What’s Wrong with the World

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Art and meta-art


A further meditation (meta-meditation?) on modern art, music, and culture.

Comments (3)

As usual, a facinating post.

It's interesting that you accompany it with a picture of Schoenberg (for it is he, n'est-ce pas?)

This, I think, is absolutely right, and definitely applies to Schoenberg, his buddies Berg & Webern, and all their inheritors, from Boulez to Babbitt & beyond:

"Old forms came to be seen as exhausted, no longer capable of expressing genuine feeling; new forms had to be created (so the argument went) so that truly high art could once again be possible, forms the very understanding of which required such intellectual effort that none but the serious aesthete could appreciate them. Hence the modernist poetry of Eliot, the atonal music of Schoenberg, and the trend toward abstraction in painting."

This, on the other hand, while it obviously applies to Duchamp and lots of other modernist "visual" "artists," doesn't seem to apply to Schoenberg much, if at all:

"...the nature of art became itself a subject of art in a way it had not been before. Modernist works were as much statements about what art is and what it could be as they were statements about their purported subject matter – religion, everyday experience, and other traditional themes – and as experimentation with new forms progressed, the former theme started to crowd out the latter ones. The manic self-referentiality of post-modernism was the inevitable sequel. Art was transformed thereby into meta-art – it became, in effect, philosophy of art expressed in colors and sounds rather than academic prose."

...I.e., Tom Wolfe was on to something important when he wrote The Painted Word. But I'm not sure whether there's any good musical equivalent to Duchamp, or Pollock, or Rothko.

Not Schoenberg, anyway.

But I nit-pick.

But I'm not sure whether there's any good musical equivalent to Duchamp, or Pollock, or Rothko.

Maybe, John Cage?

The Chicken

Chicken - you're absolutely right. Cage. Why didn't I think of him?

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