We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I wish I had written the essay Ted Dalrymple wrote in The New English Review, Beauty and the Best. It is much more than a grouchy complaint about some of the follies and vanities of modern art - but it is partly that. One quote:
Professor Scruton’s suggestion that western art had become impoverished as a result of its radical repudiation of anything transcendent in human existence in favour of the fleeting present moment, however, exasperated and infuriated the professional art critics of Sweden – as, indeed, it would have done the art critics of any western country. They reacted with the fury of the justly accused: for it is the professional caste of cognoscenti who have consistently applauded the trivialisation of art and its relegation to the status of financial speculation at best, and a game for children showing off to the adults at worst.
Originality is not, therefore, a virtue in itself, moral or artistic; and a man who sets out to be original without both the technical ability to express something new, and (most important of all) the possession of something worthwhile new to express, is merely egotistical. That is why the art critics, who are inclined to praise works as being original, path-breaking, taboo-breaking and transgressive, without any reference to their transcendent worth, are wrong, and Roger Scruton is right.
Where does the fear in modern art of such qualities as beauty and tenderness towards the world come from? (I am talking here of art that achieves public notice and notoriety: there may be hundreds or thousands of excellent artists who fear neither beauty nor tenderness, but whose work goes unremarked.)
I think it has something to do also with our inflamed egotism, that requires that we should be entirely self-sufficient and autonomous, philosophically, morally, intellectually and economically.
Read the whole thing. Re the latter quote, there are indeed thousands of artists today who "fear neither beauty nor tenderness," and, however unremarked, people do buy their stuff. One example is our friend Elissa Gore, who will be having a gallery show in NYC this winter:
Elissa Gore does beautiful artwork. Another great traditional American artist, from Syracuse, is Frank Corso. He paints from the Fingerlakes area, and also the Mass. coastline and Florida.
Allow me to introduce you to the work of a couple members of my family - my sister-in-law, Sheila Traynor Hopkins and my brother-in-law John Traynor. John has been at this painting stuff for quite a while; Sheila came to it more recently.
The point of the art that is remarked on in the current day is to talk about it. That is why art critics get excited by art that "raises questions" or "initiates a dialogue." It means they can talk more, which is how they get uh, paid.
Assistant Village Idiot
ha ha. Perfect.
A friend of mine and I share reviews written by the NYT or The New Yorker. We just scream. ...in agony... It takes a real special kind of clod with a Rolodex of dripping phrases to write those things.