Tag Archives: Anton Ehrenzweig

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 … Continue reading

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Unity

Unity or wholeness in art will always appear as the conservative choice. Take the politics out of it and it’s still bad because in my experience at least, reinforced every day in the studio, it is much much harder to … Continue reading

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George Lois

The following quote from George Lois sounds a lot like Ehrenzweig: “The point about unusual ideas has to be their proximity to madness. Creativity is the ultimate adrenaline rush. If you have what you consider a fantastic concept, you must … Continue reading

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Total Structure

Still harping on Ehrenzweig, I choose these words as the core insight of use to any artist: “In a work of art any element however paltry has to be firmly related to the total structure in a complex web of … Continue reading

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A Change Has Occurred

I find Ehrenzweig full of insights that, for me at least, confirm experience. But he also has his own experiences to offer, sometimes startling. Here is one: “I can still clearly remember when half a century ago I got to … Continue reading

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The Abstract Book

I’d like to return to a woodcut by Kandinsky posted earlier on this blog. When I first looked at it I saw an early compendium of techniques still useful in abstraction. Take repetition and mirroring, for example. The white crescent … Continue reading

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An Expressivist Smithson?

The publication date of Ehrenzweig‘s book was 1967, but he died the year before. He was well versed in contemporary art, and mentions the color field painters, Neo-Dada and Op Art, and has something important to say about them all. … Continue reading

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Doctor Ehrenzweig

The quotes from Ehrenzweig on this blog seem, when I read them later, not completely original or surprising, yet I am very much captured by his book. For me it’s a confirmation. But he is also a friendly and welcome … Continue reading

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Depth Psychology, True or False

Theories like Ehrenzweig’s posit deep patterns permanent below the fluctuations of history. A critical perspective balks at this, and finds it suspect, at worst a fantastic escape from politics—fantastic hence no escape. The evidence for such theories is found in … Continue reading

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Landscape Contra Figure

The view that abstract art derives from landscape is venerable, and if we look at Kandinsky, Mondrian and other early abstractionists, not far-fetched. Ehrenzweig makes the following observation: “In my view, the dehumanization of Western art began when the contemplation … Continue reading

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The Model

Ehrenzweig on life drawing: “In schools the nudity of the model must not be associated with an individual person. The art student rises above any emotional involvement with the nude woman as a person; he [sic] is encouraged to study … Continue reading

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How Long Has This Been Going On?

The words of the song come to mind as I get swept up in Anton Ehrenzweig’s brilliant book. Apparently it’s quite popular, so I guess that means everyone knows these things, and I’m the only one out of the secret. … Continue reading

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Science and Myth

Ehrenzweig makes the following startling claim: “The scientific explanation of the world, particularly through the myth of a compelling causality, is a very direct projection of oral-schizoid phantasy. According to Kelson the law of causality is quite redundant for scientific … Continue reading

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Aging of the New Art

Following from the previous post, Ehrenzweig has a great sensitivity to the way that art ages and dies in our perception, and he understands that changes in the way that we see it are objective, that the work itself has … Continue reading

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Anton Ehrenzweig

I’m just reading Anton Ehrenzweig‘s The Hidden Order of Art, though I’m ashamed to admit that it took so long to get to it. Years ago I was a close student of Robert Smithson, and this was his main reference. … Continue reading

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