Improvisation Again

I published a little piece on Abstract Critical about improvisation. Even though the article was itself improvised, and advertised the fact, that didn’t prevent it from being misunderstood. I wish I had included this comment from Adorno as additional clarification: “Experimental, in the legitimate sense, means nothing other than art’s self-conscious power of resistance against what is conventionally forced upon it from the outside, by consensus.” What I hear most clearly here is “forced upon it from the outside,” the best reply to those who ask why art has to be new, as if the demand for novelty was itself compulsion. Actually, to a certain degree it is exactly that, which only means that a body can’t help but grow, a person can’t help but grow older. Human violence stands against the flow of time. And Adorno seems to share my animist view of art.


Frank Stella, “Then came an ox and drank the water,” from Had Gadya 1982-84

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