The Los Angeles Chapter of the Stuckist International -
Stuckistas advocating Remodernism - the renewal of spirituality and meaning in art, culture and society.

Postmodernisms and other Monsters

Words do have meaning, but when writing about Modernism, Postmodernism, and Remodernism, many are likely to become confused by the plethora of definitions and theories regarding modern art. The L.A. Stuckist group understands art theory as being inseparable from art practice, but let's for a moment put philosophy aside to examine some of today's art. Postmodernist artists have provided us with astonishing examples of their vision for a new art, here then is a very short list of the type of art the
L.A. Stuckist group is critical of.

Gustav Metzger and an "auto destructive" painting
Gustav Metzger and an "auto destructive" painting.
German postmodernist Gustav Metzger advanced his theory of "auto-destructive art" in 1960. Believing that all artworks should have a limited existence, he "painted" stretched nylon with hydrochloric acid, producing works that would immediately fall to pieces. Funny thing is though - the surviving scraps are now enshrined in museums. So much for a finite existence.
In 1963 the Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni had his own excrement sealed in an "edition" of 90 signed and numbered cans, each one containing approximately one ounce of his feces. In 2001 the London Tate Gallery excitedly announced it had purchased one of these cans for $61,000. The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou Museum in Paris also have cans in their collection.
Piero Manzoni: It's Crap Alright
Piero Manzoni: It's crap alright.

In a 1970 public performance, German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys piled fat in the corner of a museum room and allowed it to melt and turn rancid over a number of days. The artwork was titled, Fat Corner.

In 1995, Ace Contemporary Exhibitions of Los Angeles presented a series of 50 paintings by American performance artist, Keith Boadwee. Using egg tempura paint enemas, the artist squatted over his canvases and emptied his bowels to create his works. A video documentation of the process was part of the exhibition. Boadwee also employed projectile vomiting of tempura paint to create his artworks. The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), exhibited some of Boadwee's self-portraits, which included stylized pictures of his anus in multiple colors from which various objects protruded.

Art or blended goldfish?
Art or blended goldfish?

At an exhibition presented by Denmark's Trapholt Modern Art Museum in the year 2000, a showing of conceptual works by Chilean artist Marco Evaristti included goldfish swimming in blenders. Patrons were given the option of turning the machines on - one art enthusiast did.

Authorities fined the museum for cruelty to animals, but the director of the Trapholt refused to pay the penalty claiming "artistic freedom" was at stake. A Danish court agreed and the fine was dropped.

In 2004, New York based installation artist Doug Fishbone, piled 30,000 bananas in front of London's National Gallery at the north terrace of Trafalgar Square. He called his masterwork, 30,000 Bananas, and saw the public as a "collective sculptor" that would whittle away at the heap of free bananas. Fishbone also envisioned his bananas as being against Trafalgar Square's "commemoration of long-dead personalities associated with violent and divisive acts of war and colonialism." That's all well and good
- but it was still just a pile of bananas.
Doug Fishbone's... er, pile of bananas
Doug Fishbone's... er, pile of bananas.
Vanessa Beecroft's, VG55
Vanessa Beecroft's, VB55
In 2005, performance artist, Vanessa Beecroft, staged a work titled VB55 at Berlin's New National Gallery. The performance consisted of 100 women wearing see-through tights, standing still, silent, and in formation for three hours at the window of the museum's main gallery. Beecroft picked everyday women for her event rather than professional models, and each woman was rubbed down with oil before joining the performance. The press and a mob of male "art lovers" had to be held back by dozens of police officers.

In 2001, Canadian artist Jesse Power and two associates filmed their torturing of a live cat. The animal was skinned alive, beheaded, and gutted - all for the sake of the trio's supposed artistic vision. The three were eventually arrested, tried, and convicted by Canadian authorities on charges of animal cruelty. In 2004, Canadian filmmaker Zev Asher made an "art" film titled, The Art Of Killing A Cat, about the trio and their despicable exploit. Asher's film was almost as controversial as the original act it documented.

While this extreme and unrepresentative example of postmodern art practice has been condemned by most artists, it should also be seen as the dead-end of a philosophy which asserts "anything can be art."

Cat Killer "Artist", Jesse Power
Jesse Power being detained by Canadian police Sept. 14, 2004, after attacking a crowd protesting the film, The Art Of Killing A Cat.
Just plain disgusting
Martin Creeds Work No. 547
Are you vomiting yet? If so you just might be an artist! Which brings us to the works of UK Minimalist, Martin Creed. His most recent video installation, Being Sick, also known as Work No. 547, is an endless film loop showing close-ups of 19 different people vomiting. Berlin's Johnen Galerie displayed Creed's video, and in their press release described Creed as having brought Minimalism "to a pinnacle. With systematically reduced gestures and a renouncement of everything that looks like art (....) The film depicts vomiting as ideal gesture to express feelings in as direct a manner as possible."

You will excuse this writer as he hurls his own "ideal gesture" into the faces of the postmodernist art establishment, just don't ascribe any grand artistic gesture to my being made nauseous.

Some people champion the notion that "everyone is an artist", a thought Stuckists appreciate for its democratic impulse but reject for its obvious deficiency. Not everyone can be an artist, no more than everyone can be a writer, dancer, film director or musician. Likewise, the view that "anything can be art" has led to more idiocy created in the name of art than we care to list here. There are those who accuse Stuckism of being conservative for its stance regarding the state of contemporary art. But we do not live in the same "moral universe" as the Bush administration - with its "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric. We live in the reality based community, and so we strive for a pluralistic art scene where figurative realist painting will be given the same respect now reserved for video, performance, installation, minimalist, and conceptual art practices. We are not in favor of banning or censoring artists - what we are supportive of is a redirection of art practice that once again makes art understood, accessible and relevant to everyday people. We want to do away with the adage,
"If it can't be understood, it must be art."

We wash our hands of the postmodernist ethos that dictates beauty, meaning and craft to be dead. We reject the elite postmodern establishment and all of its lifeless institutions, minions, sycophants, and knee-jerk supporters. We turn our backs upon the outrages of an effete art world mired in denial. We spurn those who say "art doesn't matter" and laugh in the faces of those who insist "art changes nothing." Could we be any clearer? We rebuff an art world that sees literal garbage as having the same artistic, moral and technical equivalency to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.

We stand in clear opposition to all such postmodernisms and other monsters.