I haven’t updated in a while. My apologies. Not much happening here in New York to report, really. Not much I am too enthusiastic about here in the US, actually. I visited New York City twice and although my motives were sound I was very disappointed by what has happened to humanity. There are far too many people there and no one seems to be happy. They are always on their mobile phones or some other application, as if these things will make them happy or even connect them to other human beings in some meaningful way. They haven’t understood that by using the internet to connect with others they are merely closing themselves off to the realities of actual one-to-one contact. This is the great myth of the electronic information age. Online reality is fiction. Also, the more I have been talking to other teachers and mentors about the kids of today the more we all agree: few of them actually want to work towards a goal that requires effort or any real thinking. They want the end result right now. They want their hand-held devices to do the thinking for them. The turn their cameras on ‘auto’ and let the machine create, not their minds. They demand good grades just for showing up.
This was evident at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday. I rode the train into the city to see a wonderful show by the photographer Walker Evans. It is the 75th Anniversary of his exhibit of American Photographs. First off….MoMA is a terrible museum. It didn’t feel like a museum. It felt more like a large shopping mall. It was crowded and noisy. People were stuck to their handheld devices as they wandered lost an unseeing through the many chilly rooms. They impolitely took pictures of the work, not really looking or learning, but rather documenting in a poor fashion. They talked loudly into their mobiles. Children screeched, ran around. I was appalled. 90% of the people there were only present so they could check MoMA off their NYC list.
The Walker Evans show was in a small room on the 4th Floor, not in the photography section. It was shoehorned between the crass, colorful and superficial 1960s pop-art section and the large abstract works of Arshile Gorky. These photographs are small, none larger than 8×10, and perfect. Precious. Lovely. Evocative. “American” in the best sense of the word. Yet people were wandering in and out, disinterested and not comprehending the importance of these images, especially when compared to the emptiness of Warhol, Stella and Lichtenstein. I left the museum after 45 minutes, disgusted. Humanity is doomed. We have already forgotten our history. But MoMA has succeeded. It is a perfect modern art museum. It represents all that sucks about modern art and modern culture. It is about fashion, fads and the next shocking big pile of expensive, market driven shit. It is superficial and dead, cold and, in the end, not worth the real estate it sits on. It is about the $25 adult ticket fare and the gift shop. It is about money. If you worship money, please go. If you, like me, have grown so disillusioned by the cesspool that the US in many ways has become, then skip it. It is a train wreck of culture. Nothing to see here. Move along folks.