Tag Archives: self-reflection

More Complex Form

One couldn’t come up with an artist further from the concerns of modern day, formalist inclined abstraction than George Eliot—her novels are all about moral challenges. I can hardly express my esteem for what she did, and who she was. … Continue reading

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Time and Change

Many of the things I say on this blog are widely recognized. They are not always expressed the same way. Actually, I don’t know if “widely recognized” is the right phrase—it might be more like conventional wisdom of the past. … Continue reading

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Wooster’s Version

I hope my readers will excuse this long quote from one of the Jeeves and Wooster books: The effect the apparition had on me was to make me start violently, and we all know what happens when you start violently … Continue reading

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Color and Mark

I used to think that Stella’s Exotic Birds were not his best works. I could appreciate them as a necessary breakthrough, but bad works nevertheless. I never liked the template approach, that the forms were ready-made and just decorated with … Continue reading

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An Opportunity, or A Christmas Message

Stella teaches something every artist should know, or does know but normally forgets—that art is not a problem, it’s an opportunity, an invitation, a promise. What it is for society I have no idea, but that’s what it is for … Continue reading

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Decisions, Maybe Bad Ones

This video of Gerhard Richter in his studio shows him painting a couple of largish abstracts, with three big pots of paint—yellow, red and blue—and a wide brush. The sequence in question is from 12-23 minutes. It’s a pleasure to … Continue reading

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The Day Is Long

More from the mind of Bertie Wooster: “If there’s one thing I like it’s a quiet life. I’m not one of those fellows who get all restless and depressed if things aren’t happening to them all the time. You can’t … Continue reading

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This World or Another

At the time of writing, a couple of weeks before publication, the Trump election is everyone’s topic of discussion, and the content of that discussion can get pretty intense—intensely apocalyptic in some cases. I’ve been putting in my own opinion … Continue reading

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Another Kind of Artist

I find this woman‘s work fascinating. Over a period of many years Isabelle Mège persuaded prominent photographers to shoot her portrait. Now she is regarded as the artist. The feminist side of what she is doing is obvious and the … Continue reading

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Criticism versus Publicity

Alfredo Triff is an interesting guy who lives in Miami, teaches at a local college and writes about art on his blog miami bourbaki. I don’t know exactly what he teaches—somewhere in the realm of philosophy/history/political economy—but I like his … Continue reading

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Torn Paper and Paint

Lately have no money to buy watercolour paper, so have been tearing up some problematic pictures for collages. The process is a compromise between my natural simplicity and the pleasures of more. I think the balance is struck, in this … Continue reading

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Last Post, For Now

With three and a half years of this blog, I thought the new year might be a good time to take a rest. After hitting a high of 9500 unique visitors in one month, the readership has wobbled up and … Continue reading

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Procrastination

I found a thoughtful but also very amusing article in the NYT, by Anna Della Subin. The topic is procrastination, and she begins with the story of St. Expeditus: According to legend, when the Roman centurion [Expeditus] decided to convert … Continue reading

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Detour

One of my favorite jazz standards is “Detour Ahead”, though I’ve only heard it in one version, and maybe not the best possible one. Was listening to it tonight. Smooth road, clear day But why am I the only one … Continue reading

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The View from Inside

In an old issue of the NYRB I find the following from Vladimir Ashkenazy, on his fellow pianist Sviatoslav Richter: “The strongest element in his magnetic appeal to audiences is his conviction that what he does is absolutely right at … Continue reading

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Obstacles and Tests

Talking with my friend Chris Gergley about the art world and the obstacles we all face in our careers, it came to me that I have been too one-sided in my stress on objectivity. Yes, art is objective, and yes … Continue reading

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Enlightenment

Lately I’ve been enjoying Andrea Fraser’s writings, and I’m not sure that blog readers who follow me to Stella, Barré, Motherwell or Riley will also come along that way. The fact is that I am a believer in modern art … Continue reading

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Failure

A recent article in the NYT by Stephen Marche makes the case for failure, although he’s talking about writers not artists. He mentions how business, particularly the Silicon Valley variety, has taken up Samuel Beckett’s phrase “fail better,” but with … Continue reading

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More Matter of Fact

Following on from the previous post, Andrea Fraser’s effort at desublimation is better yet. I think it transcends the obvious caption, “art as prostitution.” Again it’s totally objective, but it hits hard when we consider that it “really” happened. The … 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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A Show of Abstractions

The arbitrariness of abstract form is a permanent condition, and artists can be judged as to how they work with that fact. For myself, I’m on the side of invention, which means I like the way that forms can come … 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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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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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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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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Figures

An earlier post got me thinking. Balzac’s “The Unknown Masterpiece” is an iconic work of literature for modernists, from say Cézanne to Picasso. The blank map in The Hunting of the Snark is equally important for the transition from abstraction … Continue reading

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Philosophy of An Artist

In his book Working Space, Stella makes a comment in passing that I can’t get out of my mind. He says “…life is more wonderful than the imagination and recall of the people who live it.” Objectively true. How can … 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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