The Score

Any artwork worthy of the name will give more over time. One experience of it can hardly be enough. In music there are recordings, but the best way to listen to music is to play it from the score, that is if there is one. Interpretation is listening of a high order. Recordings have changed that to some degree, because there doesn’t need to be a score, and in both pop music and jazz the score can be very rudimentary anyway. So music has become more like visual art, every work a one off. But now I think that the score is a very interesting thing, and wish there was something like it in art. Back in the days when I was a landscape painter, I thought of the scene as the score, and thinking of it that way was very conducive to variation or expressive distortion of the motif. That’s a good rationale for 100 views of Ste.Victoire, for example, but there is something very different in working from nature and the interpretation of a work of art, a difference I am barely beginning to understand, lightly touched on in an earlier post. I guess I feel a limitation in the best aspect of my work—namely that each piece is a single time and place, unrepeatable, unplannable, in no way transcendent of circumstances but just moving in time. That’s the best of it and the worst. I was telling Richard Shiff that with pouring repetition was impossible, and he suggested I try it as hard as I could. Not a bad idea. I projected a series like so: the second picture would attempt to repeat the first, and fail of course, then the third would try the same thing with the second and so on, and naturally the last member would move quite far from the starting point. Gave it a go but it didn’t work. Failed. I allowed myself too much variation. But straight repetition drove me crazy with boredom and futility. That’s the limit of the human monkey’s ability to align with nature—his or her constant need to move. But then that’s another nature—the point of moving is to make more monkeys. The pink, red

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and brown areas were made according to plan, the blacks were consciously varied. So repetition is still impossible. Why try to transcend circumstances? Better to live them.

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