The astrological symbol of Venus clearly shows the essence of art, the circle above is the divine unity and harmony, the cross below the material realities on earth. So the essence of art, of course ruled by Venus, is to express divine unity in concrete forms, that is what beauty is. It will be clear that modern art has strayed a long way from this essence, it is often repulsively banal, depressing and disappointing, at best it is somewhat amusing or a bit suprising. Whatever it is, it is not about beauty, much more important is the idea that is behind it.
A striking example was the banana stuck to the wall with duc tape by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which was immediately sold two times (!) for 120.000 dollars. Then another artist ate the banana which was funny, the work named Comedian had been effective, the idea was clear. However, if you see art as a kind of barometer of the spirit of the times this is at least somewhat disquieting. One of the pioneers of this kind of “conceptual” art, in which the idea or the joke (Mercury) is central and not the experience of harmony and beauty (Venus) was the French artist Marcel Duchamp, whose chart can be viewed by clicking on the button below.
One of his first amazing works was Fountain a signed pissoir, this idea later turned out to have been stolen from another artist, how mercurial can you get? In his tenth house of the profession it is immediately clear, Venus in its fall is found there and that is exactly what he contributed to the world. Venus is a Water planet so working by emotions and it is not at home in Virgo the “heavenly house” ruled by rational Mercury, but this placement is a perfect image of art in which the idea is the most important point. Venus of esthetics is ruled here by rational Mercury, literally this reads “’conceptual art” and it shows its impossibility as Venus is in its fall. That is why that there is always this confusion around modern art, it seems to be something it really is not.
Also striking is of course this Moon in its fall right on the Asc in Scorpio, which is Lord 9 of ideas and theories (conceptual), in its fall the Moon shows its worst sides. It cannot flow along but only undermine and dissolve, it cannot express its emotions very well, strengthening the conceptual /rational tendencies. Duchamp, seen as one of the first dadaists who got rid of every structure, left art quite soon, to get passionately involved with mercurial chess.
Indeed Venus in its fall is not his talent and such a planet will tend to bore you after some time, but Venus had to come out very strongly as it is in the tenth house. Lord 10 is Mercury emphasized very strongly by its conjuction with the Sun and the Part of the Sun in the ninth house of again ideas on star group Praesepe. Praesepe is the Empty Crib, where there is no leading principle,resulting in total fragmentation and chaos : dadaism.
On the cusp of the ninth house of again ideas Saturn of tradition and structure is found in its detriment, literally showing their destruction.This Saturn is also in mundane trine with the all-dissolving Moon on the Ascendant, a mundane aspect is made by planets at the same distance of a house cusp (teh Moon being a little bit past cusp 1 and Saturn a little bit past cusp 9). Duchamp’s chart shows a remarkable concentration of ninth house theory and a very strong tendency to undermine structures. This is exactly what he did, although true to his principles he would have been the first to see it all as a joke. That is funny, but it does remain a pathetic joke.