Fine Art and the CIA

By: TLB Contributor: L. Femine

Where does art fit in with all the turmoil going on in the world today? It makes me wonder what other people think about this, particularly artists.

I started this life as a painter and, for most of my existence, that was my primary goal and passion. I have had moments, though, as I view the black clouds of apparent doom getting so dangerously close to us all, when I wonder if art is just a bunch of fluff, it’s purpose reduced to a pleasant distraction from it all or, a temporary dissipating of fear.

Part of my answer came recently when I saw the attached video on what has happened to art and the art world. While extremely illuminating, it is also very disturbing to note the CIA has had its sticky, oppressive fingers in the art world for many years, making a terrible mockery of it, to say the least. This arm of the government has been degrading art and aesthetics, reducing it to the level where many big corporations today have fallen – greed and control.

The purpose of art was very different from what it has become today. As the video reveals, making an artist famous so his work can be sold for astronomical prices is the focus, rather than the actual quality of the art itself. Therefore, buyers are led to conclude the art must be good and meaningful for such a price tag.

smoca05[1]I guarantee if you took a painting from a five-year-old and placed it in a museum with a huge price on it plus a glowing bio of the “artist,” someone would buy it and proclaim their hipness and prestige. They may even glow inside for their contribution to the beauty of the world. Yet others may be thinking as they walk out with their precious creation – who can I sell this piece of garbage to?

Degradation is the key. I am not a Christian but I was greatly offended by the now-famous painting of the Madonna surrounded with dung. I searched my mind in vain for a clue as to how this painting would add to a sense of joy or beauty in life. I’m sure the gallery had a very good explanation, some esoteric gibberish foisted on people (potential buyers) in a patronizing manner because we are so ‘clueless” as to the true meanings of art. You know, we’re just not that “deep.”

I was just considering finding this painting online and posting it with the article but why do that to you? I won’t even search for the name of it in case you might look. I would be falling into their hands and promoting the very same ugliness – which is the antithesis of true creation. On the other hand, maybe you SHOULD look at it, in the light of what I’m saying.

The real aim of promoting this insanity is to reduce life as well as religion to a level where they hope we might say – well, what’s the point of living? I might as well take this drug or shoot myself.

By the way, when I say “they,” I don’t want to convey the image of wiretaps and cameras in every corner of your house and computer or an agent of some sort on every street in the country. Actually, there’s not very many of them but they sure create havoc.

You could loosely say this change in art is all due to just the power of promotion today but that would be shallow thinking. Paranoia aside, this degradation of art is a deliberate plan to reduce society to hopelessness and despair – the same effect many people are now experiencing with drugs of all kinds – particularly psychiatric, GMO food, chemtrails, threats to throw us in FEMA camps because we might have a Constitution sticker on our car, etc.

Contemporary-Art-Painting-Sergio2[1]Before I watched this video, the thought still lingered in the back of my mind that maybe I’m just too insensitive to today’s art or maybe I have robot blood in my veins because I just don’t feel anything when I look at much of it. Or – am I old-fashioned (I’m no spring chicken) because I love impressionism the most and even some classical art? No, no, no, I realized with this video. First of all, many of these “newly-discovered” artists have never seen the inside of an art classroom in their lives. They’re just trying to “express” themselves. Well, I’m sorry, Jackson Pollack’s paint drippings direct from cans do nothing for me. My brother is a house painter and I’ll bet his drop cloths might go for millions with the right promotion.

One time in L.A., at an art museum, I stepped on an ordinary tile sitting on top of the floor tiles, just as many other people were doing. Two feet away from the tile, a guard was posted who kept repeating, “Please don’t step on the art. Please don’t step on the art.” I looked down at the tile and thought, huh?? I actually looked around for the art; no way could it have been that tile. I’m thinking now it would have been much more creative to have a camera and record people’s reactions to stepping on this “art” and presenting it as part of a documentary on an artless society.

281345_1412898_ll1[1]Many years ago, in the approaching autumn of my life, I had the most startling revelation. I thought – gee, I never learned how to paint! The next morning I went to the library and took out tons of books on painting and studied hard. I practiced every day for hours, weeks and months. Soon after, I sold a painting for $1750 at my first show. Never sold anything before in my uneducated life as an artist. I know now, that was because I studied and practiced painting. It’s a skill just like any other. Sure it’s emotional and subjective but here’s an example: most of the best abstract artists are grounded in traditional art training; many studied classical painting.

By not promoting, offering and encouraging quality, expertise and hard work as an artist –of any kind – life is tragically undone. We don’t want to become bodies to be gratified only with food, sex, money, entertainment and sensationalism. We are creators and anything we do should be approached from that view.

Art is powerful, the spiritual staff of life. But it should be good art. The fact is classical or traditional training in art today is almost non-existent. The artist is encouraged to simply throw paint on a canvas. So, chances are his work will be portrayals of frustration at never having learned to paint. That’s what I see when I look at these gigantic paintings filled with huge brushstrokes screaming to go somewhere or say something. Often, they look more like the palettes.

The truth is – YOU know good art when you see it; you really do. The communication between you and the painting is all that matters. If you think it’s crap, then it’s crap. Don’t be distracted or misled into thinking otherwise by ads, gallery owners, reviewers or price tags.

Fine Art needs to live for life to be lived fully, whether it’s a painting, a sculpture, a song, a dance or a movie. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the world; in fact, art is even more important in times like these. Though we need to be alert to dangers, aesthetics, professionally created and the joy it brings can overcome madness all on its own.

1 Comment on Fine Art and the CIA

  1. Pollock made some superb paintings.
    Tbh I don’t really understand what the point of your argument is.

    Is it about the (mis)appropriation of Abstract Expressionism by the CIA in the early 1950s
    (please forgive the lack of exact date of the Venice Biennale, has been a long while since I read about the sorry saga)?
    Or Is it about your own aesthetic preferences for prosaic art over what was, at the time, ground breaking painting. (pun intended)
    Or is it about the appropriation of art by corporate patronage, which was discussed back in the 70s and 80s?

    I will just respond to your final paragraph. If you consider Pollock’s drip paintings, you may discover the rhythms of a dance in paint, of a life fully lived and an aesthetic of interconnected, democratic space. 😉

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