What It Is: Shit Is Shit, Even If A Million Shitheads Say Otherwise
You can polish a turd all you want, but all you'll get out of it is a ruined polishing cloth. This was a powerful sentiment in many creative circles in the last 100 years of culture in the United States. But it would seem that the last 10 years have led us to a place where many people survive through the wholesale unloading of shit-caked polishing cloths. This is possible because there is no distinction between the work of a great artist who has lived an exceptional life of risks, and the hobby-work of a novice crafter who has taken every safe bet that life ever presented them with. If you can make something and take pictures of it, well then you’re an artist! And that is because we have reduced art to nothing more than an object that holds an interchangeable place in the never-ending chain of capitalism. Art is not about the experience, it is not about the deeper narrative, it is only about the sale of goods and the neurotic envy–via social media–of those who possess these goods.
This isn’t one of those, “Oh my god things used to be so much better so we need to go back,” type of assertions. This is a, “shit is fucked up, and I do not abide this fuck shit,” type of statement. In the homes of Instagram’s legions of self-declared “brand entrepreneurs”, “creative directors”, and “all original artworks for sale dm for inquiries,” you can find hundreds of gigabytes of turds. And in a perverse pursuit to polish these turds, you will find that these “artists” have indeed “adapted”. When they realized that turds could not be polished, instead of abandoning the turds and doing the hard work of discovering how to make great art, they resorted to coating the turds in resin. A brilliant conceptual move, but one whose merits are lost on a sea of people too ignorant of art to appreciate them.
". . . they connect with other unscrupulous posers who are equally ignorant of art history, design, [and] aesthetics"
But that’s not the worst of it. People are creating anemic perversions of the works of great innovators, and posting them online in order to refer to themselves as artists. In the process they connect with other unscrupulous posers who are equally ignorant of art history, design, aesthetics, and any assailable element which might contribute to one’s prowess as a great or even competent artist. And when they find each other’s shiny encapsulated turds they shower them with vacuous middling praise that fails to acknowledge anything unique about the art in question, but instead reaffirms the pallid coping mechanism that they call a scene. “So 🔥,” “Oh my god this is a look,” “YASSS,” or any other type of bland platitude drenched in a saccharine interpretation of contemporary parlance. It all amounts to little more than an incredibly obtuse public ceremony for the passive admission of one’s biggest insecurities and shortcomings in an era defined by creative ambition and self-actualization.
With the advent of the internet and cheap computers the barrier of entry for declaring oneself an artist was obliterated. As the means for creating grew increasingly diffuse and affordable, creativity began to clash with the increasingly available illusion of creativity being sold by the capitalist institution. Artists who spent their lives developing a vision and a craft were suddenly placed alongside consumers who simply purchased the newest fad gadget and read a buzzfeed article. As the simulacrum of various creative practices slowly grew to define those creative practices to the masses art itself became pure capitalism. Today art is not about radical experiences, instead it is a pre-ordained affair of common and uniformly germane objects. In today’s society art is about buying exclusive goods, and posting pictures online in the hope of being envied. It all amounts to something that is about art, but is not Art.
". . . myopic egotistic monologues, in which insecure individuals aggrandize their opinions by huffing smoke out of each other’s assholes."
Today Art is more elusive than ever, because all the conversations about art have nothing to do with daring human beings creating experiences which elucidate our obscured beauty. Today, conversations about art are usually a premise for the consolidation of many individuals’ myopic egotistic monologues, in which insecure individuals aggrandize their opinions by huffing smoke out of each other’s assholes. There’s nothing to do. There’s no one to point the finger at. But folks should really be careful with how they portray themselves on the internet. Everything lives forever here, so while you’re busy creating a shit brand by tracing Simpsons characters onto anything you can sell, or cutting up porno magazines and pasting them together without saying anything, just remember that this is what will be in your google results in 100 years. I laugh now because in 20 years there are going to be a lot of very shameful 50 year olds. Culture pollution is real, and when folks become more aware, there will be no hiding all the shit you put out there. No matter how many shitty artists praise your shit art, it only reaffirms how bad it is. Think twice before you commit an act of culture pollution.