LOW BROW COMES OUT OF THE POSTMODERNIST CLOSET
The primary icon of Low Brow Art is also unfortunately one of the most corrupting and dangerous icons of mainstream culture. It should by all rights and agreement be stuck on the business end of a spear and left out to rot in the streets for the amusement of the proles. It's a jumped up turd with a coat of glossy varnish, a fiberglass '32 Ford with a cruddy Jap engine. It's the odor of a garbage collector's fart coming from a Chanel perfume bottle and it's all wrong like black and white porn. It's the first thing you think about when you go to bed and the last thing you think of when you wake up. It's the grinning head of Mickey Mouse.
There are those that rebel at the idea of dragging M.M. into the Low Brow fold, the field is far too shit pure and exclusive to accept some image that's been branded on things like baby bibs and flavored lozenges. We are told that Lowbrow icons favor rusty, trashy environments, the kind of neighborhoods Mickey avoids these days as he limos from Burbank to Hollywood. They say that there is no missing link between Lowbrow and Disney because there is no link, period.
Low Brow has been forced by cultural analysts to expand and accept genres such as No Brow, Post Brow and, in the case of some aesthetic futurists, Brow Moderne. The sweating armpits and road grease blackened knuckles that used to be seen and smelt at opening receptions have left by the garage door and in their place we have Knightsbridge Road neoclones and their celphone toting galpals. No one fucks anymore and the pile of empty beer cans that used to greet visitors on their way out is now a mound of half empty cans of Krylon surrounded by taggers wearing backward baseball hats. Post Graf was not preceded by Graf any more than No Brow was defined relative to Low Brow. It just happened, get me? So even though the flaming skull of M.M. screaming in agony as it's tortured for all eternity just kinda slipped in under the door, it's still M.M. and his shit stinks in the gas station crapper as much as in the executive washroom upstairs. He's Low Brow because he's a 'toon which gives him street cred and High Brow because he's Disney; and Disney makes you check your gun at the door. M.M. is a true Post Modern tragic figure, co-opted, corrupted and shot by both sides.
At his genesis, M.M. was a funny little drawing of a common mammal; his image was based on observations of the real, natural world. Ub Iwerks' and Walt Disney's use of this filtered distance between object and image can be considered a Modernist maneuver. Lacking only the total acceptance of the public to complete the Modernist cycle, Disney utilized the new medium of film to convince them that his character was as real as the one scurrying across the kitchen floor. It worked to the point that in due course people began to don beanies crowned with bogus cartoon mouse ears in an attempt to falsify reality by pulling a species bend and become the mouse.
The universal acceptance of this icon becomes the catalyst for the next stage. In this "Pre-Post Modernism", the hipster elite initiates a backlash of scorn and derision against the revered image and parody becomes a form of worship. Mickey's legitimate children are forced to deal with his bastard relatives, Annette Funicello versus Mickey Rat in a Pop smackdown. At this time Post Modernism initiates a cultural free fall and all references, alliances and manifestos are rendered void. This aesthetic scorched earth policy levels the playing field and claiming allegiance to any particular school of thought is useless.
So Mickey Mouse himself becomes the principle reference point for further graphic exploration of what the Buddhists would call "mouseness". It is no longer necessary to observe the actual mouse; it is enough to have an available design that is based on one. This abstraction of an abstraction creates artistic white noise and cultural feedback; smells like Post Modernism's fuck you finger is way up the ass of High Brow Classicist Style for now. And what could be more Low Brow than that?