Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Politics Isn't Art

Jorge Gonzales, artist extraordinaire and artist for the cover of Bachelor Pad Economics is a 23 year old young man who about a year ago was looking for my advice and guidance.  He was a recent graduate from an art school in California, he could not find work, but saw my video series on “Crusaderism” and just about feinted because I had described what he had experienced to a T.

The “High School Vegan Kid,” the political leftist indoctrination of college, worthless professors, and the lies students tell themselves about why their “cause” is more important than they pay (even though they were now $120,000 in debt).  But what I found to be most interesting in our interactions was how, when he was describing various projects and art work he and his fellow peers created, that every piece, every bit of art had to have a “story” behind it.  And not just a story, but a political story.

I found this odd, thinking that “art should just be art, what does politics have to do with it,” but oh how foolish I was.  For, as Jorge explained, you can’t just have a piece of art, you need to have some kind of political motivation behind it, a political story behind it, so you can convey your feelings or explain the plight of some oppressed group or another. 

It didn’t make any sense to me, and matter of fact, I don’t think it made any sense to Jorge, but after sitting down and thinking about it, my brilliant misanthropic and cynical mind came up with the answer like it always does:

These people aren’t artists.  They’re your typical lazy 20 somethings who:

Have no talent
Have no work ethic
Want to avoid rigor and real work at all costs
Still want to become artists anyway

But in imbuing politics with their art they can use it to rationalize in their little minds that they are indeed artists.

Realize the role politics plays in art.  It isn’t to “improve” art.  It isn’t to “enhance” art.  It is 100%, completely for the *COUGH COUGH AHEM AHEM WHEEZE WHEEZE SUPERLARGEAIRQUOTES*


First it masks the fact they aren’t real artists.  You’re looking at a pile of dog shit with a GI Joe figure stuck out of it and the leftist dolt-hack of an artist tells you in made-up esoteric language how it shows in “inner-hatred America has for its tyrannical oppressors that blah bitty blah blah blah.”  But realize what happened there.  In a very subtle and cunning (even unconscious I’d say) stroke, the “artist” redirected the focus from art to a “message.”  You are no longer thinking “wow, this art is shit both metaphorically and really,” but dedicating your frontal lobes to the message.

Second, it feeds the ego of the “artist.”  In having some noble leftist politic message or purpose to his/her art, they think that somehow that compensates for their utter lack of talent.  Could my 3 year old draw that?  Doesn’t matter, it’s “real art” because it portrays the plight of migrant workers who have to learn English to fill out their welfare forms.  Did my dog wipe his ass on the carpet, smearing his feces in a pattern identical to the crap I see up at the Walker Art Center?  Doesn’t matter.  That painting was done to help raise awareness of the discrimination overweight women suffer in today’s beauty-obsessed culture.  In short, substituting a noble cause for a lack of talent helps the talentless artist rationalize wasting $80,000 at art school and 20 years of their life making crappy art.

Third, it serves as a shield.  The most common tactic leftists use is to take a noble or innocent entity or cause and hide behind it as they use it to rationalize the theft of other people’s money.  Teachers do this every day holding the precious children hostage for forever increasing bloated baby sitter salaries and artists do the same thing.

Did you criticize the painting of the black man urinating on the crucifix?
Then you hate blacks!  You’re a racist!

Did you criticize the sculpture of a woman having sex with a donkey?
Then you hate women!  You’re a sexist!

Did you criticize the pile of cat shit smeared on a picture of Ronald Reagan?
Then you hate the poor oppressed child slave laborers of Gabbitygoo, Costa Rica that the feces OBVIOUSLY represent because you lack the vision and interpretation skills to see what this true work of art obviously is!

In other words, having a political message attached to a piece of art allows the artist to deflect any genuine criticism of his ability as an “ism” or “ist."

And finally, money.  Notice how ALL of the art pieces have a leftist connotation?  A leftist political theme? 

What, you thought the government and the NEA would give money to a conservative artist?

Government/public/non-profit money is pretty much what makes the art world go around today.  Not the real art.  Not the stuff being auctioned off at Sotheby’s for $40 million that people willingly buy.  I’m talking the crap we get to see everyday in architecture, community centers, local crap-museums, and academia.  Heck, you can’t even get a building built in St. Paul without a required minimum amount of art from local artists (look it up, not joking).  But understand what is really going on here.  The art community, just like those “evil” bankers, just like those “evil” insurance companies, just like any other lobbyists, forces the innocent population to pay for their shitty and unwanted hobbies.  From $50,000 drinking fountains to lord knows what else is out there, artists are constantly building leftist-theme pieces of art to get more grants, more taxpayer dollars, more of your money so they can play “make believe I’m a talented artist.”  This not only shows you why most public art sucks, but why there is an obvious surplus of talentless artists and why they are all leftist.

There is good news however.  Time.

You see, time is the ultimate judge.  And over time the political cronies that voted to buy some talentless hack’s art will die.  Those talentless hacks will also die.  And when the next generation of hacks and artists come in, they will say,

“Why the fuck do we have a statue of a woman fucking a donkey in Minneapolis’ City Hall?”

And slowly, but surely, all the government-art, and, consequently, all the life works of the talentless leftists artists will be thrown away and end up in a landfill, right where it belongs – with the rest of society’s garbage.

In the meantime people will still insist on seeing the Statue of David, Michelangelo’s paintings, and pay $40 million for a Pablo Picasso.


Quartermain said...

Leads me to think that modern art is an oxymoron.

More gas-lighting from the "elite".

There is plenty of good art by working people, that is unknown and will unknown, while these fraudulent talentless hacks rack in the bucks. It's insane.

Al Capp, of Little Abner fame, said this of abstract art:

"A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled, to the totally bewildered."

Midknight said...


As Sarah Hoyt would say, traded in their art for a pot of message.

And yeah, I think Pollock's earlier stuff at least showed craft, before he started doing with paint what my son did with food at the age of 6 months.

One of my favorite rants from a not-great-but-guilty-pleasure book (Guns of Two Space) involves a scene on Earth where a crewman takes some "artists" to task for violating the "If I can do it, untrained and unpracticed, it isn't art" rule, and the "if I 'just don't get it', it's a failure of communication, not art" rule.

Midknight said...


As Sarah Hoyt would say, traded in their art for a pot of message.

And yeah, I think Pollock's earlier stuff at least showed craft, before he started doing with paint what my son did with food at the age of 6 months.

One of my favorite rants from a not-great-but-guilty-pleasure book (Guns of Two Space) involves a scene on Earth where a crewman takes some "artists" to task for violating the "If I can do it, untrained and unpracticed, it isn't art" rule, and the "if I 'just don't get it', it's a failure of communication, not art" rule.

Peregrine John said...

Yep. As one who makes a living on art (graphic designer, a.k.a. creator of art with an actual function), I can vouch for pretty much every line. If you want to just "make stuff" and not study too hard about why good is good - and this is a pretty common problem among those whose motto is, "if it's art, it's good" - then you have essentially no way to sell anything. No way to attract positive attention to whatever dreck you assembled. And unless your skills are very remarkable indeed without that honest, objective learning, the easiest way in is to sell pseudo-art to people who are always looking for ways to make themselves feel superior. And yeah, that's mostly lefties.

This is why honest artists don't give a rip if the NEA suddenly vanishes. The NAEF, The Art Fund, and endless other non-tax-supported organizations will continue the support and education of new artists without missing a beat, and the actual market will support those who are out there producing, if it's worth supporting at all. The market, you see, is people. And that's the totally obvious thing the leftists don't want you to realize.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Coming from Canada we've been used to this for - well forever. In Canada the "artistic community" secures government funding by protecting "Canadian Culture" and nothing protects Canadian Culture like mediocre unmarketable lefty "artistic" hack jobs. Not only are these brave culture warriors fighting for the true north strong and free they're also pushing back against a tide of "commercial" --- somebody will actually willingly pay for it --- art that offends their delicate sensibilities. Here's how to classify art. Anything with a hyphen in it is probably crap: lesbian-literature, gay-sculpture, native-stories --- you know the drill. The prefix starts distracting you from the "art" immediately. If an artist is brave enough to go unhyphenated and back story free then you're probably dealing with the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Islam will solve this problem too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have to say it, the illustration of Bachelor Pad Economics is extremely well done.

It is enticing, engaging, well balanced. It makes you want to buy the book, literally. It is inviting and that's exactly what you want a book cover illustration to be.

I predict that one day, Jorge E. Gonzales will make his own cartoon shows like Matt Groening.

There's superb cartoon material here. You could make a captain capitalism cartoon.

Anonymous said...

Marxists are specifically trained to make art that is formless and has no obvious intrinsic meaning so that its meaning can be rewritten to correspond to the "current truth". So a randomly twisted piece of metal can be said to represent the oppression of the marginalized people in society when it is first put on public display and, twenty years later, can be said to represent the struggle for personal fulfillment of the non-hetero-normed in a culture which lacks understanding of The Other. That's why "modern art" rarely incorporates sculptures of specific human beings. It's hard to devise a new Marxist current truth that is represented by a statue of Benjamin Franklin, for instance.

As for the crucifix-in-urine type of "art", well, it also fits into the Marxist game plan by expressing and encouraging raw hatred toward the existing culture, the culture that must be pulled up by its roots in order to replace it.

Artists want fame and attention and so they cater to political messaging on the left since it is the left which dominates public grants for art with a political message. Fortunately, most students who pass through the diseased intestine of a university art degree program end up washing cars for a living.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I was thinking of Picasso as the father of using Politics to sell crappy looking art: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_%28painting%29

Mazzuchelli said...

Exactly. My step-daughter is an artist and a professor in Denver so her politics are clear. After viewing a recent opening in a Boulder contemporary art museum, a showing of five or six female artists, I was amused by the boilerplate far left talking points that accompanied each work. Pollution, oppression, justice. Yadayadayada. I asked her what form her art would take if she wasn't hemmed in by liberal ideology. [crickets]

Green Steelhead said...

“Why the fuck do we have a statue of a woman fucking a donkey in Minneapolis’ City Hall?”

I literally spit copffee all over my computer screen as I read that and laughed. Jesus, Cappy.

Just wait til you see the art all over our great Light Rail system here in Minnesota. Each station gets a highly paid artist to do something arty.

Coffee on a computer screen....wonder if I can sell that as....art....

Glen Filthie said...

As the father of a Gen y gay artiste, perhaps I can add something here, Cap.

Long before you and the fine fellas of the Manosphere and Asshole Consulting - I saw everything you describe here with regard to lack of work ethic of our kids and the culpability of the public school teachers. I moved to head the problem off at the pass - and got very strict with my daughter. She had to get good marks at school. She had to keep her nose clean. She was dead if she dabbled in drugs or socialism. I pushed her hard and had her doing high school Algebra in grade 7, and introductory calculus in grade 9. She handled it with ease.

The teachers at school did their level best to undermine me too. They said I pushed too hard, to let the kid go, and to loosen up. I refused.

She then went to university and everything went to shit. She could listen to her grumpy old man and slog through the maths and the sciences...or she could enroll in a fine arts program. The hippy professor with a pony tail said she had talent that would sell - and she could live the good life while she learned! Who would YOU listen to?

Our relationship frayed with her taking up a useless degree, and snapped when she discovered she was gay and that she would pursue a career as a gay hipster. That was three years ago.

Folks - buy your kids the Captain's book on useless degrees. Make them read it. Talk about it afterward. The cretins pushing these arts and humanities programs can do as much damage to your kid as a man pushing drugs. Their lives WILL be messed up if they are successful.

My daughter's career options today are as a burger flipper, till monkey or some other mundane job any high school kid can do. At best, maybe she can be 'affirmative-actioned' into a good job because of her homosexuality...but I wouldn't bet on it.

These people that purport to protecting and educating your kids are actually preying on them. Their protection today is up to the parent - and you are on your own. Good luck!

Robert What? said...

Damn! Who plagiarized my "woman fucking a donkey" statue? I'm suing.

Anonymous said...

dear Captain:

Yep - I agree.

And in that context you may want to read "Why Tom Clancy doesn't write literature"

on my site at www.winface.com/amt


Peregrine John said...

Cappy Cap Cartoon?! You do that, be sure to hire me on for voices.

Anonymous said...

Picasso is the godfather of the modern art junk, and definitely not an example of talent (though he had great talent in his childhood). He doesn't deserve mention in the same breath as Michelangelo. Picasso joined the Communist party, which is partly why he's so loved by the MSM, not the cubist junk.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if art is political but anti-leftist, it's no longer art.

Art that criticizes leftism is known as "propaganda".

RGB said...

Minny has nothing on Edmonton, AB. $600,000 got them a pile of ball bearings masquerading as "art". It's called the Talus Dome.
Can be seen @ http://www.yelp.ca/biz/talus-dome-edmonton
Anon: I'm with you on Picasso.

Hot Sam said...

San Francisco and Phoenix hired a guy to create art for the city who, earlier in his career, shot a dog and photographed it. His opus was called Shot Dog.

His metal sculptures are quite good. He is an outlier of talent in the field.

Hot Sam said...

Worse, they call it "kitsch."

Apparently, artistic quality is highly correlated to its popularity among leftists.

finndistan said...

"If I can do it, untrained and unpracticed, it isn't art"

There goes 99% of the crap that goes as art.

My best examples are:
Empty room with a chair
Empty room with two chairs
A video loop of a tree
A table with open noodle packets

There is a movie/documentary called Exit from the gift shop. Perfectly illustrates what you are talking about. How people went crazy for an oversized tomato can, well, because, .... aaaaawt...

And then you go and see the Cologne Dom, or the Sagrada Familia, and you only can feel awe.

When I see that an artist has gotten 50 grand grants from some crap of an aaawt institution to come up with a room, one chair and one table, to illustrate social justice in the internet age, what I want to do, if depicted here would be more art that that waste of oxygen can ever come up with.

But I am not an artist, so I got no say on beauty I suppose.

Let's call it postmodern crap, at least that is somewhat honest.

Anonymous said...

Cappy - does this true story earn me an Obama hat? Here goes: early '90s, I'm the new VP Mktg of Coke-Canada based in Toronto, hired by their new Prez for Canada (a wonderful, wild Aussie) who told me that my (female) predecessor had screwed up Marketing with her politically correct left turn into support for environmentalism, feminism, 'gay issues', etc. etc. He said: "Dave, get us out of all that crap and back into supporting kids' sports, rock & roll, local pro teams and so on." Only a few weeks later I found I'd inherited a very expensive "art competition" to fund a large 'sculptural installation' at Toronto's (then) new airport terminal. The winner would get $100k. Ten 'renowned artistes' including Jeff Koons (sp?) had each been given $10k by Coke 3 months earlier to create a small model of their vision, and now I was to lead a group from Coke to a local gallery to judge their models, and select the winner, who would then actually build a HUGE version (size of a Sherman tank) of their winning idea. EVERY MODEL LOOKED LIKE ABSOLUTE MONKEY $#!T ... I hummed and hawed, tried to look fascinated, took some notes, snapped some photos, and ended up saying: "This is a really hard decision, so I want to sleep on my choice and I'll call you tomorrow" The gallery owner agreed. I came back and told Coke's Prez: "Tony, it's ALL crap! We don't want ANY of them associated with our brands in ANY way, EVER!" Tony said, "OK mate, do what ya gotta do" ... I called the gallery the next morning and said "We've cancelled our contest; nothing was good enough." They went absolutely wild on the phone; I politely hung up. Within half an hour Toronto's #1 newspaper art critic was calling demanding to speak to me. I spoke with him and he tore into me with such lines as "You CAN'T DO THAT!" and "You'll be a laughing stock Monday after this weekend's papers!" Finally, with him DEMANDING a quote, I told him: "Coke held an art competition between 10 well known artists and nobody won." The paper ran that quote the next day ...EVERY liberal in Toronto was wanting to hang me for a few days (I took a biz trip out west to avoid them) and EVERY sensible person in Toronto left me invitations to parties, dinners, and speaking engagements.

Moral of the story - Nancy Reagan was right; just say "NO!" and refuse to play their silly games.

Dave Sanderson
Former VP Marketing, Coke-Canada
- now retired

Black Poison Soul said...

I used to wonder why so many businesses bought "big art" that actually looks like vomit or shit.

Then I realised that it was a perfect expression of their mindset of ass-kissing...

Tom the Impaler said...

Sift through "Koba the Dread, Laughter and the 20 million" Somewhere in there is a chapter called "the politicization of sleep" which describes the continuous immersion in propaganda that Socialism requires for it's complete brainwashing to stick.

Robert of Ottawa said...

Another angle is that the "art world" has descended into a propaganda organization for the left, and government is an essentially left operation so pay willingly for it.

Cul-De-Sac Hero said...

I was walking down the street one day and saw a display in an art school studio (government funded school) threatening physical harm to men (I mean cis-men) for catcalling. Apparently that's what gets you a graduate degree in art these days.


Anonymous said...

I have occasionally made forays into Darkest Leftardism. In the depths of that swamp, anything which makes a profit is anathema. Shakespeare? Oh God don't even mention him. Mozart? Shudders. Handel? A whore.

On the other hand, Charles Ives, who never had any success, is studied and admired.

2bneil said...

the City of Calgary has that beat. It is a ring of metal bolted to a freeway overpass railing that cost $471,000! Yes that's 471 thousand dollars!!
link here: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/Artists+defend+merit+blue+ring/9023822/story.html

Anonymous said...

A agree with this article 95%. The remaining 5% has to do with putting all the blame on the public sector. While the wealthy maybe buying old impressionist paintings that would look at home in the Art Institute of Chicago , some of the worst art is due to the pleb ultra elites of today. Art collecting is often done as a form of money laundering, as the art business is not well regulated. So you have hedge fund managers who will buy any expensive piece of crap, putting in storage hoping the value will go up because of the name attached. Then this causes the wealthy to care about no-talent artist, often funding them and promoting them in the art world so their collections don't lose value. They have no sense of beauty or aesthetic. All they know is that the art dealer told them that "unmade bed" (which is just the artist literal unmade bed) is deep and meaningful, won a ton of awards, and can be theirs for 1.5 million. Really the reason the art world has degraded to the leftist mush point it is now, is the elites (who have always been the drivers of fine art) are willing to pay and celebrate it.

Art funded by local municipalities in my experience at least have some restraint. It could be that I grew up in a more working class area, but most of the public art was a bronze statue of children playing and soldier memorials. The most leftist it got was some "support diversity!" pieces. Yeah it is very bourgeois, but at least its not grotesque and has a sense of community to it.