Over at The Epoch Times (also covered in this week’s Takimag column), the skeptical doctor denounces the blatant exhibitionism and artistic self-importance of draping one of the most famous Parisian monuments in 25,000 square meters of polypropylene fabric.
And in this uncritical endorsement of artistic freedom as irrational freedom, with no possible criteria enabling us to prefer one thing to another, we see an explanation of why architects of the 20th century have been so easily able to impose their ugliness upon the world.
This is an example of what I call the “Jackass: The Opera” phenomenon, so named because of the many truly atrocious stagings of classical opera. The world is full of barbarians who are gunning for our high culture, so it’s natural to want to protect it, no matter what. Then some idiot comes up with “art” like this, and we feel humiliated at having to defend their freedom to spew ugliness and stupidity into the public square. I begin to feel that a Muslim ban on singing or theatre wouldn’t be so bad, if this is what our culture has come to.
I do love Theodore Dalrymple’s work. His writing holds the tone and tenor of beauty. Mostly I agree with him, but when I don’t think he is right about some thing I find it easy to disagree with him because he is almost always congenial (well thought out) in his “point” making. That said—I liked the draping of the Arc de Triomphe. It captured some beauty in it’s folds of fabric. Perhaps it was the wind that did it for me. Or it might be because I prefer the minimalist aspect of cycladic art over the triumphal arch kind? Either way, Cristo’s “pointless” fabric drapes will soon come down, no real harm done.