viral video. There are lots of videos illustrating
the magic of Adobe's photoediting software,
Photoshop™, and much more detailed
ones. I just grabbed the first one I saw on
YouTube. See (below)
some of the larger implications of Photoshop
for art and life. A longer
version of "Confessions of a
Worthless Art Bum" can be found
below video 6, "You Suck at Photoshop."
OF A WORTHLESS ART BUM:
Artist ... As Ancient
Art critics everywhere secretly or openly
hate Adobe's Photoshop™ and
Photoshop-made art, like film critics
railing against the soullessness of movies
heavily dependent on special effects. As Richard
Huntington put it: "...those oh-so-tricky
Adobe-made abstractions that are a plague
on the art of photography." I believe
the key phrase, here, is "Adobe-made"
as opposed to artist-made. Graphics
softwaremaker Adobe gets most of the credit,
not the artist using it. Photography, too,
wasn't considered art once, because it didn't
seem to require any special magic called
talent to produce photographs of possible
artistic interest. Photographs were camera-made,
not artist-made. The manufacturer of a high-quality
camera gets most of the credit, not the artist
using it. This is especially true of ever
easier to use point-and-shoot cameras utilizing
ever more complex software (that is becoming
like ever easier to use point-and-click, drag-and-drop,
copy-and-paste software) built right into
the camera to produce high-quality images.
Cameras are becoming ever-more-powerful-and-simpler-to-use
computers. So. Are camera operators artists
or technicians? Are they amateurs or professionals?
And, no, self-doubt and credibility problems
won't be solved by buying bigger, fancier,
more expensive, more professional-looking
FUTURE OF AUTOMATION:
Will Replace Everyone."
As the inventors of the software and hardware
behind Photoshop and photograpy continue
to push the boundaries of modern digital technology,
and artists continue to quickly embrace this
"industrial light and magic," how
much credit will artists take for their
inventions? As much as they can get away with,
of course. In a recent retrospective of two
supposedly seminal photo books, The Americans
by Robert Frank and The New West
by Robert Adams, art critic Richard Lacayo
writes: "Both these books changed what
it was possible to show. More than that, they
changed what it was possible to see."
Taking the liberty to rewrite his words, I
could just as easily state: "(The technology
behind) books and photographs changed what
it was possible to show... and see."
Furthermore, I could just as easily suggest
that both the technologies of the modern printing
press and photography should not only share
some of the artists' credit but take most
of their credit.
Famous Pissing Dog Art
Every dog will learn a trick to get a treat.
It's sadly stomach-tightening to watch art
lovers and critics still genuflecting before
some art icon, artist or fame. Every market
has its salesforce. Every salesforce has its
true believers to get you excited and pump
you up about something's value. Every salesforce
has its shady scammers to dump worthless crap
on you and steal your money. The art market
is no different. Its pump-and-dump schemes
are just more elaborate. There's always room
in the art world for another footsoldier of
the art maket to lionize its supposed treasures,
dusting off old relics and uncovering new
artifacts of esthetic faith in a heroic (or
desperate) effort to resusitate and reinvigorate
the lost religion of Art, especially Tragedy,
all in the name of saving us, saving humanity,
saving our lost humanity. Nietzsche believed
in the arts. He believed in it more than any
other religion. Nietzsche tried to find redemption
in, and through, tragic beauty and the arts
that specialized in it. But, instead, he became
yet another victim, even while ironically
becoming Tragedy's most modern, most compelling
poster boy for the tragically heroic. Tragically,
Nietzsche failed in this effort to reinvent
religion through art — this superhuman
"revaluation of all values" was
the noblest mythical stuff of comic book legends
made believable for intellectual realists.
Cynics, sceptics, realists, relativists and
nihilists scoffed at the naivety of communists,
but they found real sustenance in Nietzsche's
insights. And while Nietzsche's great imagination
failed to deliver him (let alone us) from
destruction; it failed in the most truly inspiring
and dispiritingly tragic way imaginable. It
was almost enough to turn some towards that
old time religion. Others have never looked
Dog Pissing On Nazi Propaganda
WITH NO HERO.
Nietzsche was no Nazi. Nietzsche was no mere
facist or nihilist. Don't believe the strident
Nazi propaganda claiming otherwise. His thoughts
saw through the simple-minded criminal cruelty
of fascists and communists, alike, and derided
not only their basic lack of honesty about
the baseness of their own cruelty but also
the cowardliness of this dishonesty. Though
Nietzsche is most often remembered for his
attacks on the moral values of Western civilization,
people forget his attacks were rooted in his
sincere attempt to answer the ancient question
"What is noble?" And his answer
was not "Nothing." Nietzsche was
not just a hero-worshiper without a hero;
He was a hero-worshiper in search of a hero.
He was not just a disillusioned idealist without
an ideal; He died an idealist searching for
an ideal. Nietzsche was in search of a more
honest ideal—one that was more honest
about man's primal power-hungry nature. Every
man wants the power to be free, the power
to choose, the power to control his life.
He saw through man's attempt to disguise his
basic thirst for power with the moral trappings
of Western civilization. And his quest to
find something noble to aspire to was the
last intellectually convincing quest for the
truly ideal and heroic in man. Nietzsche did
not come to destroy man's moral values; he
came to rescue them. He came to stop the modern
erosion of values that he had the foresight
to see. He came to revitalize modern civilization's
steadily unconvincing values by reinventing
them. But something had to die before it could
be reborn. Some believe more harm than good
came "in the wake of Nietzsche's savage
attack on the West's moral underpinnings."
Perhaps we're still in the process of transforming,
still dying to be reborn.
Yes, every dog wants a treat. Everyone wants
a reward. Everyone wishes to be oh so very
rewardingly special. Everyone wishes to be
more rewardingly special when others appear
to be more rewarded for being more special
than him. Everyone wishes to be miraculously
gifted with that magical special something
we collectively call talent. It's
simply called talent because we have no other
real name for this strange, precious unknown.
Talent is, and remains, a profound mystery.
So where is the talent in art photography?
Where is the talent in art created with software
programs like Photoshop? Photography
and Photoshop seem to be more about
commonly available mechanical tools, techniques
and technology that can easily be used by
anyone to produce and reproduce so-called
works of art, rather than about uncommon artistic
talent and skills possessed only by a unique
few. So the people who engage in it don't
seem that unique or special. After all, value
in the art world is ruled by principles of
supply-and-demand just like the rest of the
world. If "new technologies enable even
amateurs to create sophisticated images,"
then the glut of these new sources of seemingly
sophisticated artistic images will significantly
impact and degrade the overall value of those
art images that can't distinguish themselves
from this glut and no longer offer any real
sense of uniqueness, i.e., unique value. For
example, the unique value of traditional one-of-a-kind
handmade paintings will disappear the moment
some new technology (such as a high-quality
inkjet printer) can perfectly copy and counterfeit
them like paper money.
Dog Pissing On The Famous
"Is it an original?" you ask. "It's
not original?" you say. Who cares. Every
successful artist is first an instinctive
mimic and talented counterfeiter. Art schools
everywhere teach students to slavishly copy
"the masters" until they have the
balls and wherewithal to start their own school.
Every artist immitates what he likes and copies
what he sees. The realist copies reality.
The dreamer copies not only his own dreams
but everyone else's. For everyone is fundamentally
dreaming the same basic dream: immortal fame—the
feeling you know you're going to live forever!
Who cares if it's false; It seems real because
it feels real. Who cares if it's an illusion.
Every artist's vision is profoundly unoriginal
because everyone's goal is fundamentally the
same: being immortalized —that timeless
feeling of knowing you're living forever!
It all comes down to fame? Yes, immortal fame.
It all comes down to fame because it's all
about being immortalized by fame, immortalized
by recognition, by massive amounts of positive
public and private recognition. It's all about
getting recognition—the recognition
of one's own immortality. Most of us only
strive to get this recognition from our friends
and loved one. While others are determined
to realize this common dream on a much larger
scale. But everyone secretly dreams of great
conquests of recognition. Everyone dreams
of immortality. Everyone dreams of being famous.
Nothing's more important than being important.
And nothing seems or feels more important
than being immortalized by the recognition
of fame. Fame may not be a lasting sense of
importance, but nothing else lasts longer.
Art is never about (the importance of) the
subject matter; art is about (the importance
of) recognition, lasting recognition. The
artist gives his subject a sense of importance
by devoting his powers of recognition to it.
The more he devotes to it, the more important
it becomes (to him). We not only give a sense
of importance to everything we pay attention
to and recognize; we immortalize it to a degree.
The love & glory of star power's intoxicating
sense of immortality—found in Big Recognition,
Big Love, public and private—is everyone's
common goal. Ambition is the same everywhere;
no matter where you go; no matter who is involved;
no matter what shape, dream or name takes
hold. Everyone's chasing Big Love's Big Recognition,
in hopes of being immortalized by it. Ambition
has everyone chasing the Recognition of Immortality.
COMPETITION FOR ATTENTION AND RECOGNITION.
Everyone wants Big Love. Everyone wants Big
Love in the form of Big Recognition. But every
form of Big Recognition requires the participation
of others. No matter how content you are devoting
all your time and attention to something in
your own world, you want others to recognize
its importance in order to confirm it. You
want others to recognize you and your world's
importance and make it all appear bigger and
more real. Big Love, Big Recognition, requires
others to pay attention to you and recognize
you. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to
make, and is making, the same demands on you.
Everyone must compete for their own and other's
attention and recognition. But worse than
having to compete for Big Love, Big Recognition,
is having to convince or trick others into
believing you deserve more love and recognition
than them. The worse thing about having to
compete is having to make others feel you
are more important and valuable than them.
Everyone is a tricky-little-dicky out to prove
he or she is more uniquely valuable than his
competitors. Everyone is a competitor. Everyone
is your competitor, for love &
money. Whether successful at the con or not,
everyone is a con artist out to conjure up
and sell an insulting impression that he is
more lovable, more important, more praiseworthy..
than you. Everyone is a con. Everything is
a con. Everyone is a dog. Everyone is dogfood.
Everyone is a cannibal. Time to eat you. I
hate all art. I propose... that for no damn
good reason: Art
= Fashion = Fame = Money.
Want to be famous? Shoot someone famous. Start
a fight with someone famous. Be seen with
someone famous. Make love to someone famous.
I don't care how many times celebrity photographer
Any Lebowitz goes down on famous photography
critic Susan Sontag and changes Sontag's mind,
art photography is a mercenary scam... like
the rest of the art market. Beyond dumb luck,
the only genius at work here (if any) is marketing
genius. At best, Liebiwitz didn't need Sontag's
approval because she already achieved a level
of star power, somehow, without her. But celebrities
everywhere love to party and have sex with
other celebrities... of equal or greater stature.
At worse, Sontag's critical reversal about
photography is nothing more than the product
of a casting couch: a less important, less
powerful or less famous starlet sexually auditioning
for and trading favors with a bigger, more
important, more powerful star to further her
own career. Or perhaps it was just peer-pressure
from an art world that ultimately takes its
cues from the art market's desire to make
money. Why say photography isn't art if you
can't make money off of it. Just because Sontag
made her reputation and money off of that
message doesn't mean the rest of the art world
can. It's just more profitable to redefine
the concept of art to include photography
as a legitamate art form. As Warhol —
that calculatedly self-effacing art whore,
wise ass and darling of the art world —
was man enough to say: "Art is what you
can get away with."
Dog Picking Up And Cleaning Up After
(More peer-pressure for Susan Sontag.) We
all want to get away with it. We all want
to get away with as much undeserved praise,
profit and happiness as we can. Life is randomly
unfair. And the whimsies of art are just as
unjust. Life randomly rewards and brutalizes.
But the art world brands its own whimsical
brutality with extra special seductiveness.
We all deserve to be happy. Don't we? We all
deserve to be as happy as any of you random
successes. So what about the rest of us luckless,
artless uglies? Don't we deserve a place in
the sun and spotlight, too? What about the
whole world's desire to be famously "artistic"
without much effort, talent or skill? We want
praise and profit from this glamourous pursuit
and fun lifestyle, too. We want to feel as
good about ourselves as you do. We can't all
be as gifted as you and those you approve
of. Or can we? Democratize the glamour of
the arts! Expand the arts to make everything
artistic. Expand your conception of art to
make everything art. Give me a golden shower.
Make ugly ol' me popular. Make me beautiful.
Call me beautiful. Declare my crap is art.
Invite me to your party. Make me famous. Make
everyone famous. Call everyone beautiful!
Spread the word. Spread the joy. Spread the
wealth. Spread the love. Make everyone an
artist! Make everyone beautiful. Build a museum
to house us all!
IS A GAME TO BE GAMED.
Art is the game of love. It's the most glamourous,
most rewarding international competition for
the world's love because it's all about fame...
and the fortunes made from the fortunes willing
to pursue and woo it. I'm not asking you to
lower your standards. I'm telling you I want
to level the playing field. I don't want to
cheat. I want to change the rules of the game
so I can win, too. I want to score. I want
to be a winner just like you. I hope you lucky
winners don't need or want me to be a loser
just so you can be a winner. I don't think
art needs to create losers just so it can
pick winners. I think art can be a win-win
situation. Don't you? I said, don't you?!
Don't make me come after you. Admire me and
I'll kiss your equally admirable ass. Snub
me and I'll kick your elitist ass. Do me...
right or wrong... and I'll return the favor.
It's pay back. It's karma.
Dog With Its Unknown Owner Hoping
For Best In Show
CON IS ON.
Make me more famous than you. Make me more
lovable than you. Fame is public acclaim.
It's public lovemaking. Fame is the show business
of love. And everyone in the art world is
in the business (of fame). Art is not only
in the business of love; art is in the business
of showing love. Every art show is a show
of love. Every famous art personality, every
famous art object, is shown all sorts of love.
Fame is art's only real business. Fame is
what the art market sells. Fame is the only
truth, the only beauty, the only happiness
it has the expertise to sell. Fame is a popularity
contest, and so is art. The only expertise
you need to judge what is art is knowing what
you like. But to be successful in the art
market, it's more important to know what others
like. You need to know what is the most popular
of what is popularly known as art. You could
say the same about any market. Every market
is a popularity contest for your love. Say
you were in the market for both truth and
happinesss. Say you had to pick between truth
or happiness, what would you do? Pick the
plain, unvarnished truth; no matter how boring,
ugly, hurtful or painful it is? No? So. You
pick happiness over truth. Why? Because happiness
is more popular than truth. In that case,
I'm happy to make fun of you. For as you see:
No one chooses truth over happiness. Some
just find happiness where you do not. The
truth is: Being happy is the only truth worth
knowing. So, as always, what follows is meant
only for those it pleases:
are dogs. Art is a dog show. And the art market
is a dog race run by rats and won by the trickiest
rat. So again one asks: "How's tricks?"
This art critic says: "Life is short.
A very short rat race. Truth is a whore. Beauty
is a lie. Enjoy it while you can. Enjoy it
any way you can. Enjoy."
OF A WORTHLESS ART BUM: "The Artist As
Ancient Trickster!" (Sorry. No
self-help here for the starving, beleaguered
artist. Save yourself. I can't even save myself.
Doggy heaven here I come.) Yes, unfortunately,
an even longer version
of this bum confession can be found below
video 6, "You Suck at Photoshop."