The Terror of Art

“Fountain,” by Marcel Duchamp, signed R. Mutt, 1917.

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp signed R. Mutt to a porcelain urinal, titled it “Fountain,” and declared it a work of art. The art world was immediately plunged into a new era where talent, draftsmanship, and beauty were suddenly declared irrelevant, and unnecessary. In fact, the very notion of talent was deemed unnecessary to the enterprise of making art.

For Duchamp, the “concept” of art, the intention, counted far more than the object. Duchamp’s urinal is regarded by some art historians and theorists as the major landmark of 20th century art.

The definition of art is something of a problem. In a post-Duchamp world, just labeling something an object of art automatically confers upon it the status of art. It is left to critics and the market place to assign a value, if any, to the object.

Over at Bir Zeit University (the most popular course is Jew-hatred 101) near Ramallah, a group of Arab intellectuals has set up an art exhibit.

There is no pretext of cool Duchampian irony. Nor is this a post-modern commentary on the meaning of art.

It’s just an excuse for some barbaric Jew-hatred, a celebration of Hamas terror.

Keep in mind this is not taking place in Gaza, but in PA territory.

This is what passes for art in PalAb culture.

H/T Elder of Ziyon

Just to add some perspective to this confusion of art, here’s Seraphic Secret’s favorite painting, “Mistress and Maid,” 1667—1668, by Johannes Vermeer.

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  1. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    My faorite painting is Titian’s “Clarise Strozzi.”

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  2. Johnny
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I guess art is too. I await a traveling exhibit of the Ber Zeit works through the salons of European countries that failed to vote no at the UN last week. They won’t let their citizens own a handgun but they’ll swoon over weapons that are aimed at any Israeli population center.

    Vermeer and the old masters had a way of using light in their paintings that can keep me finding something new each time I visit the museum. I tend to favor the French impressionists ever since the St. Louis Art Museum had a big Monet exhibit back in the ’70s. I have three Renoir prints, Girl With A Watering Can, Moulin de la Galette and my favorite Luncheon of the Boating Party.

    No one would ever mistake a Renoir for a Vermeer but then no one would ever question whether they are art. Not so with what is on display at the university. 

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