THE FAILURE OF ART
I know for years I've talked about how important failure is in life and art, but that's not what I want to discuss here. What with a recent lecture, a class and an interview, I've been soul searching more than usual, pondering just what art and artists do for society at large. Are we a force for good or evil? Or just tools of the capitalist elite? What better depository of information than the interweb in finding a few answers? But what to google? Evil art? Good art? Goddamnit, the kitten just ran across my computer and hit "u" and "p". Before I knew it Kate Orne's Upstate Diary came up. Coming soon....I think in November. As I was preparing to go back, I noticed a little item on a diary found upstate. You can't beat google for distraction. I clicked. Damned if this didn't send me down the dark road I had been searching out all along. Follow me. It's some scary shit.
This diary happened to be the lost pages of famed Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg? Sounds Jewish. The pages had been lost since the Nuremberg trials, only to surface in 2013 in some law clerk's office up near Buffalo. Off to Wikipedia. And wouldn't you know it, like his boss Hitler, Rosenberg was an artist. He studied with the Estonian painter Ants Laikmaa. And guess what? Like the young Adolf, he was frustrated, angry, and not very talented. Still, he was inspired through the arts. Circumstances put the book FOUNDATIONS OF THE 19TH CENTURY in his hands. This book was written by racist Brit author Houston Stewart Chamberlain, leading to Rosenberg's own anti-semetic ramblings THE MYTH OF THE 20TH CENTURY. Arguably the architect of Nazi thought and practice was another frustrated artist, Wagner's son-in-law H.S. Chamberlain- an Englishman.
It's common knowledge that Hitler was an artist. What he couldn't accomplish through the academy, he realized through the politics of brutality. Rosenberg, in sympathy with Hitler and his limited talent, was crucial in establishing the "Final Solution" as well as the plundering of thousands of works of "degenerate" art stolen from Jewish homes across Europe. His evil knew no bounds.
Chamberlain, Rosenberg, Hitler, and all the rest used art (or it's denial) as a source for some of the most evil acts perpetuated on mankind in history. And in these times of drones, rape, mass murder and be-headings, how does art figure? Or does it? To the Taliban, ISIS, Al Quaida, and who knows how many splinter groups, art comes in the form of a Youtube video. Formally we can pick it apart. Nice location. Well produced. A little cheezy on the graphics. Wait for the money shot......Looks like art has failed us once again.