The Monster … Again

Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, #1284 Dos Equis, acrylic painting

Another set of questions involves exposing the underlying Materialist philosophical underpinnings of Post-Modernism: the primary Post-Modernist strategies that lead to either pictorial or concrete art praxis.  Two orientations that exclude the possibilities of improvisational painting that celebrates its non-thing-ness., its anti-materiality. Post-Modernism embodies the materialist bias moving art toward concerning itself with things in a physical, material world, in a near-totalitarian Consumerist social context.

Within this context the choice remains to consume, or exploit art’s marketable and hence monetary value, that is, its value as an exchange for materialistic goods. This includes attempts to aestheticize experience itself in a manner supporting a culturally privileged set of statii, such as associating its appearance in a museum, or alternatively, its status on the street, to what is “in” or the “next new thing,” that is, to having status in and of itself, or its status as some sort of “avant garde” activity, in spite of the long known bankruptcy of this notion, with all the historical linearity and presupposition of privileged status that implies.,

Post-Modernism itself has become a brand, a designation of privilege, like some “Good Housekeeping Seal” of approval, a specific cultural status to be accepted by a specific caste– the “advanced” cultural-scentii with its anointed  cognoscenti, arbiters, and provocateurs.

2 thoughts on “The Monster … Again”

  1. Not at all. Materialism in the context I have been addressing is that group of philosophies that asserts that the world is entirely material, and that no other reality exists and that no other ground of meaning exists outside that material reality. A person could have great wealth without being a materialist. However, if a people or culture implicitly accepts the assumptions of materialism, then a lot of consequences follow: for example, if a nation or its rulers believe that the world is entirely material, then things like the necessity of controlling that material reality via the material world [via war, physical violence, etc.] will be given a priority. Things that feed inner needs, non-material needs are not even considered “real”, let alone important, from such a philosophical position [I mention philosophy in the plural because historically, especially in the history of science and Anglo-American philosophy, writers have made a lot of fine distinctions between various shades of materialist positions – “ontological materialists”, “materialistic realists”, “pragmatic materialists”, etc.]. And this philosophical position is belied by a host of assumptions about art [as stated in my earlier blogs] and I am saying that as an artist working in a society that presumes, often without any clear conscious examination of such, materialism’s tenants, that I do not want to accept or support or presume those tenants of materialism in my art practice. Materialism does not equal money, for example. It is a set of presumptions about the world, what is reality, and what is important in that world. One can still choose to live and work and act in the material world [we actually HAVE to, we have no choice not to other than suicide/death, and even THAT is an act in the material world] without accepting or supporting or being beholden to the ideas and assumptions of Materialism as a philosophical position taken consciously or unconsciously [in American it seems to be taken unconsciously for the most part: universally presumed until someone claims differently].

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