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On the Promotion of False Art

by Lee Duane FitzSimmons

One of the great downfalls of twentieth century art is the proliferation of non-aesthetic creations that claim to have artistic worth. This type of proliferation occurs mainly in the visual and musical arts more than it does in the literary arts. This exclusion of the literary arts from this plague is because of the basic nature of the medium itself. The arrangement of words is a far more flexible medium of expression that requires basic syntax and grammar in order to be taken seriously in the first place; otherwise, the lack of fundamental skill in the medium is so blatantly obvious that amateur meanderings are usually never thought of as having any sort of artistic merit. The exception to this statement lies within the realm of poetry, which has also been infected with this horrendous virus.

However, in the mediums of music and visual art, the ugly head of dilettantism rears itself to all of the world. Because of warped psychological justification, many individuals in academia proclaim that various types of non-aesthetic works of art have artistic merit. Even though such works of art are perceived by all who view them as being nothing more than concoctions that could be created by an untrained child or a computer program spewing out random designs, there are communities of individuals who desperately try to prove that these creations have some type of aesthetic worth. The most common method used in desperate attempts to justify the alleged cultural value of these "works" is the buying and selling of these creations at extremely inflated prices. However, this behavior only indicates the lack of rational logic possessed by all parties involved in the process and does not give any additional beauty to a work of art other than a sort of hollow financial beauty.

Modern art wall splashed handyman dripped free-form painting by Tom Sulcer (2007)

In music, the attempted justification of atonal music as a legitimate art form was introduced in the early part of the twentieth century. After listening to the music of this genre, it becomes readily apparent that there is no sense of beauty to be found in these creations. The primary usage for this type of music is when a sense of chaos is desired as a mood for a certain portion of a creation. Also, if a composer desires an entire work to have the sense of disorder and calamity, then these types of sounds will provide such emotions.

In order for a piece of art to have true aesthetic worth, basic skills must be developed. In order to develop these skills, discipline must be maintained. In order to maintain this discipline, the imaginative flights of fancy that originally served as the sparks of desire to pursue the development of an artistic craft must be channeled into the development of artifice. It is at this point where most individuals lose interest. Therefore, only the individuals who possess enough desire can properly develop the skills required for any sort of real training within the artistic realms.

With the advent of the flawed psychological reasoning introduced in the early twentieth century, the fall of the arts into a state of degeneracy was inevitable. However, there is still hope. All that is needed is the honest appraisal of art. If a young child with little or no formal education (i.e. academic brainwashing) thinks that a picture created by throwing a bucket of paint onto a canvas is ugly, then it should be rather apparent that the alleged artwork is ugly. If that same child beholds a breathtaking landscape and thinks that it is wonderful, then the landscape is truly beautiful.

If the same child hears a classical symphony and starts to sing along, then the piece is glorious.

If the same child hears an atonal work of Schoenberg and thinks that it is noise, then it is noise.

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Copyright 2013 by Lee Fitzsimmons