and other Monsters
do have meaning, but when writing about Modernism, Postmodernism,
and Remodernism, many are likely to become confused by the
plethora of definitions and theories regarding modern art.
The L.A. Stuckist group understands art theory as being
inseparable from art practice, but let's for a moment put
philosophy aside to examine some of today's art. Postmodernist
artists have provided us with astonishing examples of their
vision for a new art, here then is a very short list of
the type of art the
L.A. Stuckist group is critical of.
Metzger and an "auto destructive" painting.
postmodernist Gustav Metzger advanced his theory of "auto-destructive
art" in 1960. Believing that all artworks should have a limited
existence, he "painted" stretched nylon with hydrochloric
acid, producing works that would immediately fall to pieces.
Funny thing is though - the surviving scraps are now enshrined
in museums. So much for a finite existence.
1963 the Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni had his
own excrement sealed in an "edition" of 90 signed and numbered
cans, each one containing approximately one ounce of his
feces. In 2001 the London Tate Gallery excitedly announced
it had purchased one of these cans for $61,000. The Museum
of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou Museum in Paris
also have cans in their collection.
Manzoni: It's crap alright.
a 1970 public performance, German conceptual artist Joseph
Beuys piled fat in the corner of a museum room and allowed
it to melt and turn rancid over a number of days. The artwork
was titled, Fat Corner.
1995, Ace Contemporary Exhibitions of Los Angeles presented
a series of 50 paintings by American performance artist,
Keith Boadwee. Using egg tempura paint enemas, the artist
squatted over his canvases and emptied his bowels to create
his works. A video documentation of the process was part
of the exhibition. Boadwee also employed projectile vomiting
of tempura paint to create his artworks. The Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), exhibited some of Boadwee's
self-portraits, which included stylized pictures of his
anus in multiple colors from which various objects protruded.
or blended goldfish?
an exhibition presented by Denmark's Trapholt Modern Art
Museum in the year 2000, a showing of conceptual works by
Chilean artist Marco Evaristti included goldfish swimming
in blenders. Patrons were given the option of turning the
machines on - one art enthusiast did.
fined the museum for cruelty to animals, but the director
of the Trapholt refused to pay the penalty claiming "artistic
freedom" was at stake. A Danish court agreed and the fine
2004, New York based installation artist Doug Fishbone,
piled 30,000 bananas in front of London's National Gallery
at the north terrace of Trafalgar Square. He called his
masterwork, 30,000 Bananas, and saw the public as
a "collective sculptor" that would whittle away at the heap
of free bananas. Fishbone also envisioned his bananas as
being against Trafalgar Square's "commemoration of long-dead
personalities associated with violent and divisive acts
of war and colonialism." That's all well and good
- but it was still just a pile of bananas.
Fishbone's... er, pile of bananas.
2005, performance artist, Vanessa Beecroft, staged a work
titled VB55 at Berlin's New National Gallery. The performance
consisted of 100 women wearing see-through tights, standing
still, silent, and in formation for three hours at the window
of the museum's main gallery. Beecroft picked everyday women
for her event rather than professional models, and each woman
was rubbed down with oil before joining the performance. The
press and a mob of male "art lovers" had to be held back by
dozens of police officers.
2001, Canadian artist Jesse Power and two associates filmed
their torturing of a live cat. The animal was skinned
alive, beheaded, and gutted - all for the sake of the
trio's supposed artistic vision. The three were eventually
arrested, tried, and convicted by Canadian authorities
on charges of animal cruelty. In 2004, Canadian filmmaker
Zev Asher made an "art" film titled, The Art Of Killing
A Cat, about the trio and their despicable exploit.
Asher's film was almost as controversial as the original
act it documented.
this extreme and unrepresentative example of postmodern
art practice has been condemned by most artists, it should
also be seen as the dead-end of a philosophy which asserts
"anything can be art."
Power being detained by Canadian police Sept. 14,
2004, after attacking a crowd protesting the film,
The Art Of Killing A Cat.
Creeds Work No. 547
you vomiting yet? If so you just might be an artist! Which
brings us to the works of UK Minimalist, Martin Creed. His
most recent video installation, Being Sick, also known
as Work No. 547, is an endless film loop showing close-ups
of 19 different people vomiting. Berlin's Johnen Galerie displayed
Creed's video, and in their press release described Creed
as having brought Minimalism "to a pinnacle. With systematically
reduced gestures and a renouncement of everything that looks
like art (....) The film depicts vomiting as ideal gesture
to express feelings in as direct a manner as possible."
will excuse this writer as he hurls his own "ideal gesture"
into the faces of the postmodernist art establishment, just
don't ascribe any grand artistic gesture to my being made
people champion the notion that "everyone is an artist",
a thought Stuckists appreciate for its democratic impulse
but reject for its obvious deficiency. Not everyone can
be an artist, no more than everyone can be a writer, dancer,
film director or musician. Likewise, the view that "anything
can be art" has led to more idiocy created in the name of
art than we care to list here. There are those who accuse
Stuckism of being conservative for its stance regarding
the state of contemporary art. But we do not live in the
same "moral universe" as the Bush administration - with
its "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric. We live
in the reality based community, and so we strive for a pluralistic
art scene where figurative realist painting will be given
the same respect now reserved for video, performance, installation,
minimalist, and conceptual art practices. We are not
in favor of banning or censoring artists - what we are supportive
of is a redirection of art practice that once again makes
art understood, accessible and relevant to everyday people.
We want to do away with the adage,
"If it can't be understood, it must be art."
wash our hands of the postmodernist ethos that dictates
beauty, meaning and craft to be dead. We reject the elite
postmodern establishment and all of its lifeless institutions,
minions, sycophants, and knee-jerk supporters. We turn our
backs upon the outrages of an effete art world mired in
denial. We spurn those who say "art doesn't matter" and
laugh in the faces of those who insist "art changes nothing."
Could we be any clearer? We rebuff an art world that sees
literal garbage as having the same artistic, moral and technical
equivalency to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.
We stand in clear opposition to all such postmodernisms
and other monsters.