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Reblogged:Participatory 'Art' -- Or Legal Entrapment?

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"'Something made by an artist' is not a definition of art. A beard and a vacant stare are not the defining characteristics of an artist." -- Ayn Rand


The above quote immediately came to my mind when I encountered the following headline from the New York Post: "Couple Accidentally Paints Over $500,000 Artwork."

Obviously, the couple couldn't tell whatever the hell they'd painted over was "art" or the couple had good reason to believe that there was an open invitation to join the fun.

Indeed, one look at the exhibit (at beginning of clip below) indicates that either explanation or both could apply: And, yes, the paint cans and brushes were there and are "considered part of the piece."

Given the widespread belief that art is whatever the hell the artist claims it is, and the near-insistence on "participation" by "the people" in "art" -- regardless of any individual's ability, knowledge, or training -- there are only two remarkable things about this story.

One of these things is that this sort of thing isn't a near-daily occurrence.

The other is that the paper -- a conservative one -- joined the cultural left in making fun of the couple's "cringeworthy" actions.

In better days, such an outlet would have justifiably ridiculed the "artist" and called the museum out for setting its patrons up.

Since these aren't better days, we have to reach back to 1966, when Ayn Rand delivered a lecture on "Our Cultural Value-Deprivation" at Boston's Ford Hall Forum, to hear anything like intelligent commentary pertaining to this episode. She states in relevant part:
There is also the nonrepresentational -- or Rorschach -- school of art, consisting of blobs, swirls, and smears which are and aren't, which are anything you might want them to be provided you stare at them long enough, keeping your eyes and mind out of focus. Provided also you forget that the Rorschach test was devised to detect mental illness.

If one were to look for the purpose of that sort of stuff, the kindest thing to say would be that the purpose is to take in the suckers and provide a field day for pretentious mediocrities. But if one looked deeper, one would find something much worse: the attempt to make you doubt the evidence of your senses and the sanity of your mind. [bold added]
This couple did nothing that self-described promoters of "art" wouldn't have encouraged them to do, and yet they were arrested for "vandalism" and then made fun of by the news media!

Consider the frequent howls of protest from the conservative media there are about the "politically correct" word games leftists famously play. How many times has someone been crucified before the media for innocently using a word, after said word was recently deemed unacceptable or redefined or both -- and/or taken completely out of context? This is even worse, because the couple in question did exactly what our cultural leaders have been encouraging them to do.

It is bad enough that the cultural left is in such a position of dominance that something so simultaneously Orwellian and high-schoolish can occur at all. It is worse to see quarters that might once have pushed back joining in.

-- CAV

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