Vanity is usually pretty revolting. An auto-glorification. narcissism. But as a minor saving grace, it can aspire to a certain honesty. But, for some reason, the relationship between vanity and worshiping money remains an enduring legacy, as if the power of money as poop to breed and fertilize more money seems to inevitably collapse the distinction between the spiritual value and commercial value of art, which seems at the heart of fascist psychology when one succeeds in prying into its hard casing where man is center of the universe in all his abject extremes. Either as machine robotic and inanimate object or as the junk of life, formless pieces of the abject and unmonumental: pieces of shit, fecal mounds that aspire to material transformation and a twisted ideology of alchemical purity that is rooted in a profound sense of tragic inferiority. Reaching into these psychological structures one finds the artificial extremes of gender identity and the always pervasive threat to the masculine body.
…Beneath the surface of this image of hard strength and perfection in Fascist culture, however, was a far more sinister rhetoric of gender. As Klaus Theweleit has documented, in the writings of the volunteer armies of the German Freikorps during WWI masculinity is formulated as a rigid, tightly bound container in opposition to formless matter. As Theweleit summarizes: “The most urgent task of the man of steel is to pursue, to dam in, and to subdue any force that threatens to transform him back into the horribly disorganized jumble of flesh, hair, skin, bones, intestines and feelings that calls itself human.” As Theweleit recounts, that formless realm of the physical was continually associated in the minds of the Freikorps with the feminine and with a deeply threatening ego dissolution….
…In writings by Marinetti such as Mafarka Le Futuriste of 1910, woman is represented as a terrifying, formless force associated with death and non-being. A major event in the novel is the main character’s giving birth to a son without recourse to a woman’s reproductive system, an event which Marinetti celebrates as follows: “What joy to have brought you into the world so beautiful and free of all the stains that come from the evil vulva and predispose one to decrepitude and death…” The horror of women in this novel reaches its climax in a scene where one of the woman protagonists meets her end as a morass of “scarlet mud” which Marinetti describes as “an amalgam of hair, vertebrae and bones which seemed to have been gnawed on by a tiger on heat.”… Read More:http://www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/resources.ashx/events.transcripts/10/PDF/733969CAE80C3021DCF50352A9A08B41/white.pdf …
Fascism, the path of least resistance, the love of ritual, indignity, domination and the summa cum laude esteem of the pathological, just can’t seem to resist the association between gender identity and physical qualities. The Greek ideals of masculine perfection that can later be projected onto women, self-hated, used and discarded as rotted low-hanging fruit for man as Bacchus unbound. Behind this is a dread of the disorganized organic being, and a belligerence towards women seen as physical space, a playground to work out the quirks and kinkies of male identity. The masculine warrior figure is an absurdity predisposed to a form of nihilistic alienation brooding on a throne which is merely a toilet; but this kind of empty materiality is so linked with the monetary system that it self-perpetuates…
…In contrast to these resolutely bounded, rigid figures, Fontana’s mangled and shiny warriors embody the abject qualities associated with femaleness that are encountered in proto-fascist texts. Their highly irregular surfaces repudiate the hardened surfaces and solid volumes of Novecento sculpture, opening the figure with their deep furrows and loose crests of clay. Furthermore, their apparently liquid melting surfaces aggressively deny that metallic hardness or rigid outline typical of the Fascist definition of maleness. Hal Foster has argued that the machine-like bodies in the Dada/Surrealist works of Max Ernst and Hans Bellmer were “ambiguous explorations of the (proto) fascist obsession with the body as armour… as a prosthesis that served to shore up a disrupted body image or to support a ruined ego construction.”…
…To take Foster’s suggestive metaphor of the armoured body, Fontana’s warriors have been prised out of their hard shell casing, to expose the ‘disorganised jumble of flesh’ associated by Theweleit’s Freikorps soldiers with the formless realm of the feminine. In this sense, rather than unpacking the diametrically opposed definitions of maleness and femaleness that circulated in official and avant-garde texts in the first half of the twentieth century, Fontana performed a startling reversal of those texts’ associations between physical qualities and gender identity. Read More:http://www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/resources.ashx/events.transcripts/10/PDF/733969CAE80C3021DCF50352A9A08B41/white.pdfa
“The Beautiful Bowel Movement” by John Updike
Though most of them aren’t much to write about—
mere squibs and nubs, like half-smoked pale cigars,
the tint and stink recalling Tuesday’s meal,
the texture loose and soon dissolved—this one,
struck off in solitude one afternoon
(that prairie stretch before the late light fails)
with no distinct sensation, sweet or pained,
of special inspiration or release,
was yet a masterpiece: a flawless coil,
unbroken, in the bowl, as if a potter
who worked in this most frail, least grateful clay
had set himself to shape a topaz vase.
O spiral perfection, not seashell nor
stardust, how can I keep you? With this poem.
…This is why so much modern art is kitsch — innovative, avant-garde kitsch, no doubt, but kitsch nonetheless. All regressively desublimated art tends toward kitsch, especially anally oriented art, excrement being the ultimate kitsch. Kitsch is the most perverse, depraved, evil kind of art, as Broch suggests. Its perversity involves a kind of emotional decadence — entropic regression, one might say. It turns the spectator into a voyeur — Manet’s Olympia certainly does this — which is to devalue looking. It is this devaluation which makes all kitsch art evil.
In voyeurism looking is unreflective, shallow, passive — mindless observation of a hypnotic object — which means that it has no cognitive value, that is, it no longer triggers a cognitive, evaluative process. Voyeurism is not analytic contemplation but blind fascination — infatuation with an ingratiating fantasy. This is inseparable from the voyeur’s subtle devaluation of the body (its parts and functions), which he turns into a seductive sex object, so that it is no longer the site of a person. Every work of kitsch art — whether kitsch in avant-garde disguise or populist kitsch — devalues and degrades its subject matter and its spectator by perversely selling short their potential.
The representation of love — as distinct from sexuality — is rare in modern art, as I want to emphasize, and for good reason. “Love perceives the value potentialities in the loved person,” as Victor Frankl writes, and perversion hates and devalues its object — to hate is to devalue and deny human potentiality, thus reducing the object to a hollow actuality. The pervert destructively fragments and dehumanizes the object, as Stoller writes, which is to reduce it to kitsch — an object that is all matter with no trace of mind to give it depth, more particularly, a body without emotional resonance. A good Cartesian, the pervert separates body and soul, and doesn’t look back…. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit6-10-02.asp