My commentary on stand out modern art.
Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog (Orange)
A metal balloon dog. $58,405,000.
The frenzied duress of saturated millennial megalomania achieves maximal expression in the iridescent Balloon Dog. The animatronic caricature indelibly captures our breathtakingly shallow modern discourse. Imperious and unapologetic, the Dog channels the Caesarian aplomb of worshipped dog influencers, simultaneously symbolizing self-irony’s nadir in tinsel-tinged glory. Untouchable and metaphysical, the Dog is not simply Capitalism stripped naked, but the heedless madness of humanity run amok. Purporting to greatness and heroism, humanity is but devoured by the primal Cataracts* of avarice and solipsism. At once, the Dog is transcendent but hopelessly ersatz, empyrean but disgustingly otiose. Humanity rises and falls in the Dog; a pale, sickly rendition of a tired zeitgeist, weltschermz rendered and judgement delivered.
*Cataracts are whitewater rapids of the Nile.
“Untitled (March 5th)” by the Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Two 40-watt light bulbs hung on a blank wall using an extension cord. $506,500.
The highest art perfects an acute macrometasomakosmos*. This jejune scarecrow of base matter (two white bulbs) betrays a sacrosanct tryst between the raw terror of post-capitalism and the hollowness of socially-constructed realism. Each $250,000, the bulbs sing an eloquent jeremiad to the hollowness of humanity’s promise to itself. Their virginal white extension cord rides the apocalyptic Horses* of shadow-oligarchy, neo-aristocracy, post-colonialism, and cyberpunk millennialism*. This base matter’s innocence flashes to arrogance and burns to a flaming, insufferable fount of deep-dyed iniquity. Wringing pathos from our hearts, cheating justice as genteel high art, “Untitled” is manifest iconoclasm, cleaving contradiction at the crucible of the human question.
Damien Hirst: The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
A fourteen-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. $12,000,000.
The certainty of death is the existential miasma of the living. Condemned to die, birth invites the mortal to a lifetime of ceaseless struggle. As the mortal bathes in the riotous colour of life, the abyss awaits her feast. The denial of the abyss is the heroic subjugation of Fate to Will. The manifold denial of “not-existence”, the scream of the living to overcome, manifests in the frozen, exhilarating embrace of the tiger shark. Bestial biology embodies the protean* mirage that primes the motor of being. Mortality’s vainglorious charade flowers in Hirst’s twisted animation, a masterful contortion of life’s puppet theatre in a moment of conquered fury. A sublime casting that unites the mythology of death with the chant of existence, reifying* the promise of birth-death, and confronting the self-cognitive destruct that forms existence’s bulwark.
*protean: able to do many different things; versatile
*reifying: make concrete something abstract
Anish Kapoor: Mirrors
Mirrors. About $2,000,000 each.
The outward mirror turns the self inward. The senso-temporal shift disorients the otherwise tempered self-experience. The viewer is brought at once to the precipice of a refined self-awareness. Acutely aware of existence at once, the viewer is forced to interrogate not the mirror physical but the mirrored self. This selfsame mirror is Kapoor’s greatest triumph. His art endows perception with augusty, provoking a gradual, but sweeping, self-awakening in the viewer. The selfsame mirror is the postmodern demiurge’s catechism*: an inexorable tide of self-awakening tumult that sings of rebirth and awakening.
*catechism: a series of fixed questions and answers used for instruction
Gerhard Richter – Domplatz Mailand (Cathedral Square)
Painting of Milan’s Cathedral Square. $37,100,000.
A polis is physical reality transfigured by social construction. The urban gestalt unfurls a phantasm of the human condition, an encomium of Will to Power. The polis blurs past, present, and future into a palimpsest of progressive noospheric* evolution. The polis is where the machinery of life passes into exculpatory immortality. Where the polis weaves history, Domplatz Mailand summons that tapestry with gossamer precision. Haunting, questing, morphing, Domplatz Mailand freezes time. On her surface lie the epochal strains of history’s lyre, their careless susurration’s ineffable imprimatur raising the mortal to the divine. That enthronement leads Domplatz Mailand into history. Becoming the noumenon* itself, containing its atman*, the photo-painting imbues prophetic self-realization.
*noospheric: planetary sphere of the mind
*noumenon: the thing itself, distinct from the thing knowable
*atman: the soul in Hinduism
Christopher Wool – Untitled (Riot)
Stenciled paint on aluminium. $29,930,000.00.
Language is forged by the guerrilla struggle to make the semiotic real. Language is the cognitive elision* synthesizing physical and mental. The hominin noosphere is distinct from yet irrevocably bound to the universe. Into this world of forms strides “Untitled (Riot)”. The garish drip of stenciled spraypaint transmogrifies physical plane into reified whole. A lurid incantation of primal motility, the mot “riot” frantically summons language’s physical moorings. A rebus*, a decomposed composition, a physical figment, an imagined whole: Riot weaves form and substance into a gestalt nexus of physico-linguistic moksha*, manifesting the material and actualizing the immaterial.
*elision: joining or merging things, especially abstract ideas
*rebus: puzzle of pictures and letters
*moksha: enlightenment in Hinduism
A Note on Art
Art is idea. Art is social construction. Art is commentary. Art is in the mind. Art exists in text and context. Art requires a market. Art requires capitalism. Art turns on the caprice of the zeitgeist. Art is born of iniquity, of surplus, of the division of labour. Art is nothing without mythology. Art cannot exist without history. Art is not art. Art is a social epiphenomenon. Art is gross. Art requires critics and consumers. Art is consumed. Art is manifest social discourse, culled from our aesthetics, dressed by our milieu, and carried by our mythos.