Tag Archives: illusion

Once Again New

It’s been pointed out, most cogently by Nietzsche, that what stirs us most in what we read is what we already know. He means philosophy or any kind of wisdom writing, not political screeds on the internet. But we still … Continue reading

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Modern Labor

Kafka has this to say about the entrepreneurial culture: “The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the … Continue reading

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A Different Frame

This collage is like #5 in the way that the frame within the frame is handled—it’s less of an image than the others, more abstract in a way. But also, unlike #s 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, the arrangement … Continue reading

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Twisting and Lifting

After two posts on geometry that doesn’t line up I want to mention another deviation from the abstract norm found in Noland’s work. Brittle is hardly a word we associate with Noland. Sensuous is the more usual descriptor. But that … Continue reading

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Unbalanced

A Kenneth Noland piece like this one opens up a space any abstractionist should find attractive to enter, best described in Noland’s own words: “It’s been on my mind—what would something be like if it were unbalanced? It’s been a … Continue reading

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Katherine Gili

This 1974 work by Katherine Gili seems to meet many of the demands of the new English metal sculpture school, as laid out by Robin Greenwoood in his critique of Caro. It is planar, but has more than one flat … Continue reading

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Lost Geometry

What is the substantial difference between an artist who diagrams and fills in completely, and one who diagrams and only partially fills in? Seems to be a lot, as the work of Martin Barré is more attractive than that of … 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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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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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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The Club

Following from the previous post, an interesting comment from Clement Greenberg: “This gets chewed over again and again, the talk about the heroic generation. I’m sick and tired of talking about it. But I’m not sick and tired of emphasizing … Continue reading

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Collective Solipsism

A popular and often heard claim is that an individual creates their own reality. I think it’s more like the mass media are too much present in everyone’s mind. There is no such thing as “virtual” reality—there is such a … Continue reading

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No Pop

It’s obvious that the realm of the mass media has increased hugely over the last sixty years, and continues to grow. It’s also clear that more people spend more of their valuable time paying attention to it. Those developments are … 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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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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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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Gouk on Steel

To all my blog readers I would like to recommend the two articles by Alan Gouk on sculpture in steel recently featured on abstract critical—especially the first one, though part 2 has its interest. Thanks to Gouk I have discovered … Continue reading

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The Space of an Artist

Blog reader Naomi Schlinke has posted a comment that she has a less than positive experience with Stella’s work, particularly its space. That’s a good thing for me, a Stella fan, because it forces me to clarify what I feel … Continue reading

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Binocular Vision

About a year ago I was working on two shaped canvases – actually PVC panels – and this is how they turned out: I got very impatient with what felt like just the same old Robert Linsley thing; pretty but lifeless. So … 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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Impossible

A recent short piece by Barry Schwabsky on Ad Reinhardt struck an obscure chord in me. Obscure because so far it’s private. He suggests that Reinhardt’s most cherished ideals and his greatest ambition for art are unrealizable, and he knew … 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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Wilhelm Worringer

Recently I put up a post on Wilhelm Worringer’s classic book, Abstraction and Empathy. It worked off an earlier post about Michel Serres, but I didn’t give it much importance; it was something of a placeholder. But as Mr. Waller … Continue reading

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Professionalism as Ending

I know that the previous post ended on an apparent contradiction. Rothko’s mature and characteristic  work certainly looks strong in comparison to what preceded it—simplified, clarified, professionalized and rationalized, but it’s no longer an origin, more a conclusion. The way … Continue reading

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A Political Idea

According to Eckermann: “Goethe added that the idea of the whole, which turned upon aristocracy and democracy, was by no means of universal interest.” I think it significant that questions such as the relation of part and whole, which are … Continue reading

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Secrets of the Studio

As an exponent of organicism, and of the artwork that produces itself, I naturally find these words of Adorno very interesting: “…you will find that great tonal music actually bears some resemblance to a puzzle. The movements of the greatest … Continue reading

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Character

The Caro piece I put up in an earlier post is an interior, and the window is one of the great modern images, used by both Picasso and Matisse, among others. When Caro’s work is landscape, or any kind of … Continue reading

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Single Shapes

I’ve been pondering the work of Jeff Tutt, and its difference from mine. Familiarity with his work makes me notice this very small piece that was lying in a corner of the studio. I can’t remember why I did it … Continue reading

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