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Roger Kimball: The End of Art (Profound Essay)
First Things ^ | July 2008 | Roger Kimball

Posted on 12/27/2008 12:54:23 PM PST by mojito

Nearly everyone cares—or says he cares—about art. After all, art ennobles the spirit, ­elevates the mind, and educates the emotions. Or does it? In fact, tremendous irony attends our culture’s continuing investment—emotional, financial, and social—in art. We behave as if art were something special, something important, something spiritually refreshing; but, when we canvas the roster of distinguished artists today, what we generally find is far from spiritual, and certainly far from refreshing.

It is a curious situation. Traditionally, the goal of fine art was to make beautiful objects. The idea of beauty came with a lot of Platonic and Christian metaphysical baggage, some of it indifferent or even hostile to art. But art without beauty was, if not exactly a contradiction in terms, at least a description of failed art.

Nevertheless, if large precincts of the art world have jettisoned the traditional link between art and beauty, they have done nothing to disown the social prerogatives of art. Indeed, we suffer today from a peculiar form of moral anesthesia—as if being art automatically rendered all moral considerations ­gratuitous. The list of atrocities is long, familiar, and laughable. In the end, though, the effect has been ­anything but amusing; it has been a cultural disaster.

(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: art; avantgarde; beauty; fineart; nihilism; thomaskinkaide
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A long, but thoughtful essay by one of our last critics with any claim to moral seriousness.
1 posted on 12/27/2008 12:54:23 PM PST by mojito
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To: mojito
Kimball's The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art is one of the funniest books I've ever read.

ML/NJ

2 posted on 12/27/2008 1:00:51 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: mojito; mikrofon; Charles Henrickson
Photobucket
3 posted on 12/27/2008 1:02:17 PM PST by martin_fierro (Happy Little Screams)
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To: mojito
working through it.

thx.

4 posted on 12/27/2008 1:04:03 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: ml/nj

It’s funny or you’re being facetious?


5 posted on 12/27/2008 1:04:55 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: mojito
From 45 Communist Goals:

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

http://www.uhuh.com/nwo/communism/comgoals.htm

6 posted on 12/27/2008 1:05:32 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: mojito
Depends on what is considered beauty.

Most minimalist art I consider absolutely worthless. But then there is the one that is just a simple curved black line, but you recognize that this is the minimum necessary to evoke the shape, and thought, of a woman. Just a simple black line, but beautiful in its way. Similarly, I have seen one that is just some smudges, but it is recognizable as the minimum form necessary to describe a sea shore.

I used to consider Jackson Pollock's work absolutely worthless and paid little attention to them at all. But, later studies have posited that they have a fractal nature not found in attempted duplications. I haven't really made a decision about what I think of Pollock, but it made me at least take a look and see if there is any there there.
7 posted on 12/27/2008 1:06:05 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: the invisib1e hand
It's side-splitting funny. I was laughing so hard that I was crying and had to stop reading. I really recommend this book.

ML/NJ

8 posted on 12/27/2008 1:09:24 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
I really recommend this book.

Lemme guess, you wrote it.

9 posted on 12/27/2008 1:11:34 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Arkinsaw
Depends on what is considered beauty.

[angry, loud buzz.]
[loud, crashing gong.]
[...large hook emerging from stage left...]
[...three-second-delay utilized to cut to commercial...]

in other words, buh--freeking--osh.

11 posted on 12/27/2008 1:13:38 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: ETL

I’d prefer not to see those, moron.


12 posted on 12/27/2008 1:14:21 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: mojito

Fascinating article, indeed for an atheist like me, art is the closest thing to a religious experience. The fact that art exists is to me the strongest argument for the existence of God.

Beautiful art still exists, at least in cinema. The Kubricks, Kurosawas, Bergmans, and Tarkovskys of the world will continue to carry the fire.


13 posted on 12/27/2008 1:14:33 PM PST by zarodinu
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To: the invisib1e hand
Lemme guess, you wrote it.

I wish.

Read the reviews at Amazon and see what others thought.

ML/NJ

14 posted on 12/27/2008 1:14:47 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj

I’d trust your word before theirs. I’ll keep an eye out for it.


15 posted on 12/27/2008 1:16:15 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
[angry, loud buzz.] [loud, crashing gong.] [...large hook emerging from stage left...] [...three-second-delay utilized to cut to commercial...]

in other words, buh--freeking--osh.


I don't consider your response to be artistic.
16 posted on 12/27/2008 1:16:20 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Arkinsaw
I don't consider your response to be artistic.

it's totally artistic. didn't you read the article?

17 posted on 12/27/2008 1:17:40 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
it's totally artistic. didn't you read the article?

I did. But I just don't see the beauty in it.
18 posted on 12/27/2008 1:18:37 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Arkinsaw
Most minimalist art I consider absolutely worthless.

In the summer of 2007, my wife & I visited the art museum in Minneapolis. In the modern art section was a 'painting' I thought for an instant was a joke. It was a blank canvas. And it was a genuine display. Some people just put too much credence in the ethereal nature of art.

19 posted on 12/27/2008 1:20:40 PM PST by tbpiper
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To: tbpiper
In the summer of 2007, my wife & I visited the art museum in Minneapolis. In the modern art section was a 'painting' I thought for an instant was a joke. It was a blank canvas. And it was a genuine display. Some people just put too much credence in the ethereal nature of art.

That is indeed worthless.
20 posted on 12/27/2008 1:27:51 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: mojito

Not me, I don’t care about art at all. I don’t buy art and I don’t sell art. The artists can all starve, I don’t give a fig.

OTH, I do spend money on superbly crafted items of great beauty. I care about fine craftmenship quite a bit.


21 posted on 12/27/2008 1:27:57 PM PST by Valpal1 (Always be prepared to make that difference.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
I’d prefer not to see those, moron.

I thought your name sounded familiar. You're the guy who thought the story about 'Santa' shooting up a Christmas party was funny. Talk about morons. I was just showing a couple of examples of how the left is trying to destroy art in America. You, on the other hand, made a sick remark about a mass murder.

To: mylife
There are no words

How about, "Duck!"?
2 posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008 10:13:43 AM by the invisib1e hand (appeasement is collaboration.)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2154166/posts?page=2#2

22 posted on 12/27/2008 1:28:05 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: mojito

“...Deconstruction throws all objective meaning into question, so no one has to have the disappointing experience of being wrong or denied tenure, no matter how stupid one’s ideas. The burden of personal responsibility is mitigated, because one’s being is determined by accidental factors such as race, class and gender, not one’s owns values, decisions and actions. Skillful knowledge acquired by intense effort (or just being born smarter) is replaced by an obnoxious, hypertrophied adolescent scepticism that knows only how to question but not to learn.

It is grounded in a sort of bovine materialism that is not the realm of answers, but the graveyard of meaningful questions.

The primitive is idealized, because it is within everyone’s reach—I remember Rudy Giuliani’s comment about an artist’s rendering of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung: “If I can do it, it isn’t art.”

Of course, Giuliani was pilloried by the sophisticated N.Y art crowd, and with good reason. It is painful to have standards, because not everyone can attain them. ...” ~ Gagdad Bob (Robert Godwin, PhD)

Never Make a God of Your Irreligion
http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2005/10/never-make-god-of-your-irreligion.html


23 posted on 12/27/2008 1:28:18 PM PST by Matchett-PI ("Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty" - Gagdad)
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To: Arkinsaw
I did. But I just don't see the beauty in it.

Which is willful denial, which is the flaw in your original premise.

24 posted on 12/27/2008 1:29:21 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: ETL

I was mistaken. You’re a petty moron with far too much time and toys.


25 posted on 12/27/2008 1:30:10 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
Which is willful denial, which is the flaw in your original premise.

Our whole conversation reminds me of two dogs playing poker on black velvet.
26 posted on 12/27/2008 1:32:43 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: mojito

Bookmark


27 posted on 12/27/2008 1:33:17 PM PST by Flycatcher (Strong copy for a strong America)
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To: Arkinsaw

Aha. So that’s your idea of art.


28 posted on 12/27/2008 1:34:27 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
Aha. So that’s your idea of art.

That's all they have at the art section in my local Presidential Library. So it must be good.
29 posted on 12/27/2008 1:36:29 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: mojito

what about all that beauty on the inside stuff?

30 posted on 12/27/2008 1:38:39 PM PST by woofie
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To: the invisib1e hand

Well, if you’re going to call people ‘morons’ on a public forum, people ought to know what kind of a creep you are. Joking about a mass murder, especially one involving women and children, is beyond sick.


31 posted on 12/27/2008 1:39:31 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: mojito

Don’t have time to read the article now. What happened to art, did morons committed mass murder on it and laughed?


32 posted on 12/27/2008 1:43:34 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Many come here to merely strike poses, posture and feel superior to others.)
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To: Arkinsaw
As Jacques Maritain put it, art is capable of establishing “a world apart, closed, limited, absolute,” an autonomous world that, at least for a moment, relieves us of the “ennui of living and willing.”

I gather that's the effect of said Presidential Library.

33 posted on 12/27/2008 1:45:09 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: mojito
Once in a while real miracles happen. Mark Bangerter overcame a serious hate crime where he was left for dead along side the road.

He has now found his vision and will open on January 17 with a fabulous new show.

His Story

34 posted on 12/27/2008 1:46:19 PM PST by Utah Binger (Southern Utah, where we got two feet of "Global Warming" goresnow)
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To: mojito

Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball have both been invaluable critics of the decay of art in the postmodern world.

This is a thoughtful essay. I think a bit more could have been made of the Platonic/Aristotelian trio of trancendentals: truth, beauty, goodness. Perhaps Kimball just assumes that everyone knows about that, but I’m afraid most people no longer do.

That, for a Christian, is where art ties into religion, because religion is all about what is real, true, good, beautiful. When you trade in the real for the material is where you run into trouble. Or, what I think he’s referring to when he says that the problems began back in the middle ages, when you trade in Aristotelian universalism for Ockham’s nominalism, that’s also where you run into trouble.

I had several opportunities to meet with Kramer and Kimball, and in their early years after founding their new magazine they thought very highly of high modernist art but hated pop art and postmodernist art. Perhaps Kimball is reconsidering that, too, in this essay, although he doesn’t quite say so.


35 posted on 12/27/2008 1:47:09 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Arkinsaw

“I haven’t really made a decision about what I think of Pollock, but it made me at least take a look and see if there is any there there.”

I don’t know if he mixed his drinking with his artwork.

I find some of his canvases pleasing to the eye. Interesting colors. Interesting textures. Interesting shapes.


36 posted on 12/27/2008 1:48:25 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: mojito
Once in a while real miracles happen. Mark Bangerter overcame a serious hate crime where he was left for dead along side the road.

He has now found his vision and will open on January 17 with a fabulous new show.

His Story

37 posted on 12/27/2008 1:49:07 PM PST by Utah Binger (Southern Utah, where we got two feet of "Global Warming" goresnow)
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To: the invisib1e hand




Ennui does come to mind, but perhaps not in that context.
38 posted on 12/27/2008 1:50:45 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Revolting cat!
What happened to art, did morons committed mass murder on it and laughed?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2154166/posts?page=67#67

39 posted on 12/27/2008 1:52:29 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: Arkinsaw

now we’re talking.


40 posted on 12/27/2008 1:53:20 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: Revolting cat!

I think the boy’s obsessed.


41 posted on 12/27/2008 1:54:08 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: mojito

GOYA

42 posted on 12/27/2008 1:54:26 PM PST by woofie
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To: ETL

Ahhh, you beat me to it.

This can’t be repeated enough.


43 posted on 12/27/2008 1:55:14 PM PST by Stand W (Fetchez La Vache!)
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To: ETL

you haven’t been here long enough to have earned the right to be such a menace, kiddo.


44 posted on 12/27/2008 1:55:57 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Two peas in a pod.


45 posted on 12/27/2008 1:56:38 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: ETL

one last time: piss off, dipshit.


46 posted on 12/27/2008 1:57:00 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: Matchett-PI

More Freepers need to read OC.


47 posted on 12/27/2008 1:58:45 PM PST by old3030 (I lost some time once. It's always in the last place you look.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
you haven’t been here long enough to have earned the right to be such a menace, kiddo.

Only mature folks such as yourself, who joke about shootings and refer to other posters as morons can be 'menaces', huh?

48 posted on 12/27/2008 2:00:07 PM PST by ETL (Smoking gun evidence on ALL the ObamaRat-commie connections at my newly revised FR Home/About page)
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To: the invisib1e hand

If you look at post #30 you will see that we are not alone in posting Clinton related items.


49 posted on 12/27/2008 2:01:26 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: Arkinsaw

helen thomas fantasia.


50 posted on 12/27/2008 2:07:33 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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