Organicism Going Forward

I do not want to make a work that is limited by my own ability, or by the narrow compass of what I am able to comprehend on a normal day. In the era of global conceptualism this is exactly the norm—no work can ever be wiser or smarter than the person who made it, and that is why contemporary art is so intelligent and so full of important meanings, and generally so boring. To make a better kind of art requires a method that throws up results and possibilities in front of the artist, forces them to make choices, and then assimilates the choices made to its own ongoing momentum, thereby making the artist a function of the work. It needs the right balance of objective method and subjective freedom. Pollock had it exactly, and the criticism of Pollock has truly failed to understand that. Of course that balance cannot be fixed, but has to be discovered over again in every work. I don’t see that any of his contemporaries or successors got it. I would like to admit Morris Louis, and maybe should, but his work veers toward the conceptual, hence it has a special status today. A future post will discuss Louis and Fontana as original conceptualists.

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Jackson Pollock, Number One 31 1950

The guarantee of Pollock’s work is it’s diversity, which means the way that each piece unfolds it’s own particular rhythm, structure and density. Ideally each one presents another concept of the work as a whole, of the corpus as Shep Steiner would say.

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Jackson Pollock, Number 32 1950

Both of these pictures are on the highest level, and I love them both. The point I’m trying to make is that they are very different, and each of them fulfills its own tendency. The series format enables the work, but doesn’t determine it. It’s as if each piece is struggling to realize its individuality within the series, and the more distinct they appear the more like living things they seem to be.

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