Love this passage from a Donald Kuspit article. Kuspit is much maligned and dismissed by many, but is certainly willing to put his neck out there and as a critic shows a lot of gritty toughness, moxie and elan. He’s not that young anymore and possibly a hundred years from now, may be one of the few who will still be read:
Kuspit: What Hollywood accomplished with its brilliant dialectical feat of appropriating Dix’s figures — banalizing his highly individualized, “scandalous” figures into slick, impersonal, marketable stereotypes — was to change the Weimar Republic wasteland they inhabited and symbolized into an entertaining paradise: a perverse paradise, no doubt, but still a paradise of free love — physically free if emotionally costly love — and, one might add, of “free art.” Without their critical edge and sting, they are fashionable mannequins on a commercial stage, however ostensibly — superficially — free spirits, as all figures that seem out of the bounds of social respectability, and charged with raw animal instinct — all “transgressive” figures that seem to lift the repression barrier — appear to be. Women in particular, as the risqué, self-destructive, impulsive dancer Anita Berber, depicted in a passionately red body-clinging dress (1925) — a sort of glistening snakeskin (its redness available in the Neue Galerie shop as glamorous “Berlin red” lipstick, a demoralizing triumph of advertising, packaging and commodification, not to say an “esthetic” cheap shot at Berber and Dix) suggests, along with the feline Reclining Woman on Leopard Skin (1927), who stares (glares?) at the male and for that matter female viewer, and seems ready to spring at and tear him or her apart, as her claw-like right hand suggests. Both are provocative monsters, like a good many of Dix’s females, suggesting that he has problems with women,…Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/otto-dix3-24-10.asp
And this, which seems especially pertinent, since so much of our media is devoted to analyzing and criticizing, praising, and worshiping the pop culture business model and the cult of celebrity around it.It seems like a total waste of energy for say valid feminist critiques to tirelessly plow away at this Cultural model almost reinforcing its worst tendencies in the process. The whole ugly idea of commodify your dissent complete with derivative products. The initial hope of a Walter benjamin that mass dissemination ( mechanical reproduction) would have emancipatory potential is largely a disappointment.
From Mr. Kuspit again: …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: 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. ( ibid)