Elitism pisses me off. I don’t think I made that sufficiently clear in my last post, so here is some clarification.
I think the world should have evolved us beyond this stupid tribal behaviour by now, but it happens everywhere. One guy’s group is “better” than everyone else for some arbitrary reason or another, and that person then seems to feel as though he has the right to act like a jerk to everyone else. I’ve seen this happen in a lot of areas in life – it’s not limited to one activity. That’s the crap part about it. It recognizes no boundaries.
The elitist mindset is responsible for a lot of insane and idiotic trash polluting the world. I don’t care to air my politics to anyone who might stumble across this post from whatever backwater Internet tube dumped him here, so let’s imagine a scenario involving artists. In the arts community, elitism is poisonous and destructive. Those involved feed each other with ludicrous notions of vastly-inflated self-importance and high-mindedness until they create “movements” that consist of only a handful of people, who share a common and terribly mistaken idea that anything they do has any kind of relevance or impact on the world around them outside of their isolated and freakishly-distorted community.
Guess what? The traditional “Fine” arts stopped mattering when everyone bought TVs. No painter or sculptor has said anything really important about society or culture or whatever since Warhol. And Warhol was just parroting the stuff he saw on TV and feeding it back to us in a different package. There have been a few photographers that have had cultural impact – Mapplethorpe with his nudes, Arbus with her “freaks,” a few others. A couple of artists have tried to matter, and a great many of them have said loads of things about society and culture and what-have-you that have been very important to other artists, but the only art that really matters nowadays – to society in general, rather than to the elite community of artists and intellectuals “in the know” who regard all popular media as “trash” – is TV, movies, pop music and internet videos.
A film director can plant his message into his films subtextually. Rockers can rage against the system and inspire their fans to try to change the world. Internet videos and TV shows are essentially one and the same – amalgamations of the music and movie industries, boiled down and stuck in a masher and turned into processed cheese and fed to consumers. Nobody cares about paintings and sculptures and gallery installations anymore. Occasionally there will be some news about shocking performance art pieces, and this news will be delivered via TV and the Internet (usually with video).
Traditional art, the kind that is shown in galleries to other artists and people involved in the scene, is essentially dead. It’s old media. We’ve done all we can with it. It can’t break any new ground. The limitations of the old media have been found, tested and explored.
New media – basically, the digital world – has come along and proven itself more flexible and accessible to more people. It has replaced the old media and made it culturally irrelevant. It has increased the rate at which ideas can be shared and, for want of a better word, “consumed.” You don’t have to go to some special building or buy an expensive book to look at art anymore.
So yeah. Sorry, world. Painting is dead. Sculpture is dead. Dumb conceptualist nonsense is dead. The best we can do with it now is to make it look nice. We can continue to express profound ideas and feelings and whatnot, but we can’t expect anyone to care anymore unless they want something to hang in their living rooms. Again, sorry to say it. But that’s the way it is.
Now, consider the case of that idiot in the Tate gallery. Despite the fact that painting is essentially irrelevant now, there are still people who pay giant money for famous paintings. Including stupid orange squares by Mark Rothko, which are apparently worth tens of millions of pounds. This idiot goes into the Tate gallery, scribbles his signature and apparently a new title on Rothko’s stupid orange square painting and then books out. He is then arrested and charged with vandalism. His argument is that he was “adding value” to the painting by removing it from the context of being Art and placing it in a new non-art context, thereby giving the viewer the option to view it as “art” or as this other thing, “Yellowism.”
For a thing to be “Yellowism,” it can apparently be yellow or not, as long as it is only about yellowism (or yellow) and not about art (or anti-art). Here’s a quote about the Rothko incident:
Yellowist Vladimir Umanets didn’t destroy Mark Rothko’s painting in Tate Modern, it was not an act of vandalism. He signed the Rothko’s painting and thus show that this painting is a potential piece of Yellowism. This action informs the contemporary world, that Rothko’s painting can stop to be a work of art and can become a piece of Yellowism – If Rothko’s painting was placed in a yellowistic chamber then it would not be a work of art anymore and would express yellow color only; it would be a definition of yellow given in a form of Rothko’s painting.
Yellowism is not an art movement. Yellowism is the new context in contemporary culture. Yellowist, based on the definition and Manifesto of Yellowism, can sign any object or being or any work of art to show that it can be transported to the new context and become an example of Yellowism. Don’t call Umanets an artist. He is not an artist, he is a Yellowist. He resigned from art. Yellowism is not a form of art. It is a new context in which the value of Rothko’s painting increase.
So if you put this Rothko painting in a Yellowist chamber (a room which, according to their manifesto, can’t exist), its context is changed and it becomes purely about yellow.
Clearly, this is pure bullshit. This “new context in contemporary culture” is the kind of crazy talk that builds itself around isolated, crazy people who believe themselves to be somehow intellectually elite. Assuming that the act of scribbling on Rothko’s painting somehow adds value to it is how crazy people think. Personally, I don’t think it made the painting any worse, but it didn’t add any value. No collector in the world would pay more money for a painting that had been scribbled on by some wackadoo for the sake of some bullshit “movement” he made up with another wackadoo. Unless that collector was part of the collective lunacy of this wackadoo’s deluded “elite” circle, in which case he probably wouldn’t be able to afford a Rothko.
tl;dr: people who make manifestos are insane idiots.