The Aesthetics of McNuggets, Or Brooklyn Status Panic Drugs

No, I’m not talking about the Saucy Nugs guy again. That meme sadly failed. I am disappoint.

No, this is a link to a long post by a fellow calling himself Monsieur le Baron, who is some manner of Red Monarchist (which is not absurd, the Soviet Union was a series of Tsars, and anyone who says otherwise did not pay attention. Just go ahead and watch The Death of Stalin, it’s on Netflix). That’s fine because he uses the pretext of McNuggets to dunk (le pun! C’est absolument destiné!) on the PostModernist “art” crowd I have pondered on before. Enemy of my enemy and all that.

There is, in fact, much spicy aesthetic wisdom in this post, linked here, including meditations on mediums and messages, high art vs. pop art, symbol & referent, and a host of other things I have begun dimly to understand. In any case, here is his knife-point, at the peroratio where it belongs:

The disdain of the modern artist for the commercial is not a sign of their own good breeding, as they so suppose, but in fact evidence of the smallness of their souls, for they are unable to emerge from the smallness of their own souls and submerge themselves in anything greater than themselves. For the act of creating such is the act of channeling the essence of the greater thing, whereas they can only write of their own meager selves. Depression this, anxiety that, and a lot of Brooklyn status panic. That about covers the bulk of modern artistic production, doesn’t it? A self-absorption.

“Aesthetica McNuggetica, Or Idealism Real Word Count by the Baron”, An Inelegant Viceroy

This differs in diagnosis from what I drew from Ruskin earlier:

I’m less interested in disputing this argument than in noting the pervasiveness of it in the world of art today. If, as Ruskin seems ready to argue, the industrial world has abandoned art, in favor of infinite replicability, then it seems as predictable as night following day that the art world would abandon industry. Thus the demand for absolute novelty and uselessness in the art world, to the point where Modern art today is really anti-Art: a pose and a hustle, the creation of the maximum of bewilderment and absurdity with the minimum of effort, papered over with post-modernist bafflegab and self-congratulatory obscurantism. This is not accident, it is intentional. The modern artist can only be an artist by running from the world.

“Notes on Ruskin: Modern Art is Anti-Art”, Content Blues

Yet perhaps not. It can be a case of “yes, and”. The young artistic type yearns to make Art. He does so with a certain degree of isolation, for only in isolation can Art be made. He gradually absorbs, without it being directly taught him, that Muh True Art stands against Muh Status Quo. This is exactly what his teachers believe, exactly what the universities have long accepted, as they grow their endowments on the stock market. Give us New Things to Sell, the Bourgeoisie command. So is the Hip Rebel transmuted into Establishment and vice versa.

In other words, it’s all a Hustle. And you have two ways to escape: find something Grand to subsume yourself into, or retreat into the tiny redoubt of yourself. Which has his education prepared the young artist to do?

Notes on Ruskin: Modern Art is Anti-Art

An intriquing passage from On Art and Life, which nicely explains the aethetic rut that modern art has fallen into:

…that great art, whether expressing itself in words, colours, or stones, does not say the same thing over and over again; that the merit of architectural, as of every other art, consists in saying new and different things; that to repeat itself is no more a characteristic of genius in marble than it is of genius in print; that we may, without offending any laws of good taste, require of an architect, as we do of a novelist, that he should be not only correct, but entertaining.

…Nothing is a great work of art, for the production of which either rules or models can be given. Exactly so far as architecture works on known rules, and from given models, it is not art, but manufacture; and it is, of the two procedures, rather less rational (because more easy) to copy capitols and mouldings from Phidias, and call ourselves architects, than too copy heads or hands from Titian, and call ourselves artists.

John Ruskin, “ON Art and Life” pg. 31

I’m less interested in disputing this argument than in noting the pervasiveness of it in the world of art today. If, as Ruskin seems ready to argue, the industrial world has abandoned art, in favor of infinite replicability, then it seems as predictable as night following day that the art world would abandon industry. Thus the demand for absolute novelty and uselessness in the art world, to the point where Modern art today is really anti-Art: a pose and a hustle, the creation of the maximum of bewilderment and absurdity with the minimum of effort, papered over with post-modernist bafflegab and self-congratulatory obscurantism. This is not accident, it is intentional. The modern artist can only be an artist by running from the world.

And yet, such anti-art is held up as art, is embraced as art, precisely by the same wealthy bourgoisie who are busily corporatizing everything under the sun. They walk away from their number-crunching day jobs and purchase up-market nonsense. They donate to the museums and institutes that celebrate it. They hear themselves excorciated by their artist children and they laugh merrily. It’s as though the left- and right- brains of our culture, completely compartmentalized, acknowledge each other’s existence, and no more.

There are exceptions to this. One could argue that Steve Jobs was less a programmer than an artist, who imposed a particular vision on his chosen industry that was as much aesthetic as it was practical. But overall, one sees industry and art segregated rather than integrated in the modern world. And we must recognize that for art to be entertaining as well as correct, it must be correct as well.

How the Weather Induced Me to Learn About the Bauhaus Movement

Having been charged with the sole care of Darling Daughter whilst Wifey is compounding tech week and Opening Night into one day for a one-minute play festival, I resolved to get us both out into the sunshine. Daughter was game, despite describing the environs as “co” (cold) when we finally ventured out. We lasted but a few minutes in that biting wind before I resolved upon a hasty retreat. A few minutes outside is better than none, I suppose.

Safely indoors, I snapped a picture on the iPhone and posted it to the Tumblr:

Modesty demands that I do not speculate on where she got the ability to entertain herself with a book.

And, as I often do when I post something to the Tumblr, I scan back over previous posts to see what I’ve had on my mind of late that I considered worth posting to Tumblr, in the hope that I might figure out why on earth I have a Tumblr. It was pretty much an impulse app download when I got my iPhone, and I mostly use it when I want to express a thought or take a picture and I don’t have my computer handy. A kind of online mental diary, if you will (I think I just figured it out. One less thing on the to-do list).

Anyway, I scanned down and found that I had posted this

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