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

Stuckism: Reactionaries vs Progressives

Some people mistakenly believe that those who are opposed to the excesses of contemporary art are all conservatives or reactionaries, while supporters of modern art are all forward thinking liberals and progressives. This muddleheaded notion is easily refuted. Let us start by pointing out that beginning in 1950's America, the CIA ran a front group called the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization that "poured vast sums of money into promoting Abstract Expressionist painting and painters as an antidote to art with a social content." Using modern art as a Cold War weapon, the CIA heavily funded abstract painters, organized their exhibits nationally and across Europe, mobilized art critics to support them, and saw to it that magazines published articles praising the non-figurative and politically silent works of Abstract Expressionism. While the CIA certainly did not create Abstract art or the conditions it sprang from, there's little doubt the agency helped to establish it as a dominant trend in western painting. A consequence of the CIA covert operation was the international fall from grace of realistic figurative painting - a legacy we continue to live with today.

There are intellectuals who at the present time stand in opposition to the follies of modern art - detractors who in no way can be referred to as traditionalist or conservative. The radical social critic, Fredric Jameson, describes postmodernism as the West's "official culture." He provides a theoretical analysis that gives a framework to the indifference and chilly anti-humanism of much contemporary art, while stripping it of its avant-garde status. In his magnum opus, Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Jameson examines modern culture and aesthetics in the globalized world of corporate capitalism. An extensive and challenging theoretical work, we'll simply insert you into a chapter where Jameson describes the repudiation of Modernism by:

".... an older Victorian and post-Victorian bourgeoisie for whom its forms and ethos are received as being variously ugly, dissonant, obscure, scandalous, immoral, subversive, and generally 'antisocial.' It will be argued here, however, that a mutation in the sphere of culture has rendered such attitudes archaic. Not only are Picasso and Joyce no longer ugly, they now strike us, on the whole, as rather 'realistic,' and this is the result of a canonization and academic institutionalization of the modern movement generally, which can be traced to the late 1950s.

This is indeed surely one of the most plausible explanations for the emergence of postmodernism itself, since the younger generation of the 1960s will now confront the formerly oppositional modern movement as a set of dead classics, which 'weigh like a nightmare on the brains of the living', as Marx once said in a different context. As for the postmodern revolt against all that, however, it must equally be stressed that its own offensive features - from obscurity and sexually explicit material to psychological squalor and overt expressions of social and political defiance, which transcend anything that might have been imagined at the most extreme moments of high modernism - no longer scandalize anyone and are not only received with the greatest complacency but have themselves become institutionalized and are at one with the official culture of Western society.

(....) this is the point at which we must remind the reader of the obvious, namely that this whole global, yet American, postmodern culture is the internal and super structural expression of a whole new wave of American military and economic domination throughout the world: in this sense, as throughout class history, the underside of culture is blood, torture, death and horror."

L.A. STUCKIST group - July 31st, 2006.