Welcome to today’s art world, the new Vaudeville, populated by smiling exhibitionists producing bad jokes and bad acts. The dealers are the P.T. Barnums of the art world. They’re selling white elephants and mental-midgets to an ignorant public that has been trained to “see” with their ears. As P.T. said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He got that right.
When world-renowned painter Willem de Kooning pinned pop-artist Andy Warhol against a wall at a party and told him he was a “killer of beauty” and a “killer of honor,” he should have gone on to glue him to that wall, put a frame around him and call the result ‘The Art Murderer.’
When the bankers merged with the auction houses and the galleries to market “art,” a tsunami of bad taste hit the art world like never before. Unregulated, open-ended deals flourished as dealers charged prices as high as the market would bear. The greed show went into full production, and what it produced was status symbols, investment properties and shiny new suits of Emperor’s clothing.
The art media became more interested in the artist as celebrity than in the quality of the art. They spun absurd theories to invest the absurd art with meaning not otherwise perceivable. As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, is thought to have said, ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
For centuries, fine art had been held to the highest standards and sought to engender Beauty through the use of form, composition, intelligence and creative magic. But the ‘Art Murderers’ had to kill what they couldn’t master or compete with. Fine art now is all about the money. But when you kill the idea of beauty, you open the door for all kinds of crap to replace it and battalions of experts to explain that it’s really magnificent.
The auction houses are three-ring circuses. The white elephants, the mental midgets, and the geeks — they’re all there, all for your entertainment and all for sale. The auctioneers fix the prices on fake paintings and, because they are not properly regulated, can hide the money. Why do you think the prices for “art” have gone through the roof? The auction room is filled with the adrenaline of gambling and deception. The emotion behind this hysteria is fear — fear of losing one’s millions.
The antidote to fear is beauty. To have satisfaction in your life you must have grace. Grace gives life to things. Grace grows out of the discipline of the self. Discipline gives one dignity. Without dignity, genuine depth is not possible.
Where’s the discipline in art today? There is none, so the art world is drowning in shallowness. It has perpetrated a monstrous hoax on the world and, in the process, has made it inhospitable to beauty.