Abstraction in art is a fantastic tool to organize elements into extraordinarily satisfying arrangements that engage and drive the viewer's attention to the painting's content. Rembrandt, perhaps more than any other artist, makes genius use of abstraction in his arrangements of light, shadow, composition, and groupings of figures.Without the use of abstraction, details in themselves overwhelm and short-circuit the viewer's ability to "see the forest through the trees."
An example of short-circuiting is when Data, the fictional character in Star Trek: The Next Generation, early on in the series would go into excessive detail, like calculating the arrival time to the second. He would discover that this created great annoyance to his colleagues because detailed info in itself is a waste of time and distracts from their mission. Abstraction is a tool to keep the information on track and guide it to the end mission—the point of the work. The flip side is that abstraction by itself no longer has any purpose.
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Many artists believe that abstraction is a worthy end in itself, but it works to negate all details and ultimately negates any goal or endpoint of an artwork. Abstraction by itself is a floating abstraction, an idea, or visual concept disconnected from reality—it ceases to have mental-emotional-perceptual significance. It would be like the Star Trek officers having no mission, no point, nothing to say, no relationships, and nothing to do. When abstract art is viewed as serious art, it disintegrates the mental-emotional-perceptual network. It leaves the viewer confused as to important questions about life, such as: What is its take on humanity? Is passion causeless? What does this have to do with the world I see? On those issues, abstract art comes up blank.
In my book, Evolution Through Art (2021), the main theme is that visual artists lead the way in developing the integration of mental-emotional-perceptual pathways. They got off to a great start 40,000 years ago.The cave painters and sculptors gave humanity the synergistic psyche development that turned them into modern humans. I believe it holds true today for innovative representational artists. Sadly, the introduction of abstract (as fine art and not decoration) and postmodern art reverse this evolutionary process, and they act as a psycho-weapon to destroy the manner in which humans evolve.
To summarize so far representational visual artists were the first and are essential in the development of integrated mental-emotional-perceptual pathways, and that the emergence of abstract and postmodern art has had a detrimental effect on human evolution.
Philosopher Stephen Hicks in his essay, Post-Postmodern Art, discusses how abstract and postmodern art through reductionism led nowhere:
The twentieth-century world is also the story of its own self-elimination. While Picasso and Munch looked at reality and reported their depressed observations, others retreated from the world and proceeded to strip away from art anything that they could. On the grounds that other media such as photography and literature reproduced reality and told stories, many eliminated as much content as they could from their works. Art came to be a self-contained study of dimension, color, and composition. But the reductionist, stripping-away game led quickly to challenges even to those features. In the sterile color studies of Piet Mondrian and Barnett Newman, any sense of a third dimension disappeared.
In Kasimir Malevich’s near-monochrome ‘White on White,’ color differentiation was abandoned. And with Jackson Pollock’s erratic paint drips and splatters, any role of artistic composition was eliminated.
The art world had reached a dead end.
Hicks observed that when artists eliminate the elements of figurative/representational art it becomes reduced to nothing.
The CIA and Devolution
In the late 1940s, the CIA began promoting abstract expressionism art, funding sales, shows, and massive media coverage, such as the Pollock spread in the 1949 Life magazine.Henry Luce, the owner of the Time-Life empire, a MOMA Trustee, and a member of the notorious Skull and Bones secret society, was closely allied with C.D. Jackson. Jackson was the Managing Director of Time-Life International from 1945 to 1949 and then became the president of the CIA's front group Free Europe Committee. It can be assumed that their promotion of abstract art had a covert end.
In a recent Facebook post, Michael Rectenwald, a scholar and author of The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty: Unraveling the Global Agenda,discussed how nefarious groups manipulate means and ends:
Remember that the means are always the ends. If the authoritarians say that "global governance" is necessary to mitigate "climate change," then the object is not to mitigate climate change but rather to implement "global governance." If they say that lockdowns are necessary to address a pandemic, then the goal is lockdowns, not addressing a pandemic. If they say that a dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary to achieve socialism-communism, then the object is dictatorship, not socialism-communism (which is impossible at any rate). If they say that a central bank digital currency is necessary to stabilize the economy, then the object is a central bank digital currency, not the stabilizing of the economy. And so on and so forth. The means are always the ends.
Rectenwald is showing us their consistently warped way of thinking. When anyone offers unethical means or means that don’t make sense, we should all be extraordinarily skeptical and immediately question what their true end aim is. Notice that "means are always the ends" is analogous to the means of abstract art becoming abstract. [Keep in mind that abstract art is a form of floating abstraction that is disconnected from reality. In this sense, it shares an unfortunate similarity with the disconnect from reality experienced by psychotics.]
Why would powerful world players want people to accept a disconnect from reality? One answer I can think of is to disarm people from detecting their true motives.
If one wants to control humankind, they must disrupt each person’s inner network. Then, their enemies are people who possess an integration of mind, emotion, and perception—who cannot be ruled, bullied, or shamed. Given that representational art has offered an integrated view of the mental-emotion-perception network for 40,000 years, and it is one of the most important bedrocks of human evolution, nefarious people and the CIA found one of the greatest ways to disrupt humans is through abstract art.
Hence, the CIA's intense promotion of abstract and postmodern art served as a Trojan Horse. Instead of entering the gates of Troy, this one was a psychological weapon that enters our psyche. Their aim was and is to destroy our ability to stand up to their machinations. The interesting moral is that when bad people use evil psychological means, they become psychotics. Their means become their ends.
Michael Newberry, March 27, 2023
Newberry, Michael. Abstraction in Representational Art
Undoubtedly music also played an equivalent role as the visual arts, and we know the sounds the instruments made such as Paleolithic flutes, but we don’t know what kind of songs they made. Where in the visual arts we have the actual artworks intact.
Hicks, Stephen. Post-Postmodern Art, https://www.stephenhicks.org/2016/12/04/post-postmodern-art-original-text/
Saunders, Frances Stonor. The Cultural Cold War (p. 224). The New Press. Kindle Edition. “In August 1949, Life magazine gave its center-page spread to Jackson Pollock, landing the artist and his work on every coffee table in America.”
Skull and Bones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones
Luce, Henry. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Luce
C.D. Jackson: Managing Director of Time-Life International from 1945 to 1949, was considered on the most important American propagandist and covert psychological warfare specialist with and he had tie From 1944 to 1945 he was Deputy Chief at the Psychological Warfare Division, SHAEF From 1951 to 1952, he served as president of the anticommunist Free Europe Committee. He was a speech writer for Dwight Eisenhower's successful 1952 presidential campaign. He was assigned to be Eisenhower's liaison between the newly-created CIA and the Pentagon. Wikipedia.
Rectenwald, Michael. The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty: Unraveling the Global Agenda
So true, and deeply appreciate your writings on the dark intentions behind the promotion of this kind of art during a time period where the CIA was messing with a lot of cultural stuff, domestically. Today, a "contemporary" artist community in general will have a sizeable portion of abstract artists, none of them have a clue about the historical timelines of weaponized art and weaponized culture.