10 March 2008

Crisis of Modernism

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about Vitaly Komar, here's a little something from his former Sots Art collaborator Alex Melamid:
"This is the crisis of modernism. Modern art used to reflect a radical way of thinking. It did this until World War II and then it gradually became more and more established. Eventually, the radical thinking was totally removed from this. People adapted to this, said O.K. let there be, say, triangles. But in the beginning painting triangles was a huge statement, a daredevil act -- for good or for worse that's a different story, but that's how it was. But now it's totally changed its meaning because it's just a bourgeois business. You produce pictures and you sell them. You keep the form -- you can play with triangles endlessly -- but the meaning is lost, so it's a perversion of the intention of modernism. And nobody cares. The same thing happened with academic painting and ancient history. Nobody believed in it anymore, nobody cared, but still they went on depicting these beautiful women, these mythological figures. But it was totally obsolete. It lost the common sense; it lost touch with the people. Modernism was the idea to get back to some sense. Now it is senseless, so we have to revise again."
~ Alex Melamid, from an interview in The Nation, 14 March 1994
Bonus Link:
Holy Hip-Hop! New Paintings by Alex Melamid
[at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit]

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