produce something that nobody would think was art unless they were told it was”.
Psychiatry speaks of art therapy, of the healing power of aesthetic practice. Today's anti-aesthetic would then promote discord and dystopia. Did postmodernism nurture the post-truth era of Donald Trump?
August 29, 2019
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