Category Archives: Asian Abstraction

Abstraction in Iran

My facebook friend from Vancouver, Mohammad Salemy, has written a piece about the modernist art collection in Tehran. It’s worth a read. The collection is very rich, but right now I’m interested in the abstraction. Stella spent time there in … Continue reading

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Early Gaitonde

For those interested in Gaitonde, here are works from the fifties and early sixties that show the influence of Klee and de Staël. As mentioned earlier on this blog, these two artists were important for any cosmopolitan modernist at that … Continue reading

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The Wait

Waiting. Waiting for a pot to boil, for the daylight to change, for the rain to fall, for a flower to bloom—some processes take time, and so waiting is a natural and unavoidable state. For an art that aims to … Continue reading

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New Beginning

The blog is starting up again, and it’s gratifying to know that readers I had before are happy to see it come back. The occasion is the imminent publication of my book, my first book. Artists don’t have to write … Continue reading

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Bureaucratic Fantasy

Here’s a moment of high comedy from Chin P’ing Mei, an account of Taoist ritual:“This lot consists of nine memorials…the one submitted at the time of the ninth recitation to the Ruler of the Most Exalted Crimson Empyrean, the Perfected … Continue reading

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Abstract East and West

My blog readers wouldn’t necessarily know it, but I have made a pretty close study of Chinese art, historical and modern, and even written about it. There is a chapter in my book on that topic in fact. My question … Continue reading

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Chin P’ing Mei

Chin P’ing Mei is an incredibly rich and detailed account of all the details of life in historical China, from food to clothes to architecture, and all the goings on between people, the ways they fill the passing time. It … Continue reading

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Philosophy of an Artist II

From a recent interview with Ai Weiwei comes the following:“My answer may sound like a cliché. I think you only live once. A life is like a fortune that is owned by every one of us. “Actually it’s not so … Continue reading

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Fallible Ai

While I wasn’t looking, Alfredo Triff, on his very good blog miami bourbaki, has made a pretty comprehensive analysis of the Ai Weiwei – Maximo Caminero imbroglio, so I interrupt my usual progression of posts to mention it. I agree … Continue reading

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Realism

I sold one piece from my recent DIY show in Toronto, and so treated myself by buying a couple of books not available in the library. Livin’ high! First of all, got two catalogs of Frank Stella’s prints. That’s what I’m … Continue reading

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Characterless

I don’t know much about Gaitonde‘s career, the dating of his work, significance of his titles and so on. However, with time it grows on me, so I have to talk about it. He makes me realize that abstractionists often … Continue reading

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A Private Art

A review of a show of Indian art in the Guardian makes an important point. India does not have a tradition of museums, never mind public art galleries. Most art is still in private hands, and, apparently, there’s lots of it, … Continue reading

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Vasudeo Gaitonde

Just discovered an important Indian artist, Vasudeo Gaitonde. Apparently he was something of a mentor to Nasreen Mohamedi. His work reaches me variably, as expected. I’ll say more about him in my book, but for now just want to suggest … Continue reading

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Conventional Criticism

Some remarks by New York Times critic Holland Cotter have been going the rounds lately. He says “Outside auctions, the marketing mechanics buzz on. Roughly since the end of the multicultural, postmodern 1990s, we’ve watched new art being re-Modernized and … Continue reading

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Religion and Work

Ravi Shankar’s teacher, Allaudin Khan, had an almost unbelievably heroic dedication to music. He ran away from home at the age of 8 because his parents wouldn’t let him become a musician. Here are more reminiscences by Shankar: “Baba’s views … Continue reading

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Cosmopolitanism

Recently was very moved by a BBC documentary about Ravi Shankar. The music is great of course, and he is another artist who inspires by his dedication. He also offers a new perspective on the religion of work, the true … Continue reading

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Nasreen Mohamedi

Just discovered a great but lesser known artist—Nasreen Mohamedi. The obvious precursor for a drawing like this one is Agnes Martin, but in feel it recalls Gego. Other drawings are a bit more severe and mechanical. A click will help … Continue reading

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