They disregarded existing laws, especially those connecting love and marriage.
Bohemians emerged as an individual or group identity contrary toQuotes:
They disregarded existing laws, especially those connecting love and marriage.
Bohemians emerged as an individual or group identity contrary to the hard-working, if triumphant, bourgeoisie, dull of taste or imagination but large of bankbook.
Bohemia itself is supposed to have disappeared, at least several times, as high rents came to formerly low-rent neighborhoods where its denizens dwelled. Yet somehow it persists, or rather irregularly reappears. Not only in the US or Europe of course, but by now, almost everywhere. ...more
Doesn't go very in-depth on many things, but mentions a lot. Lots of great pictures.
Quotes: Western Esotericism's six key concepts: Correspondences: thDoesn't go very in-depth on many things, but mentions a lot. Lots of great pictures.
Quotes: Western Esotericism's six key concepts: Correspondences: the idea that there are sympathetic bonds within the universe, as seen in the notion of macrocosm—microcosm, or the Hermetic saying 'As above, so below' Living Nature: that all of nature is part of a conscious order, and that everything shares a life force Imagination and Mediations: that rituals, symbolic images and intermediary spirits can connect different worlds and levels of reality Experience of Transmutation: that esoteric practice can transform the individual, principally in the sense of a spiritual transformation Practice of Concordance: that all religions, beliefs, etc. stem form a single, original principle, and that understanding this principle will bring the various belief systems into closer alignment Transmission: that occult knowledge is transmitted from master to adept, often by means of a process of initiation.
Hecate's equivalent in the Roman pantheon was the goddess Trivia, the goddess of crossroads, ghosts, and witchcraft. The name 'Trivia' means 'three roads'.
Abracadabra is thought to be Aramaic in origin, it has been translated as 'I create as I speak'.
In Japanese culture, one finds the concept of kotodama, or 'word spirit'—the idea that mystical powers reside in words and names.
Finding and keeping the perfect partner is a universal human concern.
Some love spells can be shockingly unsentimental, such as this one from the Greek Magical Papyri: 'remain in her heart and burn her guts, her breast, her liver, her breath, her bones, her marrow, until she comes to me.'
Necromancy is communication with the dead in order to predict the future.
Scholomance, said to be located deep in the Transylvanian Alps, in what is now central Romania, was believed to be the Devil's own school for black magic. According to legend, every tenth scholar there was kept by the Devil as payment.
The most famous of Norse mythic objects was the cursed ring known as Andvaranaut. Capable of making gold, the ring was guarded by the dwarf Fafnir, who turned himself into a dragon for the purpose. Later, Fafnir was killed by Sigurd, who, after drinking the dragon's blood, was able to understand the speech of birds [the song of nature that is].
It is said that Arthur many only be in hibernation at magical Avalon.
In the early Middle Ages, accusations of witchcraft were more likely to be made against men than against women.
'As above, so below' is the fundamental tenet of Hermeticism. It is also the rational basis for much of the magic that seeks to influence human affairs through interaction with a higher plane. The idea of an interrelated microcosm (man) and macrocosm (universe) goes back to the concept of the 'Great Chain of Being', derived from Plato and fully developed by the Neoplatonists of the third to the sixth century AD. Simply put, the Great Chain concept states that everything is interconnected, from God on high down to the inanimate objects, with humankind somewhere in the middle. This interconnectedness is essential to the intellectual underpinning of much magic, since if man is a smaller-scale replica of, or somehow linked to, the universe, then there should be naturally repeating patterns and sympathies between the two. Well established by the twelfth century—and, of course reinforcing the hierarchical structure of society at the time—the concept of humankind having a fixed place in the universe was challenged in the Renaissance, when such figures as the Italian nobleman and philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola suggested that humans might elevate themselves above the angels into a mystical union with God.
Witches' ointment was a hallucinogenic substance that was believed to help witches fly.
The satori is a monkey with mind-reading abilities.
More than a century after the Italian's death, Aleister Crowley would claim that he was a reincarnation of Alessandro Cagliostro.
Stage magician Robert Houdin was sent by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparter to North Africa to demonstrate that French magic was more powerful than the traditional Marabout sorcery. He succeeded.
Abramelin oil is used in ceremonial or ritual magic, the recipe having been taken from a medieval grimoire known as The book of Abramelin the Mage. Based on a recipe for holy anointing oil, Abramelin contains a mixture of myrrh, calamus, cinnamon, and olive oil. Aleister Crowly had his own recipe fro the substance, which is still used in the Thelema religion for anointing the heads of magicians.
Quotes: "We live in a society populated by strangers. Each day, we feel more distant from each other, more alone, all while being surrounded by millionQuotes: "We live in a society populated by strangers. Each day, we feel more distant from each other, more alone, all while being surrounded by millions. Each day we watch as our city turns into a desert. One in which we are all lost--looking for that oasis we like to call...'love'. The more we wait, the more everything--and everyone--looks like a grain of sand escaping between our fingers before vanishing into the wind. How do we find someone--we can no longer see, but which is right there before us? And how do we hold on to what is most precious in life?" --Your "dessert city" speech is always a real crowd pleaser. --As bleak as it may sound, I think it still manages to make life sound a bit more like a worthwhile adventure. People like to believe there are mysteries yet to be discovered, loves to be lived.
In times like these, we seek comfort in the little pleasures. Things we're glad man invented. It doesn't matter where you're from--or how you feel...There's always peace in a strong cup of coffee....more
Schizophrenic plotline, not sure why he decided to take the deal for the series. Starts out like it's potentially going somewhere, then really doesn'tSchizophrenic plotline, not sure why he decided to take the deal for the series. Starts out like it's potentially going somewhere, then really doesn't go anywhere. Recycles lot of old ideas from first fight club. He breaks the 4th wall and puts himself in the narrative. Tyler shoots Chuck at the end, that's a spoiler alert that sounds better than it actually is, because's it's really nothing.
Other spoilers: There is one part where he shows a nuclear apocapylse of the entire world, except sunny happy portland with a bird signing.
He either idolizes popping lots of pills, does, or says the american public does too much. There scattered all over the pages, which is actually interesting.
Things that are more than likely true:
1. Chuck has no radical political position.
2. Chuck is very bourgeois.
3. Chuck sucks at writing comic book scripts.
4. His writing group is all women. They drink a lot of wine. They swap plotlines, some involving zombies, and pills.
5. Chuck does not have any pithy tattoable phrases left for you.
quotes: Young people, they're so hungry to anchor themselves in the vast world. It's too bad that someone couldn't plant a bomb and explode all the worthless furniture stored inside sebastian's head...his cheap, mass-produced IKEA ideologies. His secondhand junk-store epiphanies and thrift-store political positions. Those bargain-basement dreams--it's too bad a cleansing fire couldn't sweep them all away...making room for enlightenment [sebastian's charred blownup head]
there're some hokey lines (especially batmans when i go to arkham i may feel at home), and Morrison's use of allusions to magic sometimes come off heathere're some hokey lines (especially batmans when i go to arkham i may feel at home), and Morrison's use of allusions to magic sometimes come off heavy-handed. Joker has some good lines. Most interesting part of the story is about the founder of Arkham and why he made it and what it became....more
It starts out alright, then starts to lag even farther into a turgid, academic, philosophically-confusing tone. By the end it becomes unreadable to meIt starts out alright, then starts to lag even farther into a turgid, academic, philosophically-confusing tone. By the end it becomes unreadable to me.
Good sections: On Sade (vicious as usual), Lautremont and the Surrealists (wanting absolutism and aesthetics), Rimbaud (being a cop-out), The French Revolution (that during its time produced no good artists, and hung the only good poet), and The Russian Revolution (scathing Lenin and his never whiter away State). ...more
Schleuser.net: activism based on art dressed up as lobbyist organization.
No Ghost Just a Shell: 17 artists use anime character they've bought tNotes:
Schleuser.net: activism based on art dressed up as lobbyist organization.
No Ghost Just a Shell: 17 artists use anime character they've bought the copyright for in multiple projects
History of collaboration: Ruebens and other Baroque artists' hierarchal large-scale studios, which were lucrative business, to Surrealists' group experiments, Constructivists' theatre projects, Fluxus games, and Warhols psuedo industrial factory.
It's been argued that collaboration was crucial in transition from modernism to postmodernism particulary since 60s Conceptual att
First collaborations: Nazarenes in Rome in 1810-1830: this was a conscious strategy when guilds disappeared and the notion of the romantic individual artist came to the fore.
Collaboration is a good instrument with which to challenge both artistic identity and authorship and therefore stimulate anxiety.
Gelatin and Derraindrop take the political edge and significance out of collaboration to have more fun with it (probably more creativity)
two big forms of collectivism today: anti-capitalist, absolute, idealized form and DIY e-collectivism, the latter attracting techno-anarchist hacktivism to hippie-capitalist, psuedo-countercultural imperalism.
Bourriaud says of relational artists, that they do not wish to reproduce or depict the world as we know it but instead create new situations--micro-utopias--using human relations as their raw material
Reena Spauling is both the name of a gallery in NY run by a collective of artists and the title of a collectively written novel whose main character bears the same name.
N55: live and work together (micro-bohemia) Superflex: co-lab-ers
reasons for co-labs: an alternative to individualistic solitary art, self-determination in competitive artworld/society, setting a positive model for society, and it's fun and fulfilling.
artist critique has been co-opted by neo-liberal neo-management theory making it essentially toothless
we organize the precarious. precarious people are marginalized in the labor market. lowly paid and vulnerable, they try to combine studies with extra work, work part time even tho they need full time to get their needs, temp workers, part timers, freelancers, and other non standard workers. those italians that dont have a permanent job and they are a 3rd of the labor force.
precarity exists among swedes too: 41 percent of women workers. The European precariat. The downside of flexibility, which is the main cause of inequality in Europe.
Chainworker: they work in chain store, has to wear a uniform, and obey a strict code of conduct. The demands are not at all in parity with the disgracefully low wages and the rotten working conditions.
The unions are weak and havent got the energy or inclination to mobolize chainworkers. even tho this is as important as organizing car workers 70 years ago
The welfare state at least in France, Spain, and Italy ignores the most deprived. The welfare state is tailormade for white men who have a permanent job and stay in the same place their whole lives. Italian women for example have no gurantees of maternity leave if they dont have a permanent job.
16beavergroup.org a Bueysian ongoing conference meeting space in NY where artists, writers, activists meet to discuss and collaborate...more
Connection with Wilhelm Lehmbruck inspired by him and received the WL Prize eleven days before his death
Beuys's own "law of the universe"--the pQuotes:
Connection with Wilhelm Lehmbruck inspired by him and received the WL Prize eleven days before his death
Beuys's own "law of the universe"--the principle that sculpture is all (social sculpture)--was not unfamiliar to Lehmbruck, to whom sculpture stood for inner experience
That the burdens of life led both to deep depression--around the age of 35 in both cases--is another of their strange existential parallels
Belgian symbolist writer Maurice Maeterlinck, author of The Life of the Bee, developed a mystical pantheism
The interplay of myth, inner life, and natural science is the foundation of his concept of Social Sculpture, which Beuys was later to posit as the goal of his "expanded concept of art"
Recognizing the hopelessness of a scientifically orientated world view, Beuys was starting out to discover art as a principle of life
Steiner's Threefold Commonwealth movement in germany: 3 separate systems within state: cultural, political, economic. Decentralized state, worker cooperatives/councils, art, science, religion, and education rooted in the principle of liberty.
Politicians, entrepreneurs, and labor unionists were united in their opposition to Steiner's concepts.
Beuys and Klein shared serious interest in the music and philosophy of Wagner--in particular his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art--and in the idea that art equals life.
The international Fluxus movement, which, as a successor to Dada, had abolished the traditional boundaries between art forms. The name Fluxus meant that everything flowed into a single stream: visual art, music, theater, words, sound, gesture--it was all one big show, and spectators were welcome. The performers, with Beuys at the fore, promised exciting entertainment, with wrecked pianos, fat, flickering televisions, headstands, dead animals, primal sounds, pandemonium, and all varieties of tomfoolery.
During his depression Bueys had a carpenter from Kleve make him a wooden crate, which he insisted on having smoothly planed and finished. Then he smeared tar all over this beautifully finished crate, inside and out, and took it to his studio in Heerdt. His idea, as he later recalled, was that the crate was a black, empty, isolated space, in which investigations could take place and new experiences could occur. He felt compelled to sit inside it, to not be anymore, to simply stop living.
Later he would regard his depression as a purification: "This sort of crisis is a sign of either a lack of direction or of too many directions being taken at once. It is an unmistakable call to rectify things and to come to new solutions in specific directions."
When Beuys said everyone was an artist, he did not mean that everyone was a painter or a sculptor. He meant that everyone possessed creative faculties that must be identified and developed.
Creativity belongs to everyone anthropologically: medicine, agriculture, education, law, economics, administration. The concept of art applies to human work in general.
With Social Sculpture he goes beyond Duchampian readymade concerns with the museological into the anthropological. creativity to him was a science of freedom. all human knowledge comes from art; the concept of science having evolved from creativity.
Human thought is sculpture made inside the person
Not until art had been integrated into every area of education and life could there be an effective spiritual and democratic society. He was totally certain of this.
A society that overcomes the alienation of art and develops widespread reciprocity through equality, liberty, solidarity
Art historian Udo Kultermann sees the artist as the modern shaman, this shaman produces no objects as their predecessor and their duty is to work through the abandonment of self, through self-sacrifice.
he was not trying to revive the primordial, but set signs for the future.
He always did the different thing: talking for a hundred days, wrapping himself in felt, standing on one spot for hours, living with a coyote, peeling gelatin off a wall, sweeping out a forest, explaining pictures to a dead hare, organizing a political party for animals, bandaging a knife after he had cut his finger.
"To what extent has Bueys doctrine become an alibi for amateurism? for people who see an easy way out of the burdensome demand for quality? For clowns who believe that a revolutionary attitude is the same thing as creativity?"[this was a review of an exhibit he'd withdrawn from, a showcase of all previous students who wanted to show something]
[a postive review was as follows:] "Buey's students are now to be found in education and social work, in schools, shelters, hospitals. The utopian ideal of art as something that permeates the whole of life has begun to be realized."
Bueysian politics was untraditional. He said he'd long lived in another state, one where political work was human work again.
Beuys defined the objectives of the German Student Party as: total disarmament, the elimination of nationalistic interests and of civil emergency laws, the unity of Europe and of the world, the dissolution of dependence on East or West, and the formulation of new attitudes toward training, education, and research as the foundations of a world economy, world law, and world culture.
Income was defined as a basic human right: "In principle, any work done is work for others."
The end of dependence on wages will have favorable psychological consequences.
Wanted "a new society of real socialism"
Bueys: "Nonviolent, not because at this time or for particular reasons violence does not seem to promise success. No. Nonviolent for reasons of human, spiritual, moral, political, and social principles. Human dignity stands or falls by the inviolability of the person, and anyone who disregards this departs completely from the plane of humanity. And yet the very systems that require transformation are themselves based on violence in every imaginable form. For this reason, the use of violence in any way is an expression of conformity with the system, and reinforces the very thing that it seeks to destroy."[Mathilde finds on her phone and summarizes or quotes to Eli]
If he had "only" painted those ideas, in whatever way, they would have remained "only" paintings. And so Bueys worked with the fat that protects, the felt that warms, the copper that conducts, the honey that nourishes, the battery that takes a charge. He used aggregates, recievers, filters, transmitters, condensors, dynamos, tape machines, video recorders, telephones, Leyden jars, X-Rays. He worked with blood and with filth, with bandages, plaster, gauze, hypodermic needles, bones, hair, fingernails, gelatin.
[Describing an installation] Decayed rats in withered grass. A frankfurter painted with brown floor paint. Bottles, large and small, stoppered and unstoppered. Dead bees on a cake. Nearby a loaf of black bread, one end wrapped with black insulating tape. A tin box, filled with tallow, with a thermometer in it. Crucifixes made of felt, wood, plaster, chocolate. Blocks of fat as big as bricks, on top of an old electric stove, A baby's bottle. Brown chocolate bars, painted brown. Gray felt scraps. Bundles of old newspapers, tied with cords and painted with brown crosses. Moldy sausages. Two kettles wired to a piece of slate. Toenail clippings. A preserving jar filled with pears. Copper rods wrapped in felt. Sausage ends. Colored Easter egg shells. Dental impressions in tallow.
Allan Kaprow's Happenings in the 1950s. Who once defined Fluxus as "social, not aesthetic"
Syberian Symphony, 1st Movement: introduces a dead hare into it. Improvised free form music, some by Satie played, hung his hare on a blackboard, put little dabs of clay on the piano keys, stuck a twig in each, strung a wire from the hare to the piano--and pulled the hare's heart out. with this action the violence of such set him apart from his Fluxus colleagues.
He viewed Actions as a kind of therapy. Interpretations, in his view, were unartistic; and that went for self-interpretations in particular. He regarded them as a total negation of the effect of a work of art.
When Beuys set out to generate counterimages, he was clearly making a deliberate attempt to cross boundaries. And the expansion of art, and thus of human vision, is an utterly persuasive objective.
From time to time he bit into lumps of fat, laid the resulting dental impressions on the floor, pressed margarine into the hollows behind his knees and into his armpits, and deposited the resulting casts on the floor as well. Intermittently he sprang around the room like a hare.
A critic on horse performance: It is so painfully beautiful that it becomes utopian--and that means political.
He took the view that trees today are far more intelligent than people.
He saw art as the only therapy that could lastingly heal the wounds of the individual and of society.
Was it the opposite pole of life and thought, the cheerful, playful, Mediterranean element that captivated this intense Gothic, Rhineland mystic? Did it present him with his own counterimage?
Altho the Americans were much more bourgeois and less radicalized and agressive than their west german contemporaries , they were also more relaxed and open to new ideas. He praised the atmosphere of these lectures in america where there was never more laughter than before.
The americans had no very pronounced feeling for the uncanny, the obscure, the irrational, for the austerity of the Romanesque or the mysticism of the Gothic. He was profoundly alien, he struck them as a counterimage of themselves that disturbed their sense of security.
He was convinced that human beings are helped by suffering. He regarded his own period of depression as a form of therapy. according to Beuys, the world is enriched not by those that act but by those that suffer....more
The apotheosis of the avant-garde or modernist artist as the symbol of heroic resistance to all that is oppressive and corrupt in bourgeois civilizatiThe apotheosis of the avant-garde or modernist artist as the symbol of heroic resistance to all that is oppressive and corrupt in bourgeois civilization, if not as its savoir, has been until recently the major way of stating the significance of modern art. So-called postmodernism or neo-avant-garde art is the symbol of its passing, the indication that the idol has feet of clay.
The avant-garde artist is conceived as a kind of Promethean adventurer, an individualist and risk taker in a sheepish society, an Overman bringing to the more timid world of the herdman, to use Nietzsche's distinction, a new kind of fire, burning away blinding darkness and affording new insight as well as sight, a new vision of what art as well as life can be—a comprehensive new enlightenment.
Not only has the artist been sharply differentiated from and elevated above others, but those others, but those others have been regarded as too ordinary to comprehend how extraordinary it is to be an artist—although they are obliged to be their audience, in homage to their creativity, if not necessarily to the particulars of their production. They are obliged to give them fame simply for their being, even if they can make no sense of it.
This book is about the simultaneity of this respect and doubt: it is about the new ambivalence about the artist—in contrast to the old ambivalence, in which their deviance and outsiderness were unconsciously admired and envied even as they were consciously deplored. Today, the artist remains an unconventional hero, but he is also perceived as a pretender—all too stylized and privileged in his unconventionality—if not quite a conventional fraud.
If art for art's sake implies narcissism, it is secondary or defensive narcissism, rather than the consummate, cynical, self-celebratory narcissism of neo-avant-garde art.
Art for art's sake is art's final defense against the threat posed to it by modern science and technology, which seems to deprive it of any realistic function, even of any reason for being. Art for art's sake asserts that art may no longer be the most adequate expression of external reality, but that it is still the best expression of internal reality.
Fear of decadence and the wish for rejuvenation haunt—indeed, terrorize—modern thinking about art. Nietzsche's conception of art as the only means of transmuting values—of rescuing life from decadence by rejuvenating it—epitomizes this dialectic of decadence.
"A painting being auctioned off for 50 million has more impact on how art is perceived and understood today than the actual art...produced."
For the neo-avant-garde artist, the artist has an inherent right to fame simply by reason of being an artist, which is transparently narcissistic assumption. They begin their career as a self-styled overman, presupposing that the artist is the primordial creator—a misconception ironically created in the first place by the avant-garde artist.
Fame, we might say, is narcissistic compensation for therapeutic failure.
Duchamp: "The artist's attitude counts more than their art."
Picasso: "Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon."
Distorting is a characteristic of the 20th century, and with all the painters, whether they're Fauves, Cubists, and even Dadaists or Surrealists, it is a reaction against photography, an avant-garde method and an end in its own right.
By disavowing the conventional social meaning (and use) of an object, then, Duchamp "eroticizes" it into a hidden internal object; or, more simply, he obliquely calls attention to the emotional meaning such social meaning typically hides.
Picasso and Duchamp try to maintain perpetual artistic motion through self-contradiction.
For them, fame was not cheap narcissistic satisfaction, but rather mocked and inhabited their creativity. They tried to outdistance their fame, to keep ahead of it by making works that contradicted those that brought them fame.
Fame is a provocative trap and distorting mirror—ironically, like the artist's objects. The artists try to free themselves from it, but also ironically—and sometimes not so ironically—court it.
It is as if Picasso and Duchamp deliberately made a puzzling, distorted art to court and seduce the spectator—to keep them fascinated and engaged as long as possible. The more they had to struggle to understand the art, the more likely the art was to become legendary—the ultimate social success. The difficulty of their art can be understood as a deliberate publicity strategy.
They, not their art, makes the ultimate claim on our attention. Their life and their art seamlessly fuse, which may be the ultimate grandiosity.
Being copied is a sign of being famous, for it indicates that one's art has become an institutional uniform—"universalized"—but Picasso and Duchamp discovered that being contradictory made one all the more famous. Ultimate avant-garde fame comes from being categorized as uncategorizable, that is, utterly individual.
Any masterpiece is called that by the spectator as a last resort.
The genuine artist is not concerned with prestige but with remaining creatively alive.
The audience, determined to maintain the illusion of its unity of being and "wholesomeness," can withdraw from their art or, more subtly, hypermodernize—postmodernize—it, convinced that is is decadent.
Until postmodernism, with its masochistic skepticism about art—in postmodernism art is made, but with little or no expectation of any positive human gain from it, and certainly with no conviction in its healing power—the attempt to develop and manifest art's latent potential for healing was inseparable from the idea of "advancing" art.
Postmodernism, coldblooded and calculating about art—Warhol epitomizes this "realistic," objective attitude—pessimistically reduces art to its own history, implicitly acknowledging art's lack of significant effect on human existence and world history.
The sense of decadence is the most emotionally ugly underside of the sense of transcendence, exposed when it is lost.
Warhol's art is like the harsh light a detective shines in the face of a suspected criminal to force a confession from him. Warhol grilled the glamour of the famous, interrogated it until it disintegrated, and showed it to have been a shallow camouflage, a masquerade, all along. The famous disintegrated with it. It was a cosmetic farce, not only because it was skin-deep but because it was applied all too mechanically. Warhol showed the glamour of fame to be a hollow artistic construction: in his hands art became a banal method of glamorizing banal people and things—a tautologization of banality.
Warhol described himself as a machine. His art was in effect a machine for extracting fame from human beings as if it were their soul, compacting them in the process. The concentrated distillate of fame was the product, to be drunk like a rejuvenating elixir by Warhol.
The popularly famous became emotional role models for him. They were narcissistically whole (and as such without—and in no need of—a complicated inner structure) and rewarded with social success for their narcissism and uncomplication. They were more rewarded, certainly, than were esoterically famous avant-garde artists, who still did not realize the futility of wanting to change—reoriginate—life through art, thus changing art in the process. The indifference to reorigination of the popularly famous, and the way life and art seemed seamlessly integrated through their fame, suggested that they had successfully bluffed their way through life and art, reducing both to trivial games, easily played and won.
He was not as accepting as he superficially seemed to be, but rather imposed his indifference on his audience as a way of maintaining a vestigial sense, a semblance, of self. He invented a psuedo-self out of his indifference, in effect denying his anxiety, which was too great and too deep to be healed. His simulated self was a way of living with it, a functional alternative to the self so overwhelmed and crippled by anxiety it no longer seemed real. Warhol's make-believe, theatrical self looked like the believable real thing only to the other celebrity psychotics with whom he surrounded himself. He himself never mistook it for a real self: he knew it was prosthetic self. Warhol's indifference masked his brittleness, but it also got him the audience he needed to exist for himself.
Joseph Beuys: "In places like universities, where everyone speaks so rationally, it is necessary for a kind of enchanter to appear."
the avant-garde artist, implicitly and often explicitly critical of his audience, tends to be innovative in medium as well as well as in manner, or else stretches a known medium and manner to their breaking point. They move their art toward radical unreadability, as if that were a position of defiant strength. Their art lacks propriety, which makes it insulting; because of that alienating defect the audience is blind to its point.
Warhol mocked everyman's wish to be ideal, turning it into a bad joke by implying that ideality was nothing more than glamorous illusion, a trick of public appearance. More particularly, ideality was a matter of decorative surface, of the right cosmetics.
Warhol's ironic indifference is like Duchamp's ironic difference
Only in a Germany shaken by the collapse of the fascist ideal of rigid monolithic homogeneity, reifying a simplistic idea of the Germanic, could a radical yet socially committed individualist like Beuys appear. And only in an America confident to the point of mindless arrogance could a socially indifferent and mock individualist like Warhol appear. Only in a Germany in which avant-garde art had been declared degenerate and stifled, and in which creativity had become compliant to ideology, could an avant-garde artist like Beuys emerge, willing to take social and aesthetic risks that were unthinkable even before Hitler. And only in a self-satisfied America could avant-garde art reify itself and become socially conformist, attaching itself to the apron strings of media sensibility, with its determination to present everything with mystifying banality.
Auschwitz demonstrated that rationality could be more insane than irrationality.
For him shamanism was primordial art, and a good part of his purpose was to make art once again primordial, to restore to it the primordial power of healing it once had.
Shamanism, then, was the alternative to authoritarianism. It signaled an altogether different intention: the will to heal rather than to harm. If the essence of creativity is the intention to heal—to repair what has been destroyed and to make reparation for loss—then Beuys's self-conscious attempt to heal through shamanistic creativity was meant to catalyze the creativity of those in need of reconstruction and repair so that they could heal themselves through an inward shamanistic process.
Beuys consciously set himself up as Hitler's opposite in every way. Indeed, his shamanistic uniform mocked the Nazi military uniform, which looked sinister in comparison. His wounded appearance spoke the German historical truth, giving the lie to the fantasy that Hitler could make the Germans primordially whole and strong and unconquerable, restoring them to mythical barbaric greatness.
In a sense, his art was a kind of dialectical materialism, in that certain primordial materials had profound dialectical, or transformative, therapeutic effect for him.
Healing is avant-garde art's last stand.
Being an artist, after all, is more narcissistically satisfying than being a healer, for as an artist one is ultimately answerable only to oneself.
Beuys is the grand climax of a long line of self-contradictory avant-garde narcissists in conflict with a society they want as their audience. Each idealizes themselves while showing society that it is far from ideal, especially compared to themselves. Society celebrates their tragic selfhood and tragic relationship to it in order to deny its own tragedy. With each avant-garde artist it accepts and assimilates, it vindicates and reassures itself. With each avant-garde artist whose isolated suffering it rationalizes, it proclaims its collective solidarity. Ultimately society banalizes the avant-garde artist's narcissistic suffering and conflict with it into a universal ideology of heroic selfhood triumphing over great odds and obstacles. This justifies society's own grandiose belief in itself, for it put the artists in that triumphant position. The avant-garde artist may tantalize society with a sense of its inner tragedy, if at the arm's length of art, but society produces the tragic drama of the avant-garde artist-martyr as proof of its own omnipotence. The real tragedy of the avant-garde artist is that they want to heal a society that has a vested ironic interest in their pathology. Conversely, the tragedy of society is that it does not want to be healed by any means, for it thinks it is fundamentally sound. Art is simply a pawn in this frustrating standoff.
Avant-garde art's oppositionality is a necessary social illusion because it strengthens society's conviction in its own invincibility. Society's assimilation of avant-garde art demonstrates this; it is immune to artistic transgression. The museum is the symbol of society's power to neutralize any artistic threat.
The artist is destroyed for bringing the bad news. They are made into a scapegoat: the tragedy they announce is displaced onto their person and art. The latter become part of a ritual of social sacrifice intended to guarantee the society's survival, even immortality, despite its human failings.
The avant-garde artist is in fact society's tragedy in ideal and harmless public form, allowing society to believe that it is less pathologically tragic than it is. It dismisses its tragic pathology as less dangerous than it is, for this pathology is confined to a few conspicuously pathological individuals, the avant-garde artists.
Beuy's personal tragedy was that he did not understand that his avant-garde performance of Germany's tragedy not only failed to heal it, but unwittingly justified Nazi Germany and its criminal behavior. He should have been more of a clown than he was. [Don't know how he came to claim this, or how being more of a clown would help. Laughing at oneself? Making humor of the Nazis? Of the German mentality during the war? Not sure that would have really helped.]
Tragedy may state the pathology—with special narcissistic vehemence and morbidity in avant-garde tragic art—but comedy alone heals, if healing is possible. Comedy is ultimately more enchanting than tragedy, even for those disenchanted by themselves because of their own tragedy.
Picasso: "I'm just a public entertainer who has understood his time."
From Beuy's point of view, psuedo-avant-garde art threatened to drive out true avant-garde art the way bad money threatens to drive out good money.
Psuedo-avant-garde has dispalced true avant-garde art as the standard bearer of artistic significance. Its values have prevailed. It has militantly declared its falseness as if it were a virtue.
The PAGA is socially entertaining and ingratiating. That is, like kitsch, their art distracts people from the devastating reality and truth of their lives. In using their art to do this, the PAGA is quite unlike the AG "prophet", who attempts to remind people of how far they have strayed from the true path—how far from the True Self they have fallen—and seems to castigate them for it.
PAGA: I'm a worldy king, AG: I'm merely a spiritual savior. The AG was a threat to Rome, but the PAGA is not likely to be a threat, for they reaffirm Rome's values. They are not a critic of it, but rather a propagandist for it.
Warhol's notion of business art affirms America's belief in business above all else, and he was richly rewarded for affirming it. Warhol was never as dadaistically tongue in cheek—as authentically critical—as some of his more intellectual art-world fans thought. They wanted to redeem him for the AG and to rationalize the embarrassing fact that he was always all business, all-American. Indeed, he never quarreled with the cruel reality that in bourgeois society, as Karl Marx said, there is "no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous 'cash payment'". Warhol seemed to have measured his "personal worth" in the impersonal terms of "exchange value", probably reflected in his indifference and tendency toward depersonalization. He stripped the occupation of artist, "hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe", of its halo, of its last vestige of divine meaning. Nevertheless, he kept the halo, obviously happy that it was made of gold. Warhol, indeed, was the first, or at least the first highly visible, unashamed PAG appropriationist artist.
Bringing the status quo into question has itself become a standard part of the bourgeois status quo, a familiar part of the art and social scene. One has no (art-)worldly status if one is not critical.
It has become increasingly difficult to imagine questions that would truly threaten the bourgeois status quo.
Irony is no longer really critical, or rather it is a comfortable form of criticality, a criticality that causes no self-questioning. It is a criticality without the "agonbite of inwit" to use Jame Joyce's phrase for conscience. Irony has become a form of propriety. It gives no offense. There is no risk in it.
Aesthetic irony, and irony in general, is thus a way of retaining intellectual honor in the face of emotional futility. It masks the depression that comes with the recognition that it is impossible to change the world significantly with a pose of profound insight into it.
In general, disillusionment is at the core of irony.
"I am a transmitter, I radiate out," says Beuys, that is, he works for others as well as himself.
Beuys did not want to make a beautiful appearance, but rather an energetic one. He wanted the energy he radiated to transform his audience substantially.
Beuys wanted to shock the audience for its own emotional and existential good while the dadaists did so in order to mock the audience's feelings and existence, to trip it of its raison d'etre or to show it its nothingness.
Duchamp's silence was a shrewd irony at the expense of art, a debunking strategy that was ultimately, for Beuys, an empty gesture. It showed cold contempt rather than warm feeling for the audience.
Duchamp, the dadaists, and Morris were false Egyptian magicians, faking their art. They made a farce of the very idea of art, especially as an attempt to emotionally and existentially help others, while Beuys privileged himself and Bergman as authentic artists, making art that was not only innovative but helpful.
The PAGA has only to look like an AGA, but their pursuit of fame and fortune shows society that they are really just like everybody else. The deeper point is that the PAGA wants to save society's face, and in so doing, save art's face. Their art's fame and fortune make it a cultic commodity, and as such truly magical. [By giving the consumer this horatio alger story of anyone and everyone can make art and strike it big, and be rich, famous, and 'meaningful' ie 'culturally relevant' it is socially successful.]
Gauguin: "In art, thre are only two types of people: revolutionaries and plagiaritsts. And, in the end, doesn't the revolutionary's work become official, once the state takes it over?"
Society finds it easier to deal with manufactured rather than spontaneous revolt.
AG shamelessness is neutralized by PAGA heartlessness. ...more