The Painted Word

ThePaintedWordSuggested by Glenn Fairman • If you have ever stared uncomprehendingly at an abstract painting that admired critics have said you ought to dig, take heart. Tom Wolfe is on your side. This is a straight telling of the taste-makers and -breakers in the New York art scene of the 1950s to mid-70s.
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2 Responses to The Painted Word

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I might start reading the Kindle sample of this tonight and then see how it goes.

    By way of a professional art major, artist, and instructor friend, I’ve learned much about art (but not so much about the art world, per se). And with the patriotic ravings of a Dutch friend (and those ravings are totally justified), I’ve gained at least a superficial background on the Dutch masters (and an art education could begin and end on this subject alone).

    But one thing that was always clear to me was the overt pretension in this world as it exists today. I’m sure most of us have been to an art exhibition of some kind where the “Best of Show” was a laughable piece of junk. The gimmick involved here (a heavy ideology, really) is that if you make supposed rubes like me sneer, then the art must be good. The very purpose of modern arts seems to be to reinforce one’s sense of superiority, not to evoke beauty or deep meaning.

    Do I still need to read the book, Glenn?

    Dennis Prager sums things up nicely: Everything the Left touches they make worse.” And that includes art which has been highly politicized and psychologized. It’s pretense layered upon pretense and only those secure in their tastes and in themselves stand much of a chance at staring this wall of pretense down. Most people simply want to be thought of has having good taste too. That’s the trap.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There was a nice parody of sorts of modern art in the episode “The Chimes of Big Ben” from The Prisoner. Number 6 creates an abstract art piece for a Village contest, but its sole purpose is to provide (covertly) the materials to be used for an escape attempt. (After he eventually fails, a new Village art contest is announced, the topic being seascapes.) In addition, of course, in one of the Father Brown stories a girl who was seeking advice on whether or not to marry a boy told him that he had just burst out laughing while look at the modern art in the museum where they were meeting. Father Brown thought this was a very reasonable reaction.

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