There are those still eager to defend abstraction, or see criticism of Modernism as unreasonable. These are the fence sitters and mid-way thinkers that make the porridgey mass of the mob and keep the status quo by calling out only the extremes, on either side of an argument. Despite an argument like Modernism’s being destructive and easily dismantled. For the most part they do not realize that what Modernism has done is redefine art completely, from what it meant before the 20th century. When you control the definition of a thing in people’s minds, it is much harder to dismantle or criticise, even when the entire output of Modernism, when compared to our previous art, is so obviously bad and unhealthy.
A common argument is that abstraction was always an element in art, and thus beyond the pale of criticism in painting and sculpture, as it is a matter of relative views (relativism). This is usually accompanied by examples of ‘abstract’ art of early Egyptian, Minoan, Viking art styles etc.. which are not ‘hyper-realistic’ and can be loosely considered ‘abstract’.
This is of course a cheap ploy, employed by their high anxiety minds against their own better reasoning, then affirmed by being foisted on those around them, so that they can keep a socially comfortable status quo. These are the people for whom fear and social discomfort outweigh truth. The truth here being what those early civlizations were practicing was what we must call ‘heavy style’, or parochial visual identification markers. Art trends that identified them as a unique people and world view. They were not applying gimmicky abstraction as a method of attacking standards or tradition, which is what Modernism does. Modernism applies willful chaos and ugliness as the art message itself, to say ‘look what I can get away with – everything is art!’. It is an inherently culturally Marxist ethos, who’s only aim is to destroy everything that came before it. Ancient people, if they had an art you might call ‘abstract’, did not practice it to deconstruct, but to affirm uniqueness and spirituality. They did not philosophize splatter painting, or make conceptualist ‘installations’ of animal bones and straw. Why would they? That would be stupid. It is stupid now.