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nyfa piece

Post #371 • September 23, 2004, 7:32 AM • 13 Comments

My article appeared yesterday on the New York Foundation for the Arts website.

I'd like to get your feedback on it as my first attempt to write a piece in E-prime from top to bottom (and in any other respect).

Comment

1.

catfish

September 23, 2004, 4:29 PM

Franklin, good writing is like many other things - you must start with a method, a discipline. But in the end, it requires intuition or whatever you want to call it, guts mabye.

The e-prime thing seems more extreme than necessary. But it did not hurt your writing either. Myself, I had a hard time following the cook's tour after the third artist. From an Aristotelian point of view, it had neither a beginning nor an end. It was all middle. (I know, that was what you were supposed to do.)

2.

Franklin

September 23, 2004, 4:43 PM

Catfish, I agree with you. I noticed, however, that depriving myself of "to be" prevented many of the convoluted, dumb, and plain old wrong sentences that used to appear immoderately in my first drafts. Also, by forcing active subjects into the sentences, they mush along like huskies on the Iditarod.

3.

that guy in the back row

September 23, 2004, 5:02 PM

The reason your writing isn't mushing along, might have been because the art you were reviewing was so weak. I bet if you were reviewing shows that had real promise, your writing wouldn't sound so bored. Here your tone echos the work... I'm not sure thats a good thing.

4.

Jack

September 23, 2004, 5:55 PM

The E-prime business doesn't interest me; I suggest you trust your own voice and let the chips fall where they may. If I'm going to read your writing, I want to get the real you, not some artificially processed version.

As for your reviews, let's see: lackluster prize winners, graphomaniacal doodles, dubious installations, even more dubious videos, pipe cleaners, cartoon bunnies, recycled Guston, and, to top it all off, stuffed animals. Right. And I'm supposed to not only take this seriously, but also invest time, energy and gasoline to partake of it. I was once masochistic enough to do that, but I'm getting over it. I'm also trying not to kick myself too hard for ever being stupid enough to waste so much on so little.

5.

Mmmiami...

September 23, 2004, 7:12 PM

I think you should have wrote about the 3 or so strongest exhibitions.
I liked the Moore Space (and what you wrote) and Placemaker has a pretty neat show (u should see.).

6.

denise

September 23, 2004, 7:27 PM

i liked the article. i saw it last night and commented about it under the previous post. i thought it was fair, even-handed, and read well, even if i didn't agree with absolutely everything you said.

also, i don't agree with the idea of boring subject=boring/bored writing mentioned above. really good writing can make an account of something banal like microwaving a hot dog--or even, say, sitting on the porch picking your nose--totally thrilling.

7.

Franklin

September 23, 2004, 9:57 PM

And the people have answered the call of E-prime with a resounding "who cares?" Okay. I'll keep using it just because it helps out so much stylistically, although I do find the epistomological implications interesting.

A filmmaker once said to a group of us at RISD that there's no such thing as a boring subject, so Denise, I agree, and Guy, if problems have appeared in my writing, I blame myself.

Jack: you kick yourself for looking at all that art? How else would you have learned what was out there? No, just take a break and get back into it when you feel rested. I still think you'd enjoy the Mark Fox work at Kevin Bruk.

Mmmiami, thank you. Longer reviews of three shows would have provided more opportunity for depth, but the editor asked for a big roundup and he got a big roundup. I don't share your opinion of the shows at Placemaker. I wouldn't say not to see them, but they let me down. I had enough material in the article that I could skip taking them apart, and I turned over their real estate to the other exhibitions.

8.

oldpro

September 23, 2004, 9:59 PM

I am sorry Jack has given up looking at bad art. I enjoyed his acidulous comments. I don't look at much of it either, not because of anger at its crappiness but because I have no expectations and there are better things to do.

however, His "list" is fun, in his second paragraph. Stuffed animals, by the way, have been a pomo staple for years now, but I'll bet every artist who uses them thinks it is quite original.

Try as I can, I cannot understand what "e-prime" is. I must have some kind of mental block about it.

9.

Franklin

September 23, 2004, 10:06 PM

By the way, they accidentally put up an early draft of the article this morning but have since replaced it. Most of the changes occur in the first paragraph. Have another look if you first read it this morning.

10.

Jack

September 24, 2004, 12:53 AM

Franklin, my primary goal was never to know what was out there per se, but rather to experience good art. If what's out there is not worth bothering with, then it's not worth bothering with. The public has no obligation whatsoever to any work that isn't worth its time or to any artist who makes such work, regardless of how seriously said artist may take his/her work or him/herself. I don't care what gallery's representing the stuff, or what prize it's won, or what museum is showing it--if it doesn't work for ME, according to MY criteria, it doesn't deserve MY attention.

11.

Franklin

September 24, 2004, 2:51 AM

Jack, I understand that, I just couldn't figure out where the kicking-yourself thing came from.

12.

Jack

September 24, 2004, 3:28 AM

Well, Franklin, I meant kicking myself for so much fruitless art-following around here, when I should have been much more selective and much less willing to give third chances, let alone more. That's why I'm not going to make any special effort to see the show you mention at Kevin Bruk, as that gallery's batting average with me does not justify it. If I happen to be in the area for something else, OK, mainly because you recommended it, but not otherwise. I'm done checking out everything, everywhere just because there could be a remote chance that maybe, perhaps, if the planets align just right and I'm really lucky, I might see something tolerably satisfying. If a gallery or artist wants my interest, then let it, him or her earn it.

13.

that guy in the back row

September 24, 2004, 4:47 AM

Amen Jack! now if only there were more than one collector/art enthusiast who thought for himself in this town, then and only then will we have a real scene down here. Art in miami will just keep hobbling along. The isolation caused by ten more years of dealers shoveling crap art to a bunch of new money cockamamy blind ass collectors ought to do the best artists in this town some good. I feel for the public who keeps swallowing this stuff that is in the spot light. We need more people like Jack who officially boycott the dubious venues. Where are those attendance figures MAM?

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