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make $$$ emulating duchamp

Post #577 • July 11, 2005, 12:11 PM • 160 Comments

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Embarrassment of riches: "Contemporary art in Australia has never been more popular or profitable, but the artists - and some say the art - are getting poorer, reports Alexa Moses."

Earlier this month, during a visit to Australia, the New York art critic Dore Ashton lamented that the dumbing down of contemporary visual art had already happened.

"Art has just been lassoed to serve the purposes of the larger society, which are totally commercial," Ashton said. "It must be said some artists are glad enough to collaborate." Art, she said, is increasingly considered entertainment, a commodity for which one is sold a ticket.

Ashton argued that when art is asked to serve a commercial master in the form of the market, (which demands art be cost-effective, marketable and profitable), art can suffer. The appreciation of an artwork, she said, is more about contemplation than saleable entertainment.

As if to illustrate her point, Gianni Motti, whose soap bar made from the liposuctioned fat of Silvio Berlusconi just sold at Art Basel for 15,000 Euros, revealed the following to a reporter for the Financial Times:

Such acts, along with the soap, might irritate people enough to ask: "But is it art?" Motti responds: "Duchamp said, 'Le tableau est fait non par le peintre mais par ceux qui le regarde' - the painting is made not by the painter but by those who look at it." This may sound like a cop-out, but he is right: if the public doesn't take an interest, and the media don't get excited, then these bizarre acts and objects fall flat on their face.

And then:

Motti feels that the high price the soap fetched in Basel is proof of its overwhelming success - and that this financial aspect provides a pleasing final twist: "Berlusconi clearly makes so much money - it's good for someone to make a bit out of him for a change."

The soap bar is saleable entertainment, proof positive, and its justification is Duchamp.

I said it on the last post, but here it is again:

My rejection of the urinal has to do with application, not theory. If great art derived from that act of prankster nihlism, I would honor it. Instead (as I've said before), if art is free to do whatever it wants, including suck, the urinal made it possible to suck much, much harder. That's nothing to be proud of, and not worth further contemplation.

I realize now that I didn't go far enough. Let me add:

1. No great art derived from any of Duchamp's works.

2. Citing Duchamp has become a reliable indicator that someone is trying to sell you bad art. Anyone who falls for this, even philosophically, is a rube.

Furthermore:

3. Anything that sells for an amount that could support someone's middle-class lifestyle for six months is not transgressive, controversial, or offensive to bourgeois values. On the contrary: it is as safe as houses and as scary as Halloween at Metrozoo.

4. Art as entertainment, (I propose the term entarttainment, preserving the doubled "t" to better differentiate it from plain old entertainment) has become a major enemy to quality in art. This hasn't always been the case: Rubens and Boucher were entertainment on some level. But entertaining content, pranksterism, avantgardist posturing, media whoring, party-throwing, and other foolishness that surrounds the art world has become a huge impediment to serious art-making and the serious contemplation thereof. And if you don't think this is a problem, you're part of the problem.

Comment

1.

alesh

July 11, 2005, 12:23 PM

good grief! Is it April 1st again? This is why I pretty much tuned out most of the last discussion. This is some pretty tired ground. Duchamp happened, and maybe aproximately 50% of art since then is somehow, however indirectly, indebted to him. To simply repeat what he did is uninteresting is naturally useless, but to dismiss all art that derives form the urinal is just . . . argh!

2.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 12:34 PM

For those of you just tuning in, I played an April Fool's joke on my readership. That was a joke. This is not.

Careful with "dismiss," there. I said none of it was great. I didn't say none of it was good.

3.

Jack

July 11, 2005, 12:54 PM

Franklin, I have no problem with the "soap" bar, other than its inherent ickiness. I do have a problem with its winding up in the supposedly serious Art Basel, which is at best embarrassing, but it's not much worse than the designer lamps on offer at Basel's last Miami outing. I have an even greater problem with someone actually buying the slimy thing (which was admittedly inevitable, given the nature of humanity, but that price is obscene).

As for cher Marcel and his sorry legacy, I will heed Oldpro and refrain from beating a dead horse, even one that refuses to accept it never had much life in it, if any.

4.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 12:59 PM

Franklin, this morning i was about to wire you and say Iif you bring up Duchamp in the next blog I will get the Wiked Witch to turn you into a urinal. So, watch out.

Well, I will now have to say it for the umpteenth time, mostly in the past in response to the persistent Marcelitis of the esteemed Flatboy, we are not indebted to Duchamp for anything. We are indebted to Cezanne and Picasso and Braque for Cubism but we are not indebted to Duchamp for Pop art or the current state of art, nor, by the way, is he to blame. All he did is pull a couple of agressive anti-art stunts in the 'teens which were largely forgotten during a time when some serious art was being made and were revived 50 years ago to justify turning degraded commercial art into "high" art. The damned procelain fixture we cannot seem to leave alone has become the poster pisspot. God, I am sick of it!

Entertainment is not a bad word. When a student said "but that is just fun:" a colleague wisely said "fun is profound." It depends on the entrertainment, and it depends on who is being entertained. Frankly, I want to be entertained by art. I am just not entertained my urinals, that is, unless I have to pee.

5.

catfish

July 11, 2005, 1:06 PM

Broadly speaking, art can be viewed as part of the larger group we call entertainment. In fact, what's wrong with a lot of the stuff the follows Duchamp is that it does not entertain. Duchamp himself could be entertaining (his Mona Lisa, for instance), but he was more often boring. The bicycle wheel on a stool, for instance, is a walk by rather than a stop and look. It just does not manage when in the company of even merely OK art. Duchamp gets too much credit for being clever and witty. He merely had a few funny moments, and that was it.

But the fact that here we go again testifies to what Flatboy said about his being the tarbaby of the last 100 years. It would be great to get unstuck. Anybody know how to do that?

6.

alesh

July 11, 2005, 1:09 PM

without really getting sucked into the argument, i feel the need to point out that the statements in Oldpro's second paragraph, above, would be disagreed with by art historians.

7.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 1:14 PM

Alesh, 90% of what I say is disagreed with by art historians, at least those who write about the last 50 years.

I am not interested in agreeing with anyone, I am interested in good art and common sense. That is what desperately needs support, not art historians.

8.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 1:20 PM

"...more discerning critics and vanguard artists never forgot the controversy that had been generated by the 'rejection' of his urinal from the Independents Exhibition in 1917. Some thirty years later, for example, when the New York art dealer Sidney Janis began to assemble works for an exhibition..., he immediately thought of Duchamp's urinal. Since the original artifact no longer existed, Janis asked Duchamp if he would authorize him to create a replica of Fountain. After having secured the artist's approval, Janis searched through flea markets and junk shops until he discovered a urinal that took on the general appearance of the original, with flanking handles and central drain holes, but it was more streamlined and, some might argue, lacked the more refined features of the original." (source)

9.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 1:23 PM

Yes indeed Catfish here we go again. And MEK, I guess this isn't the "next" topic you wanted. I'm not sure I wanted it either. But Franklin put it up...

Alesh, I agree that art historians would take OldPro to task. The connection between the "ready made" and Pop is too obvious to deny. OldPro himself describes the importance of that connection as he writes on. It is unusual for him to contradict himself that way.

10.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 2:11 PM

I'm not even sure I wanted it, but the planets aligned, and Artsjournal brought me Ashton and the soap guy on the same day (I should have given credit), and I felt the need to say something definitive after yesterday.

It would be great to get unstuck. Anybody know how to do that?

I think this is it - the combined activity of hashing things out, debunking myths, and talking the topic into the ground. Eventually people feel the need to move on. I'm there.

11.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 2:17 PM

I think it was 1950 when Janis recreatred the urinal, Franklin.

How did I contradict myself, Flatboy?

12.

Hovig

July 11, 2005, 2:34 PM

I don't think money is a measurement of mainstream. Space tourism would not exactly be "safe as houses," nor mountain climbing nor helicopter skiing, none of them cheap or common. Only an insider could consider a bar of Berlusconi soap "safe."

What's really safe is discussing "What Is Not Art." Guaranteed to rouse the masses. Fun for the whole family.

Duchamp brought intellectualism into the gallery, for better or worse, and released some peoples' creative freedom. He also angered others, which isn't his problem. Better use of time would be trying to figure out why Duchamp is so hard to compete against, or to drop the subject. Urinal happens.

I also don't understand the recurring discussion of Greatness. Someone shoot me when I start attending museum on Sunday mornings in a suit and sitting in a pew.

PS: New de Kooning bio, p316: "Janis believed that art could be shrewdly marketed and that stylistic innovation in art, as in shirts, could bring a high return if they became fashionable." (Janis made his wealth manufacturing shirts, 1925-38.)

PPS: p306, Joseph Albers explaining why he never flunked his students: "'If they were plumbers or carpenters I would. But they're just painters. They can't do any harm to anyone.'"

PPPS: p309: "Figurative painting was inevitably minor, Greenberg believed, for it repeated the past and did not powerfully claim the new visual territory available to artists who worked in the abstract tradition."

13.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 2:36 PM

OldPro, after you denied the debt Pop Art has to Duchamp, you said: "...revived 50 years ago to justify turning degraded commercial art into 'high' art. The damned procelain fixture we cannot seem to leave alone has become the poster pisspot."

I was glad you ultimately acknowledged the role Duchamp played, whether it "contradicted" other things you said or not.

Personally, I would be happy if something I made 40 years ago (some day something I made will be that old) was "revived" and became a justification for anything, much less a "poster" anything. I'd speculate that Pop or something like it was going to happen in 1960, Duchamp or not. But the readymade had an obvious influence on the specifics Pop followed, especially the "commercial art into 'high' art" aspect that you mention.

According to the web page Franklin provided, Fountain was redone around 1947 (1950..55, who cares?) for the Janis show, a decade or so before Pop, which allowed plenty of time for its influence to sink in.

Damn nice looking photo of one from the 1964 edition on the web page, too.

14.

George

July 11, 2005, 2:54 PM

PPPS: p309: "Figurative painting was inevitably minor, Greenberg believed, for it repeated the past and did not powerfully claim the new visual territory available to artists who worked in the abstract tradition."

Did Greenberg really say that? New visual territory? As in expanding the boundaries of the existing visual territory?

15.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:03 PM

Usually when people go on about what Greenberg "believed", it has less to do with what Clem said, wrote, or much less thought, and more to do with their own misunderstandings of Greenberg's position, and Modernism in general.

16.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 3:06 PM

Hovig:

çPPPS: p309: "Figurative painting was inevitably minor, Greenberg believed, for it repeated the past and did not powerfully claim the new visual territory available to artists who worked in the abstract tradition."

This is complete and utter bullshit. It is best not to repeat invidious quotes from prejudiced writers without checking it out first.

17.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:07 PM

I agree, this is an unfortunate topic to continue (unless maybe this leads us to drift back to Serra.

Not we have to bear witness to Flatboy further betraying his his true ambition, which of course is not greatness, but fame. Apparently, if FB made an of-colour joke at a party once, he'd be happy if that was used to justify a genocide 40 years later... or maybe I'm reading too much into his blanket statement... ;)

18.

Hovig

July 11, 2005, 3:07 PM

Oldpro - I'm checking it out now. Go on?

19.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:09 PM

Which part of Hovig's statemtent is MORE bullshit, do you think... the part about Greenberg, or the part about "Duchamp brought intellectualism into the gallery..."?

20.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 3:10 PM

You are exasperating me as usual Flatz. I did not contradict myself. That's all I was getting at. Do we have to go over and over and over the same territorry again and again and again? I nevewr DENIED the "role" Douchemop played, I only QUALIFIED it. Can we now get this straight once and for all? Geez!

21.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 3:11 PM

It is a tossup, McCourt, but he sure went in with both feet.

22.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:16 PM

The connection between Douchemop and the Pops is pretty clear. In both cases you have artists who were, like the non-art public, dumfounded in the face of the best art of their time. Their stymied, philistine reaction was to consider art a joke, and decide they could tell a joke as good as anyone.

23.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:23 PM

Such acts, along with the soap, might irritate people enough to ask: "But is it art?" Motti responds: "Duchamp said, 'Le tableau est fait non par le peintre mais par ceux qui le regarde' - the painting is made not by the painter but by those who look at it." This may sound like a cop-out, but he is right: if the public doesn't take an interest, and the media don't get excited, then these bizarre acts and objects fall flat on their face.

Artistically, these things fall flat on their face, regardless. But, as usually, art magazines aren't talking about art. Their talking about fame, celebrity, notoriety, etc... ie. the things that this gossip-hungry world are really interested in.

24.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:32 PM

The Media generally don't get excited about art unless it is sold for a large amount of money, or can be seen to shock or offend polite sensibilities, or has something to do with someone famous.
15000 euro Berlusconi soap acheives the trifecta of media excitablity

25.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 3:43 PM

Of course one thing no one talks about is that the whole art thing is beginning to look like a big clown act to the outside world. At some point all this inane chicanery is going to reach a critical mass in the public eye. It won't help any of us.

26.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 3:52 PM

15000 euro Berlusconi soap acheives the trifecta of media excitablity

Well done, McCourt. Time to move closer to Canada.

27.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 3:58 PM

the whole art thing is beginning to look like a big clown act to the outside world
Have your local galleries started hanging up banners outside and running ad campaigns proclaiming "Art is for Everyone!" yet? That's how it is here. Somehow, they just can't figure out why people aren't lining up to pay their ten bucks to see the profoundly incomprehensible, unenjoyable post-modern works within. The art writer for the local paper does his part, patiently explaining to the incredulous public that although 'installation art' has a reputation for being obscure, it really is pretty "easy to get"...

28.

Hovig

July 11, 2005, 3:59 PM

I don't know what motives the de Kooning authors have -- I couldn't even recite their names to you -- nor what Greenberg believed. I figured the best way to learn about Greenberg and post-war art was to visit a blog where some participants have first-hand knowledge. Sorry if people are getting upset on my account.

29.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 4:03 PM

McCourt said: "Not we have to bear witness to Flatboy further betraying his his true ambition, which of course is not greatness, but fame. Apparently, if FB made an of-colour joke at a party once, he'd be happy if that was used to justify a genocide 40 years later... or maybe I'm reading too much into his blanket statement... ;)"

It is pretty silly when someone decides they understand the motives of another person they know only as a bunch of dots on a computer screen. But it is ridiculous when McCourt brings up genocide. Think about it McCourt, genocide is a crime of the worst sort. That is a deranged statement you made. The association between me and genocide is perposterous.

30.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 4:07 PM

Hovig,
I for one am not upset byu your account, merely arguing with it. There is no way that one could seriously credit Douchemop with bringing "intellectualism to the gallery", unless "intellectualism" is the name of an artistic movement characterized by potty humour.
Nor is is possible to seriously suggest that Greenberg believed that "Figurative painting was inevitably minor", as he himself stated, wrote, and surely though on many occassions about his preference for figurative painting, and hope that it would rise again to the level of the best art made, preferably in his lifetime.

I never met Greenberg ( I think he died before I ever took an art course in University)... but I did figure that the best way to learn about him and his position was to read what he wrote.

31.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 4:18 PM

You're right Flatboy, my comment was preposterous, silly, even satirical, one might say. But we're all grown-ups (or, maybe not... I didn't have to click any button agreeing that I'm 18), so instead of claiming hurt feelings, why not instead modify your previous statement so that I couldn't logically make that statement by following the premise you have laid out yourself...

Personally, I would be happy if something I made 40 years ago (some day something I made will be that old) was "revived" and became a justification for anything, much less a "poster" anything.

... or maybe you were just exaggerating for dramatic effect... me too then.

p.s. Do you thing soap made from the fat of an Italian head of state is making any comment relating to genocide? IS that in better or worse taste than my comment?

32.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 4:42 PM

As McCourt said, Hovig, the best way to learn about Greenberg is read Greenberg. It is all out there. But I would caution you not to read further in that Dekooning book. Anyone who can make a statement that off the wall cannot be trusted.

McCourt, I worte "c l o w n" and i think you wrote "d o w n". There is no distinction between "c l" and "d" in this infernal Helvetica Franklin uses.

33.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 4:58 PM

o.p.
That's funny... I wrote CLOWN too.
Must be the italics.

34.

Elizabeth

July 11, 2005, 5:03 PM

its all in bad taste McCourt, and it obviously references the Nazis soap production of human beings...everything is for sale even leftover parts of people it seems, art has now hit an all time low!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

35.

mek

July 11, 2005, 5:41 PM

i can't tell you the last time we ordered chinese food as take out. unless it is really healthy chinese food. as a last ditch act of desperation to get my 2 year old daughter to eat, we tried the very bad for you deep fried breaded chicken (ugh - we are health nuts in this house so it was very difficult). she loved it of course. this is where duchamp comes in. in the very bottom of the perfectly packed paper bag, there was a piece of cardboard to hold the contents of the bag steady. printed on the cardboard, in red ink, is a diagram of how to open a plastic container. a very simple line art illustration of a round plastic container. well, i am very fond of this piece and have it propped up on my kitchen counter. garbage, art, or purely functional piece of scrap cardboard, it's all relative. my point is to have no point.

37.

Jack

July 11, 2005, 5:56 PM

Franklin, I realize using the Berlusconi soap story must have been hard to resist, but it would have been better if you had. Such shameless publicity stunts, regardless of whether they're called art or not, thrive on any kind of attention, however negative. The best response to such frippery is probably cold, silent disdain. Too bad the urinal was not thus treated from the start.

38.

Elizabeth

July 11, 2005, 6:10 PM

Mek, they must think people who order chinese food have reallyyyyyyyy low IQ"s .....it is funny , I agree ...keep it.
btw. kids will eat anything fried and breaded ....my daughter did the same!

39.

McCourt

July 11, 2005, 6:11 PM

Well, I regret offending anyone's taste by my comments which, taking flatboy at his word, took his statement to its, admittedly, most exaggerated (and certainly most disasterous) logical conclusion. Of course it was all meant as satire: I have every reason to believe flatboy is a caring and law abiding citizen of the highest order, with nothing but goodwill towards mankind. The point of my hyperbolic rhetoric was to have flatboy, who I justly believed would reject the outlandish conclusion I drew, then logically reject the premise on which it was based, namely, his own statement that:
"Personally, I would be happy if something I made 40 years ago (some day something I made will be that old) was "revived" and became a justification for anything..."
And flatboy, I'm sorry if I'm playing rough. I really don't mean to get personal. I don't really think that I can divine your true motives in life from the few words you've written here. When I accuse you of being more interested in "fame" than "greatness", I'm hoping you'll take it as good-natured teasing, goading you to refute my claims. Because ultimately I'm basing them on your position in this Douchemop debate. In your word(s), in addition to those quoted above:
"... the take I have on Duchamp's Fountain, which is not that good, but I like it anyway and am impressed by it. It certainly has garnered its spot in art history, which is so strong that it is unlikely to disappear."
"I put great stock in recognition by the history of art."

So, should artists' goal be to make great art, or to get into art history? Those used to be considered the same goal, but for the last 30 or more years, every art student is now taught about the brilliant "Fountain" (thanks, art historians!) and learn that the new goal is to do something, anything, just do it first. The rest is contemporary.

40.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 6:23 PM

MEK i have done that kind of thing too. Years ago when I was a minimalist I kept finding odds & ends which seemed to me only needed to be framed and put up on a gallery wall. I still have cardboard packing pieces, Anchor Hocking Glassware circulars, Victorian wicker furniture ads I found lining my Grandfather's suitcase, factory warning stickers and the like, all of which at one time or other somehow looked like.

41.

George

July 11, 2005, 6:25 PM

So, should artists' goal be to make great art, or to get into art history?

Careerism aside, for that is a course in itself.

What is the purpose of art?

Does art have any connection to philosophy, or as WW put it , as "evidence for the structure of reality"? Or is it just another hedonistic pursuit?

42.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 6:26 PM

...somehow looked like ART.

(the art gets lost sometimes, when you talk about pisspots enough)

43.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 6:29 PM

Art is a hedonistic exercise, George, but as my colleague said, "fun is profound".

44.

mek

July 11, 2005, 6:36 PM

oh fickle me, and now i just threw it away. one's trash is another's treasure including suctioned lypomaterial. refabricated material may have the infinite rebirth as a work of art, or perhaps stripped and reformulated into the contents of your shampoo.

45.

George

July 11, 2005, 6:45 PM

Art is a hedonistic exercise
Ah ha. Now we are talking.

We should pool our talents and make a weight loss hedonistic exercise CD
Baubles, bangles and babes

Uh huh, Uh huh, Uh huh, 'n a dab o' red

46.

George

July 11, 2005, 6:46 PM

We are all just a bunch of interior decorators.

PUCE

47.

George

July 11, 2005, 6:49 PM

Art is a hedonistic exercise

Nothing matters but pleasure.

Art and Pornography meet at the crossroads

MAUVE

48.

George

July 11, 2005, 6:52 PM

Maybe Duchamps URINAL is an aesthetic STD

THERE IS NO CURE, WE ARE ALL DOOMED

Aubergine

49.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:01 PM

It's a Google race...

E N T R I E S

3,850,000 for picasso
1,380,000 for matisse
769,000 for cezanne
666,000 for duchamp

AMBER

50.

mek

July 11, 2005, 7:01 PM

yes but art blogs are not quite as misogynistic as your art-making or love-making may or many not be. let's reign this in, shall we?

51.

Elizabeth

July 11, 2005, 7:01 PM

soap made from people is art!!!!


BLACK

52.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:05 PM

Rain this in?

Art is a hedonistic exercise

This is denial.

CHARCOAL

53.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:06 PM

He says it is soap made from people fat.

It is a lie waiting for a lawsuit

DOVE GRAY HOAX

54.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 7:07 PM

George, you been hittin' the sauce again. I can tell.

55.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:10 PM

...finding odds & ends which seemed to me only needed to be framed and put up on a gallery wall

He he, working as a carpenter with other artists we would call this "just another art strategy"

Andy Warhol said "you could make art out of that" referring to the fence I built.

Odds and ends, dabs of paint, meaningless smears

TANGERINE

56.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:17 PM

No sauce oldpro, I won't let you off that easily.

A bit of anger at how William Wilson was flipped off as inconsequential because no one had the guts to attempt to deal with the very real issues he raised. It doesn't matter if he was technically correct on all points, at least he was attempting to find a path for the discourse. Sorry, there is more to making art than just an exercise in hedonism.

TERRA ROSA CHILI

57.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:25 PM

Just another hedonistic exercise.

What do you do, what do you think,
When you sit in your studio and
death randomly censures the lives of
unexpecting individuals with families.

Oh, a touch of violet would be nice

Does anyone ever ask why?
Does anyone ever wonder how we
are desensitized, distanced from
the pain by an electronic image.
Do images matter?
How do they matter?
What is our relationship to an image?
Who is watching?

Screw it, just make it nice, a little violet.

COBALT VIOLET POISON

58.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 7:26 PM

George, if you are not hitting the sauce, the problem is worse than I thought.

OK, serve us up a platter of the wit & wisdom of Bill Wilson, all those "raised issues" (where do issues get raised anyway, issue farms?) that won't stay down, and let's see if art really does amount to more than just commonplace old hedonism. But watch out, we might find out that hedonism is a little more elevated than we thought.

59.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 7:27 PM

You're hitting my comment board awfully hard, George. If that's because you don't like how Bill W. was handled, you need to address that or find another outlet. You're skirting close to violating the Make Sense guideline.

60.

alesh

July 11, 2005, 7:32 PM

Isn't this the same George that regularly serves up superindepth beyond-intelligent analysis and on-point links around here? The man is a genious, give him some rope, and get out of his way!

BLUSH

61.

Jack

July 11, 2005, 7:33 PM

Re Sidney Janis, and his great (dis)service to art...Gee, I wonder why art dealers often seem so, uh, dubious...Could it be that many of them are just glorified car salesmen? No disrespect meant to car salesmen, of course...at least they're not pretentious, and don't claim to live for the uplift of humanity via promoting the greater glory of Art. Remember the sterling specimen recently quoted here?:

If you make the business transparent it would collapse overnight. I have to have the option to lie to collectors about what's available or quote them prices 10 times what other people paid. Entire careers are built upon fabrications, like about which shows sold out and at what prices.

And that was no two-bit dealer, either, no renegade or fringe dweller, but a big-timer at Art Basel, that (un)holy of of (un)holies. Gee, could I be too cynical? Naah.

62.

alesh

July 11, 2005, 7:35 PM

and while you're at it compare his comment counts to McCourt, who, i swear . . . is Oldpro trying out for an understudy?

Griefage! I'm off to reserach William Wilson.

OLIVE!

63.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 7:39 PM

#5: Broadly speaking, art can be viewed as part of the larger group we call entertainment.

#12: Someone shoot me when I start attending museum on Sunday mornings in a suit and sitting in a pew.

Let me address both of these together: Hovig, I wouldn't go that far, but you're missing out if you've never had a religion-level-intensity experience in front of art. Entertainment? Not merely so.

I also don't understand the recurring discussion of Greatness.

This is all that matters to me. I'm shooting for greatness in my art. I'm not interested in amusing myself. For that, I run Artblog.net. You might say that art doesn't have to aspire to greatness, and you'd be right. But such art is likely not to be great, such as that of the children of the urinal.

Alesh, thank you for your input as to how to run my blog.

64.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 7:43 PM

Alesh, just because the kid is my first born son doesn't mean he is an understudy, exactly.

Yes, go to the mountain and bring back the tablets. I think poor George just observed a carrot freshly and it drove him off his rocker.

65.

George

July 11, 2005, 7:44 PM

Just another hedonistic exercise.

What do you do, what do you think,
When you sit in your studio and
death randomly censures the lives of
unexpecting individuals with families.

Oh, a touch of violet would be nice

Does anyone ever ask why?
Does anyone ever wonder how we are desensitized

A month or so ago, I set out to make a new painting. Initially I thought I was going to make a flower painting (22,500,000 for flower)

At the time the Terry Schiavo issue was at the forefront of the news. I could not help but think about this event. What is consciousness? What is the boundary of consciousness, that point of inflection between awareness and nothingness? Who ever thinks of this? Why was I thinking of this? Anyhow, I set out to paint a flower and something else happened which in essence was out of my control, then she died. That was the first state of the painting. A few weeks later the autopsy report was released which coincided with my finishing of the painting

Ok, so maybe this is silly but for me there is some relationship between art and life. We are embedded in our era, in all its mystery and conflict. How can I, as an artist, devote myself to those petite hedonisms and ignore everything else?

RASBERRY RED

66.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 7:45 PM

Don't underestimate entertainment, Franklin. Understand it.

(deep and meaningful statement)

67.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 7:51 PM

I got a box of Whitman's Sampler Petite Hedonisms right here, George, and I am not trading them for any Larger Issues. Not a chance.

68.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 7:56 PM

McCourt says: "instead of claiming hurt feelings, why not instead modify your previous statement so that I couldn't logically make that statement by following the premise you have laid out yourself..."

Hurt? Nope. You are just a bunch of dots on my screen too. But "genocide" is too serious a word to cover with a smiley face because it still goes on in our supposedly civilized world. Such things have not been discussed on artblog, certainly not used in the manner you brought it up, and so letting it go unanswered seemed like not picking up the trash.

It isn't my problem that you can fowl yourself by convulting something I wrote. You'll need to learn to handle that for yourself.

69.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 8:18 PM

"Fowl" himself, Flats? What'd he do, turn chicken?

70.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 8:29 PM

Flatboy's got a point that the emoticon didn't soften up the genocide comment.

Ok, so maybe this is silly but for me there is some relationship between art and life.

I don't believe anyone is so formal that life never creeps into their work. It's weird, because art is always about something, but the thing it's about ends up having almost no bearing on how the work comes out. It's simultaneously causal and unrelated.

Don't underestimate entertainment, Franklin. Understand it.

I think I do. Robert Henri writes something beautiful about the absorbed play of children, and that artists have to aspire to that. That sounds about right. I would suggest that there are different qualities of entertainment, some of which are beautiful, and some of which are disgusting. Entarttainment, as I'm using it above, is not the absorbed play of children - it's just a frenzy of shallowness.

71.

George

July 11, 2005, 8:31 PM

Franklin, re [59]
No problem, I have read the guidelines a couple of times.
Skirting was intentional to make the point that a lot of other comments which presume the truth are just opinions or presumptions.

No doubt, I lured Oldpro into the "hedonist" response, I wanted to see what he would say. The fact of the matter is that art, as an hedonist exercise, is only piece of the truth. Those who have devoted a career down this path will defend it fiercely.

At the same time, one must consider art as philosophy. An art which questions the very structure of our perceptions of what we assume is reality. While I appreciate the turn of the swath of color as much as anyone, I cannot but help ask myself what does it all mean and how can I contribute towards the answer.

The real issue here is are the readers willing to engage in more than a simple putdown OR more than a defense of some past philosophical act. Both sides, can there be a discussion which tackles the aesthetic environment now without defensiveness.

I cannot see, how any artist today can approach "an image" without considering its present day context. If one is to paint "a nude" today, can we just assume the context is the same as it was 100 years ago? I read the review of Thomas Puttfarken's book "The Discovery of Pictorial Composition: theories of visual order in painting 1400-1800." Even if one doesn't come to complete agreement with his conclusions, the essence of the study suggests that the cultural environment affects and mutates the aesthetic environment. In this day and age of Playboy and internet sex the nude, especially the female nude exists in an entirely different context.

Now, we as artists, can just pretend none of this ever happened or we can attempt to deal with it.

PASSIONATE PINK

72.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 8:45 PM

Now, back to the subject of "greatness". Nicholas Wilder, the LA art dealer, wrote a very nice peice (many years ago) saying the business of the artist was to do good work in the studio, not to waste energy and hustle his (or her, he might say today) work, especially not by pestering dealers. That is a good way for an artist to proceed. But...

I can't believe that every great work or every great artist becomes part of the legacy of greatness. Tradition, once established, seems as strong as a brick wall, but when it is being formed, it looks pretty fragile to me. Van Gogh, for one, seems like an artist who could have easily slipped through the cracks. Would tradition have been signficantly weakened by not including him. No. It just would not have been quite the same. So that is a near miss that worked out. {Perhaps Van Gogh is "merely" good. Even so, his contribution is a positive part of tradition.) If someone "back then" was fully missed, I guess we'll never know. We can just speculate. But the case of art made by women and the bias against it for so many centuries suggests to me, as a matter of probability, that some great artists have been lost from tradition. A great woman artist 300 yearas ago would not have gotten a fair hearing. It is difficult to suppose that no women did anything great for all those centuries. Not one. That is not probable. If you go back 10,000 years, say, it IS probable that some of the greatest art produced by humans of those times is no longer accessible, whether they were male or female. Perhaps much or most of it is lost.

So, if Wilder was right, and I think he might have been, what is an artist to do? Forget tradition and the place one's own art might have in it? I don't think so. Because the art that does "make it" in the long run certainly does tend to be great or very good. It seems like a form of self protective rationalization to say that "all I care about is doing great art despite that no serious art institution has ever given the slightest hint that my art is worth anything". You can close off such a fact with dogmatics such as I sometimes see stated lately (all great artists are ignored because only the worst ones get recognized in their lifetime), or you can face it. Facing it will cause pain, but it certainly does not preclude that one may in fact be succeeding.

None of us have a firm grasp on what will be part of tradition 100 years from now, nor what will be left out, mistakenly or rightly. There are no measures to apply, no oracles to consult. That is the fragility and vulnerability of working seriously as an artist.

73.

Franklin

July 11, 2005, 8:54 PM

The real issue here is are the readers willing to engage in more than a simple putdown OR more than a defense of some past philosophical act. Both sides, can there be a discussion which tackles the aesthetic environment now without defensiveness.

The comments lend themselves to the putdown format, unfortunately. (Maybe you and Oldpro are right that the comments are too pale and too small.) I've been enjoying Bill W.'s contributions lately, and hope that he wasn't slapped around too much here to dissuade him from reappearing. Nevertheless I think there's a point where art doesn't justify that heavy investment of thought. Ultimately the art is going to function regardless of its connotations or greater meanings. That's where Oldpro comes out of, and I sympathize. I enjoy getting into the other stuff too, but only to the extent that work succeeds aesthetically.

Otherwise, I just feel inclined to knock it. I'm framing citation of Duchamp as an act of marketing up at the top there. Otherwise I know what the payoff is going to be - I'm going to feel gipped.

...what is an artist to do?

Decide what good is and try to achieve it. And if you're wrong, too bad for you, but you'll have a blast.

74.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 9:08 PM

You didn't lure me George. I gratefully volunteered. Go paint and stop worrying.

Wilder was a good guy and he was right, Flatboy. Don't worry too much about that falling through the cracks stuff. Anyone who did enough paintings has paintings out there and they last a long time, so they keep on getting seen and appraised. When all the bullshit and politics and fashion goes by the boards the people who can see will tell everyone else what is good, and everyone will go along more or less. it just takes time.

75.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 9:10 PM

Too pale and too small? Did I say that?

76.

flatboy

July 11, 2005, 9:12 PM

Thank you for the spelling lesson OldPro.

77.

George

July 11, 2005, 9:14 PM

I'm not sure the comments lend themselves to the put down format. Either one agrees or disagrees and wishes to add to the discourse. I think the put down response is in many cases a defensive response, an unwillingness to speculate. I was careful in framing the remark you noted to not favor one side or the other

One can use this discourse to speculate without committing an entire career of action to a wayward thought. One can speculate, just for the fun of it, just for the hedonistic pleasure of contemplating outside ones normal constructs. Moreover, I think this has great value, for regardless how we spar in the discourse it becomes part of our experiential environment. If we fight it, that too becomes part of our cultural environment, we steel our positions for better or worse when we return to the studio.

Free thought spawns progressive activity

78.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 9:29 PM

"Free thought spawns progressive activity"

I love it, George. Do you realize you can rearrange the words in that sentence any way you want to and it will still come out saying almost the same thing?

progressive thought spawns free activity
thinking free spawns progressive activity
active thought spawns progressive freedom
progressive spawning frees active thought
thoughtful spawning frees progressive activity
progressive spawning activates free thought
active thinking frees progressive spawning

etc.

Who needs Aesop?

79.

ahab

July 11, 2005, 10:01 PM

George, you had my wife rolling with laughter (I took the liberty of voice-acting it for her). Turn your webcam on next time.

But seriously though, I for one do not ignore my the state of my world, globally or locally. Few feeling people actually can. Even without a TV in my home, how could I possibly avoid news of the agony and the carnage of others' lives?

Possible responses as a sculptor:
1) pretend none of the carnage happened
2) failing that, pretend none of it matters
3) failing that, pretend there's nothing to be done
4) failing that, pretend someone else will do it
5) failing that, pretend I know what to do about it
6) failing that, pretend I can find someone who does
7) failing that, find a related non-profit organization to give to
8) failing to dent the problem, raise the npo's awareness
9) failing to get anyone's attention, create a scandal
10) yay, but scandal sidetracks real issue
11) see 1)

Instead, my personal resolution of world carnage is to trust that the emotions I feel, the issues I care about, are best served by making art that is not ostensibly about them. Any art I've made to serve external purposes has been a disappointment, and I seem able to recognize when someone else's work has the same impetus. The problem with issue-inspired art is that the issue (read: agonies of people), though broadcast, rarely benefits.

By experience I suggest that my message, my world-poem if you must, comes through more profoundly in my artmaking when I lose myself in the work, hedonistically entertaining myself with hours of problem solving and hard work. But I cannot here say what it is that message is.

E.F.Carritt, 1932: “What a beautiful thing expresses we cannot of course say; the beautiful thing expresses it and nothing else exactly can. The poetical import, even of a poem, could not, if it were a perfect poem, be fully and precisely expressed in any words except those of the poem. Still less can the pictorial import of a picture be expressed fully and precisely in any words, and only approximately by a similar picture.”

Don't anyone prove themself a dolt by latching onto 'beauty' here. Words are not my forte, but I do happen to thrive on three dimensionsal aesthetic problems. So I sculpt, and while exercising my ability to judge and invent and judge and invent I inevitably create something that is about some thing more than anything else can be about that thing. I hope. Really great, I hope, though it's not for me to say and I expect to fail less often all the time.

I have in the end responded to the carnage. I can't know that I was right, or that I effectively communicated with my audience, or even if I was on topic; but I wouldn't have known that even if I had rented a billboard or TV spot.

80.

Jack

July 11, 2005, 10:03 PM

I respectfully submit that everyone is, should and must be free to comment in whatever way, mode or format s/he considers fit, suitable and/or congenial. Any attempt to dictate, regulate, browbeat or even persuade people into adapting a particular "correct," "preferred" or "best" way of expressing themselves is not only bound to fail (and therefore pointless) but also quite unacceptable.

I'm not talking about the obvious, commonsensical, common-courtesy approach of "Don't carry on like a flaming asshole of a troll." That's a given. I'm talking about something subtler and more insidious, which I will not abide by. Those who do not care for my personal approach, which will remain personal and individual, can ignore my comments easily enough. I already follow that advice.

81.

ahab

July 11, 2005, 10:04 PM

Whoa, I should have previewed that comment. Seems I have strayed into some territory where I may have to eat some crow. Serve it up.

82.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 10:16 PM

I don't think Jack was responding to you, ahab

83.

Jack

July 11, 2005, 10:36 PM

No, I was not responding to Ahab.

84.

ahab

July 11, 2005, 11:00 PM

Didn't think so.

85.

onesock

July 11, 2005, 11:25 PM

Sorry if this is a repeat of a prior post. I read many but no time to read all.

In answer to Frankiln's assesment that no great art has arisen from Duchamp's legacy, I submit the following:

I assume by "great art" you imply that no great "looking" art has come from his legacy. Well, even though I will grant that your opinion may be valid, I would dissagree since I think that Joseph Cornell, Yve Klien ,Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Pollock, Warhol, Martin Broodthaers, Jessica Stockholder, Tony Feher, David Hammons, Willie Cole, Tom Friedman, Polly Appfelbaum, and Richard Tuttle have all made great "looking" art.

But, Duchamp was not interested in making anything "look" great. He was interested in raising questions about the creative act itself, the role of the artist, the critique of institions that would accept such work, and the boundary between art and non-art in a century of prefab technology. All of these concerns are of a conceptual nature and do not rely on pure aesthetic assement.

Now you are certainly free to judge his work and those who have followed on purly aesthetic levels, however I think that you miss an interesting intellectual journey. Therfore I reject Dore Ashton's belief that art has been dumbed down into entertainment as a result of such acts by Duchamp. If it is true ( and I am not willing to grant) ,then It would be a result of the legacies of Warhol and the antics of enfant terribles such as Basquiat ,Kippenberger, and yes, Picasso and Van Gogh.

If I have miss-read your comments at all, my appologies.

86.

oldpro

July 11, 2005, 11:37 PM

Onesock straightforwardly brings up the matter of esthetic vs non esthetic appraisal of art, which is worth discussing at length, but maybe should be the subject of a new page sometime and not something we (me anyway) start at 11:30 PM. I'm going to his the sack.

87.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 12:35 AM

Where'd all you guys go? It's not late, here. I hate getting to the conversation after everyone's already drunk and passed out. Following up on the last humungous comment, and responding to onesock, I hope to create another whale of a post, possibly white.

Duchamp, is only 'the champion' of creating a scene. The actual effect of a scandal is to divert attention away from relevant issues. Bill can try to refocus my attention on some issues which are said to have been relevant; but alas, the issues of 1917 not those of 2005. Duchamp should have painted "R. Herring" on "The Fountain".

The issue today, I feel sure, revolves around the Great Sadness that people have succumbed to the diversion of issues, and many of the artists listed by onesock seem to have taken advantage of the general ignorance (bucks, star-status, more bucks). I said revolve, and that is exactly what message-mongering, even this one, does - it goes in circles. Haven't we learned anything from religion: so preoccupied with contraceptives, or evolutionary theory. It's been serving itself for millenia by circling around scandalous issues (?) like these to the detriment of its own people. Art has only been doing it for the last century.

Every piece of work carries its own profound meaning. Art serves us all better, art is better, when it is on topic and makes no pretense to meaning anything extraneous. Let it 'speak' to its viewer without the need of an accompanying artist statement beginning with "what you've got to know about this piece is..."

If Bill's comments really are reflective of his own experience of the thing, I'll let them stand. But if they are disingenuous and trying to tell me what it is that is relevant to try to get me to keep staring at porcelain, then flush 'em. Bill, you tell me that's what you feel, I promise to believe that it is what you feel.

88.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 12:36 AM

I kinda like getting the last word.

89.

mek

July 12, 2005, 3:16 AM

onesock - your work is fresh - i like it very much.

90.

mek

July 12, 2005, 3:23 AM

ahab if you are still up, what is your counter-point to onesock's list of artists... before i disagree with you i need you to elaborate more on your position. i think my line of thinking is more in tandem with onesock's.

91.

mek

July 12, 2005, 3:29 AM

alas. i have the last word.

the technicolor blur of the insomniatic mind.....
i hope sleep comes back to me now.

-peace/out.

92.

George

July 12, 2005, 7:44 AM

Ahab, [79] It should be no surprise I find it difficult to ignore what is going on in the world around me. For the most part, I don't usually bring the subjects of these events into the work, sometimes it occurs but it is the exception rather than the case. I am not a "political" artist and I find myself suspicious of a direct response to such events.

I do think that since the middle of the last century, when the electronic mass media began to saturate the culture, our relationship with the image and it's contexts has changed profoundly.
Coincidentally, on 7/9 there was an article in the NY Times, "On the Web, Photos Strain to Connect 7/7 and 9/11"by Sarah Boxer. The expiring link is here:
www.nytimes.com/2005/07/09/arts/09boxe.html?pagewanted=print

Commenting on Flickr, Ms Boxer notes
"Although the 700-odd posted pictures are the work of many photographers, most of them have a very particular feel. And that feel is remote and secondhand."
"A strikingly large number of photographs on the Flickr site show television coverage…."
"The Web is supposed to be a great place for people to get their information first and, before it is processed. But that is not really what has happened with Flickr's collection of the London bomb blasts. Almost every one of these pictures is of the processing" (emphasis mine)

I also looked at all 700 or so of the "pool" images on the Flickr site. While she is correct in her observations, what I found more interesting was the idea that the "media processed image" is the "truth". They are the only images, which will be seen by millions, and will be accepted into memory as the "recollection" of this event.
We all watch television, so what's the big deal you might ask? I believe that an image not only carries its "content" (it's a picture of…) but its context in memory. This idea should also apply to "abstract images" (say an Olitski painting) in a similar fashion. What I mean by "context in memory" is something along the lines of a personal history. Now suppose a painter, poses the model and makes a painting of "the nude" The painting, as an image, exists in a cultural historical context as well as a purely visual experience. In the not so distance past, the cultural historical context would be reasonably bounded in the arena of "fine art". In today's culture the context has expanded considerably, shading the image with numerous additional overtones of cultural information. If one was to exhibit this "studio nude", the viewer responses would be different now than 100 years ago. In some cases, the response might be the similar, a purely aesthetic response. Others may find it difficult to suspend connection to the current cultural context.

So my previous remarks about the image and it's social context was not intended as a "call to action" requiring a political response. I am questioning how an image functions today, in particular how an image functions in the context of a painting.

Finally, I'm glad you saw my humor in the color comments.

93.

Franklin

July 12, 2005, 8:17 AM

Onesock, thanks for your comments and for the link to your work.

I don't mean "great looking," I mean "great," as in soul-shaking work among the best ever made. That list is interesting, in that it reminds of of Alesh's comment above (#1) that "50% of art since Duchamp is somehow, however indirectly, indebted to him." Because of the empty nature of his antics, you can see him wherever you want to if you squint hard enough. Rauschenberg, sure, but Pollock? Pollock comes out of a tradition of automatic surrealism that Duchamp hardly contributed to. I could be talked into making an exception for Cornell, who can be pretty wonderful.

All of these concerns are of a conceptual nature and do not rely on pure aesthetic assement. True enough, but to me this is like a chef not relying on the sense of taste. I don't think such work has any chance of becoming great.

I think you've mischaracterized what Ashton is saying. She's blaming the dumbing-down on the market, not Duchamp. I'm not blaming it on him either - he's just the philosophical grease on the market's skids.

94.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 8:58 AM

Once again I have to repeat: very little art is "indebted' to Duchamp. Saying that Duchamp is in any way the source of Pop and conceptual is to be ignorant of art history. It makes the poster boy into the progenitor. If you know 20th C art history you know this. If you don't you don't. it is as simple as that.

Onesock, the subject you introduced directly, which is always one of the "subtexts" here, is a big one. It is basically a matter, to oversimplify, of visual art that is visual vs visual art that is non-visual. I can pick up Franklin's food analogy by saying that visual art is eating and non visual art is reading the menu. Nothing compels anyone to choose one or the other, but those of us with "art hunger" really would appreciate it if the art world could simply acknowledge the difference and go on from there rather that having the two sides fight it out in the same arena. It is discouraging to have to be discussing a urinal for days on a blog devoted to what we hope is somewhat elevated talk about visual art that is worth looking at.

95.

flatboy

July 12, 2005, 9:24 AM

Franklin wrote "Rauschenberg, sure, but Pollock?"

Duchamp advised Peggy Guggenheim about artists she should show at her gallery, as I remember it. She showed Pollock at his recommendation. That is an "indirect indebtedness" though not specifically an aesthetic one. OldPro, who has mentioned being "around" at the that time, can probably fill us in on more of the detail.

This suggests that Duchamp had something of an "eye", and if he really did influence Guggenheim about the artists she chose for her stable, he had a positive effect on other artists too. But aesthetically, the influence seems limited to general rebelliousness and, as Franklin observes, that is something that can be seen in a lot of places.

It is possible to make great art for all the wrong reasons. We discussed that a few months ago with respect to Mondrian and theosophy. I don't see why "conceptualism" can't be one of the "wrong reasons". It isn't as absurd as theosophy.

And onesock: you do a lot of analysis of Duchamp and the creative act, boundaries, etc., and mention "intellectual journey". Duchamp seems to have "inspired" a lot of speculation, but by remaining silent and not saying much. Or did he actively participate in "art theory"? Did he write anythng about this stuff? I've missed it if he did.

96.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 10:08 AM

Flatboy, you are right about the advising, etc (I was not quite "around" that early) but I am referring to esthetic influence, as you indicate. Peggy Guggenheim was singularly lucky with the advisors she chose, particularly Howard Putzel, who was the one who talked Guggenheim into showing Pollock.

There are a variety Duchamp statements which can be found with Google

97.

alesh

July 12, 2005, 10:46 AM

This book (which I'm very fond of), kind of tells the story of art in the latter half of the 20th century using Duchamp as a lens. Godfrey argues that Duchamp was a huge aesthetic influence very early on, and remained one, but later also served as a cheerleader and iconic figure to younger artists (sort of how Atget was to the early surrealists).

98.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 11:54 AM

Says George in #77, just prior to spawning stuff: "One can use this discourse to speculate without committing an entire career of action to a wayward thought..." then: "...regardless how we spar in the discourse it becomes part of our experiential environment."

An artist's career is very much at the mercy of the causes for which s/he is willing to spout eloquent upon. Diversionary tactics took most of onesock's list (#85) of good-looking artists astray. I daresay even Pollock alternately fell off the wagon
and remounted.

alesh, I can't give you a list of famous artists who haven't gotten tangled in some -ism or other of their own making or not. But I do particularly admire the stick-to-it-iveness of David Smith. An artist whose image has been inappropriately appropriated by that other segment of contemporary artists - the commercialists. He too would be demoted to posterboy if his art wasn't so damned good.

Smith used the found object to infinitely better effect than Duchamp.

99.

jake

July 12, 2005, 1:25 PM

well, frankly, i think you just dont get it, duchamp that is, the person, and the work

And best of all, you dont want to. It's ok, it is pretty hard stuff to get.

To linger on the urinal this long, is a matter of, as has often been the case here, taking out of context. It really was something that if done to you, you would have loved/hated, but hearing of it just doesn't make that much sense, especially in part.

So in an effort to undermine duchamp and his work, a a new strain of this infectious disease has been released for more people to misunderstand and take/reject at face value

i wont tell you what i know through the internet, anticipating the circuits have ears post, but i know enough to know this: *&%#$@$#%^&*(!@#$#@^&*#$^&%*^&^%!#@$%^#%$-;)

100.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 3:37 PM

Re: post #68

HITLER RAPE POO MURDER STALIN PEDEPHILIA PINOCHET!

Gee, I hope I didn't offend flatboy or anybody else by typing those serious and scary words. Genocide still goes on on our supposedly civilized world? No shit, our civilized world practically invented the idea. There IS real genocide out there, so my typing the bloody word (with or without emoticons) is a pretty 'small' and 'pale' thing to get worked up about.

Flatboy writes:
It isn't my problem that you can fowl yourself by convulting something I wrote. You'll need to learn to handle that for yourself.

You're right. Your problem is something else, but I'll let you puzzle that out for yourself. In the meantime, you'll just have to forgive me if I'm a bit dubious about taking your advice on what I need to learn.

letting it go unanswered seemed like not picking up the trash.

The real trash, of course, was your morally bankrupt statement that you would be happy if anything you ever made became the justification of anything else.
All I did was show you how ugly your trash could look.
But it's still your trash, and it's still your responsibility to pick it up.

101.

Ross

July 12, 2005, 3:44 PM

On Pollock: John Walker states in his book Art and Celebrity that Pollock was "introduced" by Time magazine with the stupidly provocative title "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" It also proposes that he was propelled and had his image sculpted and worked with; that he was a to be a "new" American artist with "new" American ideas. (We've all heard this a million times, I know...) His paintings had future use as a fashion shoot background by Vogue in '51. Now they are these things that just look so 50s (which isn't really his fault, per say) and like background decorum in Eames style house set-ups. Plus he totally killed someone. Its a tragedy all around.

This is the same for Warhol and his entourage, because I can't stand talking about either anymore. (Who is really going to watch "Flesh" except to see Joe Dallesandro naked?) Its all talked to death a thousand times over and because of all this hero worship, we miss lesser known artists. I've simply been slipping books back on the shelves of my library when I see theory books that are laden with such artstars. Something new or more meaningful, please.

However, saying Duchamp didn't do much for contemporary art is like saying that Creationism should be taught in high school biology classes. Saying that no great art (should I have capitalized great?) has come of inspiration by Duchamp is to seriously reject massive amounts of contemporary art. It all feels hard to debate about. Although, as a counterpoint, only complete assholes look at Duchamp's urinal as aesthetic in any way.

I agree with Hovig; I'm not going to church when I go to a museum or gallery, and thank God for that!

102.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 3:55 PM

Saying that no great art (should I have capitalized great?) has come of inspiration by Duchamp is to seriously reject massive amounts of contemporary art.

You've hit the nail on the head there. While it would be nice NOT to seriously reject massive amounts of contemporary art, one is forced to by its sheer boringness.

Although, as a counterpoint, only complete assholes look at Duchamp's urinal as aesthetic in any way.

I'm close to agreeing with you on that one too, except for the fact that its context, in a gallery, demands that we treat it as art, which entails viewing it aesthetically .

103.

Franklin

July 12, 2005, 4:03 PM

McCourt, if nothing else, think about what Google searches start landing here when you write things like that in #100.

However, saying Duchamp didn't do much for contemporary art is like saying that Creationism should be taught in high school biology classes.

Actually, the analogy works pretty well - in reverse. Quoth Wikipedia: "Dada was not art — it was anti-art." Creationism is anti-Darwinism, based on faith. We can observe Darwinism in action (in the way germs develop immunity to drugs, for instance), but can only buy into Creationism on faith. Similarly, I've seen art give rise to great art, but I have not observed anti-art do so. Despite this, the faithful adherents of anti-art believe that this happens all the time, and would very much like me to believe it too, despite what my own eyes tell me.

104.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 4:19 PM

Franklin,
I must admit I'd be a bit wary of attempting an art discussion with someone who stumbled upon this site while looking up 'hitler rape', so your point is well taken.

And I think we've all learned something from this exchange... the moral is, of course, that grotesque things, which are intended simply to shock people's polite sensibilities, do not belong in an art context, whether it's the word 'genocide' in an art blog, or a urinal in an art gallery.

105.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 4:48 PM

alesh post #62
and while you're at it compare his comment counts to McCourt, who, i swear . . . is Oldpro trying out for an understudy?

Well, by my count, by post #62, Georgie-boy had outposted me by only one, but I think the key is, as in art, that its not quantity but quality that counts. I had him beat in the 'making sense' category hands down.
Art's purpose is to give us pleasure. If you want to call that a hedonistic pursuit, fine. Monet painted flowers with the sound of cannon-fire in the background, Matisse wanted his work to be like a comfortable armchair.
If you want to save the world, put down your paintbrushes. If you want to save art, pick them up again.

oldpro, how much does the understudy job pay?

106.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 4:53 PM

Your own eyes and your own brain, too, Franklin. Don't leave that out.

Jake, whatever you say about Duchamp, pro or con, being "hard to understand" is certainly among the least convincing. There is nothing whatsoever hard to undersand about any of it. I don't think anyone even makes that claim. Now if you want "hard to understand", read some of the tripe that regularly gushes forth about this minor artist and his toys.

Ross, If I am not mistaken, it was Life magazine which had the stupid title. I have the magazine and can check if you want - i believe it was August 9?,1949. And I am not going to repeat again my statement about Duchamps minimal influence, except to say that you are doing exactly what you claim not to be doing: believing the hype instead of the history. When people really truly believe something they will not talked out of it, facts or no facts. Joseph Goebbels knew this better than anyone.

McCourt & Flatboy: cool it. You are both OK.

107.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 4:55 PM

How much does it pay, McCourt?

Only a compliment here and there, and a modicum of abuse. About the same salary level as mine.

108.

Ross

July 12, 2005, 5:22 PM

McCourt:

You've hit the nail on the head there. While it would be nice NOT to seriously reject massive amounts of contemporary art, one is forced to by its sheer boringness.

Boringness? Greenberg is a fucking SNOOZEFEST. (Although his earlier essays are more interesting, for sure) Modernist painting ISN'T boring? This all seems like taste, honestly, as I can't stand to stare at something like a Pollock, and I can only think of how hideously valuable it is. At least new art has pornography, and that is never boring.

Have your local galleries started hanging up banners outside and running ad campaigns proclaiming "Art is for Everyone!" yet? That's how it is here. Somehow, they just can't figure out why people aren't lining up to pay their ten bucks to see the profoundly incomprehensible, unenjoyable post-modern works within.

Contemporary art is all too frequently displayed or presented without enough background to really understand or view the piece in a way that isn't totally ignorant. At the current MAC show here in Miami, there is a video by a Polish artist of very unglamorous people playing naked tag in what looks like a cell. Without the text explaining that the cell is part of a Nazi camp, etc, etc, its just the same as randomly finding a VHS in the street as far as being confusing. (It would have been WAY more compelling if found that way, actually.)

Sometimes outside knowledge, historical backgrounds, etc are needed, regardless of whether it is fashionable or not. Profoundly incomprehensible can really be a problem, and its really difficult to address. Its true that you can really walk into a gallery, get that confusion/annoyed headache and feel completely unwelcome. This is why contemporary art isn't accessible to regular, intelligent people and they flock to Barnes and Noble glossy Gauguin tomes to places in their bookshelves.

the moral is, of course, that grotesque things, which are intended simply to shock people's polite sensibilities, do not belong in an art context, whether it's the word 'genocide' in an art blog, or a urinal in an art gallery.

This is almost a dangerous road, which is to limit what is to be put in a gallery or museum. To go along with all the Nazi related posts I've been reading, remember the most popular traveling art exhibition was Hitler's degenerate show, which set out to really say what doesn't "belong in an art context." I'm incredibly glad that limiting, antiquated thoughts of what don't belong in galleries or museums are completely unpopular and unpracticed in serious American contemporary art institutions.

Franklin -

"Dada was not art — it was anti-art." Creationism is anti-Darwinism, based on faith. We can observe Darwinism in action (in the way germs develop immunity to drugs, for instance), but can only buy into Creationism on faith. Similarly, I've seen art give rise to great art, but I have not observed anti-art do so. Despite this, the faithful adherents of anti-art believe that this happens all the time

This is just confusing non-art and anti-art, which are totally different. Dada, with all its anti-art, anti-academic intentions, is just another chapter in history of art books. Creationism hasn't taught a thing to Darwinism, but anti-art has molded and shaped art. You have an unsolid argument. Anti-art (and anti-art stunts) is art after all, without a doubt, and is even fostered by the contemporary art community. Non-art is the the real opposite of art, which is simply something that isn't art, like a sock or a pancake.

Honestly, Franklin, you'll always hate the anti-artists, the pranksters, the misfits, the fashionistas, anti-craft, conceptual, almost anything that isn't painting or traditional in some way, non-pretty, etc. (Or at least it SEEMS like it from this blog) The posts, and most of the posters, on this site will always be niche, and will always be in disagreement with most views except for a massively narrow frame of mind. (Although I'm not standing as a complete supporter of the contemporary art scene by any means.) Its all a modernist pat-on-the-back, and are sticking to your guns about what you like and abhor, who you hero-worship and all the young, new painters who are simply "talentless."

109.

Franklin

July 12, 2005, 5:33 PM

I have to get out of here to go teach, but I want to address this:

...sticking to your guns about what you like and abhor, who you hero-worship and all the young, new painters who are simply "talentless."

I can think of at least one younger painter whose work I've stood up for. See this post, comment #11.

Talk at you later.

110.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 5:51 PM

Ross,
Of course its all taste! I think Greenberg is a fucking great writer, and I enjoy reading and re-reading his work. I cannot say that I enjoy viewing, and certainly not re-viewing, the work of Duchamp. We're allowed to make up our own minds. I think most people would agree that Duchamp's "Fountain" is not that interesting to look at. I think most people would also agree that Greenberg was one of the best art critics of the 20th century. The fact that you don't agree doesn't trouble me in the least.
I trust you're being funny when you say "At least new art has pornography, and that is never boring." If porn isn't boring, why is it that I can never watch the whole video all the way through, but usually fall into a sticky, contented slumber about 5 minutes after the first scene?
Yor post was a long one, and filled with many things I would argue with, such as your distinctions between anti-art, non-art, and art, which I don't think have a logical basis (I happen to make socks, and pancakes, which ARE art, so there.) Creationism hasn't taught Evolution anything, but it has influenced the teaching of it. Likewise with Anti-art and art. Art remains unchanged, it is just how we value it as a society that has changed. And the notion of hero-worship doesn't relate to modernism any more than it does to post-modernism (in fact, it relates much less... Jackson Pollock never exhibited his messy bed as if it was art, nor did he ever claim his works were art simply because he declared them so, as Duchamp did, much to his admirers awe).

111.

Oldpro

July 12, 2005, 5:56 PM

"it all seems like taste"? Ross, you give yourself away in your first paragraph, for sure. And in the last one you resort to the tired ploy of accusing anyone who likes painting of rejecting (there follows a long list of vital lively fun non-traditional energetic youthful with-it etc words) and being subject to "massive narrowness" (quite a phrase!) for not going along with the current trendy mainstream of art which, as you say yourself, cannot be "understood" without an explanation. What fun.

This is the standard slam of the trend victim. We get it all the time, and we are pleased to endure it once again. Go stare at Pollock and think of money.

112.

McCourt

July 12, 2005, 5:59 PM

I was tempted to touch on the 'massive narrowness', but I'm trying to take your advice, oldpro and 'cool it'.

113.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 6:34 PM

I meant "cool it" about fighting with Flatboy over the use of inflammatory words, which was going nowhere.

Please don't "cool it" when it comes to making fun of oxymoronic phrases!

114.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 7:23 PM

Jake (#99), am I to take it that you are pissed with me? That you don't know how to tell me I don't know what you're talking about? I think I do get it. But I'm open to new thoughts.

I suppose I am asserting there is so much collective hand-sitting that a little looking might be in order, which - look out - informs our thinking in ways that sheer thinking couldn't have thought of.

Try it sometime. Just look at something, and decide how it could be better. There, now you've done it. Pretty easy hey? Well don't fool yourself, there's nothing simplistic about it and the more you look in this way, the more you might start thinking you're onto something better.

Assuming you want the better of two things, not the worse.

115.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 7:43 PM

"hand-sitting-navel-gazing"

116.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 8:32 PM

Ross, what do you mean by 'contemporary' when you say: "...contemporary art isn't accessible to regular, intelligent people and they flock to Barnes and Noble glossy Gauguin tomes..." (#108)?

"I do not think you know what that word means," as Inigo Montoya says to the Sicilian's hundredth utterance of "inconceivable."

And I thought conceptualists loved Gauguin, for all that wonderful exotic context they can write about.

On the topic of boringness you stated, "...I can't stand to stare at something like a Pollock, and I can only think of how hideously valuable it is." Meaning-fraught people-fat soap is your exception, I presume. Or would you care to name an alternate unboring work? And please don't start with, "what you need to know..."?

And on the creationism-darwinism dialectic, which came first?

That last paragraph of #108 is mean. But with the sort of thinking you've been demonstrating (thinking being your 'thing') I'm afraid you might be right in a single phrase: "...the posts, and most of the posters, on this site will always be niche..."

The patting on the back doesn't happen on this blog, or among anyone still willing to identify/associate themselves as/with modernists, unlike the self-congratulatory tone of the "Art is for Everyone" exhibition McCourt mentioned.

The mantra is not "stick to your guns", but "look again." The art that deserves a second look and a second evaluation is the art I want to stand in front of.

117.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 8:36 PM

Keep on hacking away, Ahab, but don't expect much of an answer. These people like to sweep in and spray bullets and fade into the background. Like their art, there is little staying power.

118.

alesh

July 12, 2005, 9:48 PM

wow... ross got a lick in, anyhow. it's an indication of the "discussion" that serious statements like this are rotely dismissed (see #111, and we'll see if Franklin comes back with anymore then #109).

i think Ross makes some very interesting points, esp the anti-art/non-art distinction. I'm sticking around to see how George responds.

possibly overdue is an apology to Franklin re #63; I was not being presumptuous - my comments were meant strictly to be a support of George, no more or less. which leads me to point out to McCourt, who said:

I had him beat in the 'making sense' category hands down.

No. Well, ok, yes, you did. But I would argue that in the interest of good conversation, "making sense" is what is important, not "making more sense." You either make sense or you don't. George made sense (to me, anyhow). So did you. His comments were more interesting. Yours made more sense.

Crap, now I have to give Franklin input on how to run his blog... but humbly. I was thinking about the "down"/"clown" confusion we had earlier with the italics, and it's true that more then a line or two of the italics is really really hard to read in the comments. Couldn't there be some other convention for quoting previous commenters?

119.

oldpro

July 12, 2005, 10:10 PM

Alesh, it would not have been "rotely dismissed" if it had been any more than "rotely stated". it was not a "serious statement", it was a glib overall dismissal. People like Ross to come in and yak away, taking roundhouse swings at everythng, making maybe some sense, sometimes, and then ride off into the sunset, adding nothing. Hit and run. When someone reacts they are gone. I wouldn't get too upset over the "rotely dismissal" II they want to respond, sensibly and directly, no one is stopping them

120.

Franklin

July 12, 2005, 10:45 PM

Anti-art (and anti-art stunts) is art after all, without a doubt, and is even fostered by the contemporary art community. Non-art is the the real opposite of art, which is simply something that isn't art, like a sock or a pancake.

Or a urinal.

Sorry, but I'm not buying this at all - I think it's a fake distinction. Part of the whole anti-art deal is to use non-art objects; Onesock's list overhead mentions some artists who do so. Anti-art has shaped art, you bet, and Creationism may shape your child's education one day. I intend to resist bad ideas wherever I can. Even if I'm the only one doing it. Which leads me to...

The posts, and most of the posters, on this site will always be niche... (etc.)

I can live with that. I'm going on the assumption that right action is its own reward. So far, that has worked out pretty well. I'm making a case for my own values, and because of that, I am starting to find people who share them. A niche of sanity and clarity would be a good niche to be in.

121.

ahab

July 12, 2005, 11:06 PM

Amen.

122.

Franklin

July 12, 2005, 11:28 PM

His comments were more interesting. Yours made more sense.

If anyone's still wondering why defenders of pomo tend to get their asses handed to them around here, you need only read those two sentences, which sum up how style has triumphed over substance in their minds. And Alesh is one of the more articulate ones.

123.

Ross

July 13, 2005, 9:02 AM

I honestly apologize, because I didn't want to offend anyone with my last post. I re-read it, and it could be fairly out of line. I would hate to, as oldpro stated, "sweep in and spray bullets and fade into the background."

Franklin - I know you've defended me, posted a painting of mine, and wrote positively, but me attacking the posters of this site is not the same as a personal attack on the art you or anyone else makes. (Which would just be tasteless.) So you defended a "young painter," but that attitude is still in the minority. Naturally, just because you defended me doesn't mean you would defend a single Leipzig painter and also doesn't mean that, as Alesh pointed out, constrasting points seem to be dismissed unless they attack a bit to get everyone's attention.

The "style has triumphed over substance" statement is just as harsh as anything I've ever said, by the way. Just say it Franklin: you think pomos are all little shallow fashionistas. (Or something like it)

Oldpro - Saying that I didn't make sense is the ultimate dismissal, because it wasn't all that hard to follow. (Its not like some posters on here, who have to be making some kind of postmodern gags with their artspeak) Making note of barely funny oxymorons (oops!) is almost childish and honestly, who cares? You barely responded to what I wrote. Don't be a big shrimp! (oymoronic phrase)

I'll have to write more later. Gotta go to work.

124.

alesh

July 13, 2005, 9:38 AM

Why yes, I would love to expand on that statement, Franklin! Making sense is a necessary condition for good writing, but not a sufficient condition. You can think of it as a boolean property - it either makes sense or doesn't.

The other thing you need for good writing is to be interesting. But being interesting is not boolean, it's more of a floating point animal, because you can be more or less interesting. So how good a bit of writing is could be thought of as an equation

COHERENT x INTERESTING = GOOD

Where coherent can have a value only of 0 or 1.

As far as being a defender of pomo, i would hardly consider myself that. I am interested in the argument between modernism and postmodernism, mainly because i consider it to be laughably overheated, but keep in mind that I probably have the least art history education of anyone around here!

125.

oldpro

July 13, 2005, 11:38 AM

Ross, first of all, I did not say you did not make sense. You made sense. And you are quite welcome, as I obviously feel I am, to cut and slash away. And I only mentioned the "oxymoron" when someone else brought it up.

My objection is not to your objections, but that you at least appeared to be one of those who swoop in and drop all kinds of unsubstantiated and unsupported put-downs and then run away. This is not against Franklin's rule (and should not be) but I take exception to it because it doesn't get anything in gear, it squelches rather than provokes discussion. If I have made a wrong assumption, all the better for the blog.

Alesh, your formula is pretty good. I like "Making sense is a necessary condition for good writing, but not a sufficient condition." And INTERESTING is nice and broad. Let's all try to follow this, folks.

126.

jake

July 13, 2005, 12:55 PM

since i felt alluded in the sweep in comment i remind folks that i use public computers to join in, that means limited time, and long interludes. and besides, the apparent addiction to this rubs off on me and i am addicted enough as it is.

well, i did skim through this so i may be wrong, but i dont believe this to be.

there has been a long referenced discusion of the urinal act, but i haven't seen any contextualization, the "whole story" as it were. I guess everyone is assuming that everyone else knows it, but just for kicks ill mention what i remember off the top of my head.

(briefly)the urinal came to be part of the show as a curatorial decision. Duchamp was involved in this aspect and it was decided that the curators could not be participating artists. In response to this element which duchamp did not agree with, he entered the urinal under an assumed identity (r.mutt), and by doing this, met both conditions. Although it was not he who "curated" it but rather another colleague who agreed with this principle. It was meant to lift the boundary of what can and cant be done.

Now, to simply take this as a thing, without a story, well, the conclusions you might arrive at are understandable. And, this act is kind of subtle, not really meant to have the overreaching status it has been given. to me it is a matter of new clothes (the emperors). people have gotten into a stink about it either for or against it, just kind of nodding their heads (either up and down or side to side) without the balls to go and ask why and insist until you are convinced you got the "whole" story.

now, is anything ever that clear cut as good/bad? (c'mon, rhetoric!)
the fact is that some have taken this act as a precedent and catallyst to not be limited in what they do. i think this is a good thing. others have taken it to mean controversy and shock without an ideal or principle(hidden in the behind the scenes story) is the end. I think this is bad.

i really could go on about this but it seems to me that the principle, on some level has gotten through-un or sub consciuosly, it has allowed for unrestrained growth. Again a good bad thing. just, as an individual, pick your side. ithink this is what can be done for the larger picture.

it is philosophy, and duchamp really merged it into art, acts and life as such. He was not sometimes an artist-everything he did, he had a reason, sometimes unchronologically, but always.

And try to remember that the more you know about something, the more you can appreciate it (in the critical manner). To reject something this big in favor of some else, is your decision, but as was said(paraphrased), if your not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

And finally, just a closer note about why i dont address people specifically (other than franklin who for who-knows-what-reason, i know will read), but i am trying to be synthetic in my statements for the reasons initially noted. and returning to my original format, for direct contact

coffee anyone

127.

Franklin

July 13, 2005, 1:31 PM

Freedom in principle is good; freedom in practice is only as good as what you do with it. Duchamp liberated art to suck to previously unseen depths of suckitude. If you're saying that people who think this are uninformed and cowardly ("without the balls to go and ask why," etc.) you may find that some informed, courageous people think you're a sucker.

Synthetic, eh? No coffee.

128.

ahab

July 13, 2005, 1:31 PM

clear-cuts are bad

129.

flatboy

July 13, 2005, 1:39 PM

Jake, I can talk "context" at the drop of a hat. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty all that matters is what I see, and "context" never changes that, so why bother with it? (If I have to provide context to pass a course, that is another matter. But there is no flunking on artblog.) Whatever Duchamp intended, he actually did something and that's what counts. It was and remains a fresh way to look at a urinal.

I don't have any hang ups about pissing or the fixtures that receive my flow, but I would guess that if I did, they might get in the way of seeing the thing. But I don't. Urinals are just objects. If Duchamp was somehow "too casual" in selecting the pisspot he used, so what? He chose a good one. Most of the ones I've seen would never work as art. Maybe none. The little "ears" on the sides of his are wonderful, even if they are cute. "Tough cute" let's say.

"A single carrot, freshly observed..."

So, I've committed the ultimate avant-garde transgression. I've deconstructed Duchamp to expose his formalist roots. Something to offend everyone...

130.

ahab

July 13, 2005, 1:43 PM

Jake, maybe you'd care to contribute to Franklin's "total eclipse" post where George has left a link to a Greenberg essay. My reading of the essay seems to rebut your pre-coffee comments pretty clearly.

And I whole-heartedly disagree with you that "the more you know about something the more you can appreciate it." I don't really need to illustrate this, you can't seriously stand by that. The special features now available on every movie DVD help you to critically evaluate the movie do they? Or would you like to watch me grind steel for a couple of hours so you can know a little more about my sculpture? More is not better.

But better, well, that is really more than I can hope for it seems.

131.

Franklin

July 13, 2005, 1:47 PM

I've deconstructed Duchamp to expose his formalist roots.

I reframed citations of Duchamp as capitalist manoevres to penetrate the ranks of the art-world oligarchy. It was dedidedly deconstructionist. Don't I get a prize, or something? Did I get points off for not using/slashes?

132.

jake

July 13, 2005, 1:53 PM

wow franklin

i think you just broke your own guidelines(writing, not writer)

who now takes the extreme prejudice?

point is that you might consider what i said as a criticism (contructive) in the hopes that analysis might takes place other than "sucktitude"

but by your own admission-informed and courageous people think things suck. hey man, fine. i just hope you realize that these comments are being archived, and that you might have to reference (or be referenced). just a thought.

133.

jake

July 13, 2005, 1:59 PM

I know duchamps formalist roots, and implicitly am trying to make a case for it. This is contextualization. I know we are all using loaded words with heavy connotations that we are probably responding to rather than an implied meaning, why i prefer facial expressions when conversing directly. When speaking in a forum, i try to think of speaking to all, while addressing a specific issue.

the point is i dont think that it is possible to argue in this sense, but i FEEL that there are arguments going on. is this nonsensical?

anyways, duchamp studied. He practiced. he also invented. this i think is the best part.

134.

flatboy

July 13, 2005, 2:06 PM

No points off, Franklin. You're an A+ in anybody's book because it is the dialog that counts, not the answers. Kind of a "goody two-shoes" way to put it, but the truth.

135.

Franklin

July 13, 2005, 2:07 PM

These comments are being archived? Really? You mean, like, saved?

136.

ahab

July 13, 2005, 2:11 PM

Words just don't cut it, neither to they clear-cut it. That's why I prefer visual art. But here I am unable to get to the studio today so I try to exercise my mind a little. And practice my thoughts on pape...little light dots.

137.

jake

July 13, 2005, 2:11 PM

i dont know, but the logic on what i assume to be an insult (and please, if you must be insulting, again, please, do not use the suck reference, it is degrading to all) seems weird. It seems that cowardly uninformed people dont think as i do about duchamp. Ok, definition made. And courageous, informed people do. Exactly who thinks i (you) suck? this just seems a bit sillogistic for me.

138.

Franklin

July 13, 2005, 2:19 PM

Your answer is lying up in #127, but you'll have to read it a bit more carefully.

139.

ahab

July 13, 2005, 2:34 PM

I think Greenberg was writing to you, Jake.

"The "postmodern" business is one more expression of that urge [to relax]. And it's a way, above all, to justify oneself in preferring less demanding art without being called reactionary or retarded (which is the greatest fear of the newfangled philistines of advancedness)."

140.

oldpro

July 13, 2005, 3:54 PM

Jake, if you are going to tell the "whole story" why not tell the whole story, about how in 1917 the committee did not think it was acceptable, and how it was put in a side room, and probably not seen, and how it was hustled off to Steiglitz at some point and then disappeared. How, for Gods sake, it was a damned non-event? Can't anyone even consider the fact that this stinking piece of porcelain amounted to very little until it was taken up as a banner by the popsters years later? Can everyone here promise to go read the WHOLE HISTORY before saying ONE MORE WORD about the cursed pisspot so I dont have to wear my fingers raw on the keyboard?

Flatboy, so "It was and remains a fresh way to look at a urinal" Wonderful. Can we leave it at that? And please, you are too smart to repeat that hoary old "it's the questions (dialogue, whatever) that count, not the answers". Sorry, it's the answers that count.

Franklin, please add to your rules "Anyone using the word "urinal" will be banned from the blog and summarily drowned in an Andres Serrano piss tank"

141.

flatboy

July 13, 2005, 4:35 PM

OldPro said "you are too smart to repeat that hoary old 'it's the questions (dialogue, whatever) that count, not the answers'. Sorry, it's the answers that count."

Sorry yourself, OldPro. The history of philosophy shows the questions last longer than the answers. I'm too smart to ignore that.

142.

oldpro

July 13, 2005, 5:50 PM

You ought to be on a debate team, Flats.

However, in this instance persistence is a measure of futility, not utility.

143.

flatboy

July 13, 2005, 6:12 PM

OldPro, you don't REALLY believe answers have outlasted questions, do you? It's not me that persists, it's the questions, some of which are being wrestled with here.

Of course it is "futile" to pursue them, but that's what we do anyway, to our credit, I think. One interpretation of the meaning of the word "philosophy" is "love of wisdom" but another, more basic translation is "wonderment" or something close to that. Wonderment leads right into the great questions. Unfortunately, the questions don't lead to stable answers because the answers crumble here and there, or are replaced with better answers, and so forth. The questions just keep on keeping on. They might not be eternal, but that's only because nothing is eternal.

144.

oldpro

July 13, 2005, 6:25 PM

You said "It is the dialogue that counts, not the answers".

So why look for answers? Geez, this is like Abbott & Costello.

145.

jake

July 14, 2005, 11:21 AM

i dont think the word futile applies to this since, a conversation might be futile in the sense that even if we did figure out the big bang, it was lost in memory, left to be "remembered". But this is an "archived" conversation, something we can go back to verbatim without having any tiffs about it not having been "said" in another way. This is what i meant by archived-saved. Congrats frnklin, i think you finally understood something i "said".

The "whole" story reference, is not quite the same as a "whole story" refrerence, and i dont think you(op) have done this, especially with the "probably" thrown in there. And to return to the start point, if you dont get it, dont bother-paraphrasing your statement. And get your panties out of the ruff, i dont mean "get it" intellectually, just if it reaches you or not. It can be a simple as like/dislike. And if you must pick dislike, leave it at that, dont try to beat it down or suffer the same fate. you can learn something from everything, even if it is a "i wont do it like that". If someone else does, well, lo and behold, there are other people in the world, actually distinct, and who might want to help you in your stance while you are trying to pull the rug out from underneath both of you.

146.

jake

July 14, 2005, 11:32 AM

and finally, a point i wanted to bring up, actually pretty directly on topic:

In the snse of the commercialization aspect to pick the piss pot as an example is, well, unrelated. this work was not about comerciality. But one of our trusty MAM collection pieces is-boite en valise, a hand reproduced series of scale prints and maquets put in a box for travel shippng and storage. made in a limited series, they are "identical" like a product, meant to carried by the "salesperson"(marcy)(see franklin, i do it everywhere, i just think marcy apprecittes it).

i wonder if this is another one of those sucktitude pieces made by the promoter of sucktitution, or is this one of those exceptions that were alluded to as "good".

or does this suck too?

PS.sorry to stumble on my own request of excluding suction as directional measure.

147.

oldpro

July 14, 2005, 11:36 AM

I'm sorry, Jake, but I just don't understand a lot of what you have written, so I find it difficult to respond to.

I did not attempt to tell the whole story, I merely said that if the whole story were told, given some of the brief bits of history I alluded to, that it would support my observation (which no one seems to want to take seriously, largely because they are not aware of the history) that the Urinal was pretty much a non-event until it was taken up by people much later on to justify a later tendency in art.

I "get" the thing, it "reaches me". There isn't much to it and it is not "difficult". If there is some subtle esoterica about the Urinal or the story surrounding it that has escaped me I will be happy to hear it, but so far it seems that although I think it is a piece of crap I am the only one writing on this blog who knows much about it. Go figure.

148.

George

July 15, 2005, 8:23 AM

From Fridays NY Times

149.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 8:44 AM

Go to http://oilpaintings.com/

Interesting.

150.

Kathleen

July 15, 2005, 2:08 PM

Jake, I think it's admirable that you use public computers to read this site. I mean, if you are at the public library, you only have between 15 minutes and half an hour to wade through a lot of comments in order to make a contribution. It routinely takes me longer than that to get through some of the threads here.

I suppose some people here have never had to use public computers, and don't seem to understand that you might have to skim quite a bit of what has been written already.

I don't quite understand why you are being slammed, but don't let it get you down too much. What you ought to know, though, is that you can bet none of these guys will ever take you up on coffee from a comment suggestion. If you want to meet them, start frequenting the openings they seem to be keen on, such as any Jules Olitski show. But for heaven's sake, don't go to MAC unless you are interested in meeting dreaded Duchamp-philes!!

OP, I don't think I have to defend Duchamp (not sure which post it is anymore to which I ought to reply). I don't agree with you, and think that a rejection of Duchamp is dumb. One may not like Duchamp's contributions to art and art history, but to reject him entirely as a joke is akin to insisting that the earth is flat. Also, I'm as tired by the repetitions of position statements as you are.

151.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 3:23 PM

Kathleen, Duchamp meant what he did to be a joke. To say that treating it that way is akin to thinking the earth is flat is just silly.

By the way, I do my best not to "slam" Jake. I just don't understand half of what he says. Also, I think he may not live in Miami.

152.

Franklin

July 15, 2005, 4:39 PM

Kathleen, I'm not sure what you mean by "rejecting him entirely."

I might be more guilty of slamming Jake than you, Oldpro, but with gems like "who now takes the extreme prejudice?," reminding me that the comments are being archived, when I wrote the script that does so, and generally not getting his point across, I can't take him seriously and have since stopped responding to him.

153.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 5:30 PM

Not that I want to make this blog seem any more like the 'old boys network' that some people make it out to be (and wanting to point out that I'm a much, much younger 'boy' than some here)...

But really...

One may not like Duchamp's contributions to art and art history, but to reject him entirely as a joke is akin to insisting that the earth is flat.

So, if we are allowed to rule out the significance of his "contributions to art and art history", then what are we left with besides jokes?
'L.H.O.O.Q' is a pretty good one, and if Duchy came up with it, I'll tip my hat to the jokester (although it seems likely that it's probably an old French joke, predating Marcel's use of it on a defaced postcard).

But considering Duchamp to be nothing more than an 'enfant terrible', and thinking the earth is flat; are not even close.

Maybe you've been reading too much Thomas Friedman.

154.

jake

July 16, 2005, 12:49 PM

Thnx kathleen
i do live in miami
well, i dont know, but i think i know just about all of you, at least in the way that i have had minimal live interaction with you (tip of the hat)

and actually, i have an hour, sometimes two, depending on the lines,and i do read everything, including links, unless otherwise noted, in which case i speedread, a bit different from skimming.

as for my sense making, i think i do, most of the time, even reading back on it, but to avoid too long of a posting, write synthetically, something i mentioned earlier. I would add links to help clarify, but pubcom's dont seem to allow it (no right click)(only way i have been shown to do this).

in any case, i enjoy this, find it somehow important, and even if you "slam" me what the heck, it just seems silly to act this way in a virtual space, allowing egos into a neccesarilly egoless environment. just a thought.

155.

oldpro

July 16, 2005, 6:16 PM

Thanks Jake. If everyone had your attitude it would be even more fun hassling with each other on this blog. Please keep it up.

156.

Kathleen

July 20, 2005, 11:55 AM

Ai yai yai! It was OP himself who tried to write the Duchy off as "a joke". I do not mind jokiness in any form, "Elle a un chaud cul" is indeed a funny in context, though not typically the type of comment I find to be respectful of women generally, but no-one ever misconstrued M. Duchamp as a feminist! (see: bride stripped bare, etant donnees, etc.)

It seemed that OP was attempting to discount Duchamp's influence/importance on art history history in any fashion, just because OP had had it, and in that context it is in fact like an insistence that the earth is flat: it goes against the facts and stands in favor of an intuitional position which is associated with an historic hierarchy.

157.

flatboy

July 20, 2005, 12:43 PM

Kathleen,

I believe I was the one who got the whole Duchamp thing up and bleeding by using him as an example to respond to a question about aesthetics - and praising him somewhat in the process. Certain characters here could not let the praise pass without comment and so the thing spilled over and over and over, over what, I'm still not sure.

Ultimately I, like you, cited his place in art history. But I must admit I'm sometimes puzzled about why Duchamp got such a high place in the 20th century scheme of things. I can't imagine that many regard him as highly as PIcasso, for instance (I don't), but Duchamp gets lots more ink than P. Or Matisse. Or a lot of very productive, wonderful artists who were better than him. Duchamp had very low output too, which adds to the puzzle. There really isn't much of a body of work to use as context much less to evaluate consistency. And he wasn't a significant writer.

So why do you think he made it to such a high place in the feeding chain? (I don't question at all that he made it.)

Did he do it by NOT creating much, so that little or nothing could stand in the way of those writers who wanted a springboard from which to launch their own thing? I mean, you can say just about anything you want about D., even that he was a pretty good painter, and there is not anything in his work that would contradict it - because there just isn't that much work period.

158.

Franklin

July 20, 2005, 4:00 PM

it goes against the facts and stands in favor of an intuitional position which is associated with an historic hierarchy.

If you really want to incur institutional wrath, you need only threaten to barbecue this particular sacred cow. There's no point in pretending that regard for D.'s work is anti-institutional or anti-hierarchical anymore. On the contrary, he's usable as a trope to sell the latest antics. This was one of my original points above; no one even tried to refute it.

159.

flatboy

July 20, 2005, 4:24 PM

Franklin,

I agree Duchamp is useable to sell the latest antics. But he wasn't useable UNTIL he was highly regarded. Can you speculate about how he came to be so highly regarded? (Same question I asked Kathleen.)

I also agree he is hardly anti-anything now. That seems like an effect of being highly regarded. That makes him part of the institution.

160.

alesh

July 20, 2005, 9:31 PM

flatboy~ I think Duchamp gets talked about a lot, but that's different from being highly regarded; the book I refered to earlier describes him as historicaly significant, but i think there is an unstated premise there that his reputation exceeds his actual talent. Think Thomas Paine: there were many people who argued against the british during the revolution, but he's the one who's remembered. It may be simplification, but it's useful for understanding history.

Duchamp as an actual artist was good (maybe great), but when we talk about him today we mostly use him as a symbol of the idea that anything can be art.

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