Damn bspencer at LGM for drawing my attention to this long form “kids these days” rant about modern art. John C. Wright is mad at the lefty kids these days because their P.C. bullshit means art cannot be beautiful anymore blah blah blah. You’ve probably heard it before, but one relevant quote: “Have you, dear reader, read anything discussing beauty, putting forth a coherent theory of beauty, or even extolling beauty’s central importance of the human soul in a year? In 10 years? Ever? This may be the only essay you will read on the topic this decade, and yet the topic is one of paramount importance.”
In sum, when Wright was young, everyone understood the importance of landscapes and flower paintings, but now you are a bunch of dirty hippies. His evidence is stellar:
By this logic, a urinal is beautiful, a light going off and on, a decapitated cow’s head covered in blood, flies and maggots, a glass of water on a shelf, a crucifix dunked in urine, a can of excrement, or an unmade bed. The argument given by the Left is that your inability to see the beauty in these things is due to your limitations, your untrained soul, your dullness. The argument merely ignores the fact that training the tastes to be dull, philistine and coarse is the opposite of training the tastes to be sensitive to beauty.
Emphasis mine, because while Wright probably knows he’s seen a urinal presented as art, I guarantee that he doesn’t remember by who or when. But he has, because the piece he’s thinking of is really famous.
That is “The Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp, the Dadaist artist. The year that you’re reading on it is not a typo. It was created in 1917. That’s right, folks. It’s 97 years old. Wright graduated college in 1984, meaning he was probably born around 1960 or so. Which means this art was 43 years plus when Wright was born.
Sometimes I think conservatives are playing a “grumpy old man” character more than they are sharing actual opinions. They’re just recycling the rants they heard their grandfathers issue when they were young, not even bothering to check if their allusions are even up-to-date