Why we need to attack Modernism

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Why we need to attack Modernism

From Fred Ross

Published before 2005


I have no doubt that the art world would be a better place if it were run on the principles you describe. The problem is that human nature tends to run in herds, or in “heards” given the case in point. And people tend to rely on what they heard last and what they’ve heard the most.

The potential rewards for guessing right have driven the art market for far too long, but I see no likelihood it will change any time soon.

It goes to the heart of our capitalist system, and successfully convincing a large base of collectors of the long term probability for gain.

Still is the engine that drives up prices for individual artists. And it is the publicity and expert opinions, and institutional support for an artist’s work, is what collectors want to see when they are making purchasing decisions for living artists at price levels far beyond the actual reasonable hourly rate for their labor.

We can rail at this until we’re blue in the face, but the reason ARC is helping the careers of our Living Masters(tm) is because ARC represents institutional support of the kind that was never forthcoming in the recent past for realist artists.

It was in the early 20th century when institutional support started to fall away from academic art, that their prices started to fall so fast and so far that Gérôme's and Alma-Tadema's, once worth $500,000 to $1,000,000 (in terms of today’s money), could by purchased for $200 in 1946, and had only risen to $1,000 by 1965. And the chief manifestation of the loss of institutional support was in the form of ridicule and ad hominem attacks in the press.

When people were embarrassed to have a Gérôme of Bouguereau hanging in their homes or museums, they disappeared from all public venues, prices fell to near oblivion, and Modernism rushed in to the void.

But the ridicule was unjust and untrue, and 3 generations later people like us were able to find their work and start the process of re-evaluation.

However, all of the ridicule levied at academic art - inane, emotionless, devoid of inspiration, lacking timeless qualities, silly subjects - all of those charges are true of modernist and post-modernist works, and the process of calling a spade a spade is what ARC does, and it will be when the explanations and analysis that people find here makes its way to most journalistic art criticism, and into the hearts and minds of the next generation of the museum-going public and art school patronizing students, that the satiric laughter needed will start to resonate throughout the art world and bring down the Modernist monolith that has infected with decay and pestilence the optimistic natural spirit to search for truth and beauty that would and should be present in each generation of art loving youths who enter our colleges and university art departments only to drop out in disillusionment if they are not “reprogrammable” to the Modernist drum beat.

The emperor’s nudity must be exposed and described so that the “heard” mentality will create the sardonic peels of laughter needed to bring down the beast and make way for its betters.