Tag Archives: sex

Lee Krasner

As I said in an earlier post, Lee Krasner gave Pollock’s Easter and the Totem to the MoMA, and I think that was a measure of her regard for that work, which otherwise is not much celebrated. The conventional wisdom … Continue reading

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Aristocrat of the Spirit

You have to know that you are right. But if no one else agrees then you’re a poor sap anyway. Indifference to shame helps. The shame of poverty, for example. Baudelaire turned poverty into “poverty.” Shamelessness fosters conviction.

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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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Matter of Fact

Continuing with one of my favorite topics—the erotics of art, especially abstraction, or one might call it art as sex and sex as art. If art is fundamentally erotic then to make art out of sex is redundant, but for … 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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Feelings for and of the World

Following from the previous post, landscapes are beautiful to the extent that our feelings live there, and I love landscape and landscape art. But the art that is willing to die is closer to the body—not just content to look … Continue reading

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Wood Nymphs

Leger’s work is very odd. This piece, a kind of a breakthrough for him, is really bizarre. While contemplating the craziness of this work, I find in the MOMA Invention of Abstraction catalog two large cubist Picabias I had never heard … 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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Realism

I sold one piece from my recent DIY show in Toronto, and so treated myself by buying a couple of books not available in the library. Livin’ high! First of all, got two catalogs of Frank Stella’s prints. That’s what I’m … 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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The Sexual Gesture

About a year ago Laura Owens was interviewed in Arforum, and she said some interesting things about sex and painting. I meant to comment, and can’t believe it was that long ago. “I had asked myself, in a depressed mood: … Continue reading

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Sex and the Empty Canvas

I’d like to think more about sex and abstraction, because there is something undiscovered there. But in the era of mass pornography and internet explicitness, a genuinely artistic approach to sex might be anerotic. The other day I was driving … Continue reading

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A Private Art

A review of a show of Indian art in the Guardian makes an important point. India does not have a tradition of museums, never mind public art galleries. Most art is still in private hands, and, apparently, there’s lots of it, … Continue reading

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Religion and Work

Ravi Shankar’s teacher, Allaudin Khan, had an almost unbelievably heroic dedication to music. He ran away from home at the age of 8 because his parents wouldn’t let him become a musician. Here are more reminiscences by Shankar: “Baba’s views … Continue reading

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Honor, Power and the Love of Women

From Freud, General Theory of the Neuroses Part XXIII. “The Development of the Symptoms” “Before I leave you today I should like to have your attention for a while for an aspect of imaginative life which is worthy of the … Continue reading

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Figure and Landscape

To return to a topic discussed earlier, I mentioned the pastels of Degas, in which he transformed a nude into a landscape—or vice versa. In any case what we have is a work, and we can take it or leave … Continue reading

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Human Beauty

Human beauty has a generic quality. Psychologists have measured the symmetry of faces and demonstrated the typicality of attractiveness, and historians have tracked the varying desirability of body shapes across time—but what anyone actually loves is the flaw, the divergence … Continue reading

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How Long Has This Been Going On?

The words of the song come to mind as I get swept up in Anton Ehrenzweig’s brilliant book. Apparently it’s quite popular, so I guess that means everyone knows these things, and I’m the only one out of the secret. … Continue reading

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What We Are

Jennifer McMackon drew my attention to a conversation with Bob Hullot-Kentor in the Brooklyn Rail, from which I take this quote: “…in the Christian view, which includes Hegel’s triune concept, the highest becomes the lowest so that the lowest can … Continue reading

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Abstraction is so over

Bruce Hainley is a critic I have a lot of time for. Oddly, many of my friends don’t understand why. I get where he is coming from, and it’s the right place. If I was in a down mood his … Continue reading

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Dokoupil

I always felt an affinity with J.G.Dokoupil, confirmed in spades by this interview, which I recommend to everyone. Dokoupil could be called a conceptual painter, and I’m a non-conceptual artist, so we should have a lot in common.

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The Visitor

Kitaj quotes the following, from a letter of Arthur Miller to Saul Bellow: “From time to time there will be a visitor who is very dear to me, but who is unfortunately recognized by approximately a hundred million people, give … Continue reading

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Alexis Harding

One of my favorite contemporaries is Alexis Harding, an old friend. I think he uses gravity in a very good way, with a lot of intervention on the way down. He pours a grid of commercial enamel over artist’s oils, … Continue reading

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Pulses

Been reading Emerson. He confirms something mentioned more than once on this blog: “Nature hates calculators; her methods are saltatory and impulsive. Man lives by pulses; our organic movements are such; and the chemical and ethereal agents are undulatory and … Continue reading

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Laura Owens

The recent Artforum interview with Laura Owens is very interesting. Her new paintings are good, and in fact resemble Stella’s work in concrete ways. She has an inclusive approach to technique, is involved with printmaking, uses illusionistic shadows and frames … Continue reading

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Love Letters

I’ve been enjoying a group of small works in Stella’s Kleist series named after some of the writer’s love letters. Each one has a nice formal gesture; this piece, for example, has parts that swing up and down in opposite … Continue reading

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Lovers at MoMA

On the topic of De Kooning, I would like to correct a misapprehension that started out as a feminist move in the politics of contemporary art but has become widely and uncritically accepted, namely that his “Women” series expresses hostility … Continue reading

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Abstract Allegories

Imagery in abstract pictures is often allegorical. It doesn’t have to be. The interest of the works of someone like Howard Hodgkin, for example, is that they represent specific matter—a portrait of a particular person, a certain place and time. … Continue reading

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Persistence of desire

Reduction in Fontana means eroticism without any idealization, a base genital sexuality. Just the facts and the elemental drive, which presumably has its own reasons and rhythms. But the following quote gives another perspective: “The final stage (the stage that … Continue reading

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