Thursday, February 24, 2005

Nerdotopia 2

Carnap said metaphysics, like all literature, can't be right or wrong. It can only be good or bad. But here is where it gets fuzzy: Art itself has gone beyond good and bad, and has moved into the realm of Art and Not-Art, where Art has taken the place of 'good' and everything else is Not-Art.

What is Art? It is whetever the cabal known as The Art World says it is. The Art World is that network of gallery owners, art professors, and patrons who controls the tastes and opinions of the rest of us. A work can be so downright ugly to those outside the inner circle, but could get The Art World's imprimatur, baffling us outsiders, and that's the way they like it.

The only rule seems to be: Art has to have a family resemblance to what the cabal has already declared to be Art. You cannot be so out there, so avant-garde, that you lose all connection to what has already been sanctified.

There are times when an artist attempts to break free, attempts to work outside the cabal, and does his own thing. This poor, misguided creature could get a following in the world of Underground Art. He can achieve that by being so obsessed, so prolific, so addicted to the work, that the patrons on the fringe realize that he isnt going away. Eventually, gradually, the denizens of the Underground begin to replace the entrenched cabal, as they always do, sometimes with a struggle, but sometimes with nary a belch of protest. Our artist then begins to be recognized, hailed as a pioneer, declared to be ahead of his time; the new Art World beating its breasts in apology for having neglected him for so long. If our artist is lucky, he'd still be alive by the time all this happens.

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