Tag Archives: subjectivity

Life and Art

I’m only a little way into this second blog campaign and already beginning to get tired of myself. And no doubt readers will be tired of hearing about Motherwell or Klee. Maybe I’m just an old fogey out of touch … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Play

Further to the delightful arbitrariness of Kandinsky’s work, this piece offers many small and exemplary decisions. The image looks like a door viewed at an oblique angle. Inside it are a number of what could be small circular doors that … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Liteness of Kandinsky

I’ve always had problems with Kandinsky. One is his scaleless space, but more about that another time. Another, which I’ve only just began to clarify for myself, is the arbitrariness of his arrangements. There’s no reason why they have to … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Politics and Art of the Abstract Type

It’s been an interesting nine months. Like many I’ve been completely captivated by Bernie. Never in my life have I felt like giving money to a politician, but can’t anyway since I’m not American. For that matter, I’ve never heard … Continue reading

Posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brophy on Tiepolo

This time a slightly longish quote from Brigid Brophy, but she reaches me by appreciating Tiepolo, something not so common in the sixties, or even now: “The religious tradition in which painting grew up was always indulging in religion’s habit … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Early Abstraction, Italian Art | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lifeline

In tough times go back to the work that helps you know yourself. The supportive aspect of authority, even though that authority is not indwelling, but granted by you..

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conventional Discourse

I was probably inspired to start talking about authority as a principle active in art by Harold Bloom, who has a lot to say on the topic, usually with reference to the Freudian transference. It just occurred to me that … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brigid Brophy

Inveterate reader Jacob Wren turned me on to Brigid Brophy‘s book about myth and social psychosis, Black Ship to Hell. I agree with what she says, and mostly with how she says it, but despite the attractive title I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Italian Art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Return

The world it turns, and will continue to do so.

Posted in American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Authority Again

Thinking more about authority—I’ll bet that many, including artists, maybe especially artists, think it means ordering people about. It may well be that in daily life, but in art it’s more to do with a kind of truth, a truth … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Power and Authority

I think that power and authority have to be sharply distinguished. Power is what individuals seek to compensate for whatever lack they feel. Or just for the sheer pleasure of controlling someone else, if that’s what gives them pleasure. Authority … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Early Abstraction, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Creativity

Just been reading an interesting article in The Slate. It just says in very plain language what I’ve felt for a long time, namely that the rhetoric of creativity in business is merely rhetoric. Here’s one quote: “This is the … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Servant Class

Jasper Johns famously said that “artists are the elite of the servant class.” Then what price subjectivity? The price varies, as does the value, and value and price are not necessarily related.

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time and Motion

British artist Tom Phillips, cited on this blog before, wrote a very interesting review of the Matisse cut-out show. He mentions a film of the artist at work which shows “…Matisse in his wheelchair cutting paper with scissors….Matisse often associated … Continue reading

Posted in Early Abstraction, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kippenberger

The collection at the Stedelijk is pretty great, but l kept seeing sameness, unchanging qualities. Martin Kippenberger, for example, was a talented painter, in a completely normative way. His fooling around was fun to do and is fun to watch, … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pictorial Energy

Looking at the work of Mr. Energy himself at the Wallraf-Richartz museum in Cologne—the striking thing about Rubens is that he covers so many square yards of canvas without losing intensity. The level is uniformly high. This is a bit … Continue reading

Posted in Current Affairs, Early Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Other

In Cologne Gerhard Richter is a common presence, as one might expect. In the conference center I saw a couple of pictures by another artist that at first I mistook for Richter. Are they as good? Debatable point, but the … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Richter’s Church Art

I went to see Richter’s window in the cathedral of Cologne, and my first impression was that it blended in well with the other windows, which may be a good thing for the church, but doesn’t necessarily help the reputation … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Boundaries

One moment in Lane Relyea’s book that caught my attention was this: “The rise of networks might not mean the end of of all insides and outsides, but it does mean that, with boundaries and the exclusions they effect being … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Sculpture, Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in American Modernism, Principles of Abstraction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Many Mediations

It’s very important to remember—as often as possible—that the current highly mediated context, in which artists learn their business and craft from books, schools, the internet, art magazines and any number of other mass outlets, is very new and very … Continue reading

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction, Principles of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs, Ethics of Abstraction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Current Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment