Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.


I might say to the incipient reader who looks at this column, not post, that it is long. Some stories need length, breadth and depth to tell. This is one. My hope in writing this is that it has some merit, worth, from which a reader will gain pleasure, might even be provoked into thought. Might.

My arts website, malcolmdbmunrofineartsdotcom, yet to be built, what is it? I have been thinking about with it does. What is its function? What does it do? What should I do with it? And I am coming to the conclusion that it is a shop. I already have two online art galleries, Saatchi Art and Art Finder, ono them very good, in fact this online gallery is the market leader. So why do I need a shop. I don’t know. I haven’t come up with an answer yet. I have thought to myself, “Wouldn’t malcolmdbmunrodotorg” be better. A place to write of my preoccupations where art is concerned, its history, its place in modern life, and considerations as its meaning to us as human beings. Of how art has become an elevated thing. That Fine Art has risen above the ordinary, has raised itself, detached itself so that it is remote from ordinary people’s lives. It has become something for the elite. But that is how it has always been, back into the deep mists of time. For as long as humanity has had a social structure which comprises a power structure where the the few dictate to the many and rob from them their money and property, their labour, And much else besides.

It has robbed and stolen from ordinary art, from folk art, and disguised those stolen goods under the veneer of its, a sense, false face to its public. It seeks to be an aesthetic. To have values which are elevated. Values and the conceptuals which are abstract. Remote from the daily lives of ordinary people. Ordinary people have preoccupations. These are basic preoccupations. The stuff of daily life. Food, transport, and above all, shelter, and with shelter, safety, security. This is what matters to you and me. Why should I not write of such things here.

Art, fine art, is the stuff of the elite. The elite do not have the preoccupations that the rest of us have. They don’t have them because they don’t need to have them. They are rich, successful, acclaimed, famous, adulated, send Tweets followed by millions. They look down from the mountains tops and view us with disdain. They do not need us. Only they need our money, our adulation. “Oh how great you are, I wish could be as rich as you are.” They entertain us. Some with an abundance of talent. Some with talent manufactured with straw, talent dross, which is honed and polished by their media machines and the vast array of hangers on who trim their toenails, valet them, running always at beck and call, endless sycophants who whisper in their ear endless blandishments, “You’re great. Fantastic. Incredible, That concert/speech/fill in the blank you gave last night was you best. Your best ever.” It was dismal, it sucked. We saw it, we paid good money. But we go next time. Next time will better. And maybe it will, maybe it is.

This is the elite. Some of whom, maybe a tiny fraction are worthwhile, empathise with the rest of us, feel our pains and plights. The rest are at St Tropez, you name your own, laying sunning on phenomenally fast, vastly expensive yachts. Yachts that look like a fantasy. And are. Or they are partying every evening, seven days a week, month after month, year after year, migrating when they tire of one yacht, one island owned by one of their cohorts, to another fantasy floating palace, island ftted out better than the courts of the kings of old. Always shrill in their song.

But let us not be mistaken. Not all this comprises the stereotypes spoken of above. Some are dark, dark dark, people, who only flit around in shadows, who do deals behind peoples lives, who wheel and exchanges with treachery among themselves, so treacherous that they carry guns, employ henchmen to do their dirty work, assassinate with such skill that they evade detection, retain their innocence, their integrity. These men, there are few women, comprise variously crooks, thieves, drug dealer, people who traffic humans, shady businessmen with a stream of bankruptcies behind them yet still have investors hungry to share their wealth, tycoons, reality show celebrities, who dare not show their tax returns for if they are reveal their them, will be stripped of their splendid clothes, all name branded with their own polished, lustrous name. Etc, etc.

But, dear reader, there are others within this elite. People of integrity, of humility, who care for others, who dispose of their wealth wisely, who do good in society, who have gained their wealth honestly, gained because of talent, opportunity, good fortune. They are, though, few and far between.

There exists in this world of art buyers, fine art buyers, a bell curve, an inverted one, the line of which represents the relative worth of individuals. A gradation, in other words, of  differently levels, which grade almost imperceptibly as you go down the curve. So one engages in simplicities in order to describe art buyers and of how they differ, one group from another, 

So, as we slide down the slope of this curve, there is another level, Professionals who might roughly be divided between those who buy because they want the pleasure gained from placing a work on a shelf or tabletop, or hang upon their wall. A work which, when they pass it, stimulates, thrills, as might a piece of favourite music. And they can afford it, Because fine art is expensive, even exorbitantly so. Fine art cannot be made affordable. Otherwise it would not be fine art. The other half of this group, if half it be, are those who buy to show their neighbours, “Look at this _____  (artist). I paid $xxxxxxx for it.” Wannabes, we might call them.

This, all that written above, is not written with cynicism, envy, but written in recognition of the world into which I am about to, destined to, enter.

What, though, to they buy, Let’s consider only modern art. That field, that territory, in which I live, inhabit, value, that means something to me, that I value.

Modern art is a strange thing. What is it this malange where anything goes? Where art is what I say it is. Though excrement, bricks or balloons.

Don’t be fooled. Each and every artist knows exactly what they are doing. They do not stumble blindly into this arcane field. Which is not fallow but offer fabulous wealth, whether he or she be Jeff Koons, or Damien Hisch. Take Tracey Emin with her first public work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 , which, what?, startled, horrorstruck the existing art world and general public alike. Why did she do it? I will let you answer that question.

But you look at Ms Emin’s bio. She has all the conventional background and training of the schools of the traditional artist. She is not one of those who walk up and gain fame overnight through, oh I don’t know, graffiti. I do not scoff at this. Why cannot this be legitimate. Why cannot this too be art. Why cannot this be legitimate. For does not art, why should not art reflect the society in which it lives, exists.

We have pushed, broken boundaries, through history. Why should we not. We have to break of the bounds which bind us as we grow up, emerge into the world, those that should the previous generation. Should we not, we ossify, we decay. And with decay, die. And vanish from the face of the planet.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 3 August, 2017





Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, politics, songs, stories

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