Monday, October 15, 2007

The Derriere Guard 10th Anniversary.

Ever since i read about the first Derriere Guard Festival, back in 1997, I wanted to be a part of it. The idea of being around like minded artists, poets, composers, architects, thinkers seemed an impossible dream, after all who liked realism? Who would embarrass themselves by saying they liked Norman Rockwell or even Sargent? Well Tom Wolf was one, who back then, boldly predicted that Picasso will be all but forgotten in by 2020.

Last night, in the closing speech, he stood by his prediction, citing the 'collapse of taste' that usually happens sometime after the turn of a century (and has happened since the Renaissance). He gave an accurate assessment of the current art scene referring to it as tenure art, no hands art. Tenure art is the art produced by faculty that gets them job security. It must appeal to the 'charming aristocracy' - the elite who identify themselves by liking something that the masses could not like and in turn rejecting any sort of art that the masses could like. So art in the 20-early 20th century world, is simply a way of buying into an aristocracy. "No hands" art is the artist with absolutely no technical ability but hires out all the actual executions of his idea.

He rattled off the all too familiar list of outrageous, absurd, wasteful 'art', like Hartford paying $80,000.00 to a 'sculptor' who simply placed 8 or so native rocks in the public square, or a sculpture that was so ugly and obtrusive employees petitioned to remove it from the Javits center and this was the sculptor's claim to fame - he created something ugly enough to be hated by the masses and thus embraced by the charming aristocracy.

But its all coming to an end, its really running on bankrupt ideas - as is the whole post modern world - there is only so long you live in defiance of reality.

The same goes for architecture, he remarked that Frank Gehry and another architect were critiquing a design back in the 70s and said 'it's not ugly enough'.

Stefania de Kenessey has alluded to this earlier, by noting that the definition of music has literally changed here is quote from an old essay of hers:

My old, well-thumbed Concise Oxford Dictionary, originally printed in 1911, characterizes music as the “art of combining sounds with a view to beauty of form and expression of emotion.” Now do likewise with a dictionary published after the 1930s or so, and you will see a staggering difference. The version offered by my 1974 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, for example, posits music as “the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationship….
There was an earlier round table discussion with Jacob Collins (who runs and founded Grand Central Academy where this was held), Frank Turner, De Kenessey, a Mrs. Fairfax who's first name alludes me but is a neoclassical architect, and another composer whose name alludes me.

Fairfax remarked that even the green movement is being co-opted by modernists, despite the fact that traditional materials are better for insulation - and steel and glass most definitely are not - so when Frank Gehry tries to palm his environmentally intensive crap as green he's no more convincing than when he tries to convince me it's beautiful. One humorous aside- there was spontaneous collective chuckling when Turner described that uncomfortable feeling when you' try to see beauty you don't see' in modern (as in abstract) art. Yeah, I get the feeling every time I look at Ratner/Gehry's Atlantic Yards rendering. I hope I don't have to get that feeling every time I walk by Flatbush and Atlantic.

1 comment:

Nathalie said...

In my 1970 french dictionanry it says about Music: "Art to combine sounds." and that's it