Chaos Shimmering Through

In an old copy of the NYRB I just found an article about Alfred Brendel, who quotes the poet Novalis: “Chaos, in a work of art, should shimmer through the veil of order.” So now I can see where Ehrenzweig was coming from, and wonder why I am so attracted to musty old romantics. Probably because they were right. The most dramatic example is Walter Benjamin’s university thesis “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism,” which I think is a much more relevant read for any art student than the famous “Artwork” essay. He convinced me that Schlegel understood the condition of art today. A conventional approach to Pollock is to seek the order underneath the chaos. A more sustained look and a more subtle perception gives the opposite. Will prove it in the next post.

Jackson Pollock, Number 5 1948

Jackson Pollock, Number 5 1948

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