Decay in the Great Game

Decay in the Great Game

“Due to easy availability of art goods the artists’ access to atelier training was thought to be unnecessary. So began the shift to the isolation of the artist which became the fatal ‘myth’ stories soon enough.

“The artist, no longer a systematically trained craftsman working to order, was suddenly a poet who, in his loneliness, expressed personal emotions through art. The art dealers’ stories were extravagantly embellished, and the sum result was that the artists, having lost his natural means of support, was administered by drip-feeding patronage from dealers.

“Creative selling was by those who did not make artworks, and the raison d’être of ateliers changed to become Post-Impressionistic with Expressionism.

“A bunch of Post-Impressionists were ‘driven’ to attempt pure self-expression on whim. They had no training, they recognized no traditions, and they spoke to no public.

“Each attempted to express, as he thought best. Whatever felt or thought was considered good, and then they invented the language in which to express it better.

“Art cannot be impromptu unregulated emotion, and for some, unappreciated, it ended in suicide or the madhouse. This was even greater copy for the art storytellers’ provenance and new tales were enriched to make money for the art speculator.

“Then ‘Art’ got even shoddier.”

The Massive Modern Machine

“Pieter, I tell you these things because you are now in a world populated by automatons’ apathy. You see, unfortunately Marx and his cohorts won the battle for the Western World and exploitation of the art worker is happening now.

“Décor is in and real art is out. Décor is in because the little ‘gods’ can teach it and control those who try to be creative. Real art is marginalised because that is not controllable, so the feudal comptrollers shun it.

“Art colleges want more funding and I reckon that in future will be paid by delivering certified arts practitioners who may or may not be very original. Having brains and being very good at art is beside the point anyway. Education today is not about artists and survival. It is about the collective and everyone is an artist.

“These art socialists have discovered the massive apparatus of modern publicity. They have learned to advertise morbidity, eccentricity, and indecency; all extremes in the arts are fabulous marketing. There is no bad advertising.

“At least make something odd enough to be talked about; an automaton cannot achieve enduring fame, but may make sure of a flamingly brief notoriety.

“And, to a money making art dealer, all present-day notoriety is instantly bankable and worth more than nebulous fame in future. Only interested in “quick returns” a dealer will not wait until you are famous — or dead — before he can sell your artworks.

“The dealer buys anything he thinks he can furiously “boom,” and to sell it before the “boom” flops.

“Then the art dealer will exploit something else, and there you have the issue. Once this mad race for notoriety spins the stories, there is no way to retract them, but one day soon it will stop for you and then you will be discarded.

“And that, Pieter, is the Post-Modernism world you are in. The art is decorations and the socialists are capitalists who spin novel stories at any cost because of the money.

“Art is deliberately outrageous, assuming greatness by incomprehensibility and resentment to popular feeling, but stealthily positioning to make a buck after telling tales to the multitude who adore award winning misery.

“You must overstate your exaggerations because others have learned how easy the game is to play, and they are at your heels ever ready to supplant you and cash in.

“To survive in the great game you might have to become a great big bullshit artist too, just like the prevailing propaganda agencies.”

The conversation hung there for a bit. Nothing was said as the concepts swirled in the loaded session. A sun-ray ticked particles on air in the atelier.

Suddenly dad added: “To be blunt, the whoppers you make must be bigger and better whoppers. Mind you, you could be an Impressionist and paint from the heart. That is a novel concept, eh?”

Sake Zaadstra “Conversations”, 1970s

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