(Video) Why is modern art so bad?

October 19, 2015
Not bad

Not bad

A friend pointed me to this Prager University video, the subject of which deeply appeals to my Classical (some would say “reactionary”) soul: why does so much of modern art suck?

Having gone to several MFA exhibits by graduate students getting their degrees, I couldn’t agree more.

"Bad"

Bad

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Theater of the Absurd: taxes force Spanish theater to sell porn to stay open

December 5, 2014

“Detrás de la puerta verde?”

Here’s another wonderful example of the ridiculous situations created when a bloated, unsustainable social welfare state forces politicians to tax anything and everything they can think of in order to feed the beast. In this case, a Spanish theater that presents the plays of Spain’s “Shakespeare” has to sell pornography to reduce its crippling tax burden:

Crippled by colossal tax rates and falling ticket sales, the Spanish cultural sector is taking creative action to cut its tax bill, including one theatre which has changed its main business to pornography to avoid having to pay high taxes.

The tax charged on cultural performances in Spain has shot up from eight to twenty-one percent since 2011 as the government attempts to balance the books, and has drawn a broader range of products into the local VAT-like ‘sales tax’. Some have noted the uneven application of the new higher taxes, which have hit high culture but not erotica and magazines.

Theatre director Karina Garantivá said: “It’s scandalous when cultural heritage is being taxed at 21 percent and porn at only at 4 percent. Something is wrong”. Her company, which performs works by the “Spanish Shakespeare” Pedro Calderón de la Barca has decided to circumvent the new, punitive taxes by registering as a distributor of pornographic magazines – and is offering free performances.

Punters buying €16 worth of hardcore-swingers magazine Gente Libre from the company receive a ‘free’ ticket to a performance of the highly regarded 17th century comic drama El Mágico Prodigioso.

Garantivá said the law as it stands made theatres feel as if they were “in a straitjacket, suffocated”, and that “We want people to ask what kind of a society makes this kind of decision. That they compare pornography and Calderón … and reach their own conclusions”.

A tax on “cultural performances?” That might make even gentry liberals here howl in outrage.

Ms. Garantivá asks the right question in the above highlight, but I have to wonder if someone raised in Spain’s all-encompassing social welfare system could easily come to the right answer? The problem is welfare statism itself, which spends far more than it can afford and faces continual pressure to spend even more to support an aging population, while dealing with a declining birth rate. The government’s increasing tax demands thus fall on a shrinking tax base, taking more per person. It’s a recipe for economic stagnation at best and collapse at worst. It’s a growing problem confronting much of Europe, but the people most burdened by the taxes often shriek the loudest at any effort to cut taxes and benefits to more rational levels. And we’re not all that far behind.

Meanwhile, you also have to wonder about politicians who tax “Shakespeare” more than smut.


Cult of Personality Watch: US Embassy becomes Obama Embassy

December 17, 2013

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Sure, all US embassies and consulates have portraits of the current president hanging in the offices; he is, after all, Head of State. But… Well… This is just a bit much:

Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend.

The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close.

Call me old-fashioned, but if you want a large piece of art decorating the entry to a United States embassy, the first thing visitors see, why not a work that reflects the history of the United States? Christy’s “Signing of the Constitution,” for example, to celebrate one of our seminal events, or Rockwell’s “Abraham Delivering the Gettysburg Address,” in honor of what many feel is the moment of our second Founding? Or, to borrow Rockwell again (1), why not showcase “Freedom of Speech,” that most American of values, which both embodies and guards the right of a free people to rule themselves? Instead we get giant portraits of one man?

All art is communication, after all, especially public art, and art displayed in an embassy should reflect the nation’s values, how it sees itself, what it holds dear, its spiritual center, its… Oh, wait. I get it.

In this case, I guess it reflects the government’s spiritual center.  smiley headbang wall

Footnote:
(1) He was the all-American painter, after all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iconic firefighter photo almost excluded from 9/11 memorial exhibit

July 28, 2013
"Patriotism. How gauche."

“Patriotism. How gauche.”

Because, you see, it’s too “rah-rah American”:

According to Elizabeth Greenspan, author of the up coming book Battle for Ground Zero (St. Martin’s Press), Michael Shulan, creative director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, thought about cutting the famed photo from Ground Zero of three firefighters raising the American flag amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center…because he thought it was too “rah-rah America.” Shulan said, “I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently.”

The “problem” was eventually solved by adding other pictures, “to undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment…'”, according to the museum’s curator. See, the lone image was just too simplistic, hiding the complexities and meaning of what happened that day.

Just what part of nearly 3,000 Americans being massacred by Muslims waging  jihad is too simple for you, Mikey? What complexity, what nuance, what other perspective is lacking? The jihadists’? Point-of-view shots from the cockpits as the planes were about to slam into the towers? Should you have included a plaque of the text of Bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa declaring war on us? That would introduce some of your beloved meaning, letting the al Qaeda leader explain in his own words why 9/11 was only justice for our crimes, how we’re as much to blame by making them hate us. And who is to judge who is right? Complexity! Perspective! Meaning!

I hope you’ll forgive this simple American for being too “rah-rah,” Michael, but that single image carries more layers of meaning than I suspect you, trapped in a decadent, nihilist multiculturalism, could ever understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Two more good ones from the Power Line contest

August 5, 2011

The contest may be over, but here are two more worthy entries in Power Line’s contest for the best entry that uses pop culture in any format to convey the seriousness of our national debt problem.

The first is a hip-hop video featuring babies with a message for the “adults” who run the country. I’m not a big fan of rap or hip-hop, but this made me laugh:

Speakin’ truth to power, yo!

The next is more serious, and I think it would make a very effective 1-minute commercial as it stands, or maybe trimmed to a 30-second spot. Regardless, I’d be surprised if some conservative group such as Club for Growth or Americans for Prosperity haven’t contacted the maker already to acquire the rights to “Doorbell.”

This one’s apparently going viral.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Power Line contest winner: “The Spending is Nuts!”

August 2, 2011

Here’s the winner of the Power Line contest for art in any medium that would best educate the public about our national debt problem. A modern-day Aesop’s Fable using squirrels and nuts to make it’s point, the video is by Justin Folk, who earns a cool $100,000 for his efforts:

I have to admit, this wasn’t my favorite (this one is), though I think it’s a worthy choice. It’s a bit long and lacks something of the laugh-out-loud humor that I think is so important when giving people a message that normally will scare them. (When you scare them, they may stop listening. Make them laugh, though… ) Folk, interestingly enough, creates the backgrounds for Andrew Klavan‘s marvelous videos, which I’ve often posted here. I think this would have been improved by having Andrew collaborate on the script.

But those are quibbles; I think it’s good. But, more importantly, I think this contest was a great idea, one that should be repeated. I wrote before that conservatives and libertarians need to engage in pop culture and the arts to get their views back into the marketplace of ideas where people are likely to see them and be influenced. For too long, that ground has been ceded to the liberals and the Left. (But I repeat myself), and efforts like this from Power Line or in general from sites such as Big Hollywood are invaluable.

I’m looking forward to next year’s contest.

PS: You can see all the best contest entries here.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Video: Digging a hole

July 27, 2011

Here’s another finalist in the Power Line contest. This one’s much more somber than the first two, but very effective:

Well done.

Although I’m trying to think of, as the video asserts, great nations brought to ruin by debt. The British Empire after the World Wars? But they had also suffered generational casualties. Europe overall, with the rise of social democracy?

Any other suggestions?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)