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Art and Magick

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.consciousness.mysticism,rec.arts.misc,talk.philosophy.misc
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Art and Magick (was Poo-Pooing Art and Magick....)
Date: 18 Jun 1997 11:10:03 -0700

49970613 aa2 Hail Satan!  Friday the 13th!  Lucky Day!


#> your not caring for it and it not being Art are really two different things. 

perhaps it should have been qualified "it is not art to *me*".

#> It's funny, because I practice [collage]

as have I.  I wasn't going to respond to the original dismissal because it
seemed to me tangental to the discussion of Thelema and magick, but I see
the topic coming round and would join in.

#> ...when the Muse and Great God Art whistles through my head and out 
#> my hand I personally have learned to never never never look a Gift 
#> God in the eye and say what the fuck is this???? not art surely???

criticism is an important part of the artistic process.  never to criticize,
especially oneself, is to abandon one's artistic development.

Fabio :
#...if this is a forum of Magick, since it is very connected with art....

I would like to discuss this connection where possible.  it is something
which I have not contemplated deeply enough and constitutes one of the
major holes in magical philosophy today, from where I sit.

#Simply because art could be either all the things and no things, so
#everyone could call himself an artist and probably be believed. 

this is precisely the case with all appellations.  one might call oneself
'Satanist', 'Thelemite', 'Artist', 'Scientist', even 'Master' and there
are those who will accept this without question.  this was one basis which
brought on the anti-art movement (daDa) and, I contend, Satanism functions
in a similar, revolutionary manner within the religious sphere.

I am but an ignorant student of art, yet in my brief exposure to daDa I
see the attempted return to authentic process, the deconstruction of Art
as Product, the pointing of a finger to a toilet with admiration (more
on excretory appreciation below).

#I hate critics for they base their judgements only in their conceptions, 
#and truth is never unique, 

critics are a necessary outcome of real artistic process.  they are one
half of that process, the other being the portion which most critics
cannot access and which is typically called 'art' in itself (the ability
to create, to innovate, bringing forth an expression of deep feeling and

#but many times I've met people that say so: "It doesn't matter what is 
#beautiful, matter whatever one likes" and I become, indeed, sad, like Rimbaud.

I agree with this strongly.  there is art, there is criticism (which I contend
is an imperative process in the development of artistic skill), and there is
aesthetics, the ability to fully apprehend the depth and beauty of what is
expressed by the artist.  I think that aesthetics is a reflection (passive) of
the latter part (expression) of the artistic process.

just as criticism without aesthetic expression becomes sniping, so does
aesthetic expression without criticism lack depth, regardless of its sincerety.
it is beautiful, but undeveloped.  this is the difference between the art of
a child and that of a master, even if the child has the *potential* to become
a master.

#I've lived, like you know from my introductory post, all of my youth in
#the way of literature and poetry. The first thing that I know is that
#beauty (that is the primary basic of art for me) is not a common thing.

I presume that you mean a very specific thing here by 'beauty'.  I agree that
beauty is imperative to a complete analysis of art and the process.  I think
you are saying that your beauty contains *precision* which can only be
achieved by practice and experience, self-criticism and refinement.  I think
what you are saying is not necessarily that nothing but 'fine arts' can be
aesthetically pleasing, but that there exists a certain complexity and
depth which is (at present, at least, perhaps inevitably) uncommon.

my impression is that 'depth' is relative and that, while your observation,
if I have not mistaken it, is accurate, your terms may be somewhat extreme
in response to CLK.  I think it is not that simple or undeveloped artwork
contains NO BEAUTY, but that this beauty is shallow (aesthetically pleasing
but doesn't hold more than one or two dimensions).

#My beauty could not be yours, but when a thing could be done from every
#single human that awake in the morning, then is not more beautiful.

and I would rephrase this that when a piece of art arise from any random
person without experience, then it lacks DEPTH.  it is one thing to call
it 'art', for in a simplistic light this is precisely what it is.  the
daDaist wants the common folk to engage it, taking bicycle wheels and
putting them into toilet bowls.  demonstrate the simple imperative.  and
when this is placed in the category of 'high art' (implying a complexity
and depth), then this shows how constrained are the categories of people
and what they produce.  now only 'masters' can make art.  Art is Dead.

better that the high art be dessicated and the process return to the
common folk.  even random acts (drawing fragments from bags and reading
them as poetry) can be artistic when done with precision and refinement.

#So, if one, looking at my shit in the morning say: "How beautiful!" for
#me he is very stupid. He could like it, but could not say that is

I would expand on this, for I agree and disagree with its implications.
this has very directly to do with magick, also.  if the critic (which you
support well) says "disgusting!", then she errs by lack of aesthetics.
if she merely says "that is not art!", then we must begin to look into
you and your relationship to your crapping.

the aesthetic without critical faculties (which I think CLK support well)
says "that is beautiful!" and, coming to see that you are not practiced
in the art of pinching loaves as an intentional enterprise, we may pass 
off this evaluation (forgive the pun) for a lack of critical skill.

but wait!  then we all turn our heads and notice that Old Dung-Meister,
in the corner there, has produced a new fecal exhibit.  ODM (as his
admirers call him) is particularly refined in his shit-laying.  eating
very specific types of food to produce his fecal expressions, he has
integrated a sincere and extremely-skilled aesthetic depth to his offal.

the critic who knows nothing of excretory expression repeats the same
worn evaluatives.  but the poo-connisseur and critic comes to both piles
and peers closely, perhaps smelling, getting good angles and lighting,
observing the intricate care which ODM has given to both process and to
product.  your dingleberries, he decries, are substandard.  but the
turds of ODM, magnifique!  what beauty!  what talent!  what genius!!
another ODM BM Masterpiece!

it is this careful qualitative examination which truly discerns beauty,
not some dismissal of Art Fecale because of its medium.  this is the
same for collage and any other 'simplistic' artform.  look at the taoist
masters.  how much work & talent does it take to draw a circle with a
brush and ink?   ask them and their admirers.  it takes *extreme* talent
to do it arightly.

the artist must train.  she must observe hir product.  she must compare,
contrast, self-criticize.  in short, she must attend to the process and
the result.  she must make the tools of the process (whether brush or
fingers or gastrum and rectal hole) exquisite in their abilities.  she
feels, she moves into the form, she expresses through her medium in an
intentional and direct fashion, she grunts, she groans, she feels the
art pour forth from hir!  true Art, just like true Science, is no 
different than Magick.

#So my words are better these: "Is beautiful what is beautiful, and one
#likes what one likes" that are much better.

'one' may differ in aesthetic taste and refinement of observation.  to know
the artform, to see its particularities, to understand the depth or shallow-
ness, this allows real criticism.  too often the talentless become the critics
and forget the process in their struggle to steer the social eye.  'liking'
is liking.  it is of subjective value.  limited.  refined taste comes of
exposure and culture.  while not an absolute 'better', it is objectively
more skilled at observation.  reflecting thereafter and expression of that
reflection will determine skill at criticism.

#Collage could be very good, but is difficult to find people that
#practices it and do something new, very, very difficult. I've find
#nobody until now.

few are obsessed enough with any artform to practice it unto mastery
(I am not excluded from this; my collage is very rudimentary).  this
does not mean that the rudimentary is not 'beautiful', if shallow of

#But is true also that there're so many recognized artists that have
#nothing new in their stories, why this? 

novelty is an overworn evaluative of skill.  like the koan, a new
answer is just that.  real feeling, real depth, whether in an old
cloak or new, may be rare and valuable.  

in fact the novelty *distracts* from a serious evaluation of skill.
we may be carried away by our emotional appreciation of an oasis in
a desert of traditionalism instead of looking carefully at the
style of the brush, the tonalities of the lower vocal range, the
addition of blue food to the cacapiece, at the qualities which 
we find valuable to assess within the whole field of the art itself.

#But is also true that these artists are always reconnected at their 
#originals and could be never be free. This is the money they must pay...

if I understand your words arightly, you say that the masters must continue
to reproduce the works for which they are popular in order to remain in
favor, and that this becomes ball and chain to them.  I agree, and this is 
one of the reasons that I have tried to disregard favor, especially in 
connection with my art and my livelihood.  it quickly becomes a trap when 

yet the real artist innovates, advances, develops depth untold even if the
work appears the same over and over.  one may go deeply into the tradition,
one may break from tradition and range over the scape of possibility.  it
is the *attention to the work* which sets it apart, making it 'masterpiece',
not its medium, and not its novelty.

 3 3 3

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