At the Spanish court, Goya was advantageously placed to observe vicious frailties at their most extreme. At the time that he became Painter of the Household, Charles IV had just succeeded to the throne in place of an elder brother widely regarded as a dolt and imbecile. Notwithstanding, Charles was not exactly a quantum leap being himself a vain simpleton.
Its been said or implied by a number of the great art experts that there is an axiom that the ironic underpinning of aesthetic happiness is an unhappy consciousness of history. At this abyss, confronting the nightmares of history,the artist peers into its nihilistic depths, emptying and consuming the symbols that are created to humanize inhumanity; Goya established the iconography that became the standard depiction of its victims in its war imagery which opened the gates to the evocation of grotesque, uncooked destructiveness. Goya and later Otto Dix flipped the classic tradition to reveal the worms and bugs under the boulder, the rock of Sisyphus, that recognized the realization that history, now an industrial age beast, could stimulate too much anxiety to be depicted with a comprehensive or coherent objectivity. …
…It can even be asserted that Goya was an early critic of capitalism; the use and abuse of the peasantry to further Spain’s imperial pretensions. There is a tendency to B.S. his art in the mass media, particularly Hollywood; making it distilled, neutered and emasculated through such nonsense as Goya in Bordeaux and Goya’s Ghosts. These popular endeavors transform Goya into the realm of pop culture by neutralizing critical elements into cheap entertainment: more directly, an easily swallowed synthetic into its assimilation into the society of the spectacle- think Guy Debord- that is the cultural habitat, wildlife preserve that has been created as inhabitable civilized vending machine. Unfortunately, this is the inconsequential and demeaning destiny Hollywood reserves for artists who are, or would have been critical, and contemptuous of what Tinsel Town really stands and speaks for: A military/industrial complex of which Hollywood- and the advertising industry- is simply the sugar coated P.R. mouthpiece. This cesspool of militarism, racism and consumerism controls individual consciousness,the cognitive processes of herd mentality, and it it aggressively attempts to control and repackage through a depiction as comedy, and playful silly mischief, any level of superior thought, or sensitization that menaces its hegemony by providing eloquent recall of its inherent, evil and ultimately tragic flaws and own absurd construction of a world devoid of reason….
Charles IV’s wife, and queen, was the monstrous Maria Luisa of Parma, a dissolute and unsightly woman whose bed was occasionally shared by well muscled stable boys but whose official lover was an ambitious army officer, five years her junior, named Manuel de Godoy. He was well paid for his services: Charles relinquished not only his wife but virtual control of the government to Godoy, appointing him Prime Minister in 1792. Between them, combining stupidity with corruption, Maria Luisa and Godoy managed to involve Spain in a series of debacles that ultimately led to the Franco Spanish defeat at Trafalgar.
Goya observed these repellant creatures as individual beings rather than as the disastrous social and political powers that they were; his portraits of them so reveal their grotesqueness that it is hard to see how the subjects could have tolerated them. Blinded by vanity, these freaky aristocrats may have been flattered by Goya’s accurate reflection of the images they knew in the mirror. But if he saw vice, corruption and foolishness in high places, Goya, unlike many of his contemporaries in France and England, did not discover a compensatory nobility in the common man as his etchings “Los Caprichos” makes evident. They are fantastic visions of universal greed, vanity, superstition and cruelty: the Four Horsemen of Goya’s own apocalypse.
Kuspit: Any art that contradicts it by showing its contradictions — the unresolvable tensions that make it erratically tic(k) — must be contradicted: debunked as a distortion — erratic in itself — and with a worse, and more incurable, tic(k) than society’s. More particularly, any art that highlights capitalist society’s dirty underside of perpetual war, emotional terror and traumatic ugliness, and the desperate pursuit of pleasure that seeks relief from them — that dares to function as a social conscience, that places blame where blame must be conspicuously placed, that dares to tell truth to power, that accepts responsibility for its crimes against humanity when power will not accept them — must be prettified into inconsequence, treated as a kind of misplaced glamorization of society. Any art that fearlessly exposes its inherent barbarism — with an uncompromising, vehement realism more than equal to its own uncompromising, toxic charac
— is its enemy, and must be defeated by being re-made as a silly joke, a fatuous burlesque, a media caricature of itself, an artistic folly rather than an exposure of its own folly.Read More: http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/otto-dix3-24-10.asp a
What a religion’s founders say and what its followers do is as different as what Karl Marx wrote in the London Library and what Stalin did with “Das Kapital” in Siberia. Ideals are nice. Upholding them is nicer. The world of Islam is overwhelmingly not living up to its purported ideals. It is a world of tyrannies, intolerance, racism, of prideful bigotries that shame any Muslim’s claim of having the prophet defiled when Jews and foreigners are the daily objects of defilement in many of these countries’ media and official government pronouncements. Are we forgetting that the Darfur genocide is primarily an Arab massacre of non-Arab, black Africans? Are we forgetting that Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel, broadcast to the entire Middle East a 41-part-series based on the revoltingly anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and did so during Ramadan, to maximize ratings? Don’t just blame it on non-democracies: Are we forgetting that the democratically elected representatives of Hamas, Iran and Iraq, both Sunni and Shiite, revel in destroy-Israel rants? Read More: http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/Archives/C021406.htm a
Illiberal regimes at least have an excuse. Regression is part of their gross national product. The West has no such excuse, least of all in the world’s self-appointed guardian of liberty. If l’infame’s 21 st century version is whatever replaces liberty, reason and the rule of law with dogma, faith-based bigotry and the lawless presumptions of a few arrogant men, then don’t let the relative calm over cartoongate in America fool you. L’infame is alive and well here, in small and broad ways: It is people holding up signs at gay funerals that say “No Fags in Heaven,” and millions of people doing likewise in 11 states by voting to bar gays from marrying. It is columnist Ann Coulter calling Muslims “ragheads” at a conservative political conference and getting an ovation, or Jacksonville’s Rev. Jerry Vines calling Muhammad a “demon-possessed pedophile” in an address to the Southern Baptist Conference, and getting alleluias. L’infame is the National Cathedral service on Sept. 14, 2001, belting the wrathful and jingoist “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during a memorial service for the victims of the attacks three days earlier.Read More: http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/Archives/C021406.htm a