Since I last wrote I have been asked, "Why are you the only academic talking about a failed obsession with modern art'' Answer: I am not, and even if I were, it would still be true. The first and obvious truth is regarding balance: As all we hear is modern hype, but no balance, no alternative to modern art is offered. Why?
In the past year, through these pages, I have described how modern art and modern conceptual art – promoting cold abstract modernism – has corrupted our culture, our education, our national monuments, our behaviour and worldwide, our cultures. I have illustrated a deliberate neglect for our language here in Britain; and our precious environment; the distortion of education; the undoing of centuries of high art standards, with their long proven discipline of trained skills and established values; with almost the entire loss of all traditions in art today. And all of which has proved utterly worthless for present art and our society, rejecting the need for reality, the need to encourage social improvements and to help raise the qualities of human life. While by contrast and balance these were the qualities that tradition in art always presented.
Thus I should like to ask you readers for your help in bringing about a necessary reform. For all you ever do hear in our media is institutionalised stupidity regarding modern conceptual art, and all supported by an art and education establishment, which uses the same old stale propaganda, which surprisingly, has never been officially questioned? Should education feel guilty? I honestly think it should.
I have certainly written about this for many years and offered my professional expertise and help, but sadly this has always been ignored. I believe simply because the challenge from deeply entrenched financial interests was assumed to be too great.
And what is the nature of this stupidity? Unfortunately, it occurs in almost every art programme and film, where critics and producers, unable or unwilling to talk about the content of great art from the Great Tradition, as the skills and understanding are lost or deliberately ignored. They speak instead about the history surrounding the making of that art, or in an unnecessary and unpleasant way, talk badly about the lives of the artist and their failings. We also hear the usual barefaced lies, claiming this or that traditional artist was the first modernist, and one famous art history critic with a smile always closes his traditional programmes by saying in conclusion, "Of course all this was all before important Avant-guard art arrived!"
And how does this obsessive propaganda occur on an everyday basis? There are many small or large examples, here are two from last week. The first is a quote from a newspaper and the second from breakfast television!
The first was written in a national newspaper irritatingly quoting a musician talking about his work and a concert in Scotland. So note the language – “Vibrant and on the edge in a good way,” you know you are listening to this same pointless modern art language and a likely flannel merchant.
Unfortunately, a problem is that people who say these things may be unlikely to understand what they are supporting with the use of this failed modern art language. This statement was not positive, as life seen in modern art language is senseless twaddle. And sadly, people say these things believing it is helping lead them somewhere, whereas in reality it is helping lead us all further away from the rebirth of real art and culture. For this nonsense is no longer a supposed passport to the arts but a pointless repetition of a failed cultural disaster.
It was lead by corrupt and immoral ideas of ‘Anything is okay modernism,’ which has nothing but contempt for past traditional values, our societies, human life, and our environment, which has been constantly proclaimed in the ugly objects it presents as modern conceptual art. Another self-evident truth.
Whilst the second subject I choose from last week's media, was a television political pundit saying, “We live in a brutal environment,” with surprise in his voice. It was a perfect example of how this modern propaganda has successfully blinded people from noticing what actually occurs in our social environments. Do we see those cold brutal objects chosen as public art? We are continuously shown rubbish as art; offering examples of how we can see ourselves in ugliness, in despair, in thoughtlessness and contempt for peoples feelings and for our traditions and historical culture.
And all this again, sadly for the greedy benefit of a few, while the rest of us are left with representations of this ugly modernism, and a disregard for human feelings, encouraging us to believe as we are also surrounded with new technologies that are changing the world faster than we can think, there is nothing to be done about but accept this modernism without question or conscience.
Yet the lessons of those terrible two world wars and the cold war of the 20th Century, where all this modernism in art came from, should never be forgotten, nor the misuse of propaganda encouraging horror, violence and terror be overlooked. We are not helpless, and we do not have to live in ugly brutal environments or accept these modernist values as unquestionable facts. Ernest Hemmingway, a hero of those times said, “As in all arts the enjoyment increases with the knowledge of art, but people will know the first time they go, if they go open-mindedly and only feel those things they actually feel.”
While G. K. Chesterton said,"Ordinary men will always be sentimentalists: for a sentimentalist is simply a man who has feelings and does not trouble to invent a new way of expressing them. These express the sanguine and heroic truisms on which civilisation is built; for it is clear that unless civilisation is built on truisms it is not built at all."
These writers were alive and working during a period of the worst examples of terrible untrue propaganda in the 20th century and both maintained we must trust our own judgements and feelings. They beautifully described the common-sense recognition of facts and feelings when considering and viewing our responses to things. Today I am repeating this view hopefully with the title of my first book, 'Trust Your Eye' and the second book entitled 'Trust Your Heart', which is currently three quarters finished, unpublished, and needs a publisher.
Yours as ever
Charles Harris MA BA
(Copyright Charles Harris - 'Trust Your Heart' 2017)