Tag Archives: emptiness

Moments

Like The Garden of Forking Paths, the story by Borges, or the theoretical physicists fantasy of multiple universes appearing like soap bubbles in each other—each moment forks off into many possibilities, and each one of those forks further. In reality … Continue reading

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Further Inside

Following on from the post Inwardness, there is the possibility of something out of nothing, which one might call inspiration or genius. These terms embarrass us today, but there is nothing mystical or romantic about them. Science has shown that … Continue reading

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Inwardness of a Work

What is inwardness anyway? It exists, and it matters, but it’s not really “in” anything. I used to think that commentary expanded as the art work diminished, but now disapprove of such off-hand criticism. Kitaj is right, commentary may not … Continue reading

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Inwardness

In the Brooklyn Rail conversation mentioned earlier, Robert Hullot-Kentor offers the following observation: “…academics included, the U.S. verges on homogeneity in its denial of psychological reality. Hardly anyone wants to know what goes on inside themselves. There is strikingly little … Continue reading

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Stones #2

…the earth…kept deepening beneath the spades, reckoning only with the diggers’ strength and endurance. Sometimes Voshchev would bend down and pick up a pebble, or other dust that had adhered together, and tuck it away inside his trousers for storage. … Continue reading

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Order inside and out

I keep thinking about a quote from Emerson that I’ve used elsewhere on the blog: “I would write on the lintels of the doorpost, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the … Continue reading

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Empty Formalism of Education

In an earlier post I implied that university training has not improved contemporary art. Robert Hullot-Kentor reminds me of how profoundly hostile to art the university is: “Ideas make us think; we think ideas. They are what are urgent in … Continue reading

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Approximating Nature

Despite my not so high opinion of the memoirs of Tapies, I continue to find interesting bits. This is his description of an early experimental phase of his work: “I was searching for images without knowing whether they were amorphous … Continue reading

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More Preparation

Been reading the memoirs of Antoni Tapies. I find them bland and a little disappointing for an artist of his stature, but here is one interesting observation: “A moment of lucidity will also free the artists from many hours of … Continue reading

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An abstract landscape

“Among the beds without flowers and the chipped cupids, the gnawing of actuality seemed for the moment silenced. In this place which had been left without meaning it seemed easier to feel meaning where there was perhaps none.” Anthony Powell

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Willful Matisse

Kitaj quotes Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk: “Dare to use your own will!” There was no painter more willful than Matisse, a strange characterization of the artist of harmonious serenity, but accurate. The Bathers in Chicago, Decorative Figure On An Ornamental … Continue reading

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Polly Apfelbaum

I will soon add an interview with Polly Apfelbaum to the Publications page—actually a conversation between her and artist Kelly Jazvac. I very much admire this piece for its negative areas, the way that they flow together and make chains … Continue reading

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New again

Emerson has something to say about the appreciation of pictures: “So with pictures; each will bear an emphasis of attention once, which it cannot retain, though we fain would continue to be pleased in that manner. How strongly I have … Continue reading

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Non Composition

In a text on Martin Barré, Yves-Alain Bois says the following: “…any act of compositional balancing, especially at its most risky, underscores the number of conscious choices that it necessitates and thus becomes a reassuring sign of the cartesian cogito … Continue reading

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Lack of Time

If time is so short, why does it feel so empty? Because time has to be shaped. What we call work. Content, or feeling in art, is a fugitive effect of the shape.

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Infinity of Images

Reading Groys can also be encouraging. In my case it confirms the avant-gardist qualifications of my work—surprising to me as much as anyone. One of the strongest pieces in his book Art Power is the opener, “The Logic of Equal … Continue reading

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Originality

Originality, as it happens, is the highest value in the art of our time. Many artists don’t like that—sadly nothing can be done about it. Even Sherrie Levine is original in her critique of the concept, as Howard Singerman, her … Continue reading

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Stella and the Past

Stella reveals a lot about his ambitions in the following comments on ceiling painting: “Pietro da Cortona, Fra Pozzi and even Tiepolo met the challenges of architectural decoration in a more measured, distanced manner than their predecessors. They worked the … Continue reading

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Relational Composition

Following from earlier posts that talk about the crowdedness of Stella’s compositions, I’d like to focus and study a design. For a piece like this one, from the Kleist series, painted by assistants from a very large collage, a photograph … Continue reading

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Alighiero Boetti

A latecomer to Boetti’s work, I have no expertise in it. Right now I’m looking at this grid piece, “Niente da vedere niente da nascondere,” or “Nothing to see nothing to hide.” The title really adds something, and bears thought, … Continue reading

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Off the Coast 2

I was wondering what Conrad thought of Moby Dick, which he surely must have known. He had some tragic captains, but mostly focused on the ordinary problems of work and career, certainly relevant to any artist. In any case, the … Continue reading

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The Sea

There aren’t very many unvisited places in the world, if any. So also the artistic adventurer will sail off over the horizon full of hope and then light on well populated islands, or places where the first arrivals have left … Continue reading

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Time Passing

Cézanne’s card players have come up before on this blog. I find them puzzling. The subject is boring and the manner is uninspired, even if the pictures do contain lots of typical Cézanne. But maybe time does pass without much … Continue reading

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Death Artistically Considered

Lest my readers think I’m getting excessively serious, I would like to expand on something from a couple of posts back. Death, strictly speaking, doesn’t exist, meaning that it is an affair only relevant to the living—survivors, perpetrators, legatees etc. … Continue reading

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Art is social

Following the nautical theme, one can go sailing over the horizon and end up somewhere outside. The following thoughts, also torn out of Conrad, complement nicely an earlier post, Society is Abstract. “Few men realize that their life, the very … Continue reading

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A Brig

I think this blog attracted some readers back in January, when I introduced the idea of backstory and then art as discourse. Those same readers may be less interested in the formalist topics of recent posts. Joseph Conrad has something … Continue reading

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Drawing or letter

The ante-room had a row of books on the wall nearest to the outer door, while against the wall opposite there stood a small dark table and one chair.  The paper, bearing a very faint design, was all but white.  … Continue reading

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A space within space

Thinking about ultimate literary reductions sends my mind, by an uncertain chain of associations, to a piece by Dean Hughes. Matthew Higgs did a show at the Or Gallery in Vancouver a few years ago that included a piece by … Continue reading

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Literature and the loss of art

Poetry and literature in general is a funny thing. The great examples have a lot of insights which can help to keep your spirits up during tough times, and if the insights are grim then inspiration is available. But I … Continue reading

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No Aura

A critic should be judged by the quotient of pain he or she can inflict. Here again is Boris Groys: “For those who devote themselves to the production of art documentation rather than artworks, art is identical to life, because … Continue reading

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