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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Noam Chomsky on Postmodernism

Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned scholar, political analyst, and Professor Emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a 1995 essay titled, Rationality/Science, Chomsky disparages the postmodernist critique of Western science, logic and rationality as being nothing more than "self-destructive tendencies". But Chomsky’s article is also an all encompassing critical assessment of postmodernism and its influence upon literature, music, and the visual arts. Chomsky wrote:

"I have spent a lot of my life working on questions such as these, using the only methods I know of; those condemned here as 'science,' 'rationality,' 'logic' and so on. I therefore read the papers with some hope that they would help me 'transcend' these limitations, or perhaps suggest an entirely different course. I'm afraid I was disappointed. Admittedly, that may be my own limitation. Quite regularly, 'my eyes glaze over' when I read polysyllabic discourse on the themes of poststructuralism and postmodernism; what I understand is largely truism or error, but that is only a fraction of the total word count.

True, there are lots of other things I don't understand: the articles in the current issues of math and physics journals, for example. But there is a difference. In the latter case, I know how to get to understand them, and have done so, in cases of particular interest to me; and I also know that people in these fields can explain the contents to me at my level, so that I can gain what (partial) understanding I may want. In contrast, no one seems to be able to explain to me why the latest post-this-and-that is (for the most part) other than truism, error, or gibberish, and I do not know how to proceed."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thomas Kinkade: Convict of Light?

[ Paradise Burning - A Kinkade parody painting ]

What new title might Thomas Kinkade bestow upon himself? Convict of Light? Painter of Blight? The multi-millionaire hack painter, packaged as the "Painter of Light", is apparently now in trouble with the Feds over fraud charges. Several gallery owners claim to have been taken for a ride by Kinkade, alleging the artist and the top executives of his company persuaded them to invest tens of thousands of dollars to open Kinkade franchise galleries… only to be intentionally ruined and run out of business by Kinkade’s shady business practices. Accusations have been made that Kinkade deliberately devalued his public company, Media Arts Group Inc., before taking it public - making a cool $32 million in the process. It looks like ’ol Tom just might be starting a new career as a prison artist. The Los Angeles Times has printed a detailed article on the scandal.

Friday, August 25, 2006

London Stuckists GO WEST!

Congratulations to our Stuckist comrades in not so Merry 'ol England! The Independent ran an article on the London Stuckists and their upcoming exhibition at the Spectrum Gallery - the first exhibit of Remodernist works to take place at an established commercial gallery in England. The paper quoted Stuckism co-founder Charles Thomson as saying the exhibit was "a major development" in the UK Stuckist movement, and Thomson went on to say:

"I cannot believe how history repeats itself. There are many parallels between us and the Impressionists. They started out and everyone ridiculed them. We said that beds are not art, paintings are art, and everyone laughed at us. People thought we hadn't got a clue. But a lot has happened in seven years and we are finally getting recognition."
The Stuckist exhibit, titled Go West, opens at the Spectrum on October 6th, 2006 and runs until November 4th, 2006.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rampaging Pigs at the Getty!

No, the title of this article is not in reference to the corruption scandals at the J. Paul Getty Museum, outrages that have resulted in the departures of Getty Trust President Barry Munitz and Getty Trust Chairman John Biggs. Nor does it refer to the ongoing trial in Italy of former Getty antiquities curator, Marion True, on charges of conspiring to deal in illegally looted art artifacts. Instead our headline refers to a scandal of a different type, one you will no doubt be hearing much of in the months to come - at least from this web log.

The J. Paul Getty Trust has hired UK-based advertising moguls, M&C Saatchi, to rebrand its museums and galleries, hoping to make them "more accessible to a more diverse audience." Huw Griffith, CEO of M&C Saatchi LA, declared, "One of our namesakes, Charles Saatchi, is synonymous with art, not just advertising. In this case it's a happy coincidence, but working for the Getty everyday will be a great opportunity to express our interest in art." Griffith went on to say, "The Getty is world famous and we look forward to developing a big idea borne out of our Brutally Simple Thinking approach."

M&C Saatchi’s billboard for the Getty
[ Rampaging Pig at the Getty! M&C Saatchi’s billboard for tabloid-reading vulgarians.]

And how has this "Brutally Simple Thinking" been implemented so far in the quest to reach out to the people of Los Angeles? Why, by insulting people’s intelligence and pandering to the lowest common denominator of course! M&C Saatchi LA has designed a public billboard that showcases The Calydonian Boar Hunt, a Rubens painting circa 1611, acquired by the Getty in May. The billboard features a ridiculous headline in bold upper-case type, fashioned after the lurid banner headlines and melodramatic captions found in the tabloid press; the sensationalist billboard screams - "RAMPAGING PIG TRAMPLES MAN AS CAPED HERO DELIVERS DEATH BLOW!"

The Calydonian Boar Hunt, by Rubens
[ RAMPAGING PIG TRAMPLES MAN AS CAPED HERO DELIVERS DEATH BLOW! - Peter Paul Rubens, oil on canvas, 1611. Also known as The Calydonian Boar Hunt. ]

In explaining the crude tabloid approach, the M&C Saatchi LA CEO said: "How often have you stood in front of a painting and wondered what was going through the artist's mind? When these works of art were created they were the main medium of the day - they set out to tell a story to an audience in an often dramatic way, just as the media does today. The tabloid-style headline looks to express what the subject portrays, had it been created for today’s audience." That the CEO of a major advertising agency could compare the narrative power of paintings by the Old Masters to the scandalous and sordid headlines of today’s worthless throw-away papers, is another indication of the all-time low postmodernism has brought us to.

In our opinion, "Brutally Simple Thinking" has little to do with art - one of the highest achievements and endeavors of the human race - and everything to do with being a thoughtless beast. Minimalism in art is one thing, but to be stripped of humanity by minimalist thought is something else altogether. "Brutally Simple Thinking" belongs to the generals, politicians and corporate executives of this world - but it should not be in the lexicon of the artist. It is inexcusable that M&C Saatchi LA would address the general public as a mass of excruciatingly stupid, tabloid-reading vulgarians, a mob incapable of comprehending art. But then, what can be expected from a mercenary ad agency? The M&C Saatchi LA CEO said "the name of Saatchi is synonymous with art", and while it’s true that advertising giant Charles Saatchi launched the career of postmodernists like Damien Hirst and his animals pickled in formaldehyde - we’re left wondering what the Getty thinks they’re getting out of the deal.

So far the "Rampaging Pig" billboard has been posted in only one location, the food court at L.A.’s Century City shopping mall, but Mara Benjamin, the Getty’s assistant director of marketing and advertising, says we should expect more images and headlines to show up in publications by late fall - as well as more outdoor billboards. We hope that the Getty and M&C Saatchi LA will come to their senses - but we’re not holding our breathe.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Into Me - Out Of Me

The editor and publisher of, David Cohen, wrote a review of the exhibit Into Me - Out Of Me, now showing at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York City until September 2006. The exhibition displays works having to do with what goes into, or comes out of, the human body, including what may penetrate it. A postmodernist extravaganza of oozing bodily fluids, it is the type of show we point to as a perfect example of what has gone wrong with the art world.

Action staged by Hermann Nitsch in 1984
[ Action staged by Hermann Nitsch in 1984. The "art" of death, blood, and excrement. ]

Mr. Cohen notes that a wall text set the tone for Into Me - Out Of Me, by mentioning the early 1960s "Viennese Actionists" as the starting point for the type of art in the PS1 exhibit. The so-called "Actionists", Hermann Nitsch, Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, and Rudolph Schwarzkogler, would kill and dismember animals while lacerating themselves, hurling entrails and spraying blood at those foolish enough to watch such performances. The practitioners of violent and destructive public behavior masquerading as art, they are considered one of the forerunners of today’s performance art. The plaque at the PS1 exhibit reads, "By cutting the body, dousing it with blood and excrement, and arranging it in compositions suggesting surgery, the Actionists treated these primal fears in the most unabashed manner."

Better art in a porn store
[ "Fucked" Alex McQuilkin 2000 DVD 3 minutes. A close-up of the artist as "she heroically attempts to apply lipstick while, off camera, being entered from behind." It’s rubbish of course but the title nicely describes the postmodernist art world. ]

David Cohen subjected himself to room after room of installations, photographs, videos, and various objects created by contemporary artists that portray self-mutilation, bodily injury, ejaculation, vomiting, excrement, bleeding - as well as putting things into and pulling them out of the vagina. Cohen laboriously covered all of that and more, before ending his disdainful review with the following remark:

"The thought I had, on leaving this exhausting, puerile display, is that a single painting by Francis Bacon would metaphorically fuse every sensation laid out so literally by the photographers, performers and video makers in this show, and penetrate the viewer where virtually nothing in this show does—the solar plexus. But metaphor, depictive relish and the catharsis of painting are obviously too transgressive for some."
Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon
[ Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon, 1971, Oil on canvas. ]

Though we haven’t seen the show, we are in accord with Cohen’s estimation that sometimes a solitary painting, well crafted and thought out, is worth more than all of the tripe and twaddle generated by a thousand post-modernist artists.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Art and the 21st Century

[ L.A. artist Joel Pelletier wrote the following essay in 2004, and we reprint it here with his kind permission. ]

What is Art (with a capitol "A") and the Artist in this 21st Century? Jacques Barzun (in "From Dawn to Decadence") suggests that the Western culture has run its course. There's nothing left, and the proof is that Art today is all recycle and homage. No new ideas anymore.

I fear he may be right. 500 years was a pretty good run...

But is an artist only someone who thinks up something new? Is "new," unique," "different" or "cutting edge" all that matters? Maybe that's the trap Art fell into in the 20th Century; faster and faster rule breaking, burning through genres, techniques and scandals in a desperate Blitzkrieg of "newness" until there was nothing new left. J.S. Bach was dogged by this most of his life, and was only resurrected as a master decades after his death (during his lifetime his sons were considered the great ones, and he an old fashioned stick-in-the-mud).

Then there's the whole career/success/money thing. Can I call myself an artist if I don't pay the bills with my art? Amateur artists used to be thought of in high regard, but we're in America, and successful people are rich people (even if they don't admit to being rich - ever tried to raise a family on $500k/yr?). At the risk of admitting I've seen Howard Stern on cable a few times, I once heard him remark to a woman that her 40-something boyfriend must be a loser because he has not made a name for himself in his field. Rely on Howard to express the consensus of today's society.

I'm inclined to think that Art is a verb, not a noun. The act of creating is just that. The first spark of an idea, the working out of the structure and tone, strategizing the executing of the piece, to the actual creation and culmination - all of this is ACTION (so much so that, for me, the final creation of the piece is the most laborious and least interesting). The final physical work is simply the byproduct of the Artist's efforts. The design folks on HGTV who regularly create "art" for peoples walls' (other than their own, mind you) do as much to debase the term as any of the avant-guard deconstructionists of the latter 20th Century. Like the word "genius," which really should be reserved for a handful per century (like Einstein or Stravinsky). Art is something that comes from obsession, individuality and necessity. It's not about making something new, but about seeing something old in a new way, and working out the best way to communicate this in the way that is most truthful to the Artist.

And if everyone is a unique combination of experiences, then real truth guarantees uniqueness. The completed work is just "product" to the Art world, something to buy and sell. Maybe this is what keeps me from churning out "stuff." I really don't want any part of that. I just want to keep making things, which continue to help me understand a bit more about who I really am.

Or, I want to understand just exactly who (or what) I am, so I continue to make "stuff." It's just that, for me, stuff can be anything - a song, a painting, a house, a car. That's my "Art." The act of planning and creating a carport, or overcoming the technical and aesthetic challenges of a Hindemith sonata, force me to make choices and overcome challenges. In doing so I find out a bit more about myself. Put any term or title on me you want. What I am is what I do. I make things.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Eric Hebborn: Who's Fooling Who?

[ The following quote is from Eric Hebborn (1934-1996), an extraordinarily skilled British painter who came to fame as an art forger in the twentieth-century. His talents were such that he was able to create oil paintings in the style of the old masters that scholars and art experts could not recognize as forgeries. ]

"I am aware that my approach to these artist's work was radically different from that of most visitors to art galleries in our time. Perhaps as an over-reaction to the Victorian critic who tended to pontificate, there is a tendency nowadays for people to make no critical judgment whatsoever, but to accept indiscriminately every thing that is in an art gallery for no better reason than that it is there. To people with that attitude, artworks are not good or bad, they simply are: this idea would seem to be an illogical extension of Alexander Pope's thought: All nature is but art unknown to thee, All chance, direction which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good; And, spite of pride, in erring reason's sprite, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

"Their attitude is, however, a dangerous one for the plastic arts because it does not admit of standards. By it's anything-goes attitude, no painter is any better than any other painter, no age (except perhaps our own) any better than any other age. This is, of course, a reflection of the modern art historian, who with cold objectivity views paintings and other works of art as documents giving an account of the life and times of the men and women who made them. And from this point of view a miserable daub is just as important as a great masterpiece. The excrement I threw about as a child was incontestably as graphic a description of a child's frustration as the frescos in the Sistine Chapel are of a great artist's inspiration, the difference being, I would argue, that as art, it was not as good. Likewise, I believe that the neurotic, desperately extrovert and egocentric works of art that characterise our century provide an admirably clear indication of the mental and spiritual disorders of our time, but, as art, leave much to be desired."

[ Hebborn's comments published here, came from his autobiography, "Drawn to Trouble." In his statement he mentioned Alexander Pope, who is considered to be one of the greatest English poets of the early eighteenth century. ]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stuckistas: "South American Art Bandits"

We don’t need no stinkin badges!
[ LA Stuckistas - "We don’t need no stinkin badges!" ]

A critic of the LA Stuckist Group living in Los Angeles wrote an e-mail to us in which he expressed disapproval, not only of our opinions, but for our playful use of the Spanish name, "Stuckistas." Our detractor nagged, "Stuckistas, what are you, South American art bandits?" It is interesting that our nemesis assumed our membership to be lily white.

Our use of the name "Stuckistas" is a way of acknowleding the Spanish speaking founders of Los Angeles and the multi-cultural vision of our grand city. The written history of Los Angeles county began in September, 1771, when Father Junipero Serra and a group of Spaniards founded the San Gabriel Mission in an area populated by the first inhabitants, the Gabrielino Indians. On September 4th, 1781, Spanish speaking settlers founded the community that would become the City of Los Angeles, naming it El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles. Spain ruled California until Mexico assumed jurisdiction in 1822. Finally, the U.S. took control of the territory in 1848 as a result of its war with Mexico - but the original culture of California was never eradicated.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 4.6 million Latinos are living legally in Los Angeles county, the largest percentage of Latinos in any county in the U.S. Latinos comprise around 49% of the population of California, with some 12.5 million Latinos calling the Golden State their home.

The LA Stuckist Group is open to artists of all races and ethnicities who live and work in Los Angeles. We have no tolerance for an art scene that practices racist or exclusionary policies, and we celebrate the diversity of the people who live and work in LA. In fact, it is the multi-cultural nature of LA’s artists that will bring added strength, purpose and imagination to the Remodernist movement. So while we may not be South American Art Bandits, we are Stuckistas, and "We don’t need no stinkin badges" to press forward with our offensive!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Thomas Kinkade, Stuckist or Crap?

[ A reader of our website asked the following of us: "Just for reference, where would the likes of Thomas Kinkade, 'Painter of Light' figure in? Stuckist or crap?" Our answer follows ]

We reserve a special loathing for the works of Mr. Thomas Kinkade.

While Remodernists are champions of the painter's craft, and we work to bring figurative painting back to center stage in the art world, we are not advocates of just any type of painting - we are more discerning than that. We thoroughly reject Mr. Kinkade, that hackneyed, conservative, commercial painter who panders to the tastes of the tasteless. His happy little landscapes filled with cozy homes serve no other purpose than to paper over the cracks of an unacceptable reality. His paintings express a yearning for the past, but it's a nostalgia for an earlier period that never existed. All the same, we needn't pick on Kinkade excessively, there are legions of painters like him, he's just the most well known and the most successful.

The founders of the original London Stuckist group defined Stuckism as a "Radical international art movement for new figurative painting with ideas. Anti the pretensions of conceptual art. Anti-anti-art." That's a fair but simplified summation of a movement that has a diverse group of followers spread all across the globe.

Why "Remodernism"? Because contrary to what some deluded individuals may tell you, Modernism didn't fail and collapse, it simply became fatigued. Our view is that it must be refreshed, updated, and allowed to achieve its goals. That the modernist movement has had its extremes is no doubt true - but it is far from dead. The logic-defying idea that we live in a "postmodern" world is utterly ridiculous. For goodness sakes, we are communicating through computers hooked up to a global satellite system! Postmodernists proclaim that "painting is dead", and we are called "conservative" because we advocate the art of painting - this is reality turned topsy turvy.

Think of the many amazing painters who, starting in the late 19th Century broke from the traditions of their day to pursue a modern vision of painting. We embrace the Impressionists, Fauvists, Expressionists, Surrealists, et al - not as an "end all, be all" to the question of painting, but for the examples they left of what skillful, visionary artists can do. It is their example, their path, that we extol and wish to take forward. We insist upon a dedication to craft coupled with a clear vision. All of the aforementioned schools were against the status quo of their time, and for good reason - just as Stuckism stands against the dominant and entrenched "Postmodernist" mindset of today. At the core of Remodernist belief is the notion that artists should paint as if life depended upon it, because dear reader - it does.

Figurative vs. Abstract Painting

[ On Sunday, August 06, 2006, we received an e-mail from abstract painter, Jack Chipman, who wrote: "Why is figurative painting, which is basically a skillful rendering of what the eyes can see, considered to be more valid than abstraction, which is dependent for its success on imagination and skillful manipulation of paint?" Our answer to Chipman's question follows ]

Figurative vs. abstract painting is an old question, and one likely to be argued over forever, but don't roll your eyes just yet - readers might be surprised by the position of the LA Stuckists regarding this conflict of styles. First off, Chipman seems to be revealing a bias in his question when he states that figurative painting is basically a "skillful rendering of what the eyes can see", while abstract painting is "dependent for its success on imagination and skillful manipulation of paint." If it is so that figurative art is nothing more than what Chipman describes, then how does one explain the likes of figurative painters like Philip Guston - one of the LA Stuckist group's heroes?

Guston displayed enormous amounts of imagination, and his paintings went far beyond "what the eyes can see." His figurative paintings were also dependent upon the "skillful manipulation of paint." The inference in Chipman's question is that figurative painters lack imagination while also displaying lackluster skills - an assertion that is patently ridiculous.

When Chipman asks why figurative painting is "considered to be more valid than abstraction", just who considers it to be of higher value? A cursory glance at any number of contemporary art museums around the world will reveal large, costly and extensive collections of abstract and non-figurative artworks. If anything, figurative painters with few exceptions have been complaining for decades about their works being overlooked or considered passé by museums and galleries. The LA Stuckist group respects skilled and original abstract artists and their works, because these days, when a video tape showing someone vomiting is considered to be art, we'd prefer a day at MoMA gazing upon the Mark Rothko's - thank you very much. That being said, the operational words here are "skilled" and "original." We insist that technical proficiency and imagination are necessary for good painting, but we find such expertise sorely lacking in today's artists - whether the artist prefers to work figuratively or abstractly. Merely proclaiming yourself to be a painter does not make it so.

Painting by Philip Guston

Again, Philip Guston makes for a wonderful example. He was classically trained, and possessed tremendous expertise when it came to painting. He worked for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, painting murals for government buildings. By the 1950's he had totally abandoned realism for abstract expressionism, but as severe and brutal as his abstractions were - one could always see a skilled visionary's hand at work. Guston reinvented himself once again in the late 1960's, turning away from abstract works in favor of a new figurative style. Nevertheless it was a blunt, provocative, and cartoon-like realism. Even though Guston's canvases had now almost become anti-paintings. you could still trace the hand of a master in it all. Guston's skill didn't come from out of nowhere, it came from decades of disciplined work and study. Who amongst today's wanna be painters can say as much?

But turning once more to the complicated and thorny question of figurative vs. abstract painting, let's examine one of the original debates. In 1949, New York's Museum of Modern Art presented a conference where the Social Realist painter, printmaker and muralist, Ben Shahn, debated the abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell. Shahn defended figurative realism, while Motherwell argued for abstraction. Both artists were extremely articulate, but it's impossible to say who could actually win such a debate. What we know for a fact is that figurative realism fell out of favor, and Motherwell, along with fellow abstract artists Rothko, Pollock et al, came to dominate the artworld - even to this day.

Shahn painted realistic works that captured the time. His paintings of Sacco and Vanzetti, the union struggles of the 30's, the Great Depression and the Second World War, are world renowned masterworks. His painting style was not simply a skillful rendering of what the eye can see, it was an emotive and humanistic tour de force of unparalleled power. But here's the question... what if Shahn's response to the world around him had been that of Motherwell. What if, instead of Shahn's clear narrative, recognizable subject matter, and appeal to shared values, we had in it's place Motherwell's absolute dearth of narrative, and nothing decipherable beyond amorphous shapes? What if, during the 1930's the prevailing style in art had been abstraction and Jacob Lawrence, Thomas Hart Benton, Stuart Davis, Rockwell Kent and all the other figurative artists of the time had not produced their realistic works? It would have been an incomparable loss and an impoverishment of our collective spirit. That is something to consider when pondering the situation of today's artworld - and the inherent value of figurative realism.

A Letter to LA Stuckism

[ On July 31st, 2006, we received the following e-mail from artist Katie McCall. We encourage readers to e-mail us their comments, essays, and opinions. You never know - we just might publish them! ]

Dear me. Your site ( ) is about the most reviving and refreshing website I have ever visited. I just want to say I am deeply inspired and appreciate the statements and sentiment behind all you are doing. Feel free to stop reading there. Now I will simply babble about the WHYs.

I've been oil painting since the age of 10. I painted like it was as necessary as water and oxygen. I went without sleep, food, conversation. Simply because of the "must" I felt with painting. Then I went to art school. Because isn't that what you're supposed to do for college when you're an "aspiring" artist? I now know that I already WAS an artist. In college in the beginning years of the 90s I was greeted by the art elite, arms stretched toward me, with promises of fame and enlightenment. To my utter SHOCK and dismay, they demanded I throw away my ancient oil paints and pick up garbage. Or at least mix urine with my oils. When I refused and cried that this was my very life, the substance of my soul, they failed me miserably. They complained I "thought too much." I "tried to hard." I "told too many stories." They defined me as "common."

They took me to gallery openings. They showed me the REAL art of the day, not the "craft" I was stupidly holding on to. I remember the bright lights, the massive blank walls. I remember the snobby near-retiring wealthy patrons who seemed to hold some sort of inside joke. I remember the attitudes. Eventually I dropped out of college. Discouraged and pained, I set up life as a graphic designer. I obviously just didn't "have what it took" to be a REAL artist. In depression I gave away or destroyed over 200 paintings and drawings. I stopped painting because it hurt too much. That was 1994.

Flash forward to 2006. June. I was introduced to a figurative artist. When I asked him what he does for a day job, he replied that he painted. He looked puzzled. My jaw hit the floor. Thus began seven months of discovery. Painting is here again. I wasn't such an odd-fellow. I picked up my brushes. I paint like it's my life again. And your website's sentiments ring in my ears like the little girl who shouted out that the emperor had no clothes on. For such a time as this. Now is the moment. The world is finally listening. Thank you!!

On The Subject Of Anonymity

What's to hide? Hmmm... suppose one of our members worked as a well placed staff person at one of L.A.'s prestigious art institutions - whether a museum, university, or gallery. Dear reader... we generally view these institutions as being part of the problem, since they are the very foundation of the city's entrenched postmodernist art establishment. Openly expressing the Stuckist viewpoint that a good portion of today's contemporary art is utter garbage would not likely be looked upon kindly, one could even - gasp - lose their job. So yes, we have our reasons for not wanting to be identified.

But more importantly, remaining anonymous should cause people to focus on the ideas we present. It places the emphasis on the collective ideals of the Remodernist movement rather than the individual likes and dislikes of chapter members. It is a stance that shuns the cult of the personality, a disease run rampant in a place like Los Angeles (think "Hollywood dream machine"). At present we place paramount importance on the promulgation of Remodernist ideas, and we hope to initiate a wide ranging, deep, and long lasting discussion that will eventually lead to action; the organization of meetings, exhibits, publications, etc. None of the present tasks that face us require hierarchical leadership or a photogenic spokesperson. At any rate, we believe that ideas should be judged on their merits alone, and not on the behavior, actions, or "likeability" of the idea's adherents.

There is strong precedent for our present course of anonymity. Since 1985, an anonymous group of female artists called the Guerilla Girls, have fought sexism in the fine art world to tremendous effect. They have done street art, exhibited, held press conferences, published books, organized events, and more - but no one knows who they are or what they look like (when doing public work the members wear gorilla masks). Another example would be the UK street artist, Banksy. After having covered much of London in his stencil graffiti, and having surreptitiously placed dozens of his paintings in museum collections... no one knows who he might be. He even held a major gallery exhibit in London some time ago while continuing to maintain his anonymity. We mention the Guerilla Girls and Banksy, not because we necessarily approve of what they say or do, but because they provide two successful examples of artists forcing a discussion over ideas instead of identity.