Friday, September 04, 2009

rockefeller über alles

By now I'm guessing you've heard about Fox News studio oddity Glenn Beck's turn as art critic. It started with the Huffington Post, made its way to Ed Winkelman, and was then brilliantly picked to bits by Tyler Green--with Tyler ultimately announcing that Jerry Saltz had challenged Beck to curate an art show.

In his appearances on Fox, Beck is known for offering generous helpings of paranoia, tears, and anger--and, most notoriously, for calling our president a racist: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture...I don't know what it is."

Glenn, I don't know what it is either.

Anyway, now that Beck is done showing how John Rockefeller was a communist, or a fascist, or (gasp!) maybe, somehow, both simultaneously, he should spend some time with one of my least favorite structures in Washington: The World War II Memorial. Obviously, Tom Hanks, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush were all in cahoots with the corpse of Albert Speer, right? Or maybe fascists simply didn't have the exclusive rights to bad taste and blandness. See the early alarm bells here, Richard Lacayo's 2004 lament here, and side-by-side image comparisons made four years later here.

And now, your moment of crazy:


Blogger johnjamesanderson said...

Glenn Beck has a point. Too bad it is at the top of his dunce cap. Swords into ploughshares has two references in the Bible. Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. So, I guess, according to Beck's logic, not only are the folks at the United Nations a bunch of dirty Commies, so are all the Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the world. Peace and the Second Coming be damned (because that's what the phrase is about), it is a Communist plot!

10:39 AM  
Blogger johnjamesanderson said...

Further response to beck over on my blog:

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You chaps are the reason I stopped doing "modern" stuff years ago. Its become pure anti-Western socialist propaganda.

Why not write about the NEA attempting to coerce useful idiots?

Eventually, the NEA will be abolished and artists can go back to producing luxury goods that people actually want.

You have a choice: 1. Find a patron(s) or 2. starve in garrett or 3. find another line of work.

But get out of whatever it is you think you're doing cuz its not art anymore guys.

1:19 PM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

Good to know I've been wasting my time. Thanks, anonymous right-wing crank!

What, no mention of death panels?

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't mention it. The country is going broke. You have made yourselves into political footballs. You are going to get kicked a lot harder than by someone like me who once had a one-person show at Arlington Arts Center.

I'm trying to do you chaps a favor for old times sake. Really.

Incidentally, a lot of "right-wing cranks" pay your salary.

10:11 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

I'm sure there are a number of folks on our board who identify as politically conservative or Republican--as I'm sure there are people on the boards of the various foundations that supply the majority of our funding who would do the same.

These are people with whom I can have reasonable disagreements on matters of public policy, but with whom I share a commitment to bringing challenging artworks operating at a sophisticated level of contemporary discourse to Arlington, and a belief in art as a space within public life where all sorts of speech and ways of determining the meaning of the present moment can and should be entertained.

I would not refer to any of these people as "right wing cranks".

Similarly, our President is a left-leaning moderate, which is quite distinct from being a liberal--or even a Socialist, as he is often tagged by...wait for it...right wing cranks.

While I'm making clarifications: In your earlier comment you said that you'd stopped doing modern art years ago. Hardly surprising, since the last time that modern artists were roaming the earth would've been in the late 1960s. "Modern" is a period style.

To say that "Modern" is "anti-western" is fairly ridiculous. Modern art, of course, valorizes the work of the white male artist, advances the belief in universal values for culture, and shuts down all sorts of discourses at the margins.

If you mean that "contemporary art" is anti-western, that's a little moe sensible...except while contemporary art does often explores issues of post-colonialism, gender, identity, etc., many would argue that it nonetheless relies on a distinctly western world-historical perspective, and on a level of both education and personal freedom that cannot be found in many states that are not western-style democracies.

Further, I suspect that when you say "anti-western", you really mean "anti-American", since I doubt very seriously that you care for the policies of, say, most of the Western democracies of Europe.

But even "anti-American" doesn't really work, if ultimately one views this nation's promise as the continued expansion of liberty and equal rights to all of its citizens.

Good luck sorting out your terminology.

I don't mind being a football as long as folks like you will be the ones in charge of the kicking. I don't imagine that I'll be moving very many yards any time soon.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I tried. You are hellbent on your path to destruction or at least the destruction of the artists who get sucked in. In my day it wasn't quite as bad as it is now. Sure, we had feminism and its scatological stuff and Judy Chicago nonsense that nobody remembers and is dated and silly. But we still kept more or less a distance between ourselves and politics. And then along came Act-Up and it all started going downhill, fast. And now its just blatant and its sad. I feel sorry for young artists because they are wasting their time, the most energetic years of their lives. I know I did.

Concerning terminology, I don't presume to know the latest trends, and don't care. Its all nihilistic or socialist junk. I love this definition of cool: A person is cool who is unburdened by any debilitating convictions. Most young people want to be cool. Cool, if nothing else, is simply a negative (unburdened). Its anti-capitalist and anti-racist and anti-this and that. The real irony in the arts today is that all of the above IS the establishment, which you so coyly refer to and represent. A real firebrand artist today would study, say, 18th century European artists and their techniques. A real cutting-edge artist would learn how to produce traditional western religious images WITHOUT IRONY. Maybe along the lines of Roualt or Nolde. Now that would take balls and talent.

You think its hard to do whatever it is you represent? Try doing something that's beautiful, doesn't require reams of verbal exposition, and makes enlightened hardworking, non-"expert" people want to buy it. That, my friend, is hard to do. I say this as one who knows both sides of the coin. And I mean that making non-traditional work isn't all bad, its just design with a lot of rhetoric.

I'll let you have the last word if you post this. Cheers.

1:28 PM  
Blogger johnjamesanderson said...

Since when does questioning Glenn Beck mean we are "anti-Western socialist propaganda"ists?

Re: NEA -- I've looked at the other clips in that Beck series (here is one ), and am beginning to feel sorry for Yosi Sergant. Sure, that phone call of his was dumb. But, figuring out the legal logistics of whether the NEA could support or spearhead creative initiatives to promote National and Community Service (the "Corporation" I believe Mr. Sergant referred to: is a cautious step forward for a guy who was previously associated with Shep Fairey (HOPE campaign)... y'know, a man reputed for spray-painting stuff on buildings.

What Sergant did was inappropriate for the Endowment's current mission, which is to fund arts organizations. I will not hasten to use the word "unethical," but "misguided" is apropos.

To get rid of The Endowment... well it would eliminate a lot of bureaucrazy, which Nixon fueled by ballooning the budget of the NEA (so that only 3/10 of every dollar went to artists). Since some of the orgs funded by the NEA support arts education, and sine arts ed is sorely lacking in our public schools, if we cut the NEA then we cut a resource that is picking up the slack.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things... art isn't THAT important when we have professional sports and reality tv to fill the void. But I digress.

The NEA/Yosi Sergant thing is no grand conspiracy. It was an idea. It was an idea they were looking into pursuing, once they figured out if it would be legal. Recently, Sergant has been asked to resign (and I think has). Hopefully he is doing the Corp's marketing, because getting people to be excited and engaged at a civic level is a good thing... and with a "community organizer" at our nation's helm, I don't think we should be surprised by such an idea or interest. But, when they say the WH was on the phone, it was not B.O; he was in Mexico at a summit w/ Calderone.

Oh... and as a ps... I've voted for Chuck Grassley and Jim Leach.

2:49 PM  
Blogger B.more.Art said...

thanks for posting this video, as pathetically stupid as it is.

i LOVE glen beck's conclusions via the oil industry through art historical symbols:

rockefeller = big oil = displays 'commie' art = big oil must not be as bad as all y'all liberals think = ?

it's a bit of a stretch.

8:21 PM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

idealart--I could say a lot here, but I think I'll just go with this: Judy Chicago is a forgotten artist???

I suspect we are writing to one another from parallel universes.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Steve Amos said...

It sounds like someone has their panties in a bunch because Arlington Arts Center actually produces high quality exhibitions. To remedy this situation, perhaps you should start pandering to the art fair crowd instead. I know where you can get a great deal on some beautiful giclee prints!

2:23 PM  

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