By David Truman

For preliminary background, see separate article What is Cultural Marxism?

The rot of Western culture started before Marx, in literature  with Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil, 1857) by Charles Baudelaire.   This deals with themes relating to decadence and eroticism.   

The volume’s Foreword blasphemously defines Satan as “thrice-great” and calls boredom the worst of miseries.   The general tone then continues:     

If rape and poison, dagger and burning,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It’s because our souls, alas, are not bold enough!

In the early 20th century, “Modern Art” came into existence.  Talent was no longer a requirement to be an artist.  One simply had to randomly slop anything on a canvas and describe the “painting” in grandiose and esoteric terms – explaining the “deep” meaning of the “art.”  Anyone who dared criticize the so-called “painting” was labelled “backward” and a “simpleton.”

In much of the art world today, there are NO standards.  Anything goes.  Anything is counted as “art.”  Any garbage can find itself in a big city museum.   It also helps if an “artist” lives a drugged-out life, stays up all night and sleeps half the day, dresses in a bizarre manner, and subscribes to radical leftist politics.  

John Robson [National Post journalist, Ottawa] says:    “Modern art isn’t randomly ugly and lacking in discernible merit.   It does it on purpose.

All art has a message. “Art for art’s sake” or “all in the eye of the beholder” is an infinite regress or a contemptible evasion, a brazen peddling of fake relativism. Including that trite “Untitled” name.

A painting, poem, novel or a song says something. And “modern” art, art promoting self-consciously “modern” values, says life is horrible. That’s why it’s ugly. Offensiveness, however trite, is content.   All those “artists“ doing Piss Christ and dung Virgin Mary don’t do Mohammed.

Here is a FAKE Mark Rothko painting (“Untitled, 1956”) exposed in early 2016.   This was part of a 15-year-long fraud that raked in $80 million, destroyed New York City’s oldest art gallery and involved “modern masters” paintings that were knocked off in a garage.  

In 2004, Dominic De Sole, chairman of Sotheby’s auction house, paid $8.3 million for this work supposedly by the midcentury Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko.   They loved it right up until they discovered, seven years later, that it was really a painting of squares done by a Chinese guy in Queens.

This was one of dozens of fraudulent modern masterpieces the now defunct gallery sold, to the tune of $70 million.   The real painter, Pei-Shen Qian, has fled to China.

One Abstract Expressionist scholar admitted that he had previously said all Rothkos look alike. 

How is this genuine Rothko “Number 10” [right] different from the fakes?

If experts can’t tell the real thing from junk, there’s probably no meaningful difference. 

More Mark Rothko – charlatan and deceiver of rich fools

Now here’s a right “masterpiece” reflecting the Cultural Marxist Zeitgeist:

All the arts have been infected by this disease of nihilist and self-hating meaninglessness. Look at these examples from public art in sculpture:

Melbourne’s infamous “Yellow Peril” (aka Vault), by sculptor Ron Robertson-Swann (1980). Originally installed in Federation Square, it was removed after public outrage.

Now four examples from Brisbane:

“Pop”, Coorparoo (2019)
“Growth” by Matthew Harding, in Kenmore (2015)

Now, a protest from the United Kingdom:

Some American examples of street “art”:

Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010), a Portuguese immigrant to the US, served as a Visiting Artist at several universities before becoming a Professor of Studio Art at Stanford University. The author took the photo below on the left, at Stanford’s Gallery of Modern Art. In 1999 Oliveira was awarded the Distinguished Degree of “Commander” in “The Order of the Infante D. Henrique,” awarded by the President of Portugal and the Portuguese government, for his artistic and cultural achievements. You’re kidding me?!

Museums of Modern Art pay good money for crap!

CoBrA: Marxist Expressionism of a Postwar Generation

The European avant-garde collective known as CoBrA [anagram based on Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam], rejects Western ideals of civilization and rationalism. These artists sought a more primitive and innocent form of expression, free from the social conventions they had come to despise. A Manifesto written in 1948 by one of its artists says:

“‘In this period of change, the role of the creative artist can only be that of the revolutionary: it is his duty to destroy the last remnants of an empty, irksome aesthetic, arousing the creative instincts still slumbering unconscious in the human mind. The masses, brought up with aesthetic conventions imposed from without, are yet unaware of their creative potential…The onlooker’s creative ability (inherent to human nature) will bring this new way of seeing within everyone’s reach once aesthetic conventions cease to hinder the working of the unconscious.’”

CoBrA produced some stunningly ugly “art.”

There is no end to the depravity infecting “modern art.”

And then there’s Jackson Pollock, celebrated (!) creator of Blue Poles

Vitaly Lishko (born 1987) is “a young Ukrainian talent who has exhibited his paintings nationally. Working primarily within abstract expressionism, he takes an instinctive approach to composing energetic, vibrant pieces that emerge from his subconscious. With each painting, Lishko seeks to create a sense of technical, conceptual and aesthetic harmony.”

Yeah? Here are three of his “energetic, vibrant pieces”. Pass the chuck bucket.

As John Robson, quoted above, says: “Modern Art Isn’t Randomly Ugly And Lacking In Discernible Merit. It Does It On Purpose.”

Jean Michel Basqiat: Dustheads (1982)

It gets WORSE! Hobart’s  DARK MOFO, 2017

Theodor Adorno of the Frankfurt School (which developed Critical Theory, the destructive criticism of all elements of Western civilization) declared, “Universal necrophilia is the last perversity of style.”

 Enter Hermann Nitsch (Austria), “Action” presenter at Dark Mofo 2017.

Dark Mofo has never shied away from the gruesome.   Hermann Nitsch founded the Orgien Mysterien Theater (which roughly translates as “Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries”) in 1966.    His performances, which he calls Aktions, involve sacrificial imagery, gore and  nudity and are deeply confronting.

Aktion 122 (2005) in Vienna saw a man crucified in front of a flayed bull carcass, while a group of naked men repeatedly stabbed him with metres-long wooden spears. https://www.nitsch.org/en/actions/aktion-122/

This is Hermann Nitsch’s “art.”

Nitsch’s 150 Action for Dark MOFO 2017 in Hobart involved 500 litres of blood. This and all of his “art” is SATANIC.

Theodor Adorno was right.

In 2021 Dark Mofo was going to feature Spanish “artist” Santiago Sierra’s piece, ‘Union Flag’ – a Union Jack immersed in the donated blood of 83 First Nations people. In anticipation of the event, Sierra published an open letter, offering to fly one randomly selected participant from each colonised country — like Aotearoa [that’s NEW ZEALAND], Fiji and Canada — to donate a small amount of blood at a Hobart medical facility.

“The First Nations people of Australia suffered enormously and brutally from British colonialism,” Sierra wrote. “The intent of this project is against colonialism and a denouncement of the pain and destruction it has caused the First Nations people, devastating entire cultures and civilizations.” What classic cultural pessimism – a central attribute of Cultural Marxism. Not a word about the many BENEFITS of British colonization.

Whilst the project received support from local Tasmanian Aboriginal groups, it incited widespread backlash across First Nations people on a national scale and the organizers of Dark Mofo cancelled it.

Other “events” associated with Dark Mofo have included some absurdly bizarre. They call this festival art?? Cartoonist Johannes Leak lampooned well this infantile, nihilistic garbage.

In Music

Music has also been targeted by Cultural Marxism in the 20th century and beyond. Classical music was assailed by experiments in cacophonous noise with Schoenberg’s twelve tone experimentation, awful electronic noise from Karlheinz Stockhausen, and unbeautiful atonality from Berg, Webern and others. Who can seriously listen to Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto (for example) without feeling sick in the stomach? Or listen to songs from his Book of Hanging Gardens without bursting out laughing? Why on earth did he need to depart from the inspired beauty he was clearly capable of, of his earlier Gurrelieder?

Popular music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, including trad jazz, was tuneful, optimistic and life-affirming; in recent decades we have had grunge, heavy metal and death metal, and “gangsta rap” – garbage on steroids, like the atrocious “lyrics” belted out by Snoop Dogg. This is a culture of death, negativity and horribleness, a dumbing down of taste, a rejection of culture, and certainly of higher culture. Modern jazz is aimless, unbeautiful, lost. In recent decades, sales of music CDs were of only about five per cent classical, the rest pop.

The Cultural Marxist rot has settled into the movies too, as well as Big Tech (Facebook, Twitter until recently, Google, Apple,) major banks, and many other companies.

The West is in terminal decline. Too many of its intellectuals and creative people hate their own culture and work to pull it down. This must be resisted ferociously, with ridicule and heat. Back in 2006, Bernard Lewis, foremost historian of the Middle East, said this in the context of the threat from Islam, but his words are equally applicable in the present Culture War:

“It may be that Western culture will indeed go: The lack of conviction of many of those who should be its defenders and the passionate intensity of its accusers may well join to complete its destruction. But if it does go, the men and women of all the continents will thereby be impoverished and endangered.”

Why is Classical Art so much better?

This five minute video from Praeger University gives a pretty clear distinction between talent and facile meaninglessness:

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