Right-Wing Art, An Impossibility?
I was asked a question for clarification, on what exactly “right wing art” is in our meta-ironic humour, the odd worship of a purely aesthetic image of the past that maybe quite contemporary age. Often this boils down to 2016 nostalgia, performances, absurdist and meta-ironic comedy, things lost in themselves.. But lost in the image, in the worship of beauty is the referent to a lack, a point of contrition in this lacking of a unifying aesthetic and artistic pantheon of concepts and movements the Rights struggles to make real.
It may be a controversial statement to say that an explicit “Right Wing Art” is an impossibility, but let me make clear this assertion; RW aesthetics and art always-already exist within sentiments and affects outside of itself. Always chasing that which it is not, always missing things in this chase. I am of course referring to a conscious and contemporary rightest art movement, not dissimilar to the Italian Futurists or the Neo-classicists (the latter being just as much contemporary art as anything else, just with more cultivated atelier skill levels). Even the futurists or Rightest science fiction genres have a sense of not being at home as a “movement”. But rather venerating that which is outside of present conditions. A total outside if you will. The Right wing values (qua Benjamin) the “aestheticization of politics” rather than the “politicization of art”.
Before I move along, this is not some low-wit assertion that “the Right cannot do art-proper”, or that only a leftist can do art and aesthetics. On the contrary, this is a point of liberation for the contemporary Right; The leftist and Marxist Politicization of art means that transgression and a breaking of norms is inherently a leftist concept, and is tied to its own eschatology. Every movement, politically and aesthetically, brings about an apocalypse, and then a rigidity. Hence socialist realism was itself an apocalypse for previous art forms, then an orthodoxy, wedded eternally to the gnosis and eschatology of leftist and communist politics. The left owns art “movements” proper as self-contained units. And hence because of their self-enclosure as the politicization of art itself, they create normative structures that trap the work of art as an instrumentalized object, no much different than a propaganda illustration or poster.
The Right wishes to turn all politics and ordinary life into a work of art, for there can never be a fully embodied eschatological longing within Rightist politics. No fashions or fads, but rather the common unifying feature between futurists and traditionalists, extremists and ecologists on the Right, is this quest for the eternal. Not necessarily eternal truth, but an order, or a beauty which evokes order. Politics must become an art form, rather than art becoming Rightest propaganda, because the Right always seeks an integral whole, an organic culture and society which dwells within the eternal.
Or at least it should, hence why an explicit art making which is merely a vehicle for RW propaganda tends to fail in the short term. The Right-as-organicist means eschatological thinking or Utopian thinking is a moot point. This goes against a thoroughly cyclical view of history. The eschatologists on the Right, even the Techno-futurists, imagine some integration of a past source of unity. Even if this is a quasi-Nietzschean worship of power and “the blonde beasts” of antiquity in a cosmos-futurist form. The eschatology of the Right is also one of collapse. But doomsday optimism, even within the aesthetic trends and spaces created by the Online right, is only in service of something else. (Terrorwave, “wholesome” cottage core, Linkola naturalism, graph apocalypticism, the aesthetics of modern decay and “clown world” compilations, et-al). Collapse becomes an aesthetic image of exploration for the Rightest as a fantasy of arriving at a previous organic social and ecological image “on the cheap” as it were. After X collapse i can have my wholesome cottagecore milk maiden waifu with 10 children on a homestead.
As for Rightest art living outside of itself, a practical example would be this: The Right promotes the values of family, patriarchy, filial loyalty, etc. then the artist depicts these things. But these are virtues, not reified entities which float above an eschatological political project. It is not cheap Stalinist propaganda or the postmodern veneration of kitsch and eclecticism. Rightest art merely adopted various modernist styles and motifs, even postmodern meta-irony, to get something outside of their pastiche. Same with politics as in art, the political is merely a foil, a passage road to get out whichever value the Right places as central to an integral civilization, ethno-loyalty and/or religiosity.
Is the religious art of old explicitly “Right wing”? Titian’s Annunciation? The worship of speed, power, masculinity and a future of industrial omnipotence in the Italian Futurists? The lithographs of Cooke and the wood engravings of Bewick? These are merely “Right-leaning” by virtue of the subject matter, be it God, Nature, The masculine, etc. as seen through the presentist eyes of a modern, or rather, hyper-modern progressive cadre of “taste makers” and opinion-manufacturers. Therefore, the Right Wing artist is given license to play with concepts and virtues as old as time itself. They can slip by, perhaps formulating a movement or two out of the sheer pragmatic need for such a collective. But this is not an explicit movement with desires to “change” reality and the trans-historical as such. The RW artist comes into reality, comes into divinity, makes space for them, and aims for a depicting of things hidden in the deserts of time.
Even Bronze Age Mindset states explicitly “only physical beauty is the foundation for a true higher culture of the mind and the spirit as well. Only sun and steel will show you the path”. This is again, something very much outside the work of art and the aesthetics of a Rightist art itself. It is physical beauty which is the linchpin of all things to Bronze Age Pervert. I may have contentions with this definition, there are many other forms of beauty which preserve an integral civilization, but this point still stands
. A Right Wing art in this sense may be impossible as a self-contained stylization or artistic movement, or even a whole artform. But the art of the Right is effervescent and filled with expressions of meaning, rather than “Right Wing Art''. it must bubble and pop above a depth of the primal, of beauty itself, not as properties to exploit, but as themselves whole. The artistic Rightist must therefore be comfortable with never being able to map out an eschatological, and inevitably political project. Politics is but one more colour on the palette. This little communique is in no way exhaustive and can probably be imploded somehow, but for now, it could help explain why the Right Wing has not been able to produce but a few aesthetic movements, at least in the contemporary sense.
image by me, a painting from my recent Man’s World magazine visual essay and gallery on Vitalist bodybuilding. purchase here