the wild, the innocent and the complicit

A Disneyfication of any critical content. Any elements that speak truth to power and which  conscientiously deny any aspirations to brush shoulders with the ugly cold confidence of money’s destructive emotional energy. The representation of an innocent grotesqueness where a discomforting reality is stranger than any gymnastics of artistic fiction. The power of market based economics to tranche and repackage tropes into marketable commodities; individuals as quants in a mortgage backed security peddled through the entertainment complex until any trace element of the real and the authentic is ground and diluted into pablum-food for the culturally insignificant.

Dix. The Matchseller. ---It is the trivializing fate that Hollywood reserves especially for artists who are critical of everything it stands for: the military-industrial complex it serves. The military-industrial-entertainment complex controls consciousness, and it is determined to control -- by treating as comic farce, ridiculing as absurd mischief -- any consciousness that threatens it by reminding it of its tragic flaws and its own absurdity. Read More: image:

This trivializing factor, and the ability of corporate interests to transform and co-opt almost anything into a fetish object is very much the prophetic society of the spectacle of Debord and the aura of mechanical reproduction of Benjamin gone terribly wrong, creating something ostensibly liberating but ultimately a Frankenstein with armies of zombies to support it. Its easy to dismiss Debord as a complicated Frenchman, but behind the rhetoric of our own “defenders of the faith” there has to be doubts…


---Otto Dix was first and foremost a critic of capitalism -- a fact obscured by the bullshitizing of his art by Hollywood, that is, the dumbing of it down into entertainment in such films as Cabaret, more pointedly, the neutralizing and kitschifying of its critical content by its assimilation into the society of the spectacle we culturally inhabit. It is the trivializing fate that Hollywood reserves especially for artists who are critical of everything it stands for--- Read More:

Donald 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 character — 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.

By turning it into facile, cheap entertainment, society took its revenge on Dix’s art, as it did on Toulouse-Lautrec’s art in Moulin Rouge and various films about his life. He also tells the emotional truth about bourgeois society, with equally unsparing accuracy — holds a revengeful mirror up to it, a distorting mirror that discredits it by telling it is not the fair society it thinks it is — that it is more freakish and inhumane than any human freaks art is capable of imagining. It has a distorting effect on human beings because it is distorted in itself. Read More:

Guy Debord (Societe du Spectacle):

In the essential movement of the spectacle, which consists of taking up all that existed in human activity in a fluid state so as to possess it in a congealed state as things which have become the exclusive value by their formulation in negative of lived value, we recognize our old enemy, the commodity, who knows so well how to seem at first glance something trivial and obvious, while on the contrary it is so complex and so full of metaphysical subtleties….

Dix. Memories of the Halls of Mirrors in Brussels. ---As Dix ironical

aid, reflecting on his 1920s Verist paintings, “the fact that so much is pre-ordained ( by society) means that one’s originality is noticeably restricted” -- even though it was original to return to tradition, in a self-preservative conservativism, at the height of and in defiance of artistically reckless, socially irresponsible avant-gardism. read more:


This is the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things,” which reaches its absolute fulfillment in the spectacle, where the tangible world is replaced by a selection of images which exist above it, and which simultaneously impose themselves as the tangible par excellence.


The world at once present and absent which the spectacle makes visible is the world of the commodity dominating all that is lived. The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its movement is identical to the estrangement of men among themselves and in relation to their global product.


The loss of quality so evident at all levels of spectacular language, from the objects it praises to the behavior it regulates, merely translates the fundamental traits of the real production which brushes reality aside: the commodity-form is through and through equal to itself, the category of the quantitative. The quantitative is what the commodity-form develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative. Read More:

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