Who’s Afraid of Modern Art: Vandalism, Video Games, and Fascism
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Who’s Afraid of Modern Art: Vandalism, Video Games, and Fascism

September 10, 2019

Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue was
a painting by abstract painter Barnett Newman. It’s eight feet tall, and eighteen feet
wide. It doesn’t really exist anymore. There are actually 4 paintings named “Who’s
Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue.” This is number 3. Each one is distinctive, but they
share some key similarities. Namely, The title is a reference to Edward Albee’s
play, [Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf]. In Albee’s play, 4 characters turn their
lives inside out over the course of 3 hours and 68,000 words. Newman’s painting are…well they’re three
colors. Really, they’re one color with some accents. But despite the simplicity, “Who’s Afraid
of Red, Yellow, and Blue 3” hung in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for several
years. Then, one day, it was murdered. One day in 1986, a dude walked into the Stedelijk,
right up to the painting, and just went to goddamn town. He gashed about 50 feet out
of the fabric with a box cutter. Fifty feet. That’s like if he had just carved out the
entire perimeter of the painting. And for such an attack, he was…well he was
put in jail for a while. But also he was roundly congratulated by more than a few people. Because
Red Yellow and Blue had been the subject of a huge amount of criticism since it first
arrived. Before it was slashed, it was the reason for dozens of angry letters and phone
calls to the museum. People said it made them physically sick. So someone finally having the balls to do
something about it? To some, it made him a local hero “This so-called vandal should be made the
director of modern museums.” “He did what hundreds of thousands of us
would have liked to do.” Red Yellow and Blue 3, the painting, is dead. But I mean…who cares? It’s red, blue,
and yellow. I can make those colors in microsoft paint. This is clearly just another example
of the pretentious art world deluding itself into thinking that childish blobs of paint
on a canvas are art. Right? This is a game called 2:22 AM. It’s free
on itch.io, made by Alice (@alonkulous on twitter). In a lot of ways, it’s incredibly
simple. Almost barebones. But there’s something there. The game is very loosely a take on
late-night television. You flip through different “scenes,” intercut with grainy footage
of showers, or empty intersections, or dandelions, or…
It makes me feel likef !!!!!!!!! 2:22AM remind me of Red Yellow and Blue. Because,
like, what is it? It sometimes feels like a horror game, but
not in a conscious way. It’s horror in the way a nightmare can be horror, where nothing
bad happens and everything seems normal but you know something’s off. It’s funny,
too. It’s a lot of things, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you a theme. 2:22AM isn’t married to a specific story,
or even a specific sequence of events. Different playthroughs will give you different scenes
with different timings. Often, there’s no way to interact with a
scene. Sometimes clicking performs an action, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it gives
full freedom of movement. Occasionally, you’ll need to accomplish a task. You might need
to open a refrigerator. Or dig a grave. And it’s a game that’s stuck with me.
It kinda lurks in the corners of my brain, in those sorts of memories that could be from
early childhood, or a book, or a waking dream you had during a fever. 2:22AM made me uncomfortable.
It made me think about all the other games I play, how predictable they are, how I understand
the rules. It made me wonder what lies beyond the polished edges of AAA game development. There aren’t a lot of places for games like
2:22AM to exist. Itch.io is a kind of haven for these experimental titles, and because
of that, itch.io is a kind of punchline for a lot of people dismissive of non-traditional
gaming experiences. Newer platforms, like the Epic store, have promised that the titles
they sell will be more strictly moderated. They’ll only sell “high quality experiences.”
This excludes the worst of the worst, like the rapist-glorifying “rape day.” But who decides what lives inside or outside
the realm of “high quality experiences?” Where do games like 2:22AM fit in? “We have ten or twelve pictures of art…
But we don’t have any penises stretched out on the table” Thus speaks former North Carolina senator
Jesse Helms, a remarkable line that I believe should stand amongst the most famous in our
nation’s history. Ask not what your country can do for you,
four score and seven years ago, “We have ten or twelve pictures of art…
But we don’t have any penises stretched out on the table” Mr. Helms is not currently a North Carolina
senator. Currently, he’s toxifying whatever water source he’s buried closest to. But in his time as a politician, Helms was
enamored with preserving the distinction between true art and…deviance. In that beautiful
quote, he was referring specifically towards Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe was a photographer
who took intimate pictures of human subjects. Embracing men, various acts of homosexuality
and sadomasochism, nudes of all shapes and sizes. And, in fact, a penis stretched out
on a table. Mapplethorpe was a constant source of distress
for senator Helms. Ol’ Jesse talked about Mapplethorpe, and his photographs, constantly.
(and I mean who wouldn’t, have you seen this thi-) Helms saw the photography as deviant,
and actively damaging to society, but he was also pretty politically canny about his opposition.
He didn’t try and get the art censored directly- just by proxy. Helm’s stated target was the National Endowment
for the Arts, a government program that provided money to artists and museums around the country.
He argued that, while Mapplethorpe’s art may be abominable, what’s even worse was
that the american people were paying for it. If it even needs to be said, the amount americans
contribute towards that endowment is almost incalculably small.But Helms was a man of
principal! He may have supported foreign death squads, but he was going to save americans
from spending that fraction of a cent on something queer, goddamnit. It’s Norman Rockwell and
paintings of landscapes or bust. Helms was pretty talented at whipping people
into a frenzy about this. When he talked about Mapplethorpe’s deviancy, people showed up
in protest at Mapplethorpe’s exhibits. In fact,
his attacks were so extreme and effective that a museum in Washington withdrew their
future Mapplethorpe showing. Almost immediately, the museum then received
an angry call- from Jesse Helms’ office. He demanded to know why they had withdrawn. Helms wanted more than to curtail funding.
He wanted those photos to be shown off. If you truly thought the art was causing damage
to society, wouldn’t you try to hide it from everyone? But he didn’t want it to
be hidden. He wanted public anger to encourage displays of outrage, hugely visible protests. Wanting it to be shown is a statement of intent.
Helms didn’t care about art. What he did want was to raise big crowds of “everyday
americans,” each of them representing the country’s anger at “non-traditional lifestyles.” “I have to conclude they really wanted that
exhibition in Washington,” said the museum’s director, Christina Orr-Cahal. “So it would
fuel their fire.” I remember the first time I saw them. I walked
into a dimly lit room in the Tate Modern, looked up, and saw this…colossus. And next
to it was another one. The room was full of them, actually, I was drowning between them. It felt like *?*?*?*?*? Mark Rothko’s work doesn’t fit very well
with the typical adjectives we use to describe art. Is this beautiful? Sure, but it’s not
beautiful. Is this complex? It is actually, but it’s not how we think of complex. What
is it? It’s red and brown in chunky stripes on an absolutely enormous canvas. And yet, hooooo boy it makes me feel. I’m
not unique for getting this sense from Rothko, his works hang in one of the most prestigious
art museums on earth. There’s this gravity that I, and others, feel when looking at them.
There’s a presence. But Rothko’s work, despite its acclaim,
is still subversive, still challenging the ideas of what “art” is, and what standards
it should be held to. And because of that, there are people who hate it too. In 2012, a man painted his own name and a
slogan in the corner of one of Rothko’s massive works, “Black and Maroon.” He
tagged it. And, according to that man, he had fairly grand motivations. He said: “Contemporary artists simply produce things
which aren’t creative in their essence or spirit…Art has become a business, which
appears to serve only the needs of the art market.” A contemporary artist frequently used as an
example of the medium’s creative bankruptcy is photographer Andres Serrano. My favorite
of his works, and probably his most famous, is of a plastic crucifix submerged in his
own urine. It’s titled “Piss Christ.” Piss Christ was another one of Jesse Helms’
primary targets. Of Serrano, helms said: “he is not an artist. He is a jerk. And he is
taunting the American people, just as others are, in terms of Christianity” For what it’s worth, Serrano says he’s
a lifelong catholic, that he follows Christ. Not that it mattered to the catholic fundamentalists
who attacked the photo with a hammer. A man who could also be titled “Piss Christ”
is Paul Joseph Watson, a contributor to InfoWars. Paul has political stances on many things
[eating books]. He speaks in front of a large map, to show his worldliness and breadth of
thought. One thing he’s made abundantly clear is
he has no time for modern art. “It doesn’t enrich our culture. It degrades
and cheapens society by exalting the vulgar, the crass, and the scatalogical. The people
promoting it are preventing us from enjoying modern art made by people with actual talent” Paul argues that modern art is a war on objectivism. What he keeps coming back to is there is “good
art”. We should know it when we see it. It’s this guy, who makes very detailed sculptures.
It’s not piss christ. It’s not Barnett Newman. And by claiming that these non-traditional
works are good art, what Paul says we’re really doing upsetting the “natural meritocracy”
that art should naturally fall into. And this isn’t just out of ignorance. Everyone that
praises this art is doing so because of their SJW-CUCK ideology, or because they’ve been
fooled into doubting themselves by these SJW-CUCKS. It’s all a scam, he says. By convincing the public that these pieces
are good, the artistic elite are elevating the wrong parts of art and riding their deception
all the way to the bank. Pause Paul’s claims that we can objectively judge
art often go right along with his assertions that people creating the bad art are talentless. (“The people promoting it are preventing
us from enjoying modern art made by people with actual talent”) Talking about “skill” in reference to
modern art isn’t unique to Paul, and it’s an understandable reservation to have. When
looking at a monocolored canvas, it’s probably occured to all of us that “I could paint
that.” The easy response is that, almost all art takes significantly more skill than
it may appear to. For instance, Rothko, king of colored rectangles,
is still kind of a mystery to much of the art world. He worked behind closed doors,
carefully altering the chemistry of his paints with egg, glue, resin, formaldehyde. His variations
between gloss and matte are incredibly subtle, and incredibly hard to replicate. Newmann, similarly, textured his big ol canvases
in ways that created a depth of color not easily reproduced. In fact, we know how hard
it is because after Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue 3 was carved up, the “restoration”
efforts spectacularly failed- it seems like it’d be easy to repaint the red part of
the piece, but when the man they hired did exactly that, observers could instantly tell
that something was off. The “shimmering” quality of the hue wasn’t there, there was
no sense of depth anymore. The restoration tried, and failed, to recreate the delicate
techniques of the original. Was it Red, Yellow, and Blue? Sure. But it wasn’t Newman. But this whole debate, does it require skill
or not, is kinda missing the point. While I’m thrilled that Paul thinks that labor
is what gives something its value and should be compensated as such, (COMMIE), reducing
art to a linear connection between “skill” and value fundamentally just turns art into
a commodity. Paul talks about how powerful the sculptures of Ron Mueck are- and I agree!
I’ve seen this big face, it kicks ass. Mueck’s sculptures make me consider humans through
a different lens than I usually do, making me consider my place in the species and building
a strange sense of solidarity with these aggressively real-looking figures. But if someone told me that Mueck was able
to make these sculptures in minutes, that actually they didn’t take much effort at
all… I would still have those experiences! It is
absolutely impressive when an artist spends huge amounts of time perfecting an intricate
style, but that’s not why I experience them how I do. Feeling art, getting the !!!! or
*?*?*, that’s something that happens almost involuntarily. Now we get into the second part of his argument.
Art has to contribute to society. And whether Paul knows it or not, he’s not the first
person to think of this qualification. In fact, it’s very closely in alignment with
a particular political ideology SURPRISE IT’S FUCKING FASCISM Okay, a quick disclaimer before we get into
this. Art is the most damn subjective thing there is. If you don’t like any of the art
I’ve talked about in this video, 100% fine. If you don’t like anything that’s been
made after the year 1800, also fine. I am not about to tell you that not liking modern
art makes you fascist. However. Fascism does make strong efforts to bring
art under a rigidly bordered, “culturally appropriate” definition. There’s this
pursuit, in fascism, to make everything of “an aesthetic.” That aesthetic is simultaneously
mythologized, made into the history of a culture. Once that culture is appropriately mythologized,
the art that feeds back into it is seen as “contributing” to the created society.
When, for instance, every artist that the dominant ideology values for the last thousand
years has been a white guy (or portrayed as such) and creates things that glorify white/colonialist
ideals, there’s something that starts to feel “natural” about that. It creates
a fundamental hierarchy. Any art that pushes back, or simply pursues
a different aesthetic, isn’t contributing anything to that mythology anymore. And in
fact, when the artists pushing the different aesthetic are members of groups that have
been historically oppressed by the dominant culture, the art they’re making may feel
like an attack on that mythology. Or at least, that’s how it could be framed, if one had
certain political motivations. One place you can see those political motivations
is, uhh, Nazis. Pause On one hand, you might look at Nazis and see
a surprising amount of respect for artists. Joseph Goebbels called artists “’gottbegnadeten
Sinngeber,” or “a divinely gifted purveyor of meaning.” High praise indeed. But as
Barbara Fischer notes, as well as this being characteristic of the “banal and overwrought
late romanticism” of the Nazis (sick burn), “purveying meaning” was only acceptable
when the meaning being purveyed fed back into the national mythology. There is little subtlety when looking at the
most valued art of the third reich. More interesting is the fact that, as well as the galleries
full of naked boys with swords, the nazis also showed off the stuff they hated, in a
gallery called “Degenerate Art” We now stand in an exhibition that contains
only a fraction of what was bought with the hard-earned savings of the German
people and exhibited as art by a large number of museums all over Germany. All around
us you see the monstrous offspring of insanity, impudence, ineptitude and sheer
degeneracy. What this exhibition offers inspires horror and disgust in us all.
– Adolf Ziegler, president of the Reich Chamber of visual arts This gallery, full of art removed from other
German museums, held such deviants as Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Oskar Kokoschka.
Gaze! If you will! Upon deviance! If you truly thought the art was causing damage
to society, wouldn’t you try to hide it from everyone? But they didn’t want it to
be hidden. [He wanted public anger to encourage displays of outrage, hugely visible protests.]] Sorry, uhh, This kind of art, the Nazis said, would only
be made by insane and degenerate artists. Specifically, they must be mentally ill to
create these kind of abstractions. Alongside each piece in this exhibit was the
“extravagant” prices they were bought for, inviting mockery and anger. The gallery
made familiar claims- no one, in their right mind, would enjoy this art. Instead, the fact
that these pieces were held in high regard was indicative of the insidious plots of the
left. The art held critiques of the sexual norms and family values that were so important
to Nazi notions of respectability. Modern art, they said, was also made for the “eradication
of the last vestiges of racial consciousness.” New and transgressive styles by black and
Jewish artists were indicative of their “degenerate intellectualism.” Eugenics, of course. Through the systematic
devaluation of art. A fun fact about Barnett Newman is he’s
a Jew! A less fun fact is that, for every attack on his work because people didn’t
like Red, many more have been specifically done by white supremacists. Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue IV
was spit on by a man who said it was a “perversion of the German flag.” Another Newman, a sculpture called “Broken
Obelisk,” was spray-painted with Swastikas in 1979 Last year that same sculpture had white paint
poured into its reflecting pool. Scattered around the vandalism were brochures with the
4Chan-pioneered supremacist campaign, “it’s okay to be white.” Whether they know it or not, the fact that
white supremacists hate Newman’s art fits right in with the message he always said he
wanted to convey. In 1990, he said of his art: “One of its implications is its assertion
of freedom…if [it were read] properly it would mean the end of all state capitalism
and totalitarianism. (1990) Challenging our preconceived notions of art
means challenging our preconceived notions of institutions, of society. This kind of
art doesn’t fit into the cultural narrative, and because of that, it becomes a target.
And ultimately, the crime that these artists commit is the right’s biggest fear. They
are upsetting the hierarchy. They are taking themes, experiences, and emotions that don’t
fit into our nation’s narrative, and they are expressing them in a way that is impossible
to ignore. And thus, the rejection of non-traditional
forms of art so often boils down to a rejection of oppressed people within those mediums.
Nazis didn’t call Kokoschka a degenerate because of his artistic stylings, they did
it because of his public anti-fascist activism. White supremacists didn’t vandalize Newman’s
work because of the apparent simplicity of his art, they did it because would be deliberately
obtuse, and saying that a half-decade of rape, bomb, and death threats were because gamers
were angry about journalism and a series of video essays would be- “This is what happens when lefty sjws and
cultural marxists seize control of something and ruin it for everyone else. No wonder gamers
are so terrified of them subverting the video game industry.” Depression Quest isn’t a new sort of game.
Text-based adventures have been around for decades, and descend from tabletop games before
anyone was even playing pong. But Depression Quest is an interesting title, because it
uses those implicitly understood rules of the genre to subvert our expectations. As you play through the life of a fairly innocuous
main character struggling with depression, options present themself at the bottom of
the screen. Your significant other has invited you to a party- what do you do? But time and again, the most desirable option,
the choice that would help “win” the game, is X-ed out. It’s clear that the best option
would simply be to go to the party and enjoy yourself, but you can’t do that. Every decision
is managing compromises, doing things that you know aren’t ideal but is all that’s
available to you at the time. And at the bottom of the screen, where you’d have your character
stats, there are just three lines. You are Depressed You are not currently seeking a therapist You are not currently taking medication for
depression. It’s a brilliant little experiment, a game
that plays with the established power-fantasies of most roleplaying to put you in a situation
where you’re undercut by mental health at almost every turn. It’s a challenging game,
though not in the traditional sense. There aren’t game overs, per se. But in many of
the situations, every option feels like a losing one. We’re hard-wired to want to
succeed in games like this, and Depression Quest makes it feel like that’s just impossible
sometimes. It makes me feel like -_-_-_-! As nice as it would be for Depression Quest’s
legacy to be an innovative title that played with the tools of the medium, it wo- “You can’t play what isn’t a game in the
first place. Also I don’t need some hipster dangerhair
with histrionics to teach me about depression “Not sure if that bitch ever really had
depression as much as she had batshit insanity 24/7.
Not sure if wild as fuck mood swings over every single thing counts as “having depression” “Depression question? More like narcissism
quest.” “I think the worst thing about the game
as that there was no option to just go ahead, commit suicide, and end it.” It’s BEEN OVERSHADOWED by targeted harassment
campaigns at its creator ever since it released. They say there is no way that this game got
coverage and praise on its own merit. It’s a textbook example of the war on objectivism.
Anyone who says otherwise, says they had a direct connection with this game, says that
it helped them view their- or others- depression in a new light, is participating in an effort
to force untalented people and destructive ideas into gaming. “This is what happens when lefty sjws and
cultural marxists seize control of something and ruin it for everyone else” Pause Patrick Buchanan, living fossil (wait, no
that says “Paleoconservative”), proclaimed that much of modern art was “Barbarism!
The Precise word!” Buchanan was speaking alongside Jesse Helms,
and was also attacking the National Endowment for the Arts. But he cut right to what he
felt was the meat if the issue. Art like this, this barbarism, this dreck,
was a direct result of the “amorality and cowardice of art critics.” This is the heart of it, right here. This
is the most naked form of attempting to control art. And when Buchanan yelled “it’s about
ethics in video game journalism!” (wait shit sorry, that’s not right) When Helms took the stand to say “Journos
only gave Gone Home good scores because they didn’t want to be called homophobic” (wait
that’s not it either) When people prescribe art to a specific set
of qualities, and attack everything that lays beyond those lines, we have to understand
what they’re doing. Those qualities, they just so happen to perfectly
align with the dominant cultural ideology, don’t they? They’re not showing respect for the craft, they’re not trying to “uphold
meaning.” They’re enforcing a hierarchy. They’re
attempting to define a cultural narrative. And above all else, they’re not. Talking.
About. Art.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Art is anything that purposefully evokes an emotion from the viewer. Modern art, by that definition, is art. even if that emotion is anger

  2. The thing is that u can attach meaning to anything and just because you attach a meaning to something doesn’t make it art. Art is if u can attach a meaning to something, make it coherent, AND make it actually have quality. You can’t scribble on a piece of paper and just say it means whatever and expect people to like it. Another thing is of course quality is subjective and how good art is, is subjective. I just wanted to say this because it seemed like u were pushing the fact the people that didn’t like it were bad and u kept insulting them. Another is that just because that guy was a Christian doesn’t matter piss Christ is still disrespectful it’s like spitting in the face of someone and saying you love them, it doesn’t make it any better. And what was even the point of piss Christ?

  3. Hey Jacob, I know you probably won't see this, but I do hope you at least give it a fair shake. It would mean a lot to me.

    I actually really loved this video. You do make good points, though I think there is place for hating a piece of art without being fascist. Seems a tad too strict of a rule; art is just a type of speech, and while everyone should be free to speak their mind, art should not in any way be above criticism with regards to its message. It needs to be held to the same standards of critique as any other type of speech — no more, no less. And, personally, a dick spread out on a table is a bit too vulgar in my book to fit in public discourse, in the same way I'd not like to see a Senator strip down during a speech. There are better ways to get the same point across.

    By and large, I do like this video. Up until you start talking about GamerGate. Because, like many people before have and many people after will, you've misunderstood the motivations. The hatred of Depression Quest and its author had absolutely nothing at all to do with its message, nor the identity or beliefs of the author. The contempt is entirely removed from the art itself. The outrage was sparked by the blatantly unethical practices of various publications covering it. The entire scandal could've surfaced around literally any game, regardless of the actual content of the game itself or who created it. If the same kind of collusion was discovered with regards to any other game by any other person, the result would be the same. Maybe with fewer people getting called fascists for it.

    Yes, those comments you noted do, on the surface, appear to show the same sentiment as everything you brought up prior in the video. But if you dig past the surface level you'll find the reason that those comments exist is entirely separate. The goal wasn't in and of itself to convince people that Depression Quest was horrible or that the author was insane — people sort of just convinced themselves these were true because they already were upset about it, not the other way around. That's what separates GamerGate's motivations from the motives of every other example you brought up. It's just not the same. No one was upset at Depression Quest for being Depression Quest. People were upset at journalists for not disclosing their very intimate relationships with the author. If there was a New York Times article saying how a corporation was doing great things and revolutionizing the world, and it came out that the author of that article was fucking the CEO of that corporation, I hope there'd be repercussions.

    Nazis were, as you eloquently and conclusively showcased, trying to suppress types of art and types of artists. But GamerGate had nothing to do with suppressing games themselves, or the authors thereof. This wasn't a campaign to discredit the game or say that anyone who enjoyed it was insane. The goal wasn't to make the art universally hated to preserve some standard of what a "good" game was. The art wasn't what people hated. Not for its message or its content. The artist wasn't what people hated. Not for her identity of her beliefs. What people hated was the cult of journalists that covered it without disclosing their collusion. In any other type of journalism, that would be borderline illegal. In gaming, pointing it out made you a pariah. Even years later you're still constantly compared to literal Nazis for it.

    And sure, maybe you'll discount everything I say because I (several years ago) used to be very active on KiA. But I do think it's at least worth it, if you're legitimately interested in being a fair and honest content creator, to get an inside perspective before jumping to conclusions based on preconceptions that were already presented to you simply from hearing about it by the media. So, here's what I know for sure to have been true at the time (2014-2017, I believe):

    All the hatred for any individual game or author was, as I said, a consequence of other issues — the content of the game itself was never the cause, with the obvious exception of games that were aimed at GamerGate itself.
    The members of KiA covered a pretty wide swath of the political spectrum, but multiple polls indicated that a large majority were left-leaning, and an overwhelming majority of American users voted for Obama in 2012. Hardly fascist; if anything I got more of a classical libertarian vibe.
    Hell, for all the assumptions would be lead to based on everyone else's characterization of KiA, it's probably surprising to hear that the consensus around the 2016 election was a strong distaste for Trump. Not that Hillary was seen in a better light, but still. I distinctly recall one of the most upvoted comments in a thread very soon after the election reading "Good luck with the orange orangutan, America. Can't say it would've been my choice."
    T_D was widely hated on KiA for being full of mindless sheep (for lack of a better term) and having strict censorship. Reddit was also widely hated for trying to control T_D itself. It was a clusterfuck all around, but freedom of speech was 100% the most valued thing on KiA. Any attempt to nuke opinions was seen as Orwellian.
    Ironically, if nothing else, I think this really contradicts your argument. Allowing anyone to express any opinion was the most important thing to everyone on KiA. Even if that opinion was that everyone there is a fascist. KiA was about as far removed from fascism and censorship as humanly possible. Not a single time did I really see anyone wishing that Depression Quest was taken down or anything like that. It was speech and it deserved its own free place.

    I think you're misinterpreting it all, but you're far from the first person to reach this conclusion. If nothing else, I just hope you can forgive everyone that you seem to hate for this all. The worst fault of everyone involved was simply caring too much.

    It does truly and sincerely hurt to be compared to Nazis, or misogynists, or whatever you can come up with when you hate them as much as I do. I'm not one of them. And from what I could tell, extremely few people were. It's painful and degrading to have everything you say ignored while you're treated like a monster. All because you wanted a journalist to disclose personal relationships in his article.

    That's why I had to stop caring. It hurt too much to care as much as I did. It hurt too much to be as hated as I was. It hurt too much to be as misunderstood as I was. And, watching this, especially for how vehemently I agreed with you in the first half… well, it still hurts.

    Thank you for your time.

  4. I agreed with most of what you said in the video, despite it being extremely hard for me to get through how cocky and arrogant you are in the delivery, right down to the haha funny stereotype meme music playing, but the two things that really drove it over the edge, were just, Jesus Christ dude, you can't say that anyone who hates a painting of 3 colors does so specifically because they're AFRAID of it because it's FIGHTING AGAINST THE HIERARCHY, have you ever considered that possibly, people like and prefer effort over shit because they just do, and they don't need to fucking explain it to you, JUST LIKE HOW YOU DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU LIKE IT. And I'm sorry, but comparing 2:22 AM to fucking who's afraid of red yellow and blue is such a disrespect to the time and effort that went INTO 2:22 AM and the abstract themes it DOES communicate.

    Thanks to this video, I now understand that the point behind Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue is to make you think, "I'm not, but whoever is must have something wrong with them," but then even THAT is a shit excuse because, art itself is subjective, and when I personally saw the painting and read the title, I saw it as "If you dislike this painting, it's because you're AFRAID of it because THIS PAINTING can be sold in a gallery for REAL MONEY while YOU'RE working your ass off everyday just to barely get by! And I'm TAUNTING you by calling you AFRAID of me!" THAT'S how I read it. Could that interpretation in and of itself be indicative of something? Sure and probably. But just because somebody HAS objective standards for art DOESN'T MEAN THEY'RE FUCKING NAZIS. It just means that THEY THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU AND DON'T LIKE THE FUCKING PAINTINGS.

    I'm not going to lie, when I got near the end of the video, and I realized that one of the paintings was a bastardization of the German flag, I suddenly understood the whole purpose behind the painting. And THEN it meant something to me. But it didn't mean shit to me before I knew that, other than "this was painted by an asshole." So what I'm trying to say is, good video, but Jesus man, just because a person doesn't like art and chooses to take a stand against it doesn't NECESSARILY MEAN that they WANT TO MASSACRE EVERY RACE OTHER THAN THEIR OWN AND UPHOLD A SINGLE STANDARD OF ART. That's such a massive jump in logic it's unbelievable. Your observation that white supremacists do this a lot? Fair. But you spend the whole video infering without directly stating that if you agree with these guys, that makes you part of the problem.

    The truth is, nobody gives a shit about the hidden reasons behind why evil people do shitty things. They just think about what it means for them. It's the same logic where, if someone retweets stuff a white supremacist says about family values or something, but never anything race, you try and claim that the person retweeting it "supports racism," when, they're not supporting fucking racism, they're supporting family values. But, because racist people believe in family values, they MUST be objectively bad, otherwise, why would an evil person in it? HITLER BREATHED OXYGEN WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

    TL;DR Agreeing with a white supremacist about a non-racial issue doesn't make the opinion white supremacist if it has absolutely fucking nothing to do with white supremacy unless all parties involved in the discussion understand the white supremacist context behind it. Same with ANYTHING ELSE.

  5. Art can still be criticized. The vandalism is wrong and controlling a cultural narrative is, too. Yes it is subjective but people can still have a civil commentary on what it means and whether or not (depending on the context) is a good or bad meaning yet it should still be allowed to exist as it was created not to make people angry but to truly analyze it. The MOST important thing is that people should think for themselves. By the way you should also include some examples from the extreme leftist perspectives like how Stalin actively censored art and I know you made the point that the extreme right put it on display to control a narrative but it would still be an attack on modern art. This was an excellent and thought provoking video thank you.

  6. I thought the video was good, but it assumes a level of familiarity with video game controversies to make it's point. Without that, it's still effective, but not as much as I feel it could've been.

  7. I disagree with you politically, and yet I still appreciate and respect your well put together video. I appreciate a lot more f your perspectives and agree with a lot of your stances. I feel you were a bit too on the nose by calling out and targeting individuals, but it was still very respectable.

  8. Am I the only one that didn't understand any of this? The only one that saw some colors on a canvas? It didn't feel like anything. I lost interest when you started babbling about fascism. It's always fascism, everywhere, in 2019. Fascism here, fascism there.

  9. Thank you for this video! It was really interesting to hear your opinions on modern art, and the points you made really helped me understand my general sense of 'ugh' when I tried to figure out why people hate modern art so much. It's funny how they always say that ,modern art 'doesn't contibute' to culture, when in fact it's often the driving force of what moves it forward…

    Also, please keep dunking on PJW, I laughed so hard.

  10. This video started off so interesting and unbias then quickly devolved into a deeply flawed assessment of only one ideologies hate of alternative art. Communism had an intense and longer lasting suppression of the arts and we are having censorship from both the extreme left and right in the world as we speak. Don't for a moment believe that any political ideology supports the arts in any altruistic fashion.

    With that said, I don't disagree with your narrow assessment.

  11. You had me until you told me it’s a totalitarian plot to reinforce fasco-capitalistic hierarchies and gamergate was people attacking avant garde art.

  12. I don't like modern art, so I'll just say this; the greatest works of art are those that live in the memories of mankind. Modern art evokes a feeling, yet I doubt it will live past this era in any significant manner.

  13. i strongly dislike the whole "even i could've done that"-scoffing mentality. like of course you could, technically you could do that, technically you could do lots of things. but you didn't. technically you could write a book, you know the words and it's just a matter of typing it out. you could make music, it's just a variation and repetition of sounds. you could paint a painting, it's just colours on a canvas. it doesn't mean you ever would, and it doesn't mean you could ever come up with the idea behind it. because art is about actualizing ideas, not about displaying some supreme set of skills.

  14. It's idiotic to slash this painting. Given anyone with a minimum of two brain cells with three paint brushes and three cans of paint can probably make another like this in less than 15 minutes.

  15. The "it's okay to be white campaign" wasn't made to be a white supremacist campaign, it was simply to see if people would get mad at the phrase "it's okay to be white" which it should be, I shouldn't be told to feel guilt for who I am, and I don't have any choice over it either

  16. Wow this video hits that sweet spot of video game critcism, art criticism, politics, and aesthetics. I've sat hours before Newmans 'Cathedra', and I'm grateful for your considerate essay!

  17. "This painting with three colors is kind of like this incredibly artistic and creative game. (…) This game is kind of like a picture of a dick on a table."
    Weird jumps you're making there dude

  18. I’m usually a right leaning person, but low key this video is making me think and question what I’ve been taught my entire life

  19. Anyone who truly hated modern art would’ve just made the individual decision to not pay for the admission ticket,

    even though it’ll do shit all.

  20. IT WAS about ethics, then the people being criticized ran a smear campaign and then the ACTUAL misogynists joined up and took over the whole thing

  21. Don't forget that "high art" is also a tool of reproducing class. Early surrealists understood this… Dada was an act of rebellion at a time when beauty and morality had been monopolized by the church and war was romanticized.

  22. My only complaint with this video is the lack of actual coverage of the REASONS people have a disdain for Depression Quest. Not the subject matter, but the movement it began, the ways it was publicized and it's creator.

  23. Tbh it's just a kinda boring wall decor.
    That game looks really cool tho(it also probably took real effort unlike the painting) I like trippy things like that, like yume Nikki for example

  24. I'm used to surrealism and horror, but the excerpt from 2:22 AM truly terrified me somehow. The bending of the corridors made me constantly anticipate a jumpscare that refused to reveal itself.

  25. I love modern art, but it shouldn't be funded by taxpayer money (like many things unrelated to sustenance, safety and education).

  26. Anybody else viewing the dick on the table image basically uncensored because of it being on a smaller section of a small screen? 😅

  27. "they're attempting to define a cultural narrative"
    Many, likely, yes. But presenting this as the sole motivation behind all criticism of modern art and game journalism makes one suspicious of doing precisely the same. When I praised an intricate classical interior, the guy next to me disdainfully called it "colonialist", the left's version of "degenerate". "Postcolonialism" is a cultural narrative unto itself, and smearing Western virtues and aesthetics with unrelated grievances and damning them by association is an act of deliberate destruction akin to slashing a painting.

  28. Sorry if this comment is a bit long. I think you're coming from a very good place and bring up a lot of important information above and beyond what you would expect in a YouTube video. But you're presenting the relation between fascism and modern art in a one-sided manner. The issue is a more complex and nuanced than fascists trying to dictate the bounds of art, and a lot more complex and nuanced than people who dictate the bounds of art being fascist. (I'm personally more familiar with modern music than modern visual arts so my examples may skew a bit in that direction).

    Looking at the classical fascists, they did put forward a sentimental romanticism while decrying art that they deemed "degenerate". But this wasn't a simple attack on modernism. They actively cultivated certain forms of modernism. In music, Hans Pfitzner exemplified the sentimental romanticism the Nazis promoted. But Nazis also promoted Carl Orff, a modernist influenced by Stravinsky. Stravinsky himself supported Mussolini and the Russian White Army, but broke with fascism before World War II broke out.

    Also, there was the issue of the futurists in Russia and Italy. In Russia, the futurists were on the left, supporting the Russian revolution, but getting suppressed by Stalin later on. In Italy, however, the futurists were part of the fascist movement and even set up their own fascist motorcycle brigade.

    If you fast-forward to the GamerGate-era controversies, Paul Joseph Watson may attack modern art. But the "alt-right" as a whole is known for its association with meme culture, which is associated with very weird and highly modernistic artwork. Many commentators have pointed out the inconsistencies in PJW's approach. For instance, Shaun pointed out how PJW held up a sculpture of a butt as an example of degenerate modern art, but he rushed to defend a photograph of a butt against criticism from feminists.

    In GamerGate itself, it was not simply a matter of reactionaries attacking Zoë Quinn for making a game they didn't like. They also attacked Anita Sarkeesian for criticizing games they did like. And a big part of the "alt-right" ideological offensive was portraying the "SJWs" as censorship-ceased totalitarians who couldn't take transgressive art (where all the transgressive art they praised was transgressive specifically because it attacked marginalized groups, not because it represented them).

    On the left, there is a tendency to be overly quick to mock "freeze peach" when reactionaries yammer on about it, to the point of dismissing concerns about actual threats to free speech. And pointing out the fascist hostility to certain forms of art is a useful counter to that, which the left needs to consider. But it's important that fascists didn't become fascists because they engaged in artistic gatekeeping. The artistic gatekeeping stemmed from the fact that they were already fascists. And the art they chose to gatekeep was closely tied to the groups they were already violently suppressing.

    But there's also a danger of the left reducing cultural criticism to fighting against gatekeeping, to the point of losing critical faculties in other respects. For instance, the left, and people in general, tend to regard all the live-action Disney remakes as crap. But, when the Little Mermaid remake announced it was going to have a black actress play Ariel, a bunch of reactionary chuds threw a fit. But the fact that it pisses off fascists doesn't suddenly make these hacky remakes good.

    In terms of modern art, there are real problems where, to escape commodification, artists need to rely on a patron, often a wealthy patron. This means either making art that won't offend wealthy people. Or it sometimes means cultivating a snobby avant grade fan group that dismisses people who don't like a piece of work as "plebs" who "just don't get it". Often these same works of art get attacked by reactionaries. For a musical example, serialism was heavily denounced by the Nazis as "degenerate music", which gave it a certain appeal among the left. But after World War II, serialism entrenched itself in western universities and increasingly became associated with a cloistered group of elite academics who walled themselves off from the rest of music, including pop music and other forms of avant garde music. It got to the point where, when Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize, serial composer Charles Wuorinen went on a borderline-racist attack against hip-hop, echoing many of the old attacks lobbed at serial music.

    In terms of video games, you mentioned the Epic Store talking about how they were only going to support "real games". But this wasn't an attack on games like Depression Quest or other art games. It was an attack on the asset flip problem on Steam where con artists will sell broken games, game-design tutorials bought and resold unchanged, or hundreds of copies of the same Space Invaders knockoff with all the assets changed around. Often its fascists, GamerGaters, and "alt-right" assholes who champion these asset flips because so many of them are about shooting minorities. Meanwhile indie and art game makers (the kind who GamerGate attacked) are unable to find an audience because their games get buried on the Steam store. Both the Epic Store and the Nintendo Switch store have deliberately taken a more exclusive approach to who gets featured, but with the effect that it's easier to get introduced to indie and art games through them than through Steam. Epic and Nintendo have their own problems, tied to their use of exclusivity deals. And that's worth criticizing. But it's distinct from some sort of fascist attack on art, especially when the art that they exclude includes fascist trash like "Bolsomito 2K18".

    Once again, sorry that this is so long and rambly. But I think a more nuanced approach is necessary to understand how fascism relates to art, and how modern art (and mainstream, commodified art) relate to capitalism.

  29. I really fucking love the the painting was slashed. It added so much more meaning and irony, and then they fucking ruined it be trying to restore it. What a shame.

  30. Still got 4 or so minutes left but damn!! This is so we'll done! It's powerful, there's layers! This is one of the best video essays I've seen in quite a while!

  31. modern art doesn't have to be anything. It's main purpouse is to launder money. You can put a jar with shit and as soon as it's appraised the ill gotten money are clean. This argument of good art or bad art, or the opinions of the individual of the public doesn't matter any more and you would be foolish to engage in it unless you have millions.

  32. You derailed few times with that nazi hate there. IE: "it's ok to be white" is well justified ridicule of black people hating police and white people masked under certain groups and events.
    In other words, chill out. Not everyone hating modern art is nazi.

  33. me screaming FASCISM at my computer screen right as you wrote "SURPRISE ITS FUCKING FASCISM" …. ah….. i have found a friend

  34. So you are wondering way the little boys are running around taking revenge on the people they were told killed their father.

  35. A recent thought I've been having is this (might even decide to make a video if I ever want to make this kind of content one day) (oh who am I kidding? I'm too lazy for that):

    Art is subjective. It is meant to either make people feel something or to be enjoyed. However, people have different taste in stuff. Sure, somethings are more popular than others, but not everyone likes the same stuff. Some people like pop music and rap because of their rhythm. Some like rap because of its poetry. Some like black metal because of how brute and raw it is. I like things like prog because of the way it sounds. The same thing applies for all art. As such, it is extremely subjective.

    Since you can't objectivise or standardise people's tastes, why should you do so for art? Just let everyone enjoy what they like. Since art is so subjective, objectivising it, by either making it respect some standards or giving it monetary value, is frankly ludicrous. How can you give something a precise value when its relative value changes from person to person so much? The only way to do so would be to take into account the objective part of the art. With painting, that would be the cost of the materials used and maybe the man labour. However, if that's the case, then even those most valued and loved classic works of art would lose all of their value, so surely nobody would want that!

    There is an issue with this logic though: if we can't give art monetary value, then how can artists make a living by making art? They wouldn't be able to. So, I'll need to think about that some more

    Now I'm not saying I like modern art, quite the contrary actually, I don't enjoy modern art at all, but still I do recognise that there is more to it than just plain colours and rectangles and I still think standarising it is stupid.

    However, I do notice that there are two types of art nowadays: one type is art made to please as many people as possible and, usually, to make money too. This is commercial music as a whole, this is Hollywood films. That art could be given monetary value based on its success if that is what its objective is. It could also be standardised to make sure everyone will like it. This art is simply made to be enjoyable. No crazy analysing here, no subvertation, no hidden meaning. It's just meant to be simply enjoyed. There is, however, a second type of art that goes deeper: this art isn't made to be popular and it usually isn't made to be simply enjoyed. This is art that provokes you, that makes you feel things you're not used to, this is art made solely for the purpose of art. This is the kind of art you can't really standardise or give monetary value to, and you shouldn't. That's what modern art as we know it is. This is art that serves a different purpose and, as such, comparing these two types of art or holding one to the "standards" or purposes of the other is ridiculous. It's like comparing a super car to a regular family car, you just can't. They're not made with the same purpose in mind, they don't have the same objectives, so you can't compare them.

    At this point in time, I could also start talking about why I don't like modern art, but that is kind of off the subject of this uselessly long comment and would make it even longer. Considering how I'm already pretty sure this comment is so long nobody would ever want to read it, I'll finish this train of thoughts here.

    Edit: actually there's one last thing I want to say: dear people in this video. This kind of response to art descends from a misunderstanding of it. Since you don't understand it, you're afraid of what it could do, so you destroy it. This kind of response is actually very common with humans. Still though, wow! You were so afraid of a few coloured rectangles that you had to destroy them, how pathetic!

  36. Censoring art is not exclusive to Nazis. The far left does it too. Just look at the reviews of Black Panther if you think I'm wrong.
    Saying that everyone who hates modern art is a Nazi just muddies the water without reason.

  37. There's a lot about this video I like, and it's certainly made me think . . . but "The 4chan pioneered supremecist campaign?" Really??

  38. Man this is easily one of the best essays I've ever watched on Youtube. Just perfect. The way you present and lead from one idea to the next. Amazing video dude. I love it. So much truth. The "It makes me feel like…" moments are amazing. It would be awesome if you or someone could add a German translation because I've had multiple discussions on art with my mom and I've never seen it put so succinctly why even contemporary art in its current form is necessary and beautiful in its own right.

  39. My friend, who is a transgendered socialist direct supporter of antifa, absolutely despises modern art and had a particular hate boner for Jackson Pollock. Apparently they were actually a nazi though, it was hard to tell the way they were so left that they'd bash someone in the head for being anything right of fucking Marx himself.

  40. Ah yes it's not like art censorship was done by most historically powerful states. No no no, you see it was all F A S C I S M. LMAO

  41. Problem with modern art is hard for decipher and people clearly don't have reference and knowledge to understand it ,that makes people unconformable and that's good pushing boundaries and birth new ideas that is what art should be(one of many things). Then because they deal with unknown people react differently some persons with too much aggression and to much free time try to break thing that makes them feel fear . But i don't thing this is like the same thing with one big government control like in 30-40s Germany rather local popularity hunting.

  42. The best video essay I've seen in a long time. Really informative, and the stylistic touches like the use of silence and music was inspired, it really conveyed the meaning I think you were going for. Fantastic stuff.

  43. I wish I could put the letter z in black against a light beige and sell it for five million dollars. I'd call it money.

    You lost me when you started irrationally ranting about the right.

  44. I have watched some of your other work, and have found it to be enticing and terrifying in scope. This? This earned you a Subscribe.

  45. Piss christ looks ok.
    But I can completely see why someone would be angry, thas valid, smashing the glass? Eh….

    2:22 am looks big good. From that little footage you showed it made me happi.

    A single color canvas is a meh from me bro.

    Broken obelisk is a really good piece in my opinion. the lack of texture actually works in it's favor I'd say.
    (Addendum; Because I'm writing this as I want,unorderly.
    Yeah it's pretty ok to be whichever colour you want, white too; as it is obvious I lack context why it is a "hateful campaign" I just take it as the sentence says, no connotations attached)

    On the end note;
    The whole political side of this video?
    Both the creators and the ones he used as examples (opponents?) seem pretty silly to me.
    Not saying this is a bad video
    Just that both calling artists mentally ill degenerates and then calling the callers nazis fascists whatver just seems like two sided insult flinging to me.

    So yeah a pretty good vid.

  46. The right? I'm sorry but this is cucked up to 11. No one on the right listen to pjw (everyone hates anti-sjws), those white paint spillers were clearly horrible, horrible trolls. Not anti-semitism but assholes. The reason I don't like modern art isn't because it's degenerate but because there is no story as far as I can see. There's no background. I can't even see a feeling. Same with all those comments on the depression game. We are talking about art. We are talking about games. I'm sorry but you ousted all of us as fascist (just because you say we aren't doesn't mean what you implied is immediately denied) and assumed perverse, evil intentions where there are none.

  47. You make the best case for modern art I've ever heard but you completely neglect the rampant money laundering and human trafficking that exists as the back bone of the modern art market. It has destroyed countless lives and I don't think I will ever find a way to enjoy a piece of modern art again after knowing that.

  48. Ultimately what I think it comes down to is that art has power over people. It can move us to feel or to think. It can change our ideas. That gives art power, and there are a lot of people on all sides of the political fences who don't like the idea of people they don't agree with wielding that sort of power over themselves or others. It's not just paintings or sculpture or modern art that this happens in. It happens in every form of media we consume. People burn or ban books. They protest films. They complain on the internet about the content of a video game.

    Loads of people take offense to art because ultimately something about that piece offends their sense of how the world should operate. Some will be offended because the artist isn't someone they think should have social recognition or praise. Others will be offended because the piece shows an immaturity of perspective or a lack of skill. Some will take offense purely because lots of other people are telling them they should like it. Others will take offense because people told them they shouldn't like it. They're all going to be offended that a horrible piece of media has made a ridiculous sum of money, because that means someone else saw value in a thing that offends them.

    No one is without sin in this. Everyone capable of reading this sentence has at some point in their life said, "That piece of media is a horrible, tasteless offensive thing." The tipping point comes down to how you choose to deal with your offense. Do you say, "I loathe it and I'll even tell people why I think it's horrible, but I'll grant that it has its place, I just won't partake," or do you say, "It needs to not exist, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that it doesn't."

  49. Well that was quite the load of bullshit. I do respect your passion to take time of your life and carefully craft a video filled with so much nonsense though. I'm a bit of an artist myself and yet I do understand that modern art contributes nothing to our society. Think like, 5000 years in the future, when some people dig out our "modern art" sculptures. They won't even be able to tell what those abstract sculptures were supposed to represent, which makes them pretty useless imo.
    I'm all for the freedom of drawing and crafting whatever you want – but don't pay a person who covers a frame in 3 colours or some shit like that. It's just ridiculous and easy for anyone to make, no creativity, no effort… how can anyone pay money for that.
    That kind of modern art does make me feel something, sure. But that feeling is 5% shame, 15% jealousy that some entitled shmuck got payed big bucks for shitting out the bare minimum – and 80% disappointment in mankind and the timeline I live in.

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