Tag Archives: form

Complete

There’s many ways to simulate wholeness, completeness, whatever one wants to call it. As many as there are ways to simulate an excess.

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Crouching Woman

Going back to look again at William Tucker’s book, I find my original impression confirmed—it’s really great. Ideas come tumbling out at every turn of the page. Here’s one insight from the chapter on Rodin: “With the Prodigal Son and … Continue reading

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Therese Bolliger

A few years ago I saw the ink drawings of Therese Bolliger, and they have been an important reference for my own watercolors ever since. I found them very inspiring. The ink bleeds to the edge of an area of … Continue reading

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The Basics

John Berger could be a stupidly moralistic critic, but he was perceptive. He notoriously rejected Pollock as a decadent of the age of individualism, meaning he didn’t really understand Pollock at all, but then listen to this: “Imagine a man … Continue reading

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Thomas Ruff

I saw the recent photograms of Thomas Ruff in Düsseldorf, but since they are entirely digital you could call them imitation photograms. But that would only apply to the ones that have the typical photogram look, with some straight lines … Continue reading

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Owens on Koons

After writing three and a half posts on Jeff Koons, I naturally took an interest in the comments by artists in the September 2014 Artforum, Koons on the cover. Laura Owens in particular was really good; devastating, but true to … Continue reading

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Marlene Dumas

At the Stedelijk, I had a brief chance to see a Marlene Dumas retrospective. Since she lives in Amsterdam it must have been a satisfying show for her. I was expecting to admire her faces, and a wall of ink … Continue reading

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Sculpture Figurative and Abstract

Lane Relyea has an original perspective on the work of sculptors such as Rachel Harrison and Isa Genzken: “What we are looking at here, after all, is figurative sculpture…who or what exactly is it representing?” He answers: “…in the new … Continue reading

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The Deep

This late Pollock has come in for some critical contempt over the years, not least because the title seems to confer on it a Melvillean sort of portentiousness, but without Melville’s humor. It has to be Melville because it has … Continue reading

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Other Reliefs

Blog reader Kizi Spielmann Rose kindly sent me some shots of Stella’s recent work. He seems himself to respond to energy in art, and has taken up the relief painting method accordingly, with gusto, as evidenced in this image. Some … Continue reading

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Starry Reflections

My theory about Pollock’s Reflection of the Big Dipper is that the title should be taken literally. It shows reflections of clouds, stars and tree branches in a puddle. I just saw the piece in person for the first time … Continue reading

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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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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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Andrea Fraser

I remember in Artforum a few years ago a piece on institutional critique by Andrea Fraser, and also remember being underwhelmed. To me it seemed conventional, a reiteration of familiar insights, without the enlightening shock of work by Buren, Asher … Continue reading

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Why Abstract?

In what lies the abstraction?

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Italian Old Masters

Too much has been made of Stella’s interest in Caravaggio round the time of Working Space. It’s pretty hard to find anything in Caravaggio useful to abstract art, and in a way his very strongly felt space is a bit … Continue reading

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All-overness

Greenberg had this to say about what he regarded as Pollock’s major achievement: “It wasn’t the space. I think the shallow illusion of depth had Cubist antecedents, and of course there was Miró’s indeterminate space. When Bryan Robertson writes about … Continue reading

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The Factory

Continuing on with thoughts about Jeff Koons provoked by Barry Schwabsky’s recent review, I can understand why he was struck by the giant Play-Doh piece. It looks like an early Lynda Benglis, but Schwabsky is surely right to stress the … Continue reading

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Late Barré

Late Barré is unexpectedly charming. This series is built on a grid with diagonals, with certain sections filled in, most not. And the consequent forms are carefully placed to avoid obvious lining up of the edges. A sophisticated deployment of … Continue reading

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Appearance and Desire

Nineteenth century artists like Cézanne and Degas believed that if they channeled sexual energy into their work they would get better results. Matisse had the same view. Models should be attractive, but the feelings they aroused had to be transformed … Continue reading

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Emergent Space

Lee Smolin’s latest book, Time Reborn, is an argument in favor of the open-ended future. We may not have known it was endangered, but apparently one of the consequences of Einstein’s theory of relativity is that time becomes objectified as … Continue reading

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Tucker’s Stance

William Tucker’s favorite sculptors, according to his book, are Brancusi, Matisse and Degas. If one looks at his own work with this in mind, it’s clear that he is not rooted in construction, but in ideas of organic form, and … Continue reading

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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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Planar Construction

William Tucker’s book contains the following very apposite remarks on cubist construction:“Painting gives way to physical making, and survives only to key or differentiate existing parts. The picture surface has been replaced by the frontal planes of real volumes, although … Continue reading

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Arthoodication

My favorite blog writer, Alfredo Triff, has recently picked up on the article about Stefan Simchowitz that was going around a while ago. He makes his usual great analysis. But what strikes me is that just because a lot of … 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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Frankenthaler’s Forms

  Just picked up a catalog of Frankenthaler from the late eighties, a big stretch for my taste. Recently there were conflicting assessments of her work on abstract critical. Her admirers are very enthusiastic. Presumably the expressiveness of her works … Continue reading

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Light and Abstract Form

My normal and somewhat unreflective view of this early Leger has always been that there is an unresolved conflict between the imagery – the obvious chair, side table, cup, folded   fingers – and the large abstract white and black … Continue reading

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Two Big Attack Painters

Recently came across two dedicated and serious practitioners of abstract art – Dona Nelson and Jackie Saccoccio. I like their work, both of them, but my objection to it is what they have in common – they are both “big … 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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