Jordan Peterson, the Controversial Pro-Male Philosopher, Says He Hates Postmodern Art. But He Secretly Loves It!
artnet News | Ben Davis
“Buy a damn piece of art! Find one that speaks to you!”
So sayeth Jordan Peterson, the psychologist-turned-celebrity philosopher-turned Mephistopheles of the Manosphere (Kanye is a fan), in one of his YouTube lectures on art. Last weekend, the New York Times’s peek into the Peterson phenomenon also offered a look at the guru’s own collecting taste: He is, unexpectedly, a connoisseur of Socialist Realism. (If you want a taste of his collection, Toronto’s Leonardo Galleries offers a selection online.) Peterson’s most famous mantra is “clean your room, bucko.” For lost young men feeling that they lack prospects or a place, he offers tough love, blaming a gynocratic, PC society that has taught them not to value their natural drive for mastery over the world around them.
As it turns out, there’s an aesthetic theory nested in here as well: “it’s also not that you clean it up, it’s that you make it beautiful—if you have just made one thing beautiful, you have established a relationship with beauty,” Peterson has explained. His own personal quest to “establish a relationship with beauty” has involved decorating his own home floor-to-ceiling with Soviet-era propaganda. In matters of art appreciation, Peterson otherwise has essentially normie conservative taste that sounds like old-school Romanticism. He is fond of portentous generalities like “artists articulate the unknown,” etc. In art, his bête noire is postmodernism, which he declares “equally destructive in all realms, especially when allied with neo-Marxism.” It’s not 100 percent clear what he means, but I assume the target is political installation art and conceptualism, because what he rails against especially is a culture “driven by revenge and resentment” and a “hatred of quality and qualitative distinctions,” abandoning Man’s primordial quest for higher beauty…read more
Image: Jordan Peterson