Tag Archives: self-reflection

Art as Production or Not

Blog reader Naomi Schlinke has drawn my attention to the following by Bridget Riley: “For well over two hundred years the idea of work in our society been modeled on the industrial concept of production. These demands, the demands of … Continue reading

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Underground?

I’ve just found a really good blog – by accident naturally, as everything on the internet. It’s called miami bourbaki, written by a fellow called Alfredo Triff. There is also a link below. His meanderings may be a little obscure … Continue reading

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Gallerists and Dealers

I just came across a catalog of Picassos in the Nahmad collection. The Nahmad family is an art dealing dynasty that goes back a couple of generations. Recently Helly Nahmad was busted for running an illegal gambling ring in his … Continue reading

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Conventional Criticism

Some remarks by New York Times critic Holland Cotter have been going the rounds lately. He says “Outside auctions, the marketing mechanics buzz on. Roughly since the end of the multicultural, postmodern 1990s, we’ve watched new art being re-Modernized and … Continue reading

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An Artist’s Life

I recently watched a documentary on El Anatsui. He’s an interesting character. Very much present but quite aloof, in his own space – he lives alone and likes it that way. I know a few people like that in the art … Continue reading

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Ordinary Conceptualism

Back in the day, conceptual art had the cachet of difficulty, abstruseness and extreme refinement. That the works were regarded as unsaleable was supposed to guarantee their seriousness and integrity. These qualities were operative even if the work was silly; … Continue reading

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A Surprise

I might be unusual in having a very mobile taste—I’m always surprised by something. A good example is Rothko’s early work. I still have no affection for his characteristic brushy blocks, but the work of the early 40s seems to … Continue reading

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Qualified Curators

I’ve just been pondering the curator, a curious animal. Or at least that impression grows on me the longer I think about them. There are people who have a real affinity for art but for whatever reason don’t want to … Continue reading

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Technology and Civilization

For a couple of centuries now the rhetoric of technical innovation has been pretty consistent. Apparently technology has revolutionized all of life and transformed evolution itself. The first question is whether any single local improvement in the way we do … Continue reading

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Another Way

Recently came across these words of Beethoven, relevant to my work because I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music as a kind of research into form: “The working out in breadth, length, height and depth begins in my … 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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Dressing Up

Since Rrose Sélavy we have seen a lot of masquerade in the art world, from Cindy Sherman’s great film stills, to the comic “American Uncle” of Stanislaw Witkiewicz, to Luigi Ontani’s epicene Hindu gods—only to mention the influential past masters. … Continue reading

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Funny But No Joke

Not all artists are noted for their humor, lightness, gaiety and wit. In all the years I knew Jeff Wall I only heard him crack one joke, but it was a pretty good one. I came late to the Bodega, … Continue reading

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Anti-Individualism

In the art world (outside the market) there is a kind of lingering embarrassment attached to the idea of the individual. Creativity is a word never used, neither is expression, and I think that’s an uncritical holdover from seventies theory—the … Continue reading

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Voices from the World

The recent interview with Michel Serres in Artforum was a bit of an eye opener for me, in that he is saying some of the same things as I say, though I have never read him. Well…similar. He thinks we … 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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Complex Process

It takes an effort of imagination for an ordinary viewer to recapture the enormous difficulty of Stella’s methods in the reliefs—time consuming, and requiring the coordination of many different activities and people. First he has to plan the work with … 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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Spherical Paintings

I made spherical paintings a number of years ago, and there is a page of them on my web site. The story is that I showed them for the first time in a group show in Vancouver. The morning after … 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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Internet Business

A review of Jaron Lanier‘s new book in Bookforum resonates well with my own thoughts on the direness of the internet. “We can each in turn go to our deaths giving away our value for some other entity’s benefit while … 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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Studio Life

Michèle LaRose, a blog reader, asked me the following question: “What role does contemplation play in art these days? By the artist when creating art, and by the viewers of art. Given the breakneck speed of life nowadays, is serious … Continue reading

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Economics of Blogging

Jaron Lanier’s new book makes a strong case that the digital economy is a rip-off, particularly of creators. This is something I’ve long thought, though my experience of it has been limited—until now. The previous post has a link back … Continue reading

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Critical Experiment

Here’s an idea for an amusing artwork in the form of a sociological experiment. Take two groups of curators, and ensure that the members of each group have no opportunity to talk to members of the other group. Maybe this … 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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Politics of Blogging

John Kelsey’s article in last September’s Artforum, with its criticisms of digital networking, combined with some comments from my friend Scott Lyall, provoked me to take a step back and ask what it is I’m doing here. This post is … Continue reading

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Experience

This blog has quoted Emerson’s great essay, “Experience,” more than once. Here’s Benjamin on the same topic: “Most people have no wish to learn by experience. Moreover, their convictions prevent them from doing so.” How true. That is the truth … Continue reading

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Learning down

This blog has occasionally commented on current affairs, particularly as to the role of technology in the economy. I think this is relevant to art, not least because the most overused word today (or one of them) is creativity. What … Continue reading

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Fear

Again Emerson provides a vivid perspective on contemporary America: “All infractions of love and equity in our social relations are speedily punished. They are punished by fear…..Fear is an instructor of great sagacity and the herald of all revolutions. One … Continue reading

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