Category Archives: Conceptualism and Painting

Object Matter

From William Tucker’s book The Language of Sculpture, comes these further words on cubist construction: “Apart from their richness and power as individual pieces, all these wooden constructions demonstrate the object-nature of modern sculpture. They take objects, still-life, as their … Continue reading

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A Sensibility

I’m acquiring more affection for the work of Martin Barré, especially the later ones. From 1986, this piece has the feel of its moment – it verges on 80s parodic modernism, like a cartoon Mondrian, although I’m quite aware that … Continue reading

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The Sky and The World

A quote from Adorno“A man gazing peacefully at the sky may at times be closer to truth than another who accurately follows the ‘Eroica.’”How could someone who would say this ever be called an elitist? Maybe because the advocates of … 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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The Sameness of Abstraction

Recently I came across a review of the Nada art fair in The Art Newspaper, which amounted to the observation that abstract painting was everywhere and that it all looked the same. Actually the reviewer was warning that it will … 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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More Details

From Mother Goose: Little drops of water, tiny grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land.   I’m always astonished at the sheer scale of everything – that there are so many individual bits of gravel, grains … Continue reading

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Erotic or Not?

As a general principle all art is erotic, though there are many degrees of quality. But art is not made to turn anyone one. Arousal of the artist has to be turned into enlightenment for the viewer – anything less is a fail. … Continue reading

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Celebrities

Last night I read the conversation between Rodney Graham and Dan Graham in a recent catalog. The early parts were great because they took me back to the good old days when one could have a few interesting ideas and … Continue reading

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Flimsiness

It’s not a joke to suggest that they just don’t make things as well as they used to. Perhaps the megaliths and the pyramids were the last truly permanent works. Everything is perishable today, and modern progress seems to be … Continue reading

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Consensus

Today the avant-garde – which wanted to release all the creative energies bound up in specialized art and let them loose into everyday life – is a huge institution, with prizes for young artists, awards, museum shows everywhere, catalogs, books … Continue reading

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The Lost Steps

Returning to an earlier discussion of books and art, my own favorite iconic novel of art is Alejo Carpentier‘s The Lost Steps. Although it is about a musicologist, it does have a lot to say about abstraction, if we can … Continue reading

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Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates recently gave a talk in Toronto, which sadly I missed, but the other day I came across two articles about him, one in the New Yorker, the other in the New York Times Magazine. As usual, certain small … Continue reading

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Leon Ferrari

In an earlier post I was critical of Leon Ferrari, and was feeling as if I might have been too much so. I thought he deserved further research, so have been looking at a couple of catalogs. Although I have … Continue reading

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Clownish

This piece was my second Island painting. At the time I thought of it as my clown painting, and clowns – from Bruce Nauman to Paul McCarthy – were very present in art at that time. In painting, Gary Hume’s … Continue reading

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Private Showing

This week I brought a few works to Toronto for a small showing. Also had a great conversation with my friend Jan Tumlir about biomorphic blobs, abstract expressionism, naivety, large forms, music and other topics. Jan brings the news from … Continue reading

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Dissipation

Here’s a photo of the picture essay in The Sunday Times that I mentioned in the last post. It’s not online, that I know, but a number of blogs have commented on it, so it must have been striking to … Continue reading

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The Sexual Gesture

About a year ago Laura Owens was interviewed in Arforum, and she said some interesting things about sex and painting. I meant to comment, and can’t believe it was that long ago. “I had asked myself, in a depressed mood: … Continue reading

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Sex and the Empty Canvas

I’d like to think more about sex and abstraction, because there is something undiscovered there. But in the era of mass pornography and internet explicitness, a genuinely artistic approach to sex might be anerotic. The other day I was driving … Continue reading

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Art as Production or Not

Blog reader Naomi Schlinke has drawn my attention to the following by Bridget Riley: “For well over two hundred years the idea of work in our society been modeled on the industrial concept of production. These demands, the demands of … Continue reading

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Underground?

I’ve just found a really good blog – by accident naturally, as everything on the internet. It’s called miami bourbaki, written by a fellow called Alfredo Triff. There is also a link below. His meanderings may be a little obscure … 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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Christopher Wool

Earlier remarks on the work of Christopher Wool probably suggest that I don’t admire his work. Actually I have a lot of respect for Wool, recently increased when I read in Artforum about his window designs. The solution – to … Continue reading

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Mel Bochner

The previous post might give the impression that I have a low opinion of the work of Mel Bochner. It ain’t necessarily so. This wall painting strikes me as pretty good. I love the animated way it bounces around the … Continue reading

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Ordinary Conceptualism

Back in the day, conceptual art had the cachet of difficulty, abstruseness and extreme refinement. That the works were regarded as unsaleable was supposed to guarantee their seriousness and integrity. These qualities were operative even if the work was silly; … Continue reading

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Groys’ Irony

The previous post may have seemed a little obscure to some, but I have recently found a text that illuminates Groys’ irony. A recent article on Malevich begins with the following: “…can the Russian avant-garde function as an inspiration and … Continue reading

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Groys

I found an article/review on Boris Groys by Benjamin Kunkel in the London Review of Books. Overall it’s probably accurate, but I didn’t perfectly recognize Groys in some of the more summary descriptions: “Groys is…idealist in his belief that the … Continue reading

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Andrei Platonov

I’m becoming very interested in Andrei Platonov, a Stalin period Soviet writer who remained relatively unknown until recently. Most consider his masterpiece to be The Foundation Pit, quoted some time ago on this blog. I like that book, but am … Continue reading

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Peering over the Edge

British artist Tess Jaray just curated a show of paintings that don’t use paint and the other paraphenalia of the painter’s studio. Readers of this blog may or may not know that I’ve been going on about this phenomenon for … Continue reading

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The Light is Everywhere

Here is an amazing and wonderful quote, from an unlikely source: “The light, creation’s mind, was everywhere, and all things owned it’s power.” Here “owned ” means acknowledged. I often wonder what we do when we look at anything; it … Continue reading

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