An entry for the 2003 Turner Prize was a sculpture depicting bodies being picked at by maggots. Entitled “Sex”, it was by Jake and Dinos Chapman, who duly made the headlines as the most shocking nominees.
Maggots feeding off a body is a fitting out picture of contemporary artists. They are corrupt, degraded, unimaginative and parasitic as they feed off our great artistic traditions and try to destroy them. Their aim is to destroy our values and something that gives meaning to our lives. Is a urinal, say, an artistic subject? No, it is intrinsically unartistic, even though it might have pleasing curves, and to write about it as such does not make it artistic but conceptually separates artistic form from subject
Contemporary art is not really art at all and should be called something else. But it is a financial asset for the global elites who buy and sell it and run the Arts Councils that manage artistic creativity.
Sotheby’s contemporary art auction in July 2008 raised more than $1 billion which shows how the global elites are investing in art regardless of economic predictions. Their evening contemporary art sale raised 95 million pounds ($189 million), the highest total for a summer contemporary auction held in Europe and just below the overall regional record set in February. Francis Bacon’s “Study for Head of George Dyer”, the artist’s lover, fetched $27.4 million, including commission; Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled”, was sold by rock band U2 for $10.1 million. Competitors Christie’s sold art worth $172 million at its sale. Only the less important Sotheby’s contemporary day sale is left and the two main auctioneers have sold works worth just over $1 billion during the summer season, which includes impressionist, modern, post-war and contemporary art. Christie’s raised around $552 million and Sotheby’s about $449 million so far.
Senior executives are confidant that the art market will sustain soaring values in spite of falling stocks and house prices with rising oil costs. Russian elites have been a big factor in booming art sales, there is worry they may inflate impressionist prices in the same way Japanese money did around 20 years ago then disappeared causing the market to crash.
Contemporary art is the preserve of an elite, a large clique, that finance their interests through grants from the arts council, local authorities and sponsorship from global corporations. It is exhibited by commercial art galleries, private collectors, corporations, publicly funded arts organizations, contemporary art museums or by the artists themselves who are supported by grants, awards and prizes as well as by selling work. These are interlocking and exclusive relationships. Individual members of the elite are highly influential - Charles Saatchi has dominated the market in British contemporary art for twenty years and is a major sponsor and collector.
A major sponsor and collector when the English civilisation was developing was King Athelstan. His attitude and intentions show how different are the motives of sponsors at each end of this arc of culture. He used his collection in service of God and to develop something spiritual, and did so through gift. One was to Chester-le-Street, a tenth-century West Saxon codex containing Bede’s eighth-century prose and verse The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne, a seventh-century monk, solitary and bishop, with a frontispiece illustrating the king presenting the book to St.Cuthbert. Together with the Cuthbert material there were episcopal and royal records in this book, including a list of popes. There is evidence that Athelstan also supported the shrines of St. John of Beverley and St. Wilfrid at Ripon. A ring preserved at Bury St. Edmunds in East Anglia bears as its inscription the names of St. John of Beverley and Athelstan (see Rollason 1989). Traditions of several churches traditions such as Malmesbury attributed their collections to his religious benevolence. The prologue to an Old English relic-list from Exeter (Rollason.), tells how royal agents purchased “with the king’s earthly treasure the most valuable treasures of all - holy relics”. A letter from the prior at St. Samson’s at Dol in Brittany is evidence of Athelstan’s interest in relics outside England.
These qualities give a clue to what creates civilisation - confidence in one’s own people and the sense of the civilisation’s permanence. Traditional masterpieces have such individual detail and are so deep one is enrapt for the entire day after first looking at a work as a whole. We need belief in our inherited values from our ancestors and to transmit them to our descendants. We know that what gives meaning to life is our emotional experience, our relationships, our beliefs and values. Our values come from a sense of continuity. We receive them from our forbears. They tell us that we have long endured and will continue to do so.
The Arts Council privileges some ethnic groups as expressed in their customary
Celebrating diversity Race, ethnicity and faith will remain major preoccupations in this country and the arts are fundamental to such debates. The arts help us to develop a sense of our identity and ourselves as individuals, as members of our communities and as a nation. The debate now also needs to encompass a richer and more broad-ranging definition of diversity. By ‘diversity’, we mean that we will respond to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage – any social or institutional barriers that prevent people from participating in and enjoying the arts. We have a part to play in turning the diversity debate towards a positive celebration of diversity and the artistic and creative opportunities it offers. Recent progress Recently we have made real progress in this area. In 2004/05, 23% of individuals receiving our grants defined themselves as Black and minority ethnic artists We have a far-reaching race equality scheme, and require all 1,100 regularly funded organisations to have one too Our Council’s disability and Black and minority ethnic profile has improved, but we still have more to do to achieve the same profile at senior executive level We have made major interventions in theatre – demonstrated by Eclipse Theatre and in 2006 the Sustained Theatre consultation on Black performing arts We will continue with our decibel programme, to celebrate and raise the profile how Black and minority ethnic artists contribute to contemporary British culture
In contrast, ventures representative of our culture, like the
English Music Festival
are discriminated against on the grounds that they are not “inclusive.” This ideology is disseminated through the channels of communication the cultural elites control. Ethnic arts are treated with reverence - ours are dismissed.
The current chairman of Arts Council England, is Sir Christopher John Frayling an educationalist and writer known for his study of popular culture. He read history at Churchill College, Cambridge and gained a PhD in the study of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He taught history at the University of Bath and in 1979 was appointed Professor of Cultural History at London’s post-graduate art and design school, the Royal College of Art. Since 1996 he has been Rector in charge of the College. He is also Chairman of the Design Council, Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, and a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was a governor of the British Film Institute in the 1980s. He was knighted in 2001 for “Services to Art and Design Education”.
Chairwoman of the London Arts Board is Lady Sue Woodford Hollick, a businesswoman and consultant with extensive interests in broadcasting and the arts. She is a former producer and director of World in Action for Granada Television and founding Commissioning Editor of multicultural programmes at Channel 4 television. She has been Chairwoman of Arts Council England, London since September 2000 and is currently a member of the Tate Modern Advisory Council. She is founder and Co-Director of Bringing Up Baby, a childcare company and Chair of the UK board of the African Medical & Research Foundation, Africa’s leading health development organization. Her husband, Lord Hollick, is Chair of the South Bank Centre, which is funded by Arts Council England.
The usual chairman of the Turner Prize Committee is Sir Nicholas Serota who grew up in Hampstead. His mother was a Labour Minister for Health in Harold Wilson’s government, who was made a life peer and governor of the BBC. He was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School and then read Economics at Christ’s Cambridge before switching to History of Art. He completed a Masters degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art under the supervision of Anthony Blunt and Anita Brookner.
In the 1990s contemporary art merged with popular culture and artists are promoted as stars. In June 2008 The Evening Standard told of the millions that Damien Hirst is spending on
once owned by Lord Sudeley’s family. Hirst is supposedly worth £135 million. Death is a central theme in Hirst’s works like a series in which dead animals like a shark, a sheep and a cow are preserved — sometimes having been dissected — in formaldehyde. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living is a 14-foot tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine. In June 2007, his Lullaby Spring sold for £9.65 million at Sotheby’s in London then in 2007, For The Love of God sold for £50 million to an anonymous investment group.
Arts Council England is the national development agency for encouraging the maggots. It distributes public money from the Government and the National Lottery to the arts organisations who share their ideology and refuse those that do not. Individuals and organisations can apply to the Arts Council for funding from its own budget or from the Lottery.
Contemporary art is negative and the practitioners use it to destroy the Art they feed off like maggots while they parasitically take what they can. They not only try to destroy art they kill their babies. Lynn Barber wrote of Tracey Emin in The Observer of 22April 2008 :” The first abortion, in 1990, was horrendously bodged because no one realised she was carrying twins: the second abortion, she says, was ‘revenge’ for the first. Contemporary art is a sort of show to shock which is a petty, destructive motive and meant to hurt innocent people. What they really enjoy is shocking elderly people and children. Of Grayson Perry’s “Barbaric Splendour” the Satchi Gallery wrote: “His form and content is always incongruous: classic Grecian-like urns bearing friezes of car-wrecks, cell-phones, supermodels, as well as more dark and literary scenes often incorporating auto-biographical references.” They need traditional art as a background, for if the old standards were truly swept away no one would be able to say, “What a provocative statement, Tracy.”
Tracey Emin was made Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts On 29 March 2007. Emin joined an elite group of artists including David Hockney, Sir Peter Blake, Anthony Caro and Alison Wilding. She is now entitled to exhibit up to six works in the annual summer exhibition. Her sex-themed works on show include a Zebra with an erection - a crankshaft that operates a model of a zebra, which in turn is copulating with a model of woman in Victorian dress, as the hackneyed image of prudery. It is pretentious and has no intrinsic merit - only that bestowed by the elites. It is propaganda for Cultural Marxism. If the Victorian woman was replaced with, say, Cherie Blair or Diane Abbott the pseuds would be filled with shock and hysteria.
At the 2007 Venice Biennale Emin hosted celebrity guests, including Sir Elton John and his husband/wife David Furnish, Viscount Linley and the model Naomi Campbell. Likewise, when Jake Chapman married model Rosemary Ferguson in Christ Church, Spitalfields, among the guests were Kate Moss, Sadie Frost, Noel Gallagher’s ex-wife Meg Matthews and society photographer Sam Taylor-Wood.
A main feature of contemporary art is paedophila. Grayson Perry, the transvestite who won the Turner Prize in 2003, is known for vases depicting child abuse. Popular entertainment has drawn from the art world’s fascination with it. For example, David Bowie’s 1975 concept album “1.Outside” had a tale about the dismemberment of a teenage girl. Bowie also promoted an androgynous image with the concept album on the career of an extraterrestrial rock singer Ziggy Stardust. It was the basis for his 1972 tour, which was sponsored by The Sun newspaper, and the gigs were filmed by BBC television.
Dressed as his alter ego Claire, Grayson Perry told the Tate Exhibition 2003: “Well, it’s about time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize. I think the art world had more trouble coming to terms with me being a potter than my choice of frocks.” Tate director and award judge, Serota said: “I don’t think the choice is a strategic choice. I think the jury felt strongly that these were the works of a very strong artist who happens to be using ceramics and drawing.”
Institutions like Serota’s manage and regulate what used to be individual inspiration within a traditional culture. So, ordinarily, crafts like textile design are excluded from contemporary art despite having large audiences at exhibitions. But it becomes a different story if they adopt the right values. Elite motives were expressed by Charles Satchi thus, “A ceramic object that is intended as a subversive comment on the nature of beauty is more likely to fit the definition of contemporary art than one that is simply beautiful.”
Perry’s “Golden Ghosts” were described by the Satchi Gallery:” Unhappy expressions on the little girls’ faces in Golden Ghosts contrast sharply with the idyllic country cottages stencilled in the background. Perry often uses found images to create a mood or a tension – the exceptionally sad image of the seated girl is that of a child affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station disaster. This evocative work hints at a familiarity with psychotherapy, made at a time when Perry was coming to terms with his own unhappy past. Perry’s transvestite alter ego, Claire, appears outlined in gold as the ghost in the title, dressed in the elaborate embroidered “Coming Out Dress”, made for a performance in 2000.” As we see with Emin they do not transcend their unhappiness but spread it to others.
The Chapman brothers are conceptual artists who work together. They were part of the Young British Artists movement that was promoted by Charles Saatchi, who also sponsored Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Jake Chapman has published a number of catalogue essays and pieces of art criticism in his own right, as well as a book, Meatphysics in 2003. The brothers have also designed a label for Becks beer as part of a series of limited edition labels produced by contemporary artists.
Their Turner Prize exhibit for 2003 featured two new works “Sex” and “Death”. “Sex” referred their previous work “Great Deeds against the Dead”. The original work shows three dismembered corpses hanging from a tree, “Sex” shows the same scene, but in a further state of decay. Clown’s noses have been added to the skulls of the corpses while snakes, rats and insects, similar to ones in joke shops, cover the piece. “Death” is two sex dolls, placed on top of each other, head-to-toe in the soixante-neuf position.
The next step down to total degradation is cruelty to animals and bestiality. In a declining civilisation art becomes corrupted and is a measure of the health - or sickness, actually - of a civilisation. The Romans sank into a debased barbarism by slaughter in the amphitheatre. Our deterioration into barbarism is moving from images to the reality. In popular entertainment like “I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here”, simple people, described as Celebrities, are so degraded as to be led into eating live worms and stick insects. There are several levels to this: there is cruelty to lesser animals; encouraging children to eat insects and slugs in the garden ;and the move towards ever more degradation of our people and culture.
This is a world-wide decadence: In 2007, a Costa Rican ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc caught a stray dog on the street and tied it by a short leash to the wall of an art gallery and left it to die of hunger and thirst while cultural elites watched. The Central American Biennial of Art has decided that this was art and has asked Vargas Habacuc to repeat this “installation” at the Biennial of 2008. This was sanctioned by a public body run by the country’s elites. It is not clear that they really did starve the dog and it might be just to shock or get publicity to sell something. But it shows how truly disgusting these people are. The “artist” explained, “I knew the dog died on the following day from lack of food. During the inauguration, I knew that the dog was persecuted in the evening between the houses of aluminum and cardboard in a district of Managua. Five children who helped to capture the dog received 10 bonds of córdobas for their assistance. The name of the dog was Natividad, and I let him die of hunger in the sight of everyone, as if the death of a poor dog was a shameless media show in which nobody does anything but to applaud or to watch disturbed. In the place that the dog was exposed remain a metal cable and a cord. The dog was extremely ill and did not want to eat, so in natural surroundings it would have died anyway; thus they are all poor stray dogs: sooner or later they die or are killed.”
A couple of decades ago an artist castrated himself in an exhibition in London which was presumably funded by the Arts Council! One would wonder how this or the starving of a dog is art. The setting does not make it art. It makes it torture set in an art gallery. It is what the elites want from an artistic subject. It is not what we want. For us, art has to be intrinsically artistic in that it it is something that produces an affect on our emotions ranging from pleasing to spiritual. It triggers something aspirational or transcendent as the subject is transformed by human imagination and skill. Art begins as wholesome and aspiring to the spiritual. But in a declining civilisation it becomes corrupted and corrupting. The debased slaughter in the amphitheatre marked the Roman decline into barbarism. Ours is marked by, among other things, the degeneracy and cruelty of anti-art.
To combat the anti-art movement a young artist would need not only great talent but also independence of mind and an imagination developed through respectful study of tradition and a sense of reverence for God and his creation. He would also need the courage to stand alone against the artists and elites who have a stranglehold on artistic productions and the colleges that pass the fashionable methods on. The brave one would need to study the great masterpieces and find an appropriate tradition to link to, and begin reviving our civilisation.