Art as Subversion

The once venerable Louvre has hosted the work of one of Europe's most vulgar, crude and base artists, the demented coprophiliac, Jan Fabre. It is no wonder that a soul as deranged as Fabre portrays man as a worm (see above--entitled Metamorphosis.)

Writes a French critic:

"What is inadequately termed "contemporary art" has been gaining ground since 2004 against the masterpieces in the Louvre. Last year, around the tomb of Philippe Pot, a marvel of 15th century sculpture, they appended rows of fakes, as in an old-fashioned hardware store. Today, the center of the huge room (photo) where the life of Marie de Médicis by Rubens is displayed, has become a chaotic pile of tombstones like the backyard of a negligent stone-cutter. [...]
As a general rule, so-called contemporary art is nothing but an imposture. [...] The eternal repetition of what used to be the provocations of empty art or of anti-art no longer shocks anybody and procures fortune and prestige. It's the academicism of our times. [...]

But why this mania to bring this farce into classical museums, and in particular the Louvre? For despite its colossal commercial success, despite the media's drum-beating, despite the support of uncultivated billionaires imagining themselves to be art lovers and the approval of all the triumphant dupes who sing its praises, the more lucid adherents of so-called contemporary art know perfectly well that it suffers from a total absence of artistic legitimacy. Now, the theory that postulates equality, that seeks to create a supposed dialogue between on the one hand authentic masterpieces of the past, and on the other the present-day impostures, permits the latter to be extolled as having high artistic value. Contemporary art, which is not art, seeks to give itself artistic legitimacy through a forced confrontation with the greatest masterpieces. It vampirizes them in order to affirm itself as true art. The Jan Fabre exhibit in the Louvre adds nothing to Van Eyck, Memling, Rembrandt or Rubens. It does however bring to Jan Fabre the illusion of conversing on an equal footing with them, the illusion, therefore, of being a great artist."

But, why are we surprised?

Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35

January 10, 1963

Current Communist Goals



Thursday, January 10, 1963

Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla.,
is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently
published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of
alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.

At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under
unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she
identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

Scroll down to point #22 and #23

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms
of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to
"eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute
shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is
to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.


moi said...

Excellent, excellent post, and a lifelong topic of interest por Moi. Art is a litmus test of cultural and personal values, no doubt about it. Doesn't matter if the person has formal "training" in the language of art. They will have an emotional and/or intellectual response nonetheless and that response is telling.

Which is why whenever tyrants have seized control throughout history, the first thing they do is create an official "state" form of art and subvert individual expressions.

To me, if someone values the shapeless, awkward, and meaningless (and I'm not talking beautiful versus ugly here – this is beyond that) in a work of so-called art, you can for damn sure bet that person is going to extend that same sloppy thinking and lack of discernment to all other parts of their life. That ultimately affects us all, as it becomes just one thread in the overall fiber that defines a society's entire cultural/political identity. The political IS personal and vice versa.

Aunty Belle said...

WOW--youse one savvy lady, Moi--well said!

One other point--they also TAX us to make us pay for this horror they foist off on us--iffin' ya cain't find a private patron fer your work, or it won't sell on its own, it ain't got a audience..

she said...

great post. and, like moi, a subject i have thought quite a bit about. its no surprise that a goal of the advocates of de-humanizing structures such as marxism and nihilism seek to infiltrate institutions that reflect the culture: film has been the favorite target but art too, although less widely visible.

when damien hirst first exhibited the sectioned shark and cow the shock movement was in full swing. in fact any horror was applauded as edgy and intellectual. it seemed that actual skill and affinity for beauty had fallen out of favor.

situations like this give art critics and scholars a chance to showcase their elitism and if you cant grasp jan fabres existential nightmare art then youre a country ass rube. but we all know the emperor has no clothes.

this work wouldnt survive in the free market.

this is very much like the same conversations we have over here on other matters: this idea that christian ideals are oppressing people by not praising any foray into the most base and hideous behavior and the art that reflects that descent. but any one with eyes knows the opposite is where we really are.

i may never come out of the woods. gah!

The Troll said...

Wow. Great article and great comments by MOI and SHE. Ayn Rand touched generally on the subject with the character Elsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead.

My guess would be 95% of all such actual leftist "art" opinion-shapers today are brainless spineless slogan-chanting morons. But the 5% with a deadly serious and evil agenda are the ones to expose.

Same percentages apply to the inheritance Billionaires who push it and the bureaucrats who spend my tax dollars on it.

Death to PBS, NEA, NPR and all the rest!

Ardlair said...

I am stuck in an airport lounge (what's new) so will type 'til they take me away ( if you know what I mean.)

Nice to see no mention of the current enemy today (ISLAM) just the auld enemy (COMMUNISM).....ever wondered where we would be without enemies??!!

So. The works of Fabre. I suspect I have some advantage in that I have actually seen them, but I'm sure you and the acolytes will say " I don't need to see a crap to know it's a crap, I have a nose." so I'll abandon that line of thought.

Art ain't purty pictures.
Art provokes thought.
So the very fact that you are thinking about what it means ( albeit coming to a rather hysterical conclusion relating to subversion) suggests to me that it is art.
And if it is art, it is perfectly appropriate to be in an art gallery.
Which is what the Louvre is.

And if it is in an art gallery, then it will inevitably then draw comparisons with other works, hung there for a variety of reasons over a variety of years.

And in drawing comparisons one should not only compare theme,style,technique etc, but also compare, as you are I guess, the possible reasons why at any particular time, the works produced were of a particular style, or focussed on particular themes.And end up being hung there.

So I'll follow your hysterical subversion conclusion with my own.

You might conclude wandering the older galleries of the European west that Christianity motivated many of the artists of the past. Wrong. Money motivated them, and their wealthy patrons were prepared to pay money for talented artists to paint around religious themes. Again and again.
And why did the wealthy patrons want to spend money on this? Because they were devout? Again, invariably, not. They sought grace and favour with the powerful churches of the day, and sought to gain influence by sponsoring such works.

No high motives.
No love of god.
(Sorry AB)
Just money and the pursuit of power.The usual stuff.
The probably also got to bonk the models.
More of the usual stuff.

They (artists and their patrons) were subverting the church then, only the church liked it, cos they liked the purty pictures.

And now that the pictures ain't of jesus and mary and heads of john the baptist and all that.........
well, it's obviously subversion isn't it?!!!

I guess the next step would be to suggest that the churches were of course the true originators - indeed the inventors- of moral subversion...think about it, real hard AB, in the bath tonight......but I guess there's as much chance of that getting an airing here as my plane crashing!!!

Must fly


And as for She's mind boggling comment that "It wouldn't survive in the free market"----well that's really the acid test of art is it??? Whether it sells?
That, truly, is a morally subversive and typically North American view! Money!!!!!!

Shame on ye She girl!!!

Aunty Belle said...

Heh heh...oh Adrlair, how'd we knowed you'd find an excuse to defend Fabre?

But this: "Because they were devout? Again, invariably, not. "

"Invariably"? Really? Now, even you knows thas' an illogical statement.

I'd edookate ya' outa charity Arlair, but since I gotta deadline and youse in the air we'll be back at it tomorry.

she said...

ardliar! there you are. im glad you climbed out of the dark blue crypt to join us! ive missed you - i really have. thanks for the poem too.

your point about art and the free market is taken.
i agree with you. or else, why am i so poor?
nobody bought my paintings? theyre idiots!

c'mon ardliar! you know what i meant about the free market! ...the poor taxpayers had to suck this shiite up. (literally in some cases ...i mean, if they sat on the front row of one of his plays)

this is art made possible by confiscatory force. but on second thought, since it happened to the french, im cool with it. grrrherhahaha

okay. you got me. i am north-american-bourgeois enough to still appreciate and have an affinity for beauty and skill. and God willin' , i wont ever evolve into a hipster like this fan of fabre's who wrote this:

'Jan Fabre work is now being exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, and, his work: "Self Portrate as the World's Biggest Worm" is like a ray of sunshine amongst all the biblical, classical and renessance era crap that's there.'

grrrrherhahahahaha! i love that.

seriously ardliar,

if you were to happen upon a poorly formed sculpey earthworm coated in pubic hair on the sidewalk, would you understand its greatness?

or would you call hasmat to have it removed and then bathe in neosporin since you may have brushed against it? grherhahahaha

travel safely. be kind to the taxi drivers. ;-)

Anonymous said...

SHE you mean "con-FIST-atory"

Ardlair Old Chap, I say, is that yellow spots there on your shirtfront?

Anonymous said...

The Fleming artist Jan Fabre, wrote, directed and re-acted"choreography" (which was obviously given support by the Government and by the city authority in
Paris), "The crying body" The show was performed in the debut of 2004-2005 theatrical season, in front
of French Minister of Culture, Mr. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.
The nine interpreters show up naked, they urinate on the stage, spit each other, fight each other, roughly insulting the
public and eventually masturbate. There follow scenes of blasphemy where an Archbishop is disguised in Santa Claus
and a completely nude Christ is agitating his sex in roars. A priest rises himself while listening the shameless
confession of a fisher woman, he takes off his frock showing off his genitals, twisting his body as if insane. Then three
women take off their robes to urinate, displaying their sex, and their legs up doggy-style.
There comes another actor who urinates and another one is drinking his own urine. Then comes a scene of
collective masturbation, for ten minutes, then the audience is insulted and the persons in the first rows are splashed
with urine.
Still as a frightening mark of the times we are living & after having faced this incredibly
degrading porno-scatology only 40 people or so, out of thousands viewers went out the hall, while the others remained
to the end, frantically applauding and shouting "Bravo, Bravo!" while the actors kept insulting them.

The Troll said...

Ardlair is dumber than a stump.

Aunty Belle said...

I ain't turnin' off the Anonymous function, but dern--why not give me a stage name to refer to ya' by??

Thanky fer the info on the Fabre exhibitionism. He is jes' one example--We have our Mapplethorpes. Point is that this is not ART.

Anonymous said...

From the post:

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is
to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.

Seems that they have succeeded.

Anonymous Bosch

moi said...

I agree with Ardlair on one point: Whether or not something is beautiful or ugly does not define its status as art or non-art. Totally besides the point, IMHO. In other words, something can be lock-it-in-a-closet-and-throw-away-the-
key-butt-ass-ugly, and still be a work of art.

To me, the definition of art is pretty simple: does it exist for no other purpose than itself, as an object to illustrate a point the artist is trying to make? In other words, a wool rug may be "artistically" executed, but it's primary function is utilitarian, therefore it is a decorative craft and not a work of art. Same goes for any other object. Regardless of its beauty, if the primary purpose of that object is either to decorate or function in a utilitarian manner, then it is not a work of art.

Under that criteria, Fabre's work is, indeed, art. But it's suck-ass art of the highest order.

Because art can – and should – be judged objectively as good or bad. And you can learn a lot about an audience's ability to think, about their basic values, from their response to said art. Fabre and his kind are not only terrible artists, but most likely possess an approach to life and a set of values that are something up with which I care not to put.

Anonymous said...

Problem is too few people know the purpose of art. It is not a public means of self expression. To be art it needs to speak effectively to a broad human experience. Fabre's personal proclivities are not art.