The Price of Everything – Blog 3

Christopher Peak

The film intersects within Berger’s argument by attempting to exemplify the outward mystification of the past or current events in history through art, through an institutional advantage. As an old neoclassical painting might show the beauty of an Italian woman sitting by a olive tree, but it hides the reality of history, almost lying to the viewer in order to advertise and sell something that grabs our attention, something that we want to see. It alludes almost a false sense of truth in order to please our thirsts. The demand of this thirst in turn becomes its own economy where the holders of the elderly rich dynasties and their patron foundations circle into modern era auction houses, turning art into a capitalist runway, providing money to be more of a reliever than actual art.

Art should be accountable in relation to its creation. A Medici Family art piece is created within a different environment than a modern digital art piece. The Medici piece has survived over 500 years, its antiquity automatically garners it of historical relevance, but that does not include the craftsmanship that went into the painting, to which various selected prodigies had trained since their youth to produce such artworks for their patrons. This differs heavily from a Pollock or a Rothko. They are from different eras, with total different meanings. To equate one with the other is to equate X to Y. As I recall, the individual touches upon the Sistine Chapel from Michelangelo were met with scorn, but no one would bat an eye if someone produced their own interpretation in todays standards for art. In todays art, the artist is accountable for everything, but the sense of consequence of this art has in my opinion, been lost. As to Michelangelo, he had the weight of the Catholic Church, Italy, and to an extent, the progression of Western Art on his shoulders. Today, it feels as the accountability has been removed as the boundaries and limitations have been removed. Why be accountable for something that does not hold a sense of rules anymore. It is possible that today, postmodern art’s rules exist within the basis of capital, and that capital and art must mingle together to find a sense of a boundary.

I disagree with the argument within the text and the film. I understand the underlying message of cultural hegemony and the sick ploy of capital laundering, but works of art produced within previous periods of history usually resemble the feats or the aspects of the past that those artists want you to remember. It is the mystification itself that brings the prominence and admiration to the forefront of the viewer. This can be portrayed all the way from Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian artwork to modern artists such as Monet. The mystification emboldens the art, whether it be of peaceful nature such as Monet, or of a destructive chaos such as a Bosch. The creation of something projecting beyond ourselves ought to catapult us forward, and to make us think. This does not mean that I only endorse artwork within the traditional setting, as I have an admiration for modern artwork in its creativity and boldness. But I am in short, critiquing modern arts framework as I believe its lack of boundaries allows the essence of capital to be unregulated, as anything could now become art. I think if were to take Berger and the films route, everything would be stripped of its meaning due to the essence of capital and the deconstruction of language, and paintings ought not to be deconstructed by language in the fashion of Berger’s critique, as they can speak beyond words. I want art to be appreciated, but I don’t want art to be appreciated by the current snobs that spend millions because they have means of purchasing such items if that’s what you’re asking.

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2 Comments

  1. Alyssa N. says:

    Hello Christopher,
    Interesting and detailed post! I had a comment concerning your critique over modern art. You explained that due to the lack of boundaries in defining modern art, this results in no regulations between art and capital. However, possibly it is not because of the undefined boundaries that create exploitive conditions but it is the system in which the modern art is placed into; the system being capitalism.

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    1. christopherpeakshsu says:

      Hey Alyssa, thanks for the comment. In response to your comment, I was attempting to explain that with the lack of regulation within a society that has lost its “superstructures”, it becomes a debate of what is art as there no existing structures to hold the definition, its up to interpretation. And within a world that has lost its superstructures, the void of meaning will consume people. As we saw in the film, the elites bought extravagant priced artworks for mostly status but also meaning, inherently having a relationship with capital.

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