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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Abstract Forces: Soulless Art

When I was a young man, shortly before the turn of the century, I had left the Baptist Church. Disillusioned with that denomination's overflowing emotionalism, cliquishness, and ignorance of Christian history, I became an adrift church-hopper. I had loyalty to no particular congregation, and I was not yet convinced to become a Catholic.

One cold and windy winter, I hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled to Chicago to spend some time with a group called the Jesus People, and in their company, I would try to find the answers to my religious and philosophical confusion. There, in that place, I got to know plenty of folks who felt like they were on the fringes of society and who felt it a good idea to huddle up into their own tribe in a building in the Chicago metroplex.

I worked in the kitchen washing dishes after meals. And when I had free time, I spent some of it wandering the streets of Chicago with my friend, visiting a soup kitchen, visiting the city library, sampling Dunkin Donuts for the first time, and taking in the frigid sights of the Chicago scene.

One day, as we turned a corner, I was startled by what I thought was a gigantic red creature that was ready to impale me. I remarked on it for quite a while with my friend, who had an affinity for art. At first glance, it seemed like a tangle of red I-beams, but upon closer inspection, the monstrosity had a form after all.

The misplaced object that I beheld in that cold rectangular square was a scrap of modern art that looked as out of place as would a gigantic red high heel. The sculpture held no meaning, exuded no warmth, and pierced the monotony of the cityscape in a sort of aesthetic assault that was unpleasing.

A giant red monster, art, sculpture
monument to modern godlessness.
But in hindsight, what I beheld was more than just a modernist sculpture funded by the General Services Administration. Calder's Flamingo, as it is known, is a monument to our modernist, abstract, souless era. Flamingo is a mindless exclamation point in the heart of cold city. Reminding us of no past history or shared culture, it serves no purpose other than to merely exist and proclaim its existence in "Calder red" vermilion.

E. Michael Jones tells us in his latest book about Pope Francis, monuments are by their nature public. Monuments celebrate the hegemony of someone over someone else.

In the case of Calder's Flamingo, Chicago celebrates the hegemony of a materialist, amoral, bleached culture. If there were ever any traces of an organic, human element present, the Calder Flamingo could easily resemble a pair of gigantic red scissors that cuts all humanity away. Indeed, the space in front of the Kluczynski Federal Building looks more like the dwelling place for drones, robots, and cyborgs than it does for human beings.

An oil rig atop a wall, sculpture, monument for nihilism.
As Jones says of the "Metronome" sculpture in Prague and the Jackson Pollock "Walleaters" artwork, monuments such as these proclaim "the hegemony of arcane Masonic forces masquerading behind the abstract forces which the oligarchs use to disguise their identity."

Too true. In this day and age, while we often see a defacement of most public art, it is not hard to notice a special kind of malice directed towards the traditional kinds of monuments. I've read several times in recent years of how various statues--particular Catholic statues, will have their heads cut off in a demonstration of defiance and hate.

The modern art monuments that take the place of what was beautiful and meaningful is often left alone, as if the feral masses instinctively know that the soulless objects pose no spiritual threat to their faithless minds.  Attacking such twisted hunks of metal is boring for subversive troublemakers.  

It's my understanding that at some point in 2013, a guy named David Dodde thought it'd be trendy and hip to cover the another one of Calder's sculptures in white flowers, arguing that it was edgy to put flowers on such a "lovely" and "cool" structure. Ironically enough, the Calder Foundation President denounced the white flowers, arguing that Dodde's flowers "contributes nothing to humanity's understanding of Calder, Warhol, or the role of public art."

This is humorous, as it seems from this comment that the purpose of the monument is to help us understand the guy who made it.  Suffice to say, at the time, Calders' Flamingo did nothing to help me with my religious and philosophical confusion.



  1. Interesting insights. I was confused through most of my youth by modern art because it made no sense. Now I realize it's simply the amusement of soul-sick people who hate aesthetic beauty.

  2. "The shape of Flamingo alludes to the natural and animal realm, which is a stark contrast to more literal interpretations in sculpture from previous decades.[12]"----Wikipedia

    What the gigantic insect like sculpture suggests is the enormous power of the Federal Government as it sucks the blood of the populace to sustain it's power. But it is doubtful many get Calder's sly humor---if that what it is.

    Modern art is basically a critique of modern society showing it's false values of power and money in often humorous ways. My brother Robert was a Pop Artist who focused painting huge pictures of American money. Their intent was subversion of false values.

  3. Then there's stuff like that hell-dog-thing in London. I'm guessing overt ugliness held as beauty is the next step.

  4. Modern art is meant to be ugly meaningless & soulless.
    Art reflects reality & society.
    Dr.Jones,though I disagree with his committed Novus Ordo devotion,says what I am trying to say much better.
    Check out the 9 minute video on YouTube entitled
    "War against Art E.Michael Jones"