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GREAT ART! 

GREAT ART! We got so much hate mail from the last Outrage that we were tempted to put on the gloves and ask our readers to step outside. But it's pretty cold here in Washington.


We decided instead we'd solace our battered egos by searching for some inspiration in art. Y'know, fuel for the soul sort of stuff.

In our search for a vision of the world, not as it is, but as it could be or should be, we naturally headed for the nation's art gallery, the National Gallery of Art. And none of that old fashioned stuff for us -- no Botticelli, Raphael, or Titian -- we want the latest and greatest, so naturally we headed to the exciting world of modern art in the National Gallery's East Wing.

Of course, with all those museums on the mall it gets pretty crowded. We finally found a parking spot, after the customary exchange of obscenities and death threats with other drivers. (For those of you planning a visit to our lovely city, we'd also like to warn you that, in reality, pedestrians NEVER have the right of way. As in the world of politics, it's strictly survival of the fittest and most heavily armed.)

At last, inside one of the world's most famous museums. How exciting! We wanted to see everything, so we started on the ground floor. The first thing to confront us was Robert Motherwell's "Reconciliation Elegy." We weren't sure what it was at first, but then we realized it was part of the collection - it is Great Art.

We know that we're not very enlightened, so we were determined to appreciate all this Great Art. We stepped back and took a good long look at Mr. Motherwell's painting. The thing was huge - 30 feet wide and 10 feet high. But despite all that space, it only contains very large and indistinct black splotches on a white background. Hmmm... we tried to open our minds to the message that this Great Art undoubtedly contained, but all we could see was the big black splotches, like someone had just thrown a lot of black paint on a huge white canvas, and left it to dry.

We decided to move on; maybe we'd understand the next one. The next room contained Burgoyne Diller's "#44 First Theme." This was a white square against a black background, but it also had a yellow rectangle and a blue rectangle; okay, now we're getting somewhere. (Don't use your imagination to add to these descriptions - we are, we're afraid, describing everything that actually appears in these pictures.)

Next was Joseph Alber's "Study for Homage to the Square." We had kind of been hoping that some of this Great Art might pay homage to something like human imagination, creativity, or craftsmanship, but all of the Great Modern Artists seem to be rather fascinated with squares. This piece was a yellow square on a grey background.

At this point, one of the Outraged crew wanted to contact all of the Great Artists and hire their marketing firms, but we still had lots of art to see.

If you think a picture like Robert Mangold's "Two Triangles within a Square #2" is simple, think again. Sure, the painting itself is very simple; about a half hour's work for a decent house painter. But financing the purchase of the picture so that the unwashed masses can enjoy it is anything but simple. Mr. Mangold's Great Art was the gift of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. However, the price was so high that the purchase also necessitated donations from the Alison Mellon Bruce Fund, and additional assistance from the Patron's Permanent Fund. A hostile takeover of Microsoft would probably require less financing.

We spent so much time analyzing this work that we missed the chance to see some of the other 54 works of Great Art in the National Gallery that were produced by Mr. Mangold. Thus, we can't tell you about "Distorted Red Square-Circle", "Green Distorted Square-Circle", "Orange Distorted Square-Circle", "A Square Not Totally Within A Triangle" or the many works of Great Art which are "Untitled"; Mr. Mangold presumably having more important things to do than titling his work.

Next we saw Andy Warhol's "A Boy For Meg", which is simply a painted reproduction of the cover of the November 31 edition of the New York Post. Much like Warhol's reproduction of the Cambell's Soup Cans, you might be tempted to think that this work was simply a blatant copyright violation. Silly you - it's obviously Great Art.

Wayne Thiebaud's "Cakes" is a painting of 12 cakes. They're ordinary cakes, and you could see the same things in any baker's shop, but these Cakes were the gift of the Collector's Committee, with additional financing from the Abrams family. (Now you know how rich people spend their money. As Marie Antoinette might have said, "If the masses don't have bread, let them look at paintings of cakes.")

Near "Cakes" we found Claes Oldenburg's "Glass Case with Pies". And that's exactly what it was - a glass case with replicas of about half a dozen ordinary pies. You and Betty Crocker could copy this art perfectly in about an hour in your kitchen, but since you're not a Great Artist, the results would not be Great Art. (Might taste good though.)

In 1874 the art critic Louis Leroy mocked the nascent Impressionist movement by commenting on the "ease of workmanship". Leroy, all we can say is that we're very sorry that you didn't live long enough to visit the National Gallery's East Wing. Impressionist painters were virtuoso craftsmen compared to the work we found here.

You see, understanding Great Art is not so much a question of the art itself, but of your enlightened perception of the "art." If you're educated, insightful, and sophisticated, you'll see that Ellsworth Kelly's "White Curve No. 8" is a work of sublime intelligence. To a businessman from Idaho it might look like just a simple canvas, with the upper half painted black and the lower half painted white. But to the knowing, to the perceptive, ahhh... it's... well...Great Art.

But the real test of perception is Ad Reinhardt's "Black Painting no. 34". At first glance it appears to be simply a canvas, painted black. Just black. No unusual texture, no design work, no unique brushwork. Nothing. Just a black canvas. Black frame. Now if you're the sort of person who thinks that 1+1=2, or that your eyes are a useful tool of cognition, you're just not going to get this. But if you live in a higher realm of consciousness, if you see a greater reality, if you think the Emperor was really quite well-dressed, then this painting is for you.

We've spent a considerable amount of time studying the kind of people that are able to appreciate "Black Painting no. 34" and similar Great Art. For some reason, they all seem to share certain characteristics. All of the cognoscenti despise money, but always seem to be demanding it. Like Rousseau, they all talk about the beauty of nature, but they tend to live in places like Manhattan, Washington, or Berlin. They enjoy pontificating on the virtues of the poor as they sip their $2.75 cappuccinos. They say they admire individuality and self-expression, but they all dress, talk, and think alike. They oppose capital punishment, but they're willing to overlook wholesale massacres if the objective is one based on sound social policy.

We'd like to thank the rest of American taxpayers for providing those of us who live in the nation's capitol with all this Great Art and other fine amenities. Despite the fact that our city is vastly inaccessible to the great majority of tax-paying Americans, we've managed to take huge amounts of your money for our local entertainment.

Not only have you provided us with the National Gallery of Art, and the Kennedy Center, but also with the vast Smithsonian complex, the great majority of which is conveniently located within a 10 minute drive of Outrage HQ. Of course, it may not be so convenient for those of you living in Kansas or New Orleans, but then, again, who cares? All the politicians, lawyers, and consultants who thrive in this great city have easy access to a plethora of federally funded entertainment.

The Freer and Sackler Galleries, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Zoo, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African Art, National Museum of American Art, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, National Postal Museum, and the Renwick Gallery are just a few of our neighborhood hang-outs, courtesy of you. But don't think the government's not spreading the wealth; why, they put two of the Smithsonian's museums in New York City, just to be fair. (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian.)

Who actually pays for all this Great Art? The initial funding for the construction of the National Gallery came from financier and art collector Andrew Mellon, and the Mellon family later paid for the construction of the East Building. All of the Great Art in the National Gallery has been donated by private individuals, or various consortiums. You, gentle taxpayer, pay for the daily operation of the National Gallery, and believe me, that's a big ticket item.

The National Gallery's Great Art is guarded by more security than the Pope. It's pretty hard to imagine someone slipping Motherwell's "Elegy" in their pocket and taking it home to put on the dining room wall. Or why anyone would want to try. But that doesn't deter the government from spending over $11 million dollars a year guarding all this Great Art (just at the National Gallery). You also help us locals out by spending over $20 million a year for the "care and utilization of art collections" at the National Gallery. Another $12 million for building maintenance and pretty soon you're near the total annual federal subsidy of about $60 million. Thank you!

The National Gallery is of course separate from the Smithsonian Institution facilities described above, for which you help us out with over $383 million each year, of which over $328 million is for salaries and "expenses". And then there's the National Endowment for the Arts, for which President Clinton is currently requesting that you donate $136 million in 1998. Thanks again!

Gotta run now - there's a lot to see and do in this city, and we don't want to fritter too much of our time away working.


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0 comments on “GREAT ART!

  1. I really admire the way you wish to prevent any new thought
    or ideas from reaching the mass of idiots swarming over
    this planet. Keep them stupid and happy so they’ll never
    know their lives suck and were all already in hell. After all,
    ignorance is bliss.

    You people need to take some art history courses, and
    maybe some design. Read a few books, learn to write
    an essay that doesn’t feel so forced and choppy. Look
    into de stil(spelling-i forget).

    Time: 2/24/98 (23:41:42)

    I visited our great national art gallery once with my mother who informed me she had seen better art work on the wallpaper she had hung over the years. We giggled with hands over mouth, didn’t want to be considered uncouth. I can tell all you art lovers out there if you come to West Virginia you will see art that will rival any that is in the Smithonian and it will not cost you a cent in taxes. It’s about time all of the 51 states started their own galleries and kept the tax money in their own states. If the great tax spenders in our fair capitol wants to spend my tax dollars, please spend them on keeping our arm forces up to stregnth so my grandchildren can have a future to earn a good living , a safe life and as much happiness they can cram in, not some paint splashed on a canvas that really no one gives a rats ass about.

    Yes, some art sucks and some doesn’t, but let’s start bitching more about the IRS and our health care system. I’m sick of being taxed to death and having to pay for health care and accountants. As for defense–I love it. More of it, i say. Thats what makes this nation the strongest. Cut back on other government spending but not defense.

    Unfortunately we need defence, but lets not get rid of it. And as far as the NEA is concerned… yes, some of the art that is funded is offensive. (Please refrain from using Andres Serrano’s,”Christ P***.” Its getting tired.) There is so much that is remarkably beautiful. Lets remember, we need to see ALL art to pass judgement. Wouldn’t life suck if everything was PERFECT and not offensive?????

    Time: 2/24/98 (2:41:1)

    ALTHOUGH I HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED COMMENTS ON THIS ITEM, I CANNOT HELP BUT NOTE THE RAVINGS OF MATT, WHOSE FOUR LETTER WORD MOUTH IS A DEAD GIVE AWAY THAT HE, HIMSELF, IS OBVIOUSLY TO BE COUNTED AMONGST THE TRAILER PARK TRASH HE SO CONDESCENDINGLY REFERS TO. MATT BABY, YOU MISSED THE POINT. GET YOUR CRAYONS OUT AND WRITE THIS DOWN. DRAW A PIC IF YOU HAVE TO : MATT, WE ARE NOT BITCHING ABOUT THE COST. WE ARE BITCHING ABOUT THE ARBITRARY MANNER BY WHICH A FEW ELITIST, CLASS DISPARAGING AUTHORITIES ON ART, Ie; JANE ALEXANDER, ETC, CHOOSE THE INANE ITEMS HANGING FROM THE WALLS OF THE MUSEUM I PAID FOR, WITH MY TAXES. THATS THE BITCH, MATT MY FRIEND. GOOD TO KNOW YOU LIVED CLOSE BY THE CENTER OF KNOWLEDGE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG. BY THE WAY, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU POPPED FOR A FEW BUS TICKETS SINCE THEN?

    I saw Black Painting no. 34 a few years ago. I can’t be sure, but I think they hung it upside down. It reminds me of one of those so called artists who took a common wet-dry shop vac, encased it in plexiglass and sold it for $250,000.

    Time: 2/23/98 (16:16:35)

    Nothing about the current federal funding leviathon angers me more than the corruption of the very conception of ART that inspires, uplifts, and informs the human soul with the imposition of this garbage in the galleries the people built.

    To all of you whining candy-a$$ed folk out there that decided to take your time and bitch bitch bitch about this Art Gallery thing I have only one thing to say: BUY A F*CKING CLUE!

    The NEA and the museums supported by your tax dollars are there for YOUR use…they belong to YOU. NOT the people in government in DC.

    Inaccessable to the people of the US you say? WHAT… is taxation keeping people from buying a bus, train or plane ticket to our Nation’s Capital? Hell no. Every summer the mall is FLOODED with people (usually with three or four kids in tow) milling all over the place, going into every museum and gallery.

    No how much it costs? NOTHING YOU LAZY A$$HOLES!

    Know why? I’ll tell you all since you obviously have nothing better to to that to try to assign blame for your trailer-park-living existance…

    It’s free because YOU PAID FOR IT!

    I had the fortune of growing up in Maryland, about 45 minutes from the museums you all are slamming. I count my visits NOT ONLY to the East wing but also the West Wing, the Hirschorn, the Air and Space, the Natuural History as defining experiences in my life. I’m glad we have (or at least HAD) the kind of government represenitives that had the vision and foresight to create something that lived beyond my daily existance. That houses not only the modern, but the classical visions of our world that has been handed down to us from artists throughout history.

    Void of anything that makes any sense to me, or the common tax paying man, our government, still insist on wasteing our tax-dollars on whatever it wants.

    I suggest that EVERYBODY looks to our constitution, and looks to see where it says the government has the right to spend money, OUR money, on anything that it damn well pleases. Because it don’t.

    Time: 2/21/98 (10:8:36)

    What bothers me the most about all this great stuff (your art) is … There are rumblings on the “grapevine” that as soon as we enter the morning of Jan 1/2000 and all our computers shut down because of the 2000 “bug” . The US is going to absorb Canada (and all other little countries) into the New World Order. Then what you call “art” will also become ours.

    Oh well, what can a person do?

    Time: 2/21/98 (6:51:31)

    Don’t think you have the monopoly of “pseuds” over in the US, nor the only “artists” ready to take the public for a ride. Here in the UK we have our very own Damian Hirst, who sprang to public notice & acclamation (??) with his “sheep suspended in formaldehide” – yes a real live (actually dead !) sheep.

    His latest offering is a portrait of an open medecine cupboard, complete with boxes of pills etc. I say “portrait” but it is actually a photograph.

    Much of his work is snapped up by publicly funded art gallaries, usually in London, so at least we in the north don’t have to look at it in person – we just have to pay for it !!

    I hope that you can look a bit more at items outside the USA – you seem to be being a bit parochial !!

    Best Wishes,
    Peter L.

    First time reading your column…I LIKE it!

    Well, it’s good to know our politicians are busy making sure Great Art such as “Black on Canvas” can be produced and displayed. I guess there aren’t any real problems out there, like poverty or Iraq or anything like that… Nah. Can’t be.

    I think I’ll go buy some $2.75 cappucino…

    I remember when the Outrage used to have great articles that I could read and talk about. Now it has sunk to the level of once a week whining about art in the capitol. Sigh.

    It would seem that most of your readers agree with you (and me). To the writer who told you to quit whining, I have only this to say. I think I’ll paint an art form about modern art and call it ‘GOD pukes’ (on all that these obviously simple minded sub humans are calling art). It is a profound sin for that kind of money to be squandered in such a crass fashion while we have hungry and homeless people in this country.

    Time: 2/19/98 (21:29:12)

    MOST OF US AGREE WITH OUTRAGE ON THE GREAT ART SCAM. HEY, IF IT WAS JUST THE ART, I WOULD SAY, LET IT HANG, SLOP IT UP AND SLIP IT IN. BUT ITS MORE THAN THAT. ITS THE WHOLE BUREAUCRATIC POLICY BY WHICH PUBLIC FUNDS ARE ALLOCATED AND SPENT. NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE LIVING IN TRAILER PARKS OR ON MAIN STREET (WHO PAY MOST OF THE TAXES) HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT WHAT GETS HUNG IN THE GREAT MARBLED HALLS OF THE AMERICAN CAPITOL.

    (TRAVERS33@aol.com) Time: 2/19/98 (12:43:27)

    STORMBOUND, YOU RASCAL. YOU SLICK, SILVER TONGUED, SNAKE OIL SALESMAN. YOUR OFFER IS A HOAX. AFTER READING YOUR COMMENTS (EXCUSE ME OUTRAGE EDITOR, BUT I HAVE TO GET THIS OFF MY CHEST) I CHECKED WITH MY NEIGHBOR. THEY WERE SHOCKED, AND THEY ADVISED THEY WERE NOT, REPEAT, NOT PAYING FOR THE ART WORK AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THEY ARE HAVING TROUBLE GETTING WORK, MUCH LESS SPENDING MILLIONS (I FORGET HOW MANY YOU SAID) ON ORANGE TRIANGLES AND BLACK SQUARES, ETC.

    ANYHOW, THEY ASKED THEIR NEIGHBORS. SAME RESPONSE. NOBODY KNEW ABOUT THE ART WORK THING. NOW THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD IS TALKING AND, HOLD ON, THE DOG’S BARKING, SOMEBODY OUTSIDE. OH MY GOD!! ITS THE FEDS. BUNCH OF GUYS IN ARMORED CARS AND FLAME THROWERS. THEY’RE ALL WEARING DARK BLUDE JUMP SUITS WITH YELLOW LETTERS ON THEIR BACKS. VERY ARTY, I MIGHT ADD.

    Re: Great American Art… It is my humble opinion that the simple solution is to take all of that great art & donate it ( & its inherent costs) to our good friend in the middle east, Saddam Hussein. He could decorate his many palaces with it and once we sufficiently bomb the crap out of him ,the world will truly be a much better place. Not only has the music died in this country ,but it appears artistic sense has died as well. I’m only surprised that no one has yet blamed the internet for this travesty.

    You cannot capture the beauty of art in words and if you know nothing about it and you’re not really interested in it, you shouldn’t even try ! Quit your whining…..

    Simply Amazing. Our elected officals can justify spending so much to benefit so few. But, can cut to the quick the funding for public television.

    I’ve seen art that I like. I’ve seen art that I don’t like. I’ve seen great artists be small. I’ve seen many small artists be great. Respect for different opinions is what we all need to see more of.

    After 2 years at an expensive “art” school, studying design, 6 semesters of art history, 2 semesters of critical theory as it relates to art, I finally had to give up and quit, because I STILL DON’T GET IT! It may be true that some find beauty in things that are just boring and overpriced, and it may be true that, relative to how much is spent on other crap besides art, pennies per person are spent on federal art programs, but I still don’t understand modern art. I’m young; I certainly tried; I even have quite a few friends who think they are artistes, but I still pretty much came up with the same conclusion you did. (except that I wasted a lot more money trying) Even at this fancy art school, it was even more of a ludicrous emperor’s new clothes hoax.

    In defense of the NEA, it is rilly rilly inexpensive per person, and they do fund a lot of Public Television.

    Well I am going to put my 2 cents in to this. A few years ago some one used human waste product in a jar with a cross and called it art.Like what has been said you must be enlighten to see this as art not as someones waste, these are the same people who will pay big bucks for old barn wood to put in there house.It takes all kinds to make this world what it is but we could do with out a few of the enlightened…

    Well, guys, those of you who’re totally bumfuzzled by Great Art are now in luck!

    Available for a limited time through this special EMail offer is the new and revised edition of the Basic Understanding Lexicon for Loving Modern Art (BULLMA)!

    Contained in this 13-volume set, lavishly illustrated and bound in lovely deep-off-purple faux-lambskin with orange triangular accents, are all the deep philosophical explanations and weighty ponderings necessary to understand why, for example, Thurford’s “Three Green Triangles in a Sea of Brown” is actually a devastatingly witty dialectic on post-modern capitalism as related to global warming! Or why Vicault’s “Squarish Circlety Hexagon” is a scathing criticism of
    racist individualism!

    Among the many articles in the Lexicon are Abner Martin’s “Why Red?”, Zoopy Dartner’s “Why the F*** Not?”, and Mairyane Leighton-Peyton’s “Why the F*** Can’t You M*****-F****** Ever Talk About Pink?”, all recognized masterworks crucial to understanding the very essence of modern, post-modern, neo-post-modern, and later-neo-post-partem-modernistic-expositional art. Reading these works will expand your mind in directions you’d never thought possible, and bring you to heights of ecstasy when given the opportunity to view such pinnacles of the art form as Van Vandervan’s “Fuschia Goes Down on Violet” as you understand now why neither the color fuschia nor violet appear in the painting!

    How much would YOU pay for this set? $179 million? $149 million? But wait, there’s more! Act now and you will recieve, totally free of charge, a limited edition lithograph of Meekel Threbnet’s “Spiral in Purplish-Black and Blackish-Purple”, mounted in a lovely chipped-gold frame designed exclusively for this offer!

    NOW how much would you pay? $129 million? $99 million? Well, hold on to your hats…you don’t have to pay ANYTHING!

    That’s right, this entire 13-volume set is yours FREE for the asking! Thanks to our exclusive partnership with the National Gallery and the National Endowment for the Arts, your NEIGHBORS are actually paying the entire cost of this offer! How can you refuse?

    So just send in your check today to cover the $99.95 shipping and handling cost, and you can start to appreciate Great Art as it’s meant to be appreciated today!

    Don’t delay, call now! Dial 1-555-4728-278, that’s 1-555-GRAT-ART!

    (Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery, and 12-15 years for comprehension).

    [For anyone wondering, “BULLMA” is a semi-inside joke in my lunch group. If “dogma” is something you have to carry a scoop for when you walk your pooch,
    then…well, you can take it from there.]

    Stormhound

    Washington,D.C.!

    It is my hope,if there are any Russian suitcase nukes in this country, that the owners will please light the candle in the District of Criminals and spare the rest of us, as well as give us a chance to elect a new set of crooks. I grow weary of the lying creeps we have institutionalized

    It was Al Capp (Li’l Abner comic strip cartoonist) who said;

    “Abstract Art: A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered”

    It’s a shame they didn’t put the National Museum of American Indians some where the Indian’s could enjoy it…….like out west where we banished them! No “normal” human wishes to go to New York in the first place!

    I have no time to comment upon your essay on modern art. Am grabbing my check book and heading into town to purchase several large sections of canvas, a gallon of the best black latex paint, a couple of the largest frames Wal-Mart carries and a four-inch brush.

    No wait. Black has been done. Make that paint color a nice muddy gray. Then I can call my masterpiece “The Mind of the Artist” and some wealthy patron or patroness will pay a fortune for it before donating it to the modern art wing of the National Gallery. Lordy, what a way to make a living!

    I’d like to use this as an opportunity to circulate my latest work of art.

    I call it:

    Here it is:

    After reading a few RageBack comments, I have become even more outraged. It is not for one person to say what art is. Every person has a different interpretation of what they see. If even one person gets any sort of pleasure from beautiful art, more power to them.

    Also, don’t be bashing the NEA. Think of this instead. One day’s worth of the money this country spends on defense would feed every child under the age of 16 for a year. One day!!

    Perhaps we should all be more worried about that than paint and plaster.

    If these “artists” are so creative, why don’t they create a way to support themselves without scamming the public coffers. Surrealtism by definiton is symbolic of a demented mind. It is also smbolic of the modern day political situation which borders on dementia.

    Keep up the accurate reviews of the questionable “Art” collections. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    You don’t have to know the deeper meaning Modern Art to appreciate it. You just like it or you don’t and there is no rational explanation about it. Simple things can be beautiful. And please don’t start about money: I bet the US government spends less than $10 per person per year on art.

    I am reminded of a time in college, mumble years ago, when my roomie framed a portion of a painter’s drop cloth and snuck it into a traveling art exhibit at the campus “gallery”, where it hung for the entire visit. To my mind, this serves to illustrate just how truly meaningless modern “art” is.

    Well done! My colleagues who said your article “only contains very large and indistinct black splotches on a white background ” obviously need to fine-tune their browsers.

    Time: 2/18/98 (6:39:17)

    I tend to agree, but as they say…”beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.” I am constantly amazed, however, by what some people apparently consider to be great art.

    I’ve only made one trip to the modern art wing of the National Gallery, vowing to never return. Unless, of course, they have another exhibition such as the recent
    Escher collection, which is in a class of its own, and I hated to see it surrounded by paint splotches and multi-hued rhomboids passing themselves off as art.

    ‘Nuff said…keep up the good work!

    The art comments are on the mark, but why go after the Smithsonian? That just dilutes your whole arguement, since you don’t make a case against the other museums. And if you think that 380 million is expensive to maintain all those museums full of old “junk” then you obviously haven’t even had to pay upkeep on a single house…

    I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!

    A few months ago I took my 4 children to our local (Perth, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) State Art Gallery (government funded).

    I think the best piece of modern art was a sheet of about A3 paper that had been hand painted solid green (no fancy textures, folded up about four times neatly and then unfolded and mounted!

    I also had to chuckle at a rather large Mural – whilst interesting, the comment in the bottom Left Hand corner had me thinking : “painted by penis”. I mean was this a self assesment of the artist (albeit honest) or a technical description of the techniques used?

    The mind boggles!

    Keep up the Outrage

    I was supprised to hear about all of the “hate mail” received by The Outrage.

    I think The Outrage is doing an outstanding job and the only real outrage would be if they were to discontinue or “tone it down”. Frankly, I think that the only people that “outrage” could possibly offend would be somebody with something to hide; possibly somebody with that hideous social disease “liberalism”.

    Keep up the good work, Outrage. Somebody has to expose these frauds!

    Rapier wit, this time “rapiering” the bureaucracy of art. I confess that, to someone in the Heartland, this piece is right on target. Give ’em an inch . . . .

    The only advantage I can see to the close proximity of these Leviathans is that one Ryder truck, wisely placed, might render a resounding denial of the Emperor’s sartorial splendor, black-on-black or otherwise.

    From one who has shed real tears at the foot of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, I say Right On, Outrage!

    Money that goes to the NEA isn’t just used in museums that house modern art. Though I agree that “modern art” isn’t hardly art at all, it’s impossible to justify criticizing the NEA on that point alone. The NEA funds music programs in public schools, teaching kids in K-12 schools in instrumental and vocal music. It also finances many programs on Public Television.

    If we’re going to boot out some unproductive and non-beneficial government overhead, let’s start with re-doing the IRS, and getting rid of the selective service (~$25 million annually to do nothing. zip. nada.).

    I think you’re really reaching on this one. If this is as outrageous as you can find then we’re doing pretty good as a society. Washington, D.C. is the Capital of our country. It should be a “showcase.” While I don’t agree on your thoughts on art and taxpayers paying for it I can surely understand them.

    However, your attack on the Smithsonian is totally “outrageous”. This is a national treasure. Yes, it may be inconvenient to many. But it is there. I live in Utah and, at different times, have taken all six of my children, my wife, my parents, and some extended family back to D.C. specifically to visit the Smithsonian. We all marvelled at the Air and Space Museum. We learned of our past at the Museum of American History. We saw the wonders of our world at the Museum of Natural History. We enjoyed ourselves at the National Zoo. Yes, it was inconvenient and cost money.

    But there are millions each year who benefit from the Smithsonian. And that’s not even delving into the research and grants and other ways we, as a society, benefit from the Smithsonian. What would you do; throw it all away?

    What do you expect from a bloated parasitic regime with way too much stolen money? Each of us taxpayers has a huge and staggeringly heavy bloodsucking slug glued to his/her back, sucking the majority of the sickened body’s blood.

    Mercy! Just a black square in a black square, huh? Aha! Now, do you get it? I think you were right on, but most Americans are going to point out that your outrage over Great Art in our Great City of Hope, are but a tiny, tiny, portion of a much larger outrage called the United States Congress. This noble body of men and women are able to point out, quite deftly i might add, that the total amount spent on Washington’s version of the local, drive-in movie, is but a pittance compared to other budgets, such as the DOD, CIA, FBI. Silly outrage people.

    As a fellow Washingtonian, I can say that I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly. When I first moved into the Washington area, and consequently paid a visit to the National Gallery, I was shocked at the sheer trash that passes for “great” works of art. My favorite exibit was the upside-down-hanging tree. (hmm, provocative..)

    The defenders of these great works often pretend that it’s a matter of enlightenment. The old “you just don’t understand what it’s all about, man”. Fortunately for me, I was accompanied during the visit by a “real” artist, my wife, who assured me that she couldn’t make any sense of many of the exibits either.

    I suspect I’m cynical to the point that I sort of like your irreverence!

    The “outrange” about modern art was not outrageous. It was merely repetative of arguments and opinions that have been stated in the art world for most of this century.

    All this essay proves is, that with sufficient lack of creativity, almost anybody can repeat the statements of others. Next time, try to find a less banal subject matter. I do not think the issue of Clinton’s infidelities is quite flogged to death yet.

  2. I am an artist, I live in a
    trailer, and I refuse to take
    offense to any of the comments
    posted here.
    I don’t give a poo-poo who
    compromises the integrity of
    art by brainfarting and beggin
    the high dollar for it.
    I know I am not guilty of such
    an offense.
    I could not care less that the
    uncultured kine of this land
    of the free line up at the
    museums and exhibitions of
    modern art as cattle for a
    mind-milking.
    I only know that I go to see
    what I like.
    And sometimes I even like what
    I see.
    All this hype about the poor
    defenseless public being
    swindled by the blood-sucking
    beurocrats who elevate the
    status of untalented
    brush-weilding posers is
    rather silly.
    If you are not satisfied with
    the art, then go forth and
    make thine own art!
    Party at my tin can slum hood
    2nite– I’ll be handing out
    fine fromage to go with all
    your whines.
    I can peel back the greenbacks
    this time, baby!
    I just sold a beautiful,
    inspiring, breathtaking,
    enlightening, fascinating
    perfect piece of original
    sculpture for a whopping $50!!!!!
    I might even have some left
    over for a coupla tubes of
    paint!~!

  3. I have read your excellent piece about our national treasurs. Your vivid discriptions of this nations most prized cultural efforts sent me rushing to review my daughter’s art work which I have been collector and curator for the past 10 years. Her time apparently has arrived. Could you kindly provide the names of public relations firms that have successfully promoted the great achievments in our nations capitol. We also need advice on the best way to present these ( I am sure to be great works) paintings and sculptures i,e. frames, backgrounds etc. A psudonymn may be appropriate, perhaps one that resonates with a French articulation. Indeed, this area may truly be where function triumps over form. However, my daughter is now 12 years old and I fear her greatrest years our behind her. Which should only make her creations more marketable because of the ensuing rarity. I look forward to sipping cappucino with you on the green while musing about the genius of our modern art and the ability of a perceptive government to secure for us and future generatons this most precious entiltlement. We will forever be in their debt.

  4. I’m not outraged by this Outrage but I’d like to reply anyway.

    You might “get” more out of this world if you paused a moment to ponder why you couch everything as “we” vs “they”.

    I agree, Ad Reinhart’s black paintings are difficult. But they just require a little more time than most people will commit to thinking about art. They have nothing to do with new clothes, milky coffee or murky minds. If you don’t want to spend a little more time thinking about them, you could always read up a little bit about them. Ad Reinhart wrote quite a bit about art making and art history. He’s quite funny and down to earth. You might have more in common with his attitude than you think.
    But if you want to go on and hate Motherwell and Rothko and Warhol that’s fine with me.

  5. Exactly what is it you folks have against the good people
    of Berlin? Haven’t they suffered enough in one decade?
    I wonder why its Washington, New York, and Berlin
    instead of some place even more decadent like Paris or
    Brussels. What about all of those French leftists who
    invaded your country in the 1950’s. Isn’t THAT a cultural
    Outrage? Why don’t you go invade them back instead of
    picking on the Berliners?

    We Germans have put up with a lot of crap from you
    people. I, for one, am fed up with it. I’ve read our postwar
    Constitution, the NATO charter, and the U.N. general
    charter over and over again. Nowhere does it say that
    we have to suffer the provocations of a bunch of
    johnny-come-lately, apple-pie-eating, pistol waving
    YANKEES.

    Yours truly,

    The Last Angry Prussian

  6. you are so stupid. Did you even really look at the paintings you are talking about? “Just black. No unusual texture, no design work, no unique brushwork. Nothing” I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that painting is not all black as you say–These works, are subtle– if you are an idiot who expects everything to be as obvious as a game-show then you won’t get it– look at that painting again sometime when you’re older and have grown up a little bit, and if you really look this time instead of walking past in two seconds, you’ll see that its not all black, that the brushstokes aren’t there because they were painstakingly brushed out, and that it would take you years to be able to paint that well, and then maybe you’ll hear what ad was trying to say to you.

  7. Like 99% of “experimental” theatre, 99% of modern “art” is a case of the emperor’s new clothes. When a bewildered outsider asks a connoisseur of such media, “What does it mean?”, the pretentious fop will invariably respond, “Well, if you don’t KNOW, I couldn’t POSSIBLY explain it to you”, which means they have no idea either.

    On one hand, I am outraged that talentless individuals can sell a piece of canvas onto which they flung a litre or so of paint while drunk or high on LSD for a thousands of dollars, while an artist who labours for months to create a beautiful piece of art earns much less. On the other hand, if someone can make money of the pretentiousness of others by expoliting their pathetic need to feel “in touch” with modern art, more power to them.

  8. hhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm. Whats your beef, that art wont protect your nation? You dont understand what it all about? Or it’s just another exuse to bitch about the Government you voted into power? Well see, one, I really dont care about your money Issues and are just procrastinating studying for an art exam.Two, have any of you ever made a piece of art, you study a theory, incorperate history and experiment with technique, this takes a long time you know. Then when your done some imbicile looks at it for one second and decides it’s “bad” maybee you should re think something, cos I’m sorta gettin a negative vibe here. (What’s wrong with trailor parks? I dont live in one, I’m just curious) hhhhmmmm….

  9. 1) If all these new conceptual artists are so clever how come they need to explain their work – or have you go on some course to understand it? Everyone relates to the old masters, these new pretenders have to hide behind a mask of pseudo-intellectual elitism.
    2) If these new artists can actually paint how come they dont prove it by doing some? Just so we can give them some respect you understand! I dont think they could paint houses for a living, never mind real pictures!
    3) How come jews are over-represented? They sure don’t get represented amongst the plder masters! i think its all just a tax-deductable scam!

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