Hey Cappy, well I just noticed your blog post about minimalist art and architecture, and I know all about the history of how this crap got started (or some of the history). It ties right into the history of socialism and fascism and communism and modern science. Lemme try to explain; I'll start with architecture:
As much as I dislike conventional religion, the one thing you cannot knock conventional religion on was that it almost always resulted in beautiful architecture in cultures. Architecture was considered the highest form of human achievement. It was also based on a set of geometric principles (which have mostly been lost by the modern "profession" of architecture). These principles of geometry are somewhat covered in a book called "Sacred Geometry" by Robert Lawlor. Basically these geometric principles are recognized by your subconscious, i.e. even if you don't know them, your brain does, which is why if you look at forms of architecture that were designed using these principles of geometry, whether Greek, Roman, Gothic, Egyptian, French, etc...whatever architecture, they all look beautiful, whereas with "modern" architecture, it looks totally whack.
However, when the Renaissance hit, even though this was the time of enlightenment, reason, and the rise of science, it had one problem: it also meant the beginning of the death of architecture. You see, historically, as said, architecture was always grounded very much in religion. But with the age of Enlightenment, the "intellectuals," who believed completely in science, rationality, and planning, began to see this religious-based architecture as nothing but "decorated shelter." It was not just decorated shelter, as it is grounded in geometric principles, but the intellectuals were unaware of this, and this artform was dying out (this adherence to science and rationality also is what led to the rise of fascism, socialism, etc...).
Then came the industrial revolution, in which science, "reason," and the idea that society needed to be centrally planned began to become the norm amongst the intellectuals. The idea of the free-market and all that was nonsensical to them. For an egalitarian society, society needed to be centrally planned. And people needed to be controlled. Told what to do.
Enter the beginnings of modern architecture and modern art.
Because of the emphasis of strict rationality, and on the belief that conventional religious-based architecture was just decorated shelter, the schools of architecture began to totally reject those old views for newer ideas of architecture. New architecture was to "scientific" and "rational." It was to be strictly for "function." Not form, beauty, none of that "crap." Just function and rationality. Logic.
Like the Borg would design it I guess one could reason. The classical geoemtrical principles for designing architecture began to be lost.
If you look at the history of many of the founders of the modern architecture and modern art movements, they tie right in with the Nazis and fascism (one architect even tried to start an American Nazi party). Many such architects also hated capitalism and Western civilization I believe. Modern architecture is, at its core, fascist. Remember, fascism, socialism, etc...all were movements emphasizing the rejection of religion, and the dominance of strict logic, rationality, and central planning of society.
What was so ironic is in reality, this so-called "functional" architecture was in reality completely un-functional oftentimes. You couldn't live in it. And it did not meld well with nature. Meanwhile the so-called "decorated shelter," was actually very functional and rational.
Architecture, in order to be liveable, has to fulfill what is called the "cave concept." We humans have programmed into our evolutionary genes the need for security from the forces of nature of course, and the base area of such security is originally a mother's womb. When humans are born and working to survive, they seek a secondary version of that womb, albeit subconsciously. The primitive humans sought it from "mother Earth," via caves. A cave provides shelter and is provided by the Earth, the "mother." it is dark and cozy, even if it is a cave. If there's a hurricane outside, a cave is great.
With buildings, homes must meet this same caveman concept. If you go into a home and you don't feel warm and cozy inside, and private, it isn't fulfilling this caveman concept. Well much of this modernist "rational" architecture did not fulfill the caveman concept at all. It was far too open.
Although the "elites" in the art and architecture and media worlds love to praise these crazy designs put forth, and used the term "reactionary" to describe folks like Treasury Secretary Mellon when he put up buildings designed in classical architecture, you will notice that none of these elites ever live in such architecture.
The entire home-building industry is dominated by classical architecture-based homes. Only the extreme environmental types or dedicated Marxists and so forth will live in the ultra-minimalist stuff. The home building industry remains dominated by classical designs because, as said, that is what the human mind recognizes as normal because it is based on geometric principles that all people recognize as least subconciously.
If you notice, for all our great technology, engineering, scientific prowess these days, architectural development among humanity has literally died. It's gone. In the past, great architecture was the pinnacle of a civilization's achievement. It's art, it's engineering, it's religion, etc...were expressed through its architecture. But now, that is gone completely. Architecture instead is very degraded. The reason being because those sacred geometric principles, which all cultures in the ancient worlds were aware of, have been lost. All of the great architecture is the classical stuff from the past. Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Persian, French, Gothic, English, Middle Eastern, etc...there is no new architecture designed in modern times that can match the classical stuff.
Yes, those big corporate skyscrapers made of glass and steel are beautiful objects in terms of how they light up at night and reflect light during the day, but they are really just gleaming rectangles. There is no geometric principle to them. And yes, they are great attributes to human engineering, but again, not architecture. Just engineering.
They are also the ultimate expression of the phallus (penis worship). You will find that reverance of the phallus and reverance of the vulva pop up in architecture throughout history. for example, the shape of the Catholic churches is that of the vulva and a woman's womb.
A prime reason for this lack of development in modern architecture is because architecture takes generations to develop. It you look at the great architectures, it's not like some guy just said, "Hmmm....I'll design a new form of architecture," and out comes the Cathedral or the Taj Mahal. Such architectures were developed by multiple architects and designers, over years and years, generations and generations even. Yes, a single building using an existing form of architecture may be designed by one architect, but the particular architecture itself takes generations usually to come forth (so the designer of the Taj Mahal was using an architecture form already in existence by that time, developed by many before him).
One can in particular see this in how the Greeks started off, and then the Romans took what the Greeks did and advanced it a good deal further.
Today, there is none of that. Architects are just expected to come up with their own stuff. As a result, an architect may sit down and try to come up with something original, but highly unlikely will any architect suddenly "invent" a new architectural style that can match the beauty of the classical stuff. No one has yet to come out with a totally new architectural style that matches that of the great cathedrals, or the Islamic architecture, or the Greeks and Romans in terms of beauty, but is actually designed in modern times, where if the ancients came into today, they'd be, "WOW, awesome new stuff guys!"
So instead, we end up with the most assinine architectural designs ever thought of. And worse, they aren't even attempted to be rational nowadays. They challenge the engineers to figure out how to build them! They also assault the human mind. The "elites" may praise them, but to a normal person, it's like, "WTF!?"
And worse still, architects these days are expected to be "fashionable." Now obviously, if creating a great style of architecture that is totally new and original takes maybe a couple of generations, it is thus a recipe for disaster if architects try to be fashionable, and thus we get such crazy, insane designs.
An architect can only really be original in a classy sense these days by taking all the classical forms of architecture and combining them to create hybrid styles, for example a home half French and half Meditaerranean, and so forth. Such architectures are also very beautiful. Look to the luxury home market for such beauty, in particular the homes that run like $5 million and up. Here is an awesome architect who designs such homes and an awesome website:
An awesome book on this subject which also will lead you into other books and talks about the fascism element of the history of modern architecture is the following:
The Return of Sacred Architecture: The Golden Ratio and the End of Modernism, by Herbert Bangs. I highly recommend it.
I also wonder about furniture too. If you look at the classical furnitures of the cultures of the world, versus "modern" furniture, it's like the same thing; there is no furniture designed in modern times that can match the classical stuff. It's all either the classical, or based on the classical designs, or it's some very crazy "modernist' furniture. Furniture historically was based off of architecture if you read about it.
Alright, now onto modern art and how that got started. Although modern art ties in somewhat with fascism/socialism and elitism and all that, it has a slightly different history.
Historically, as we know, human art always strove to be as realistic as possible. Since the time the first caveman tried making pictures, they have sought realism as the highest ideal. The Greeks with their statues epitomized this. Portraitists were greatly valued among royalty and elites for their abilities and so forth.
But then came a little snag: the invention of the camera. Suddenly, virtually overnight, what had once been a prized skill, became virtually worthless. No longer did you need some highly-skilled, expensive portraitist to paint your picture. You could just get a camera. Granted, the camera gave only black and white pictures in those days, but it was enough to destroy the portraitists.
And suddenly, photorealistic art began to get thrown out the window. No longer was it referred to as "art." This took a little time though. Artists, in order to be considered artists, had to find a new way to express themselves. Hence came abstract art. Now originally, an artist, to be accepted as an abstract artist, had to first become a skilled photorealistic artist, but eventually this all got thrown out by the pigheaded elites in the art schools so that only so-called abstract art was accepted.
Now, there is REAL abstract art, as in it has real meaning, but this eventually got tossed out the window as well. A few buckets of paint thrown at a canvas in a fit of rage were considered art, but a beautiful photorealistic painting was not. Throughout most of the 20th century, any kind of realiistic art was considered trash, and only so-called "abstract" art was accepted.
This still is the case among the elites, who will use taxpayer money to put up ugly twisted pieces of metal that they call art because the free market won't accept it (and in NYC when Rudy Giuliani cut such funding, they accused him of infringing on freedom of speech, the bastards).
It got so bad that by the end of the 20th century, a cigarette box nailed to a piece of cardboard was considered art.
(Interestingly, as a sidenote, it doesn't seem like music was hit in this sense. Luckily the elites do not look down at classical music, but give great praise to the theme of Super Mario Bros. :D ).
One problem many people do not seem to realize is that photorealistic artwork is not art that could easily be replaced by a camera. There are pictures one can paint that one could never use a camera for.
For example, if you want a picture of two gladiators battling it out in the Roman colliseum, to hang on your wall, you probably need to paint it. If you want a picture of some fantasy world with a huge dragon and a knight, again, you need a painter. You can't take a picture of such a thing.
Thus, the camera, contrary to the naysayers, did not wipe out the photorealistic painting.
There are also the naysayers who will say, "How can photography be a form of art? It's just taking a picture." Well yes, but if you take multiple pictures let's say, and combine them into one very unique image, that can be quite fascinating. They do that in advertising all the time, for example.
You can also use photography, computer generated art, and photorealistic painting all combined to create fantastic realitistic art (as does the artist I am about to give you a link to).
Today there has finally been a revolt it seems against the so-called abstract nonsense. Yes, certain art, like Picasso, the work of M.C. Escher (very mathematical), and mathematic artwork of the Islamic world, are abstract art that is very fascinating and has meaning and even beautiful, but most abstract "art" is just pure BS. A picture that is ripped isn't art. A statue of a dung-covered Jesus is not art.
A VERY awesome artist you should check out is here: www.howarddavidjohnson.com - he is the epitomy of a photorealistic art painter who paints stuff you can't use a camera for! I love this guy's work.
If you are interested in some awesome classical luxurious interior design, check out Clive Christian: http://www.clive.com/home/slideshow.html
Hope this helps, that's a summary of how this whole modern architecture and modern art movement got started. Check out that book I recommended, it will lead you to other stuff if you're interested.
The modern educational system, the university system, feminism, modern architecture, environmentalism, eugenics, etc...all have their histories grounded in fascism.