From Myron Magnet at City Journal (on another topic):
“Don’t you think the whole effort of modernism—in architecture, in literature, in music, in painting—might have been a huge dead end, from which Western culture will painfully have to extricate itself?”
Longtime Readers of my fevered scribblings and rants will know that I am an implacable enemy of Modernism (and its bastard child, Postmodernism), so to me, Magnet’s question should really be a statement, with no conditional verbs.
Modernism has been a spiritual dead end, in its subjugation of beauty and form into soulless utilitarianism and the inscrutable abstract, and wherever its proponents (Le Corbusier, Duchamps, Von Der Rohe, Kandinsky and all the other charlatans) might be today, I hope the temperature is set to “BROIL”.
Kandinsky: Garden of Love II
As for Magnet’s primary thesis (that of the imperilment of free speech), I think I’ve covered it already in my recent “Kicking Down Fences” post, but that shouldn’t stop you from reading Magnet’s greatly-superior take on the topic.
No, no, no, these Modernists and Post-Modernists are all very great artists.
The art of the con.
Even so, it is necessary to have parasites, and as Canada Bill Jones said, it is immoral to let a sucker keep his money.
In one of the essays in HOOKING UP the great Tom Wolfe expresses his hope that (so far as Art is concerned) the 21st Century will be known as “The 20th Century’s hangover”.
Of course, for an epic fishing of Modernism in ‘Fine Art’, it’s hard to better Wolfe’s THE PAINTED WORD. He also skewers Modern Architecture in FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE.
I would assume that you know and had read both, but an amazing number of people haven’t.
All of Wolfe’s nonfiction is worth reading. His novels leave me cold.
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