I just can’t project myself into the minds of modernist architects who design universities that look like prisons, churches that look like fast-food outlets and hospitals that look like mortuaries. I can’t get into the minds of modernist artists who produce paintings that look like they should be found on the walls of a public lavatory. I can’t imagine the minds of writers who think they’re producing literature when in fact they’re writing the sorts of books that dirty-minded schoolboys would have hidden under their mattresses.
There is of course horror and ugliness in the real world but I don’t understand artists who want to celebrate such things. Oscar Wilde said that we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. I don’t understand artists who would prefer to paint the gutter rather than the stars. I don’t understand a world in which artists who paint the gutter are celebrated while artists who paint the stars are ignored.
It’s difficult not to think that such artists must have minds that are filled with hate and anger. If a child made the sorts of paintings that you’ll find hanging in places like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney that child would be rushed off to a child psychologist.
If you focus too much on the gutter it will do bad things to your head. If you focus on misery and ugliness the danger is that you’ll end up with a brain that cannot recognise the existence of anything else. And that’s what is happening to our society. People focus too much on the negative to the extent that they no longer see the positive. A society that suffers from this kind of cultural sickness cannot survive. It will lose the will to survive.