Modern Academic Art = 10% Artwork 90% Artspeak
If it needs a long sermon to proclaim it's art it's probably bullshit.
Artspeak is the jargon of the 'in' critics, celebrities, academics, historians, gallery owners, museum directors and artists. It is a jargon which is unclear even to those who regularly use it. Critics refer to it as the 'language of modern art', while constantly lamenting that almost no one understands it. It is the lingo of intellectual kitsch.
It is the job of the modern art critic by means of Artspeak to:
The major rules for writing Artspeak are roughly speaking:
Artspeak generally addresses some of the following themes:
Artspeak aims at two audiences:
The real modern artists today are the critics who have mastered Artspeak.
Only critics can convince the richy viewer that he should part with big money for that GREAT ART on a large canvas containing a few stripes, a chop suey of schmiers or a gigantic display of very incompetent realism.
A lot of main stream Modern Academic Artspeak today flows from the source some of its originators, the three Bergs, who Tom Wolf complains about in "The Painted Word." However, the greatest and most influential Artspeaker was Clement Greenberg, the Picasso of Artspeak. His timing and geographical location gave a whole population of totally incompetent artists their break to fame. If not for him, they would have been members of that vast army of disgruntled incompetents who never made it. Of secondary importance are the widely read holiest magazine and newspaper critics and the widely ignored academic theoreticians. These are not the originators of the theoretical nonsense which fills the spaces of their reviews, articles and books.
Abstract Expressionism, the mother of all isms after 1940, is primarily a product of Greenberg's writing and the style of Artspeak he founded. His theory of flatness gave post-war Modern Academic Art its establishment respectability. No de Kooning, Rothko, Kline etc. would survive without a steady stream of Greenbergian style Artspeak to prop up its inflated pricetag.
The only really valid, objective things one can say about art are historical and technical. All else no matter how expressed is really subjective. Art theories which claim objective aesthetic universality have a half-life of about 20 years and eventually become defunct.
Before the advent of the Internet this kind of criticism was impossible.
Copyright 1997-2002 Mani de Li