by Rev. Gerry Reith
Whatever brings in the most money for the least effort is art. All the rest is bad art or industrial aids. Of course, artists have managed to make many things difficult for themselves, but this is just a ploy to keep the scam from becoming perfectly clear to the investors.
Most people know there's something fishy about it all, but some of the pictures (or whatever) actually turn out to be attractive to at least a few among the population at large, so they don't worry too much about it if someone else buys stupid art and puts it in museums and so on.
The investors make sure that only the most neurotically picky make it as critics, because if anything else was the case then it would be hard to staunch the flow and pretty soon nobody would know which was the best art. Everyone would have to pick what they liked if they wanted to have something. The investment potential would be shot. All kinds of good amateurs might sweep aside the poseurs who bring in the dough.
Critics are taken in by The Line. Artists have to present the skeleton of a Theory which is fleshed out by critics, and turned into a Movement. The Line has all sorts of pseudo-philosophical and epistemological jargon mixed together like a tossed salad, and is quite often more engaging than any of the artworks that it is supposedly responsible for.
In essence, all of The Lines have one core statement. "Very few people," it says, "understand what this is all about." If you have gotten that far on your own, it means you have struggled with the divine jargon so long that you can toss it off at cocktail parties as facilely as the best of them. Being probably the most mystifying form of lies, The Line is a perfect mechanism for letting people believe themselves when they make stupid statements -- not unlike religion and science. Sucked in because others, seemingly so capable, are also catering to the mouthings, one never realizes that all the trappings are empty, devoid of meaning, and that the only important part about it is the simple, direct communique concerning the number of people who are even qualified to talk about the subject. A strange Loop occurs. Like zen, it is difficult to impart without engaging in the activity itself.
The perfect artwork, like the perfect money, has distilled The Line: all items have two values, broadly defined. They may have use value, or exchange value, or both. The use value of money is restricted almost solely to its exchange value, especially in the case of government issue fiat paper. Nothing more need be said at present. Art may have two values: appreciation and mystification. The highest (or most valuable-as-investment) art achieves the total subjection of appreciation into mystification. Hence it might seem that a canvas proclaiming in, say, thirty-two point Century Old Style type, "Very few people really understand what this is all about," would be appropriate for a portfolio or the walls of a museum.
When those on the outs succeed in prosyletizing and causing the uninitiated to make purchases of those works which are not at present popular, we see an art revolution, and we laugh last, all the way to the bank.