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the herald's art coverage

Post #617 • September 5, 2005, 9:12 AM • 158 Comments

Indeed. Additional points:

Don't get me wrong - the MAC show merited coverage, even a lot of coverage. But trying to parse why the Olitski show didn't, at least in the eyes of our printed publications, leads one to depressing conclusions, mostly along the lines of people not having the capability to deal with serious, non-trendy work - real originality, and the weird nonconformity associated with it. I agree that one solid review every week would address everything worth addressing in this town and turn media coverage into less of a zero-sum game. Remember what we're arguing for - just one review a week. That's all. Not daily visual art coverage - just one weekly entry, befitting a major metropolis with an allegedly booming arts scene. But no paper in town will do it, despite repeated, even organized begging from the art community.

Beth Dunlop also freelances for the Herald, so I have no idea why her bio would appear instead of Turner's.

Any way you slice it, Herald.com comes up crazy: bad design, bad navigation, bad archiving, and delusions that its content justifies registration. Their worthless attempt at blogging, linked from CM's post, shows that they don't do new media any better than old.

Artblog.net, February 16, 2005:

The Herald is now the enemy of the South Florida art world. That's not an overstatement - the Miami Herald makes editorial decisions that work against your interests as someone who believes in art's value.

At the time I encouraged people to write to the Herald to express their disappointment about the Herald blowing off the Dorsch tsunami fundraiser in favor of a fluff piece about a book about Cuban art published the previous October. Herald editor Shelly Acoca got back to Alesh (#11) saying that the Herald had plans to expand its art coverage. This never came to pass, of course, and I would encourage Alesh and anyone else to follow up with her (SAcoca@herald.com) to find out why, but only for sport - they demonstrably don't give a shit.

Also at the time I encouraged everyone to discuss how to pound nails in the Herald's coffin. I'm addressing this one on my own, with Go See Art. Thanks for the props, Alesh - soon, very soon, in fact, Go See Art is going to become even more powerful and interactive. It's forthcoming revenue stream looks pretty viable, and its demographic, unlike the Herald's, is expanding.

Comment

1.

alesh

September 5, 2005, 10:39 AM

Acoca seems much better with phones then e-mail; I don't have her phone number handy and oddly, she's disapeared from the Herald's masthead. Maybe because she really DID try to expand features coverage?

I should point out that the Herald has a number of blogs, at least one of which is pretty good.

I didn't read Turner's review too closely, but it did strike me as odd that she considers 90 minutes an unusually long time to spend in a place the size of the MAC.

2.

alesh

September 5, 2005, 11:15 AM

Sorry to abuse the blog format, but I just added a bunch of additional ranting to the post.

3.

Jack

September 5, 2005, 11:24 AM

Out of purely malicious curiosity, I clicked on the link to Turner's review provided by Alesh on his blog. I got the Herald's registration screen, not the review. I don't know how these people could be any more lame or any more clueless. They should simply be ignored completely.

4.

George

September 5, 2005, 12:28 PM

Franklin, in the "why don't you" category....

Why don't you expand the format of GoSeeArt to include reviews, serious page 1 reviews that equal glossy print reviews, I know you are up to it. Put the openings-etc database on virtual page 2?

See if you can get decent photos from the galleries, etc and put a front page together like you wish the herald (whatever) would do. If you get paid to do a review for the free press, see if you can mirror it on the GoSeeArt site (like Kramer et al)

The web is has no boundaries (other than language) and serious reviews will be read by collectors and others with an interest in art. The newspaper art review fills only a very limited need, the glossy magazines another but the web is the new frontier. The web has no real limitation on reproductions, no problem printing and all that and it can be nearly real time.

I think you have the capabilities to this in a way that would make it the number 1 outlet for art information in the Miami area within a season. If Miami artists want change, accessibility, and a local dialog then band together. Breakdown the borders between factions, if need be find someone else to write on genres you have no interest in.

Do it for free for awhile and them sell Ad's, it's all right as long as you can maintain some objectivity which I suspect you can.

5.

Franklin

September 5, 2005, 1:26 PM

I'm not just stopping there, George. The site will involve reviews, in more than one form. Sorry to keep it under wraps - this is going to surprise people, and I want them to enjoy it.

6.

George

September 5, 2005, 1:34 PM

re#5 Franklin, good, that's what I wanted to hear ;-)

7.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 1:46 PM

Sounds excellent Franklin. I think your readership is high enough to make people pay attention. And we need not only a forum but an alternate forum, one which pulls no punches.

8.

George

September 5, 2005, 2:06 PM

OP, a certain bias is acceptable even understandable but beyond that the danger exists that the forum is marginalized as an outlet for "oh, those guys" If that's what you want in Miami, fine, but it wasn't what I had in mind in my previous comment.

9.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 2:27 PM

The editorial policy will be set by Franklin, George, not by me. If he asks someone like me to review a particular kind of show - like Jack's favorite, the Othoniel show at MoCA - he probably has some idea of what he will get. If he wants a different kind of review he will do it another way. He may do it all himself. It's up to him.

But I have a sneaky suspicion he does not want Bland Elisas and Fawning Alfredos doing his reviewing. The blog is already "Oh, those guys", but I think there are a lot of people out there thinking "I'm glad those guys are saying what they are saying". Someone's got to say it, and no one else is.

10.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 2:35 PM

And furthermore, dammit, George, what "bias" are you talking about? I resent that. My "bias" is in favor of good art. There never is very much of it and there never will be. What in the world is wrong with reviewing with that knowledge in mind? What is wrong with speaking out forcefully? What is wrong with separating the wheat from the chaff? What is wrong with having a point of vew, of not perpetuating the warm, fuzzy, bland accomodation of garbage that typifies the media around here? Geez!

11.

alesh

September 5, 2005, 2:46 PM

Have you seen the MAC show, OP?

No?

I think that answers what george means by "bias" (which I suspect is pretty clear to most).

12.

mek

September 5, 2005, 2:53 PM

Lets not worry about any bias for now. George you have no idea how stagnant it is here so any buzzzz of any sort is fine by me, initially anyway. Oldpro, it is good that some of us disagree as it generates better dialogue. In fact i generally disagree with your wheat vs chaff categorizations, but yet here i am. Looking forward to the goseeart expansion franklin. We need it.

13.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 3:10 PM

I agree mek.

Alesh, bias because I have not seen the show?

14.

George

September 5, 2005, 3:21 PM

re #10, Op gee wiz, I was trying to be tactful. Your bias is that what you think is "good art", not everyone agrees. Now, I think I know what "good art" is too, and so does Franklin. So which do we pick, yours? mine? Franklin's? Probably Franklin's, I dub him Editor in Chief, it's his baseball and bat.

Read what I said, I didn't say anything about tough criticism. I spoke to a very real issue which is, that whatever Franklin does will carry a label of sorts. Now, I don't mean an actual "label", I'm thinking about something subtler like the differences you think of when you say consider Artforum vs. Modern Painters for example. There is nothing wrong with having a bias but it is always more interesting if the coverage is more balanced overall.

Now if you want to write a Manifesto, go ahead, I am all ears.

I am interested in real opinions, real analysis and more than that, real conjecture (which probably isn't what should be in the mag) By "real" I mean verbal dialog which addresses the issue, in your opinion it's good art or not and why, an argument supporting that claim. My remark about marginalization I think is valid, does this just become a niche dialogue in a niche market or something which has appeal nationwide? Now you could make it a tight little formalist work, nothing wrong with that except that it will be tagged with "oh, the formalist bunch in Miami" Sorry but true. At the same time I have no problem if Jack wants to write about what he likes or doesn't like as long as I can expect someone else to pick up the ball in a different arena (new media, bla, bla)

I am sure whatever Franklin does will be interesting

15.

mek

September 5, 2005, 3:34 PM

george is right oldpro. but anyway, any sort of coherent coverage is better than vague murmurs. george, i'm sure it will have a slant and you are right to have franklin take that into consideration. it is up to him how large of an audience he wishes to reach or what his long term objectives are. for now i am happy to just hear of SOMETHING happening. think of all the fringe resistance groups (sites/blogs) that will pop up as competition. :-)

16.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 3:46 PM

George, the best art of any time has always been marginalized and so has been the opinion that says it is the best. This does not make me or those who agree with me right but it does say that the best art and the best opinion is always in a "niche". Given that fact i would rather be in a niche than not in a niche, and I would rather not worry about whether or not I am characterized that way. I am not in politics.To hell with it.

As has also been pointed out here, this "formalist bunch" has repeatedly been strongly, rudely and insistently challenged by non-nichers and those challenges have consistently gone down in flames. Instead of "Formalists" can we be called "commensensists", people who make sense and defend their positions well? That's the kind of niche I want to be part of, not that great wallowing mass of esthetically challenged bleating sheep.

I will not tell you why art I like is good because, as I have insistently maintained since I have been writing on this blog, this is impossible. if you think it is possible please tell me how.

17.

George

September 5, 2005, 3:46 PM

Mek, I started out just to give Franklin some support and encouragement.
What would be somewhat radical would be unbiased but biased critical writing. Exploring both sides of the question seems like an appropriately postmodern thing to do.

18.

George

September 5, 2005, 4:06 PM

#16 OP That's the kind of niche I want to be part of…

So, no one is stopping you but I will continue to argue that there are considerably different opinions on what constitutes "good art" Why should yours get precedence over any of the others? Unless you can stand up and say why it's good art, other than just offering a gut opinion, why should I listen to you? Further, if as you maintain it is impossible to say why it is good art then what is the point, why are we even having this discussion?

A little bit of writing and some good pictures would go a long way in covering what is happening down there in Miami. You said in #10 What in the world is wrong with reviewing with that knowledge in mind? What is wrong with speaking out forcefully? What is wrong with separating the wheat from the chaff? What is wrong with having a point of view?

Just what kind of writing did you expect?

19.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 4:18 PM

Of course there are differences of opinion George. Did I say otherwise? Isn't that what we were talking about? What's your point?

I did not ask that my opinions be given preference. Where did that come from?

We discuss art because that is what interests us and we have opinions aboiut it. Why whould the fact that it is impossible to say what makes art good prevent us from doing this?

And, once again, if you know what makes good art please send me a list so we can patent it.

What kind of writing do I expect? What you seem to be asking for, all that nice, evenly-balanced, see-all-sides kind of writing that already bores us to death and which you appear, at least, to favor.

20.

George

September 5, 2005, 5:50 PM

#19 Op, boy talk about putting a stick in the spokes.

In #7 you say And we need not only a forum but an alternate forum, one which pulls no punches. and I took the word "alternate" to indicate a degree of bias without attaching a qualifier to it. So, I remarked in the following comment that one need watch out for the danger of bias marginalizing the forum because a localized niche forum wasn't what I had in mind in comment #4 where I am encouraging Franklin to expand the scope of GoSeeArt.

For whatever reason, you fly off the handle in comment #10 with this remark: And furthermore, dammit, George, what "bias" are you talking about? I resent that. My "bias" is in favor of good art. Well excuse me, who made you king of the hill, ruler of biases? I was only trying to put forth an opinion on how others might view the forum and you egotistically assumed I was speaking of your biases. I later went further and clarified the point, acknowledging that we all have a bias, we all think we know what "good art is" even if we cannot put it into words.

As a result my suggestion was for a wider rather than a narrower scope, a broader bias if you will, because I believe this approach will reach a wider audience. What's so difficult about that? It puts no constraints on the writing and allows for flexibility.

In comment #10, which I quoted, you went on about forceful writing but then in comment #16 you say I will not tell you why art I like is good because, as I have insistently maintained since I have been writing on this blog, this is impossible. So here I am obviously going to be confused, how can someone write forcefully about something that can't be put into words. It would make sense to me if what you mean is that you cannot write about it but someone else might be able to, but that is not what I think you mean

Then you go on with this line What kind of writing do I expect? What you seem to be asking for, all that nice, evenly-balanced, see-all-sides kind of writing that already bores us to death and which you appear, at least, to favor.

Well frankly I wasn't asking for a particular type of writing at all, only a broader scope in the coverage. Opinions differ so it is possible to have two tough but differing opinions on the same subject, happens all the time. Frankly, although I tend to disagree with Jack much of the time, I would enjoy reading what he has to say when he really tackles the subject and doesn't just offer a flip response like he does here so often. I'm not uninformed I've read all the stuff on the newcrit site along with Piri and some others as well.

When you brag on this "formalist bunch" has repeatedly been strongly, rudely and insistently challenged by non-nichers and those challenges have consistently gone down in flames., well I'll be kind and just say if that's what you think will work for a serious forum you are mistaken. There is a discourse here but the "challengers" as you call them leave because they are rudely treated and because the discussions go nowhere.

What I had originally envisioned, based on Franklin's original remarks, was a broader, professionally presented critical forum on the exhibitions in Miami.
I think it is an idea whose time has come and that Franklin is the man to do it.
I looked at a bunch of similar sites over the weekend so I know what is out there and if you skip over the obviously "commercial" ones (Art Critical for example) none of them would be on a par with what I think Franklin might have in mind.

I thought Franklin had a good idea and I was trying to be supportive.

BTW, I spent part of the day going at the NeoCons on Paul Krugman's NY Times comments forum but I'm trying to be polite here

21.

George

September 5, 2005, 6:09 PM

Franklin, I'll give an example of what I was really thinking when I wrote comment #4. I agree that the inadequate coverage of Olitski's exhibition was serious error for a town like Miami which hosts Art Basel and seems to have an small but flourishing art community of its own.

Using this exhibition in retrospect, I envisioned a serious web presentation, more than one little illustration, as many as space would allow. Further, I thought it would be interesting if one of the local writers who has been supportive of Olitski's work wrote the lead review. In addition, Franklin would also write an accompanying piece. Even more extreme might be a third piece written by someone, possibly a (local?) PhD candidate with one foot in the current critical discourse. In some ways, this coverage of what should have been a major show would be not unlike an abbreviated online catalog.

Of course Franklin couldn't do this for every event but the potential for a broader examination of a subject is perfect for the web. It was just an idea, a speculative idea, a conjecture on what might be possible.

22.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 6:38 PM

George you are going around in so many circles I don't know where to start.

I did not say opinions could not be put into words. Where do you get these things? I said, twice here and a hundred times over the course of the blog, that you cannot say what makes art good. Can you say what makes art good? No, you cannot. Can you understand this? That's all I was saying, period.

The challengers who come here are often angry and abusive. We do not treat them badly. We politely discuss what they bring up and they go away. They are free to stay and argue, but they are usually left without much to say because they did not have much to say in the first place. We do not "treat them rudely", unless calmly telling them that they are wrong and why they are wrong is rude. I don't think it is. I guess you do.

I did not say I was "king of the hill", nor did I imply it. You said it, I didn't.

What does "broader scope" mean? Am I against "broader scope"? No. Am I against dissenting opinions? No. Am I against vigorous, wide-open discussion? No. Am I against wishy-washy, toad-ass, obsequious dumbdown art writing? Yes.

You think Franklin has a good idea and you are trying to support it?

So do I, so am I.

23.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 7:13 PM

BTW George, I think your suggestions above are very good.

24.

George

September 5, 2005, 7:22 PM

Op, I am sorry but you are wrong, in the past you personally have treated some new commenters here rudely with your flip remarks and they left.

I also think you, not me, confused the issue between an ability to describe "what is good art" and what you now are calling "opinions". I was confused and trying to find out what you meant when I specifically asked the question "Just what kind of writing did you expect?"

You gave another one of your flip answers which was: And, once again, if you know what makes good art please send me a list so we can patent it. That wasn't what I asked, how can there be any kind of dialog if you only want to make smartass remarks?

Regarding the king of the hill remark, you said this: And furthermore, dammit, George, what "bias" are you talking about? I resent that. My "bias" is in favor of good art.

Well, excuse me, hello, yes I spoke of biases with little if any qualifications and you decided I was talking about you. I think that is a bit egocentric, or maybe paranoid, hence my king of the hill remark which alludes to the idea that you are thinking everything is revolving around you. It's not.

You are making a lot of assumptions about what I am thinking. I was not going around in circles, I was pointing out specifically where I take exception to what you think I said and I was trying to be specific about what I objected to. Now you are ranting on the meaning of "broader scope", what is it about these two words that you don’t understand? Broader meaning wider, a little bigger and scope meaning the breadth of the topics to be covered. You are bringing up wishy-washy, toad-ass, obsequious dumbdown art writing Did I say anything that even implied I was supporting such a thing? Come on, you know I'm smarter than that.

25.

Kathleen

September 5, 2005, 7:26 PM

After all the terrible news, I'm genuinely glad to see OP's signature skill at making something out of nothing in full effect. It's the old "you can't peg me down, I don't think what you think I think, but ultimately we all agree that good art is good" number, and it warms my heart. Sincerely. I apologze for addressing the writer, but I swear to all things swearable, that I have nothing but charity in my heart when I write it.

George, you've got good ideas. Here's the lone problem in town: a (local?) PhD candidate with one foot in the current critical discourse. The problematic word combination being "local PhD candidate". The more minor problem being the "one foot in the current critical discourse". We've got plenty of people in Miami who do have that foot, curators and artists mostly (vs. gallerists), but they seem to be too busy working, making art and curating to write reviews. I'm sure more will come out of the woodwork once goseeart is fully functioning. I hope.

26.

George

September 5, 2005, 7:40 PM

OK, I'm done ranting, it was a spin off from running against Roves lackeys. No harm no foul.

From where I stand Franklin might be able to do something never done before which is to develop a magazine like forum.

Miami is uniquely suited to this, NYC,LA and Chicago already have a decent art infrastructure in place which one would have to compete with.

Miami has some art infrastructure in place, but from what I can tell it is not good enough that he could not divert some of the advertising revenue stream to help finance the site. Galleries and other venues will pay if they think a large number of people are using the site.

Franklin has custom coded a much better blog format for dealing with commenters than the current commercial products and I suspect whatever extension he makes to this foe the broader format will be sweet.

The exact format is Franklin's deal but the very fact there are a core group of willing commenters here enables a lot of feedback in the early development stages. Free market research.

A pretty good idea

27.

George

September 5, 2005, 7:52 PM

Kathleen, I wasn't sure when I brought up the PhD candidate remark if there was such a course of study in Miami. As a talking point I brought it up because I live in the real world where art criticism continued to evolve after CG. What I was alluding to was someone who wasn't quite so hostile towards the postmodern notion but that wasn't a card carrying member. As far as I can conjecture, much of the obtuse "critical theory" could implode if someone can come along and chart a clear path from the deconstructionist rubble. This is a real world audience which is relatively educated, if not all in Miami, at least partially, collectively. I think a pluralistic set of ideas, given fair exposure, will attract interesting support and generate the dialog.

28.

Matty

September 5, 2005, 8:07 PM

Sorrry, but it is SO amusing to me how George's imprecise reading and writing allows him to argue any position, yet remain unable to understand even the simplest rebuttal! Infuriating, but somehow, hilarious nonetheless.

I'm on your side here Oldpro, but otherwise, you're on your own with this discussion. Hope you find some value in it (even if it's just a chuckle and a shake of the head).

Good luck with the project Franklin... remember to keep your scope broad.

29.

oldpro

September 5, 2005, 10:20 PM

George, if I treated anyone rudely, give me an example. One good example will do, and i will back off everything I have maintained here. But it has to be self-evident.

If I implied that you were in favor of low-level discussion it was because I sensed it in what you were saying. If I am wrong, so much the better.

I am not hostile to the "postmodernn notion", as i have made clear here so often. In fact I am in favor of it. I am opposed to bad art and bad writing about it.

30.

ahab

September 5, 2005, 10:23 PM

I want critical writing about what is happening, and I want to know where good art is being made and shown, and I think Franklin can deliver. I look forward to the day when he can jet around to see and write about good art all over the place.

Kathleen, by post-count or word-count George has made a much bigger deal out of nothing than oldpro. George's comments are also more aptly characterized by "I don't think what you think I think" than oldpro's, mostly because George doesn't communicate as clearly as he thinks he does.

I highly value oldpro's particular bias toward good art. And his brand of humour. And his low tolerance for sappy thinking or cheesy writing (maybe he is lack-prose intolerant). And his admonishments. And usually his poetry.

31.

George

September 5, 2005, 10:43 PM

Bill Wilson

32.

George

September 5, 2005, 11:02 PM

#30, Ahab, go back and read comment #4, That was what I had to say on the subject initially. The whole thing got blown out of proportion.

It has nothing to do with me worrying about whether or not anyone agrees with me, I frequently take the other side of an argument to see how the thought develops.

I am a speculative thinker willing to venture into areas which one might not ever possibly pin down with a concrete conclusion. This doesn't mean these areas of thought or experience don't exist, just that we have an inadequate ability to describe them in words. I have been an artist for nearly forty years, a lot of things Oldpro speaks of I know firsthand as well. I understand what he means when he says "good art", I describe it differently, but we mean the same thing. In other areas we disagree, what's so surprising about that, if we all agreed I'd go slit my wrists, boring, boring boring.

Finally, I have no vested interest in Franklin's project, I'm up here in NYC, so getting a better view of what's happening in Miami is about all it is for me. For the artists in Miami it could be a big deal, run with it.

33.

Jack

September 5, 2005, 11:27 PM

"Flip" (#20), George? Do you mean sarcastic? That would fit, but it's not the same thing. "Flip" implies lack of care or concern, indifference, taking things too lightly. Do you think that describes me? If anything I've posted has given you that impression, you got it wrong--and then some. Maybe you mean "nasty," but I'm not about to stop expressing contempt for the contemptible because it's "rude." I'm not here to play nice, George; I'm here because, when it comes to art, I mean business, as in calling it exactly as I see it. You don't have to agree with me, but you'd better believe I'm not about to emulate Alfredo Triff.

34.

Kathleen

September 5, 2005, 11:30 PM

Ditto on the Bill Wilson, Oldpro.

Ahab, after reading Matty's comment, I think that perhaps I am the opposite of Matty. George's writing makes perfect sense to me, while I feel that Oldpro tends to present contradictory, and occasionally nonsensical, positions quite frequently.

It's not even that I necessarily disagree with Oldpro, it's just that a good number of conversations here take a circuitous path, beginning predictably, and ending predictably. I do appreciate it most when Oldpro actually talks about artwork instead of generalities about artwork. Jack too. Jack is a fine writer. Nasty, but skilled.

One thing that I appreciate about George's positions are that his arguments and ideas are not linked to his aesthetic preferences.

George, Oldpro, Matty and Jack, I'm sorry for talking about you without directly addressing you. I don't think it's good form.

I have a particular bias, and that is that I tend to think of the "good art is good" business as sappy thinking. I also have a bias against solipsism.

Ahab, you should come down to Miami during Art Basel. Our winter will feel just like your summer. I also think you ought to try to show down here. Matty too. All of you Canadians. Also investigate submitting for some of the art in public places commissions.

35.

George

September 5, 2005, 11:30 PM

Jack, gee wiz, all I meant was that I would be interested in reading what you would write when you're really writing somewhere else besids this blog. What's the problem?

36.

ahab

September 5, 2005, 11:44 PM

George, don't tell me to go back and read. I'm tempted to give you a similar directive - but I don't want to navigate any more of the shifting shoals that you call speculative thought. Instead I'll defer, as you're the elder.

37.

ahab

September 5, 2005, 11:49 PM

Thanks for the invite Kathleen.

38.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 12:17 AM

Jack should not be characterized as 'nasty" when all he does is present a very strong and distinct personal position. That's not right, Kathleen.

And next time I am "nonsensical", would you please point it out at the time? Whatever my faults, I don't think I am ever "nonsensical", and coming in after the fact with an unsupported accusation doesn't hack it. You are prone to making backhanded characterizations way after the fact. If you don't like something take it on up front where it can be responded to with the evidence at hand.

Furthermore, give us your considered opinion on "good art" rather than prattle about "solipcisms".

And you praise George because "his arguments and ideas are not linked to his aesthetic preferences." Do you hear what you are saying? I could never, never separate my "arguments and ideas" from my "esthetic preferences". They are one and the same! Good Grief!

You are close to the mark with Bill Wilson, George. I found his very long winded, sophomoric entries tiresome and I said so. He wilted like an autumn leaf. This was too bad in a way, because he wasn't really otherwise objectionable. Franklin even felt sympathetic to him. Nothing prevented him from fighting back, however. I think you all just felt sorry for him because he seemed so innocent. But basically he was just another blowhard.

Ahab, no ageism, please. "Lack-prose intolerant" is pretty good, if a little forced. Did anyone get it? Just checking.

39.

Kathleen

September 6, 2005, 2:34 AM

OP:

Jack used the word nasty before I did. I thought that was clear. I don't actually consider Jack to be nasty.

I think this is total nonsense: "I could never, never separate my "arguments and ideas" from my "esthetic preferences". They are one and the same!"

If taken as a a rational statement, it means that you will never, ever be able to hold a worthwhile discussion with someone who has entirely different aesthetic preferences, but more importantly, it means that you would never be able to learn anything from such a discussion. If you prefer square blueberry pancakes to round raspberry pancakes, you will be unable to even discuss round raspberry pancakes beyond saying that they are not square and not blueberry and not at the same time square and blueberry.

It can only be nonsense.

I don't make "backhanded characterizations after the fact". I try to be very careful to preface my opinions with "I feel" or "I appreciate" statements, and to address the writing instead of the writer. When I do address the writer instead of the writing I apologize for it if I was unaware of having done it, or I call it out at the time. I talk about someone's arguments, points and words, generally, without resorting to calling people blowhards.

It would be sad to think that anyone here imagines my feelings actually characterize you, as an individual.

I certainly wasn't prattling about solipsism, but I would consider the "good art is good" precept to be solipsistic, as well as ideas bound to aesthetic preference.

Perhaps unfortunately, I am not the kind of person who believes that a challenge issued me demands answering. Thus, I will not be goaded into attempting to elucidate my opinion on "good art" in the space of Franklin's comments discussion for your satisfaction.

I also fenced long enough to know not to lunge into the space of such a seemngly wide-open invitation.

40.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 8:10 AM

I think we are talking about two different things, Kathleen. Obviously I can take a debater's or devil's advocate point of view and argue any way at all, for whatever reason. But if I am going to honestly and straightforwardly discuss art matters whatever I say will be always informed by my esthetic preferences. There is nothting even faintly nonsensical about that, and calling it nonsense twice does not make it so.

As for characterizing, you said above that I make "something out of nothing" and "Oldpro tends to present contradictory, and occasionally nonsensical, positions quite frequently... a good number of conversations here take a circuitous path, beginning predictably, and ending predictably." I don't care what you think of me "as an individual" or how you "preface" your "opinions". I do care when you make unsupported accusations.

The solipsism, if that's what you want to call it, was yours; you said "good art is good", I didn't.

41.

George

September 6, 2005, 8:52 AM

re:#38 Op,

You said in comment #29, "George, if I treated anyone rudely, give me an example. One good example will do, and I will back off everything I have maintained here" and I gave an example.

Had you just said "close to the mark" or "ok," that would have been a sufficient reply of acknowledgement. But, rather than leave it lie there, it appears you felt obligated to explain yourself, as if a reason for rudeness, would take some bite off the wound or at least salve the consciousness. Here was a person who, has lived in NYC since the end of Abstract Expressionism, lived abroad, worked in the arts, is better educated than most of us here and was interested enough to contribute to this forum.

What he wrote about Franklin's painting was a serious effort, dense and potentially difficult to read. So, we have a choice, we can just dismiss it or we can ask a question to start a dialog. A remark can do wonderful things, opening up a discussion where one had not been before or it can turn off the spigot, stopping the whole process before the bud.

People reveal themselves in their choices of words, the reveal their knowledge, their passions, their insecurities, themselves. And, you note, with relish, "He wilted like an autumn leaf." Score one for oldpro, is this what it is all about?

And, you want to dismiss him as a blowhard because he writes in a style you don't care for? Is it remotely possible this opinion might also be applied to you?

OK, now everyone can relax,
back to 50's doo-wop thinking,
yeh uh huh, yeh uh huh, yeh uh huh
yeh uh huh, yeh uh huh, yeh uh huh

42.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 9:13 AM

I believe I dismissed one of his extremely long and at times incomprehensible statements with a sarcastic comment and I regret that. The wilted leaf comment was perhaps too aggressive. I was raised on vigorous discussion and argument and only resisted my father's insistence that I go to law school by basically just running off to NYC after college. I tend to be somewhat too impulsive when I get impatient. It's a fault.

43.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 9:15 AM

Also, I think my statements are clear and I keep them as short as possible. I don't think "blowhard" would be accurate for me.

44.

George

September 6, 2005, 9:16 AM

Well see...I was raised on vigorous discussion and argument

Me too, but my mother taught me to walk on the curb side of a lady and to open the door for her.

45.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 9:38 AM

Me too, George. I am not uncivil and I have reguarlly insisted on civility on this blog. I think that comment was uncalled for.

46.

George

September 6, 2005, 9:48 AM

It's just the facts jack. I don't know about you, that was about me, not you.

47.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 10:04 AM

George, please, that is just blatantly disingenuous. Lets have done with this.

48.

Jack

September 6, 2005, 10:20 AM

The problem (#35), George, is that I am not flip, whatever else you may find me. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. If you feel compelled to characterize me or anyone else on this blog (which, by the way, is of questionable utility), then you need to choose your words more carefully.

49.

ahab

September 6, 2005, 10:21 AM

I immediately picked up on Kathleen's intitial statement that George's "...arguments and ideas are not linked to his aesthetic preferences." But oldpro got to it quicker. And George accidentally refuted it with: "People reveal themselves in their choices of words, they reveal their knowledge, their passions, their insecurities, themselves."

Whatever side one thinks one is arguing, one's preferences inevitably rise to the surface to be seen by others. Preferences predominate.

50.

Kathleen

September 6, 2005, 10:41 AM

OP, you said this:

"I will not tell you why art I like is good because, as I have insistently maintained since I have been writing on this blog, this is impossible. if you think it is possible please tell me how."

and

"I said, twice here and a hundred times over the course of the blog, that you cannot say what makes art good. Can you say what makes art good? No, you cannot."

If this is true then the only thing that can be said about good art is that it is good. You HAVE said that statement numerous times, so many that you have characterized yourself quite well, without any help from me.

Consider Matty's statement in comparison to mine:

"Sorrry, but it is SO amusing to me how George's imprecise reading and writing allows him to argue any position, yet remain unable to understand even the simplest rebuttal!"

and mine

"George's writing makes perfect sense to me, while I feel that Oldpro tends to present contradictory, and occasionally nonsensical, positions quite frequently"

Matty left no room for George's reading and writing to be anything but imprecise, and his understanding dense, while my statement, in both cases, indicated that these perceptions were mine, and mine alone. Does my perception of your arguments as nonsense mean that your arguments are IN FACT, nonsense? If so, you give me more power than you ought. Discount the prefacing statements at your own emotional peril. Also note that Matty's harsher characterisations were allowed to slide, while mine caused me to be called out.

About the "something out of nothing" comment. This example:

"And furthermore, dammit, George, what "bias" are you talking about? I resent that. My "bias" is in favor of good art. There never is very much of it and there never will be. What in the world is wrong with reviewing with that knowledge in mind? What is wrong with speaking out forcefully? What is wrong with separating the wheat from the chaff? What is wrong with having a point of vew, of not perpetuating the warm, fuzzy, bland accomodation of garbage that typifies the media around here? Geez!"

is a total overreaction to a statement by George which wasn't even addressed to you, personally. It was a statement that was itself bland; everybody, every media institution, every blog has a bias, being asked to recognize the existence of bias is not the kind of challenge to one's person which you made it out to be. Your response was a major, emotional tangent, something most people in any other cirucmstance could easily call "making something out of nothing". It is a behavior which is somewhat endearing, as it indicates how strongly you feel about things. But especially the "Geez!" on the end; that's precious.

Shortly thereafter, you then say this:

"George, the best art of any time has always been marginalized and so has been the opinion that says it is the best. This does not make me or those who agree with me right but it does say that the best art and the best opinion is always in a "niche". Given that fact i would rather be in a niche than not in a niche, and I would rather not worry about whether or not I am characterized that way. I am not in politics.To hell with it.

As has also been pointed out here, this "formalist bunch" has repeatedly been strongly, rudely and insistently challenged by non-nichers and those challenges have consistently gone down in flames. Instead of "Formalists" can we be called "commensensists", people who make sense and defend their positions well? That's the kind of niche I want to be part of, not that great wallowing mass of esthetically challenged bleating sheep."

and this:

"Of course there are differences of opinion George. Did I say otherwise? Isn't that what we were talking about? What's your point?

I did not ask that my opinions be given preference. Where did that come from?

We discuss art because that is what interests us and we have opinions aboiut it. Why whould the fact that it is impossible to say what makes art good prevent us from doing this?"

You started out being outraged at the suggestion of "bias" (your quotes), then you amply demonstrated and defended enormous bias, then you acted as if it wasn't bias at all but merely differences of opinion, then you circled back to the beginning with "isn't that what we were talking about?".

Much ado about nothing.

Along the way you talked of niche marginalization and rude challengers, formalism and commensensism, and you also ignored other posts commenting on bias. You also answered charges no-one but yourself made, such as "I did not ask that my opinions be given preference" and "why would the fact that it is impossible to say what makes are good prevent us from doing this?"

You presented no consistent argument, and instead responded emotionally to each of George's posts, a tactic which scattered your own positions.

In many cases, your arguments are not arguments, but rather ad hominem statements (blowhard, wilted leaf --two good examples for today).

Ideas and arguments bound to aesthetic preference are solipsistic because there is no external referent outside of your own preference. Therefore, there is no argument possible.

In my experience, successful "vigorous" discussion and argument precludes the tactics I mentioned above. I think a successful discussion or argument is one which is resolved on common ground.

If you were either a formalist or a commensensist, you would see that you don't need to take a devil's advocate position in order to be able to see or say that the round and square pancakes are both pancakes.

51.

George

September 6, 2005, 11:05 AM

Jack, #48. OK, so maybe I chose the wrong word, I was trying to avoid being mean spirited. I appologize and hope I get the chance to read some of your critical work someday.

52.

Matty

September 6, 2005, 1:15 PM

Oldpro, are you chuckling yet, or just shaking your head in frustration?

53.

Matty

September 6, 2005, 1:25 PM

Franklin, can we somehow re-name this thread, maybe to "Oldpro's Inquisition"... or maybe just "Making Something out of Nothing"?

I was commenting last week to Ahab (in the flesh, not here) that this blog has been 'a little funny' (for lack of a better term) for the last little while, and was speculating that, given the goegraphy of most of its participants, was possibly due to stresses imposed in the wake of Katrina. I hope everything gets back to normal soon.

I was thinking just now though, that despite the rather angry squabbling of late, this post reads like a family fight (although its a strange sit-com-esque or reality-TV Art Family) around the dinner table... rude comments fly around from both sides, some more veiled than others, and we get mad as hell at each other, and storm off to our rooms... only to come back to the table for the next meal.

54.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 1:51 PM

Kathleen your conclusion is wrong, just like Georges, because you are not thinking through what you are saying. Acknowledging that you cannot say what makes art good does not preclude discussion. No one has even been able to say what makes art good (except for trivial or circular reasons; I feel I have to say that here). I can't. You can't. George can't. But we discuss it all the time, don't we?

You write "If this is true then the only thing that can be said about good art is that it is good. You HAVE said that statement numerous times, so many that you have characterized yourself quite well, without any help from me."

I never made that statement.

I reacted strongly to George's statement of particularized bias because I do not believe it is true about me. If anyone else does they are free to say so, but as always I would like the statement to be backed up. I assume when he starts talking about "Formalists" and all that he is including me. I am sure he will agree that this is true.

You quote me a lot here but I do not find the sources for my "enormous bias" or "circling back". I was referring directly to something George wrote to which you do not refer, so I don't understand what you are driving at.

You said I answered charges that had never been made. George wrote "Why should yours (preferences) get precedence over any of the others?" . Couldn't you find that, or what?

"why would the fact that it is impossible to say what makes are good prevent us from doing this?" was not "answering a charge". It doesn't even look like an answer to a charge. it was a response to the same misunderstanding you yourself fell into (see first paragraph)

Wilted leaf is not "ad hominem" because it was directed at the argument not the man. Blowhard is ad hominem and I actually feel it was only fully justified when I used it on Arthur Danto, who is, I'm afraid, a blowhard. I don't defend this type of usage very strongly because I call out other people on it, so I am being somewhat hypocritical. But I do not do it often.

I don't understand that pancake thing. Sorry.

Would you please look up the word "solipsistic"?

OK? I will be happy to respond further, but if you stop I will too, gratefully.

55.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 1:54 PM

That's OK George. But you were trying to "avoid being spirited"? Why would you want to do that?

You're right, Matty, it is like a family feud. Don't I know it.

56.

Matty

September 6, 2005, 3:57 PM

Re: 'Formalism'

Greenberg once wrote about "formalism", in an article in 'Artforum' from 1967 (quoted below):
"The only definition of "formalism" with regard to art that my
unabridged Webster gives is: "Emphatic or predominant attention to
arrangement, esp. to prescribed or traditional rules of composition, in
painting and sculpture." My impression is that the word acquired its present broader, and different, meaning when it became the name of an avant-garde Russian literary movement of the time of the First World War that proclaimed "form" as the main thing in verse and prose. Soon afterwards it became another of the "isms" in the Bolshevik lexicon of abuse, where it means modernist and avant-garde art and literature in general. Whatever its connotations in Russian, the term has acquired ineradicably vulgar ones in English. This is why I was surprised to see it come into currency not so long ago in American art writing. No proper literary critic would dream of using it. More recently certain artists have been referred to as belonging to a "formalist" school for no other reason than their having been championed by certain critics whom some other critics call "formalist." This is vulgarity with a vengeance.
One reason among others why the use of the term "formalism" is
stultifying is that it begs a large part of the very difficult question as to
just what can be sensibly said about works of art. It assumes that "form"
and "content" in art can be adequately distinguished for the purposes of
discourse. This implies in turn that discursive thought has solved just those problems of art upon whose imperviousness to discursive thinking the very possibility of art depends."

This last paragraph touches on a central fact of art. I suspect Oldpro understands this fact, as his comments make plain. I also suspect, from what I've read above, that this is not understood by others here, which inevitably results in the discourse going around and around in circles, seemingly without possibility of progress.

57.

oldpro

September 6, 2005, 5:38 PM

yeah, Matty, Greenberg could nail it.

I would like to see a lot of folks write that last paragraph on the blackboard 100 times, or at least until they understood it.

58.

Elizabeth

September 6, 2005, 8:40 PM

Oldpro; could I just make a 100 photo copies?? hehe

59.

Matty

September 7, 2005, 1:17 PM

In order to address possible or perceived biases, maybe art criticism/journalism COULD benefit from a Siskel & Ebert type approach.

A few pages back, I was trying to draw people out to identify their viewpoints on Duchamp's ******, in an attept to pin down the range of opinion on it... I think I got it down to 4 distinct positions (although too few people wanted to participate in the experiment, so this may not be exhaustive).

If an art review were compiled by 4 reviewers (Siskel, Ebert, Sisbert, and Ekel) that distinctly cover a range of viewpoints, the readers can identify their own tastes with one or more of the reviewers' expressed tastes. If a show gets two thumbs up and two down, the reader can see who's thumbs are whose, and decide accordingly whether the show might be worth their time. If the show gets f thums up, its a fair bet that it will be appreciated by most viewers... this is the blockbuster. If a show gets no thumbs, then it's clearly a bomb.

60.

oldpro

September 7, 2005, 1:39 PM

I like the thumbs up thumbs down approach. Maybe in the spirit of the blog there can be a section, separate from the regular blog, for any particular show into which anyone can place a short review.

Franklin might have to adjust his rules for this (no mothers of artists allowed, etc)

61.

Kathleen

September 7, 2005, 11:24 PM

Hi.

Has dessert been served yet?

OP, the "that statement" statement was unclear, I meant that you have said (approx.) "no one can say what makes art good", not what I said "good art is good". Sorry. Lack of clarity.

And, I did in fact miss that bit that George said until the next day. I do have a hard time constructing an argument here which relies on going back to certain posts for information. It would have been better if I'd copied and pasted the relevent info into some other file for reference, but that begins to seem a little out of hand.

I think that sometimes when I read artblog there is some type of virtual injection of testosterone which freaks me the eff out. I don't really like behaving the way I do here sometimes, but part of me feels pushed to do so. It may be your influence, something about the value you place on "fighting back", which is revealing, because one can only fight back if one is first being fought with. It comes off as bully behavior to me [note: not saying "oldpro is a bully"], so I respond the way I would to a bully, which would be to kick 'em in the nuts. Sorry.

Anyway. Here's what I'd like. Less of a situation where people feel like they are fighting, and less offense given and taken. More constructive discussion, less us/them (whoever).

I happen to believe that Miami's art community is a pretty strong community, and I don't think a sense of marginalization on anyone's part is as true as it seems to be felt to be. Even though some of you feel a dearth of good art in town more than others of us, there is still plenty of art being made, and how we respect each other as artmakers will dictate a lot about how this town will grow.

62.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 12:23 AM

Kathleen,
when I read artblog there is some type of virtual injection of testosterone which freaks me the eff out

I guess we really must be opposites... I find it's always the estrogen-laden post on here that freak me out more.

63.

Kathleen

September 8, 2005, 1:40 AM

Matty, maybe not so much, actually. There are certain girly comments which make my blood curdle.

64.

George

September 8, 2005, 1:57 AM

For the life of me I can't understand what everyone is afraid of.

At the start of this series of comments I offered a speculation on where Franklin might direct GoSeeArt. He took my minor offering quite graciously.

A few comments later I suggested avoiding undue bias which I felt could potentially marginalize the perception of the forum by outsiders. When I said this, I was assuming Franklin would want to reach as wide an audience as possible. If that is not the case and he decides he wants to target the forum to a niche audience, then my comment was not relevant. By "bias" I was referring to differences of personal taste, specifically a narrower but targeted point of view. Again, the veracity or usefulness of this observation depends on how Franklin envisions his project.

From that point forward the entire discussion was derailed from my original intent of simply supporting Franklin's idea.

I did not bring up the issue of formalism at all. So I don't understand how any discussion on that topic can refer back to me without making unsubstantiated assumptions about my point of view.

Kathleen your broader view is appreciated.

65.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 8:19 AM

Kathleen you write that there is " some type of virtual injection of testosterone which freaks me the eff out." I can understand that , and you are certainly welcome to your feelings.

Mine are different, obviously. Art is my life's work, and Franklin has provided a forum here which encourages the expression of sentiments and opinions which are opposed to majority opinion and widesprread conditions in the art business which I find odious and corrosive to everything I value in that life's work. If it takes "testosterone" to fight this battle then "testosterone" it is.

George, I may well have overreacted. It is a fault of mine, deriving from what I said above. I know cery well what your intentions were, I just do not agree with your prescriotion for all the "fair and balanced" stuff. How would this work? How would it be enforced? By asking people with strong opinions not to contribute? By inisting that whenever anyone had an opinion that someone else express the opposite opinion? By providing rules that prevent people from having strong opinions? By having Franklin edit the blog so strong opinion is not represented? Don't you understand that imposing this kind of editorial control would squeeze the life out of the blog and lead to the very opposite of what you advocate? You do not reach a "wide audience" by blandifying. No one will care. The present success and wide readership of this blog derive from the very opposite of what you advocate.

i also objected to your use of the word "bias" and still do. "Bias" is a loaded word in these PC times. Your use of it amounts to "do not have a strong, one-sided opinion". In #64 you have defined "bias" as "differences of personal taste", and you want to "avoid undue bias". So this means you want to "avoid undue differences of personal taste". I don't know what you consider "undue", but encouraging the expression of "personal taste", and the discussion thereof, is precisely what a blog like this is here for. And I am convinced that a large part of the reason Franklin started this thing in the first place is that there is an insifficient opportunity for "undue" differences of taste and strong opinion to be expressed in the first place.

66.

George

September 8, 2005, 10:12 AM

All of my remarks have been directed towards my speculations on how Franklin might choose to organize an expanded view of GoSeeArt. Nothing I said should be construed as a desire on my part to impose any restrictions, other than Franklin's TOS, on this blog. How did anything I have ever written get construed into that?

After a brief back in fourth with Franklin it appeared to me that he is intending to expand the scope of GoSeeArt. I am thinking this might occur something along the lines of an e-magazine and that in such a form it would naturally have an editor and some degree of editorial policy. To me at least, this does not appear to be an onerous policy even though it would reflect the point of view (i.e. bias) of the editor. I seriously do not comprehend how anyone can view this as problematic.

I further assumed that the blog would remain more or less the same as it is now. No doubt it might become more closely associated with GoSeeArt because of the proximity to whatever critical writing or reviews are published there. In this respect the blog might naturally have moments of discussion which were prompted by GoSeeArt. Other times it would function just like it does now

67.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 11:40 AM

It got "con strued into that" because you essentially said Franklin should "avoid undue differences of personal taste" to gain a "wider audience". I disagreed.

Matty had a good suggestion, viz his "thumbs up" post above, that would represent all sides, which is a kind of "balance" I heartily agree with. You advocated avoiding "bias" to gain readership. I am not interested in participating in a blog like that and I thought I should say so.

68.

mek

September 8, 2005, 11:52 AM

george's points were well taken by me, and i hope by franklin, to whom they were addressing. all of the rest is puffery as usual. that's what makes this blog so entertaining. we all reveal so much about our personalities and distinct opinions through writing; isn't that part of the purpose of a blog anyway? i don't really see this as testosterone vs hormonal waxing and waning - to me it's more of attack dog vs smirking cat. I for one am interested in the ongoing debates about art and what makes "good" art, per se, as i feel that it is necessary. however, it is my hope that we can gain insight from each other and appear less dictatorial.

69.

George

September 8, 2005, 12:15 PM

Please do not misconstrue what I had to say.
In comment #66 I explicitly deny any attempt to distort anything I have ever written here, literal or implied, as a suggestion to impose any restrictions or censorship on this blog.

My earlier suggestion was "for a wider rather than a narrower scope, a broader bias if you will, because I believe this approach will reach a wider audience." I later attempted to clarify the term bias as an editorial point of view. Again, I must emphasize, this applies to the expanded concept for GoSeeArt and has nothing to do with the blog.

If one feels that what I describe as a wider scope to the editorial point of view (for GoSeeArt) would lead to a lower quality of critical writing it demonstrates a complete lack of faith in the writers who may participate in the process and in Franklin's ability to act as an editor. I find it hard to believe that encouraging an open mind, when deciding what topics to discuss in an e-magazine, would necessarily lead to a collapse of the intellect as oldpro continues to imply.

70.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 12:20 PM

MEK your comments are cute and amusing but in fact George and I were talking about real differences of opinion that can matter to the blog.

Instead of chirping about "puffery" and "personalities" and staying smugly above the fray why not give us an opinion about the issue at hand?

That is supposed to be what we are doing here.

71.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 12:22 PM

Yeah, Oldpro... Despite what you think you may have read in George's previous posts, all he has ever been saying is that having an open mind is good? Isn't that obvious? Why can't you understand him, when he's been so clear? What is wrong with you?

72.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 12:31 PM

Once again you come up with "open mind". Good grief!

George, having strong opinions does not betray a "closed mind". We hashed this out thoroughly some months ago in a discussion you participated in. I am surproised you bring up the term again in this context.

No, you did not suggest "censorship". But you made suggestions which in my opinion could only be taken to their logical conclusions by something that resembles it. My problem with what you were saying is that it was too broad and not thought through.

Instead of going on about bland, unspecific nice-sounding generalities about "broader scope" and "wider bias" (whatever that means) and such like, how abour specific suggestions? Matty came up with some good ones. How about you?

Please, George, I have no lack of faith in Franklin's ability to run this blog well nor have I ever expressed any. I disagreed with you, I did not predict what Franklin might do.

73.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 12:34 PM

As I have said here before, if you are too open minded your brains fall out.

74.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 12:35 PM

George definitely has one of the openest minds around... No argument there.

George post #14
Now you could make it a tight little formalist work, nothing wrong with that except that it will be tagged with "oh, the formalist bunch in Miami" Sorry but true.

George post #64
I did not bring up the issue of formalism at all. So I don't understand how any discussion on that topic can refer back to me without making unsubstantiated assumptions about my point of view.

George post #69
Please do not misconstrue what I had to say.

Are me and Oldpro the only ones on here who actually read these posts?
Gosh, why oh why can't we understand, when it's all so clear?

75.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 12:44 PM

I guess our brains fell out, Matty.

76.

George

September 8, 2005, 12:46 PM

oldpro says but in fact George and I were talking about real differences of opinion that can matter to the blog

This is not the case. Oldpro I am afraid you must be misunderstanding a critical distinction I have been making since comment #4. I am assuming that, what I'm now referring to as an e-magazine, for lack of a more precise term, is an expansion of what Franklin has started in GoSeeArt and should be considered separate from the blog

The two distinct entities can be linked to one another but I am assuming they would be separate. So what passes for discussion here would in no way be a part of GoSeeArt other that the possibility of it being something like a "readers comments blog" If that is the case, it would be like the NY Times (which closed the comments pages today) and a free for all where your worst fear would come true.

In fact, the truth is that we were not talking about the same thing at all and that is the problem.

77.

Jack

September 8, 2005, 12:48 PM

The point is not "niche" audience vs. mass audience; the real issue is being honest, forthright, uncompromising and pulling no punches, or calling it as one really sees it and letting the chips fall where they may. If more or less people respond to it or get it, so be it. Anything resembling politics is to be considered anathema.

78.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 12:52 PM

The problem with contemporary art criticism is not that it expresses too much bias (or, to be more precise, judgment), but that it doesn't express enough of it.

Looking through the rest of the pages of your average paper, this lack suffered by art writing is in stark contrast to the strong bias (judgments) unabashedly expressed on every other page. Political opinions are offered, no holds barred, and readers come to understand the writer's particular stance, and learn which columnist they likely agree with, and which columnists they think are nuts. Same goes for the restaurant reviewer, the sports commentators, and the movie critics. We expect these people to have strong views, and to express them honestly. If they didn't, the criticism is valueless, as criticism.

The accessability of movie criticism, and the format that it is presented in, makes me think, why can't art criticism be presented in a similar, populist manner... lose the jargon, and show us the thumbs. Or, if it's not a panel but a single reviewer, accompany the review with 0-3 stars (people checking out which movie they should go to often don't read the whole review, but just check how many stars it got... good for people afraid of 'spoilers').

79.

George

September 8, 2005, 1:03 PM

Jack, while I think reaching wider audience is desirable, I agree that it should not occur at the expense of the critical writing. I am not advocating the "dumb down" principle and I don't have any differences of opinion with you remarks. I am assuming that someone will be an editor and steer the ship away from the rocks.

80.

mek

September 8, 2005, 1:11 PM

oldpro, you are out of line and frankly offensive. i am not a bird, thus i do not chirp. nor am i cute or amusing. i am serious and dull. i did give my opinion. and i am here because i choose to be. it is not for you to set the guidelines as to how much one is to input, or how little. or for how one is to say it. your legacy follows you based on what you set forth.

81.

George

September 8, 2005, 1:17 PM

Matty, although I earlier suggested the possibility of more than one writer doing a review for an exhibition, I am of a mind this may prove to be unpractical. Like I said Artforum tried this once or twice and it never stuck.

As for the thumbs up, thumbs down idea, I find it trivial and distasteful because it panders to the audience in a way Jack objected to earlier. It tells one nothing about the art, only something about the reviewer (or whomever gets to vote) We already do this here on the blog indirectly, "I like this", "I like that" or "that sucked" It is not criticism, it's a sharing of opinions, something which goes on continuously in the artworld.

A timely review, well illustrate, should be enough information for a local reader to decide to make an effort to see the exhibition.

82.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:25 PM

George, your last comment...well, never mind. Whatever you say.

Matty, This has always puzzled me too, and the only thing I could ever come up with is that a vigorous environment produces vigourous discussion. This was true, well, somewhat true, in the art business through the 50s, 60s and part of the 70s, but since then art writing has gone from disputative and opinionated to silly and incomprehensible to its current state of blind, bland, feeble squishiness. I can only assume this mirrors the art it is dealing with.

We see it here on the blog and we see it everywhere. A strong opinion expressed is a violation, disturbing the peace, upsetting the applecart. I should have listened to my old man and become a lawyer. Strong argument there is highly valued, and I certainly would be a lot richer. I just did not want to do it.

83.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:31 PM

George, by "last comment" I meant #76, to which it is pointless to respond.

84.

mek

September 8, 2005, 1:34 PM

my niece is a lawyer for the UN, oldpro, and you do not seem to display the art of the arguement, as she does. good thing you stuck with arguing on an art blog and insulting those in which you feel are beneath you. those tactics have nothing to do with law or defending the rights of your client.

85.

Kathleen

September 8, 2005, 1:38 PM

OP, you come off as sounding like a real jerk when you write things like this:

MEK your comments are cute and amusing but in fact George and I were talking about real differences of opinion that can matter to the blog.

Instead of chirping about "puffery" and "personalities" and staying smugly above the fray why not give us an opinion about the issue at hand?

That is supposed to be what we are doing here.

The problems:

a) unless you use "cute" and "amusing" to talk about everyone in the comments regardless of gender, it sounds REALLY BAD (no, I haven't done an inventory)

b) issue a combined with "real differences" and "can matter" makes your remark sound like a total, utter dismissal of mek's comment for no good cause. There's no reason that a "cute" or "amusing" statement cannot refer to "real differences" or "matter". If you don't think her comment addresses real differences or matters to the blog, then give us a good reason why, not a blowoff reason based on style.

c) issues a and b combined with the use of the word "chirping" display another dismissive attitude toward mek's remarks, again for no definitive cause. Why don't you tell us what is wrong with talking about "puffery" and "personalities" instead of using words which carry dismissive connotations. You could have said: "instead of making statements about "puffery" an "personalities," and the effect would have not been one of patronizing dismissal.

d) who is calling whom smug? Do you have a mirror at hand?

e) aren't you always the individual who wigs out when someone attempts to dictate what can and cannot be done/expected/demanded out of artblog? Why are you calling mek out for not doing what is supposed to be done?

86.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:40 PM

Gee, MEK. "Not cute or amusing"? I thought "Attack Dog and Smirking Cat" was very cute and amusing. I liked the image a lot.

"Out of line"? "Frankly offensive"? I dunno, it looked to me as if what I was doing was being called "puffery", and there was certtainly no doubt in my mind to whom you were addressing "appear less dictatorial". I didn't say that was "out of line" and "frankly offensive", now did I?

All I did was suggest that you have a stated opinion about the issue at hand instead of talking about "personalities". if that offends you, well, poor baby!

87.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:42 PM

OK Kathleen, so now i "sound like a jerk". Enough already.

88.

George

September 8, 2005, 1:46 PM

Matty, I stand corrected on using the term formalism initially as an example(#14) This was done strictly as an example, using a point of view which could be understood here. In fact I made no judgements about formalism at all. Nearly all the following references were linked to another topic and not a discussion on the merits of formalism.

I stand by my basic observation that at some point one has to decide the scope of the project and make at least a cursory definition of the desired audience. If one chooses a narrowly focused point of view, then you will attract the attention of a smaller but potentially more passionate and informed audience. There is inherently nothing wrong with this approach, it is an editorial decision of inclusion and exclusion.

89.

Kathleen

September 8, 2005, 1:47 PM

OP, there is no way in hell that what I said about you sounding like a jerk was a greater offense than the way you responded to mek initially, and especially the way you just said "poor baby". Pay attention to the words I use: "sounds like" is not the same as "is". It was a caution to you, not a label. I am reconsidering my generosity of spirit, however, in light of your current attitude.

You are the one who asked that if I have a problem I call it up immediately and bring it to your attention, now because I am being frank at your insistence, you find offense. It seems, though, that you are finding offense everywhere, in every comment not addressed to you. Cool it.

90.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 1:52 PM

Kathleen, your comments make you sound like an idiot. Not that you ARE one, mind you... important distinction.

Of course, I'm just kidding, to make a point... not that I expect you to understand that point (OOH, I did it again!).

91.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:53 PM

I am not taking offense, I am just tired of this discussion.

92.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 1:54 PM

oldpro, any chuckles, or was it all frustrated head-shaking?

93.

mek

September 8, 2005, 1:59 PM

oldpro, i do not feel poor nor do i feel like a baby. nor a poor baby. the language in your arsenal is weakening. your decision to not become a lawyer may have been to your benefit. upon cross examination, your case would have crumbled. oh and to katherine's credit, she does a great job at deconstruction, one of the tenements of language analysis and art-making. see how postmodern thought could help you in your argument, oldpro? gender schmender. you have a habit of preying on what you feel is weakness, op, and then trying to itimidate to strengthen your account, which in the end is to your demise. all just pins in my pinafore, darling.

94.

Kathleen

September 8, 2005, 1:59 PM

Matty, I'm sure I don't sound like an idiot. Thanks for the illustration of my point.

95.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 1:59 PM

I am not sure what you men by "any chuckles" Matty, but no, not many, not here, not recently.

96.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 2:03 PM

I cover myself with ashes, MEK, and abjectly beg your forgiveness, but could you please tell me what "tenements of language analysis" are?

Are they something like the "tower of Babel"?

I can't deal with this.

97.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 2:04 PM

(There you go Matty- a chuckle at last!)

98.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 2:06 PM

Kathleen, I'm glad you got my point, and of course, you are right... you do not sound like an idiot (my computer isn't even equipped with speakers, so I can't tell what you sound like).

Oldpro, I meant are you finding the conversation to be so intellectually frustrating as to make it amusing? Myself, it reminds me of the guards in Monty Python and the Holy Grail... "Guards, make sure the prince doesn't leave". The Pythons were great at highlighting the humor that can arise when a very simple point is confused beyond all understanding.

Like mek's deconstruction, one of the tenements of language analysis and art-making

I mean, is this not comedy?

99.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 2:06 PM

OP, you beat me to the joke!

100.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 2:07 PM

I told you she was amusing.

101.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 2:11 PM

"The Tenements of Deconstruction" is a housing development in dire need of repair.

I had no idea mek was female... not that it maters... mek's 'puffery' post was pointless, and deserved to be called out as such.

102.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 2:28 PM

George
In fact I made no judgements about formalism at all.

My point in posting the Greenberg excerpt was to illustrate the 'judgement' inherent in the current usage of the term, which as Greenberg notes, and we all know, is not neutral, but is meant as a kind of insult (The 9-letter F-word of art).

If you do not mean formalism in this perjorative sense, but simply in the broader, "Emphatic or predominant attention to
arrangement, esp. to prescribed or traditional rules of composition, in
painting and sculpture" sense of meaning, then it again becomes a rather useless general term, since the whole history of art up until the 20th c. could be described as 'formalist'.

This is why, if one does not wish to appear silly, it is best to simply not use this word.

103.

ms quoted

September 8, 2005, 2:28 PM

Ni!

104.

mek

September 8, 2005, 2:32 PM

that would be tenet, you know doctrine. now go back and read the comment with the proper word in place and see if there is anything else you'd like to pick apart to make yourself feel all the more important.
the level of your intellect and sheer wit is stunning. one can only hope your art reflects that and more.

105.

Geiorge

September 8, 2005, 2:35 PM

Matty,

Substitute the phrase "cat paintings for "formalism", in the context I was using the term it will have the same interpretive meaning.

106.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 2:37 PM

That's right, MS.

Form now on all we need is Ni! Ni! Ni!

When discussion gets too blubbery
We'll hide behind the shrubbery
and say Ni! Ni! Ni!

107.

mek

September 8, 2005, 2:47 PM

it is obvious to all i assume that there are different levels of participation and varying degrees of education, age, background, etc present. if franklin did not wish some of us to participate or wanted to raise the bar and authorize exclusivity based on a particular set of criteria, that's up to him. this is not a classroom, a forum by invitation only, or a cigar parlor. elitism within a social construct is surely oppressive, elitism in the classroom is counter-productive, and elistism among artists on an artblog is particulary pathetic.

108.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 2:58 PM

George post #81
As for the thumbs up, thumbs down idea, I find it trivial and distasteful because it panders to the audience in a way Jack objected to earlier. It tells one nothing about the art, only something about the reviewer

I re-read the page, looking for Jack's objection that you refer to... couldn't find it... I did find this in his posts though:
the real issue is being honest, forthright, uncompromising and pulling no punches, or calling it as one really sees it and letting the chips fall where they may.

You'll have to be a bit more clear on why a 'thumbs' approach 'panders to the audience' in a 'trivial and distasteful' way... I don't understand. Do you also find the 'thumbs' approach to pander distastefully to readers of movie reviews, or is it just distasteful when it deals with art? Please explain.

Of course, a review would accompany the 'thumbs', that would flesh out the issues of the show... ultimately, the reviewer has to look at their impressions, and decide if their experience was positive or negative on the whole. Of course this tells us more about the critic than the art, but, as David Smith sagely put it:

"To understand a work of art, it must be seen and perceived, not worded.
Words can be used to place art historically, to set it in social context, to describe the movements, to relate it to other works, to state individual preferences, and to set the scene all around it.
But the actual understanding of a work of art only comes through the process by which it was created – and that was by perception."


This is true about any kind of criticism... the food reviewer doesn't tell us 'this is good food' so much as 'I personally found this food to be good'... of course it is up to the readers to compare his experience with the reviewer, and decide for themselves.

The one problem I do see with the 'thumbs' approach is that it is a binary system... surely even Siskel and Ebert came across films they wanted to give only a half-thumb for... which is why a 3 star system might be better, to show more range on the bad-good spectrum.. that way, a fantastic show could get three stars, and a less-than-fantastic-but-still-good show could get two, etc....

109.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:11 PM

mek,
lighten up and laugh a little... "tenements of deconstruction" is funny, so we joke about it... this is not meant to bruise your ego, but is merely a bit of comic relief for an otherwise go-nowhere conversation.

110.

Franklin

September 8, 2005, 3:15 PM

Thumbs and stars for ratings never did much for me. They seem like attempts to quantify a qualitative response, and I oppose that on principle.

I have wondered along with Oldpro why art criticism generally has less vigor than movie criticism. I wonder if sheer numbers cause that - you expect the paper to produce a few long movie reviews and a few pages of capsule reviews every week, but you might get one art revew if you luck out. That puts undue pressure on the art criticism process, in my opinion.

111.

George

September 8, 2005, 3:18 PM

Matty, Jack was calling for rigorous critical discourse which I support.

the real issue is being honest, forthright, uncompromising and pulling no punches, or calling it as one really sees it and letting the chips fall where they may. and he goes on to observe Anything resembling politics is to be considered anathema.

Choke, Why not just accept the vote of the marketplace, the final arbiter of public opinion, the allmighty buck? I don't see how in principle it is any different, just different people voting. Further, depending on who votes you would get different results and I don't trust the results of any vote count from Florida.

112.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:21 PM

George #105

Cat paintings? What are you talking about?

I assume by 'cat paintings' you mean paintings of cats, which is a pretty self-explanatory group of works. This (as my postings on the subject make clear) is not the same as with the term 'formalism'... and no, I'm not going to re-explain this to you... oldpro might like to get sucked into that kind of conversational vortex, but I'm trying my best to resist.

The point is that, while 'cat paintings' or 'sausages', or any number of other words have real, identifiable, useful meanings, 'formalism' does not, and that is the word you used.

113.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 3:35 PM

Franklin: The fact that food & movies are a lot more popular and interesting to more people than art is, is certainly a factor.

What is wrong with qualtiyfing a qualitative response? I find it quite useful when explaining the extent of my evaluation of a particular work of art all the time, as a "70% painting" or a "95% painting". this does not hinder either my appreciation nor anyone elses, nor does it have any effect on the art, obviously. It is just a conversational tool, for me, at least.

As a ratings game on the blog I can see that it might have some negative characteristics, but I still think it would be a good way to pin down responses. It could be fun and interesting, and it might spur interest in the art, the blog and the discussion.

114.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:36 PM

George, nice one about the vote-counting in Florida... we may disagree about art, but we have some things in common.

Franklin, I think a related issue is the fact that almost everyone feels that they could do a decent job as a movie reviewer, because everyone watches movies, and understands what the general point of all movies are. They are to be enjoyed.

Same goes for music... nobody is scared to say what music they like, and what music they don't.

Unfortunately, the fear of judgment has brought art, and art criticism, to its knees. For the causes of this, we need only look back to the impressionists who planted the seed of doubt in the critics' ability to be 'correct', and its all gone downhill from there.

I'm not suggesting thumbs or stars to take the place of a critical review, only as an accompaniment, whcih can be usefull not only for a general audience who want to decide what shows to go see, but also as a device to encourage the reading of a review... as a general reader, I may not have a particular motivation to even read an art review, but if I see it got 3 out of 3 stars, or zero out of 3 stars for that matter, it might pique my interest enough to read on.
Maybe.

115.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:40 PM

I think stars or thumbs also help to drive home the point that, yes, it is ok to be judgmental about art, and in fact, it should be encouraged (at least as much as it is encouraged in every other realm of society).

116.

George

September 8, 2005, 3:46 PM

Matty,

Suppose you had a group of people, dedicated to making art about the cat, the painters would make cat paintings, the sculptors would make cat sculpture and this vociferous group did not allow "new media" works at all. So people on the outside come and visit, all they see are cats, and in the future they refer to them as that "group in Catlandia that makes art about cats"

In this particular fantasy I am using the term "cat painters" as a generic term for a group with a particular choice of their subject.

On the other hand, maybe you discovered a group of artists who chose to describe their work as PoMo. So people on the outside come and visit, all they see is work in the PoMo style, and in the future they refer to them as that "group in Pomona that makes PoMo art"

In this particular fantasy I am using the term "PoMo" as a generic term for a group with a particular point of towards the practice of making art

In both cases, one which describes an object and the other which describes an intellectual or critical process, we are able to lump the whole group together and bag them up with a label. If you are not interested, or think you are not interested, in the generic label I'll bet you just dismiss the whole bag and go somewhere else.

117.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:47 PM

Of course there are lots of movie reviews... movie studios and movie theatres advertise in the newspaper, so it is in the newspaper's interest to publish content which encourages readers to use the products advertised within, which ensures the advertising dollars will keep coming.
If artists and galleries spent as much on advertising, you can bet the coverage would increase proportionally.

118.

mek

September 8, 2005, 3:49 PM

george, didn't you bring up bias initially? oh boy this is really going down hill fast. by what criteria are you planning to "rate" these shows? whether it is "good" or "bad". thanks matty, i needed a good laugh.

119.

Franklin

September 8, 2005, 3:51 PM

that "group in Pomona that makes PoMo art"...

They convince the cat painters to switch to Pomeranians...

120.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:52 PM

Yes George, that's all well and good...
Now, tell me who and what it is that you are describing by the term 'formalist'.. you know, the people from 'Formalia'... it is obviously clear to you, but it is not to me.

121.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:53 PM

Re #117 - I agree.

122.

mek

September 8, 2005, 3:53 PM

first you have to have a product that will sell. then you spend the advertising dollars to reach your audience. there is a disconnect between high art and general viewership. the audience is not the same as those who go and see commercial cinema. obviously.

123.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:56 PM

mek,
george, didn't you bring up bias initially? oh boy this is really going down hill fast. by what criteria are you planning to "rate" these shows? whether it is "good" or "bad". thanks matty, i needed a good laugh.

Well, I can't say I've figured out your sense of humor yet, but I'm always glad to get a laugh, even if it's inadvertent.

Was your question about criteria directed at me, or George... your post doesn't make it very clear.

Or, were you really asking a question? (maybe it was a joke, or something... like I said, I don't get your sense of humor... if so, nevermind.)

124.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:57 PM

post 121 wasn't me... it'd be a bit silly for me to agree with myself.

125.

George

September 8, 2005, 3:59 PM

Mek, Yeh, to my regret I brought up the politically incorrect term bias to describe an editorial function. Everyone here somehow thought I was pointing the finger at them and freaked out.

I'm opposed to voting, thumbs up or down, stars, etc.

I did suggest a potential for multiple reviewers of the same shows but later decided that it was unwieldy from a practical point of view.

126.

Franklin

September 8, 2005, 3:59 PM

If you can't agree with yourself, who can you agree with?

(Sorry, I don't think the conversation has advanced all that much since the Monty Python's Holy Grail reference...)

127.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 3:59 PM

there is a disconnect between high art and general viewership. the audience is not the same as those who go and see commercial cinema. obviously.

There's that elitism again... I go to movies, and I like high art... what about me?

128.

George

September 8, 2005, 4:03 PM

matty, re #120, you're not serious are you?

moral: Be careful how you let yourself get bagged (stereotyped)

129.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 4:04 PM

George
Everyone here somehow thought I was pointing the finger at them and freaked out.

This is what I mean by imprecise language. "Everyone" here "thought" something? Really? That you were pointing the finger at 'Everyone"? And "Everone" "Freaked out"?

Can you prove any of these statements? Do you really even mean what they say? ... of course not.

130.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 4:07 PM

Yes, I'm serious George... define Formalsm. (as you use it).

131.

George

September 8, 2005, 4:07 PM

Matty, re #129

In order to avoid addressing any specific reader, I was being purposefully imprecise and conversational. This is not a court of law.

132.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 4:14 PM

Oh, well, if you are being imprecise on purpose, well then it's ok I guess.

I rest my case.

133.

George

September 8, 2005, 4:15 PM

Formalism = Cat Painting = PoMo = Label

You can get tagged with a label.

People who think they don't like the label go somewhere else.

Sometimes, this is a choice one makes, to be tagged or not.

134.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 4:23 PM

You're IT, George!

135.

alesh

September 8, 2005, 6:42 PM

OP (#54): Kathleen your conclusion is wrong, just like Georges, because you are not thinking through what you are saying. (. . .) I reacted strongly to George's statement of particularized bias because I do not believe it is true about me. If anyone else does they are free to say so, but as always I would like the statement to be backed up.

George(#64): I did not bring up the issue of formalism at all. So I don't understand how any discussion on that topic can refer back to me without making unsubstantiated assumptions about my point of view.

OP (#65): i also objected to your use of the word "bias" and still do. "Bias" is a loaded word in these PC times. Your use of it amounts to "do not have a strong, one-sided opinion". [sic]

Jack (#77): The point is not "niche" audience vs. mass audience; the real issue is being honest, forthright, uncompromising and pulling no punches, or calling it as one really sees it and letting the chips fall where they may.

Mek (#80): oldpro, you are out of line and frankly offensive. i am not a bird, thus i do not chirp.

Boy, oh boy. Things sure did get ugly there for a bit, didn't they. I suspect that I speak for most casual readers of this blog that I knew exactly what George meant when he brought up "bias" origianlly. Oldpro and his minions (primarily Matty, who's comments I'm not commenting on because I've stopped reading them) have a pretty clear bias (which Franklin, to a somewhat lesser extent, shares). I assume that what George mean by lack of bias is not a lack of extreme opinions, but rather a BALLANCE of extreme opinions. It is remarkable that anyone interperted it otherwise.

Then we have Oldpro being accused of being rude, asking for one solitary example, and receiving it. I trust that anyone with some time to spare could wade through past discussions and find dozens of examples of people who were treated rudly by OP for disagreeing with him. What one might call "wilting like a flower" might to another be "finally getting disgusted and leaving." Perhaps it's all the same. Through whatver twist of circumstance, OP has enough time on his hands that he can beat anyone else into submission. I wonder who will be next.

re #54: I, for one, agree with George and Kathleen and disagree with Oldpro.

re #64: It's funny how formalism just seems to come up, eh?

re #77: the only problem with that, is that one suspects that you generally accuse anyone expressing an opinion you disagree with as not being honest, forthright, etc., and of pandering. see ballance, above.

I missed the entire "Camille Paglia" thread, though, scrolling through, I noticed a comment from Franklin that he "had the best commenters ever" (or something. I assume that conversation went a lot better then this one.

136.

alesh

September 8, 2005, 6:49 PM

I suspect that when this big GSA unveiling happens, it's going to render this conversation moot. Franklin has been studying Ruby on Rails, and talking a lot about advertising, and knowing his previous web projects, I suspect this will have a lot more to do with impressive coding then with anything like editorial policy.

Are you like me, can you not wait??

137.

Jack

September 8, 2005, 7:55 PM

Alesh, you may suspect anything at all, including that I'm a CIA operative assigned to promote US imperialism by way of praising Olitski, but that's about as legitimate a suspicion as the one you express in #135. What factual basis do you have for making such a statement? That my taste is different from yours? That I insist an art critic criticize? That I require a superior eye (not just a PhD or an impressive reading list) in any authority on visual art? That I mistrust anyone who consistently says what the establishment wants said, never rocks the boat, and is all nice and cozy with the art scene power players? You'll need to do much better than that, and if you can't, then please don't make unsupported assumptions.

138.

Matty

September 8, 2005, 8:33 PM

Alesh, how can my bias be clear to you if you don't read (or respond to) my comments?

What is my bias?
Since you know me so well, maybe you can tell me?

(oh, right, you're giving me the cold shoulder... BRRR!!!)

139.

One Casual Reader

September 8, 2005, 9:36 PM

"I suspect that I speak for most casual readers of this blog that I knew exactly what George meant when he brought up "bias" origianlly. ...I assume that what George mean by lack of bias is not a lack of extreme opinions, but rather a BALLANCE of extreme opinions."

You're definitely speaking for me, Alesh - that's exactly how I interpreted it.

What the heck happened to this, anyway:
"Think of the comments as a conversation with other real people - ...not an argument, not an unfettered venue for random impulses."???

and this:
"Even the most opposed factions in the art world still agree that art is important. Begin with that basis and respect other commenters accordingly. Abusive remarks, taunts, boorish language, and the written equivalent of behavior that would get you punched out in a bar jeopardizes your status in this forum. In contrast, your ability to escalate civility in the face of rising disagreement makes you a valued contributor."???

...this:
"Make Franklin happy. I'm happy when we're having a good chat about art, or at least a good chat about something."???

This is a good chat about something, Franklin?

140.

Franklin

September 8, 2005, 9:47 PM

This is a good chat about something, Franklin?

Not really. I stopped following this thread closely about sixty posts ago. But nobody's doing any major harm.

Sometimes I get into a mood where I decide that I know what I know, and I feel content to let everybody else get in the ring and slug the hell out of each other. I don't drink, but imagine me with my feet up, with a cold one.

141.

alesh

September 8, 2005, 10:53 PM

Jack~

you may suspect anything at all . . . but . . . What factual basis do you have for making such a statement?

That my taste is different from yours?
. . . um, nope.

That I insist an art critic criticize? nope.

That I require a superior eye (not just a PhD or an impressive reading list) in any authority on visual art?

Well . . . . that's where I might start to have an issue. I wouldn't want to rehash george vs. oldpro from earlier in this thread, but sufice it to say that your idea of a superior eye differs from most people's. You have every right to your own opinions and yadda yadda, but if memory serves right, "I AM RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG" is not a healthy way to go through life. I assume my words here fall on deaf ears.

That I mistrust anyone who consistently says what the establishment wants said, never rocks the boat, and is all nice and cozy with the art scene power players?

More that you assume that anyone who says something you disagree with is just trying to say what the establisment wants to hear and all that. Some of the people who disagree with you about what is good genuinly care about quality in art, and aren't interested in saying what anyone wants to hear . . . they just disagree with you.

You'll need to do much better than that, and if you can't, then please don't make unsupported assumptions.

I think my assumption can easily be supported by looking through a few of your random comments over the past year or so; I don't really need to find the examples, do I? I mean, anyone interested can look for themselves. Maybe "flip" isn't the right word, but your reactions are generally predictable in their contempt. For what it's worth, your posts that go on for more then one paragraph are far more interesting. I agree with George - I would enjoy reading more of your critical work.

142.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 11:15 PM

Alesh, just to pick one small thing out of this late-coming, unsupported "I agree with everyone but Jack and Oldpro" tirade of yours, please demonstrate how, in #54, that George and Kathleen are right and I am wrong. Please be clear and concise.

The reason I am asking this is because almost everyone here likes to react to my attitude, and Jacks and Matty's attitude, and get emotional about it, and "agree' or "disagree" and give opinions and generally sound off, but hardly anyone really grapples with what is actually being said.

And when I come in and patiently demonstrate, point by point, where people have gone wrong, it is entirely overlooked, and you all come rushing back angrily to tell me what a bad guy I am and what is wrong with me and how you disagree with me (and anyone who agrees with me) and, in this case at least, refuse to even read anyone who sees my points and writes them down in the blog. You even have Franklin chiming in at this point. Believe me, I am not feeling sorry for myself. It is your problem, not mine.

This is irrational behavior. This is the problem with the art world. In fact, It is the problem with the whole world.

143.

oldpro

September 8, 2005, 11:45 PM

To help you out, Alesh, these are the exchanges. Now you have the exact wording in front of you. Please tell me why you argree with George and Kathleen. Please stick to exactly what was said, not what you think about it or why you don't like it or don't like my attitude or how you could find other examples somewhere in the past. Just stick to the text.

George:

In comment #10, which I quoted, you went on about forceful writing but then in comment #16 you say I will not tell you why art I like is good because, as I have insistently maintained since I have been writing on this blog, this is impossible. So here I am obviously going to be confused, how can someone write forcefully about something that can't be put into words.

Oldpro:

I did not say opinions could not be put into words. Where do you get these things? I said, twice here and a hundred times over the course of the blog, that you cannot say what makes art good. Can you say what makes art good? No, you cannot. Can you understand this? That's all I was saying, period.

Kathleen:

OP, you said this:
"I will not tell you why art I like is good because, as I have insistently maintained since I have been writing on this blog, this is impossible. if you think it is possible please tell me how."
and
"I said, twice here and a hundred times over the course of the blog, that you cannot say what makes art good. Can you say what makes art good? No, you cannot."
If this is true then the only thing that can be said about good art is that it is good. You HAVE said that statement numerous times, so many that you have characterized yourself quite well, without any help from me.

Oldpro:

Kathleen your conclusion is wrong, just like Georges, because you are not thinking through what you are saying. Acknowledging that you cannot say what makes art good does not preclude discussion. No one has even been able to say what makes art good (except for trivial or circular reasons; I feel I have to say that here). I can't. You can't. George can't. But we discuss it all the time, don't we?
and:
I never made that statement

144.

alesh

September 8, 2005, 11:45 PM

. . . almost everyone here likes to react to my attitude, and Jacks and Matty's attitude, and get emotional about it, and "agree' or "disagree" and give opinions and generally sound off, but hardly anyone really grapples with what is actually being said.

Sorry, Oldpro, but i'm not going to do it. If George and Kathleen's grappling wasn't enough for you, mine sure won't be. I know you think you're patiently demonstrating, point by point, where people have gone wrong, but that don't make it so. Wading through this mess of a thread and picking out how it fell apart?

Life is too short.

145.

olfpro

September 8, 2005, 11:48 PM

I knew you would say that. That's why I did it for you. Let's settle this.

146.

George

September 9, 2005, 12:30 AM

Bias is a complicated term, or set of notions, one that has only emerged as an arena of pandemic study since the mid-1980s. Bias is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears and disappears in variety of embarrassing moments. It's hard to locate it temporally or historically, because it's not clear exactly when bias begins.

Perhaps the easiest way to start thinking about bias is by having a hard opinion about something, the bowel movement from which bias seems to grow or emerge. Bias has two faucets, or two sides of definition, both of which are replacements to understanding a coin has two sides. When flipped it doesn't land on its edge, this is the classical Greek definition of bias.

The first faucet or defestration of bias comes from the bowel movement broadly labeled monsterism. This movement is roughly lumped together with a twentieth century version of bias (though traces of it in emergent forms can be found in the nineteenth century as well). Bias, as you probably know, is primarily the movement of the bowels, in which the rejected, the old consumed opinion of how new opinions should be made, and consumed into a new polyidealistic bias. In the period of "high bias," from around the 1960's, the major figures of proto-bias were Timothy Leary and other consumers of mass quantities of alkaloids which helped to radically redefine bias could be and do:. Figures like Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Proust, Mallarme, Kafka, and Rilke are all considered proto-founders nascent bias propagation with a weak cultural imperative.

From a schizophrenic perspective, the main characteristics of bias include:

1. an emphasis on depression and sloppiness in writing and of course in the visual arts as well. An emphasis on how biases are formed, rather than on what they are formed about. An example of this would be arbitrary voting or playing the slot machines

2. a bowel movement away from the normal toilet facilities provided by omnipresent third-person architect, fixed points of view narrating which way to look, and clear-cut sexual positions. De Saudis multiply-narrated stories of bestiality are an example of proto-bias when applied to perverted fantasy.

3. a bubbling of depictions between jeans, so that poetry seems more like a pocket (as in T.S. Eliot or whee I'm cumming) and prose seems more like acid wash (as in Wolfing on a Joystick).

4. an emphasis on fragmented formalisms, discontinuous biases, and hearing radio in your fillings as a collapse of material biases.

5. a tendency toward reflexive vomit, or bulimia, about the protrusion of the lump of bias, so that each place calls attention to its own lumpiness as a bias, as something which states I'm here and is constructed and consumed in peculiar ways.

6. a rejection of elaborate frontal bias in favor of mini peccadillo's and a rejuvenation, on the large part, of formalist bias orgies, in a flavor of spongbob and the ultimate discovery of creation bias

7. A dejection caused by the distinction of "high" and "low" bias, smart people and dumb people choose similar materials to generate bias and its methods of swaying public opinion.

Bias, like proto-bias, follows most of these same ideas, rejecting boundaries between smart and dumb forms of thought, rejecting rigid opinions, emphasizing plastic consumerism, partying, bricklaying, iron working, and preschool.

I rest my case.

rmudd

147.

oldpro

September 9, 2005, 12:40 AM

Allright. So much for that. Alesh has chosen to reamain silent, and I will not attempt to comment on what George has said above. Let his case rest. I rest mine.

I think it might be a good idea for Franklin to add something to the guidelines. It is not enough to request "address the writing, not the writer". We need to add "...and address the writing directly and accurately in a timely way." Or something to that effect. We need to encourage direct discussion and discourage hassling over what we don't like about each others attitudes.

148.

George

September 9, 2005, 12:42 AM

What?

No sense of humor?

I'm crushed.

149.

George

September 9, 2005, 12:50 AM

For readers with a cents of humor this is the source of the original text which I deconstructed, destroyed actually, in order to cut the fabric of thought on the bias.

150.

ahab

September 9, 2005, 2:31 AM

I'm sorry I couldn't be around today to reinforce oldpro, Jack and Matty.

Bias in a tire or in cloth is a sort of cross-cutting that generally strengthens the weave. There's been a lot of criss-cross here of late, but mostly of a determinedly misunderstanding and undermining sort. "A mess of a thread" as alesh puts it.

But is it ever fun to read after a long day at the orifice. I'm in stitches.

151.

oldpro

September 9, 2005, 7:10 AM

George, I'm sorry, it was late, I was tired and irritated, and the old sense of humor was just not functioning. Now I am half awake and it still is not functioning, but at least I realize it should be.

Very good, thanks, sometimes humor is the only sane reaction.

152.

mek

September 9, 2005, 8:46 AM

because the world around you is so insane

153.

Jack

September 9, 2005, 12:29 PM

Alesh, you're right; life is too short. I don't know what I was thinking. I should have learned by now that one can't expect blood from a Potato. You go ahead smugly enjoying belonging to what you take to be the correct majority, and keep on balancing extreme opinions ("God exists" and "There is no God;" "Tracey Emin is a great artist" and "Tracey Emin is a pitiful joke," and so forth).

I know it's a waste of time, because you'll continue to put words in my mouth or twist the ones I write, but it's not a matter of "I am right and everyone else is wrong," but rather "I believe what I believe and know what I know regardless of what anyone else does." There is a difference, but never mind. You shouldn't be bothering with me anyhow; I'm obviously not your type. Stick with people like Triff.

As for your saying that "one suspects that you generally accuse anyone expressing an opinion you disagree with as not being honest, forthright, etc., and of pandering," have I ever accused you of any of that, despite definitely disagreeing with you? Have I done so with Kathleen, or craigfrancis, or George, or mek, or some other Artblogger I may have disagreed with? Do you recall me taking a gratuitous swipe at you as part of some general comment as you did at me in #135?

I know, this is all very tiresome, not to mention useless, so I'll have to try harder to follow my own advice, and that of Catfish, to ignore that which is not worth the bother. Life is indeed too short. Have a nice life.

154.

alesh

September 9, 2005, 2:32 PM

Jack, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. But let's have a reality check. Here's what I said to you:

the only problem with that, is that one suspects that you generally accuse anyone expressing an opinion you disagree with as not being honest, forthright, etc., and of pandering. see ballance, above.

Now, here's you, a couple of weeks ago:

A lot of people are afraid to express their honest reaction, especially if it's negative, and more especially if it's to anything they're supposed or expected to like. They're afraid to look "out of it," or like they don't "get it," or "limited," or insufficiently "advanced." So they falsify their response, or suppress it, or actually talk themselves into adopting views not their own because they're the "correct" views.

These are people, of course, who are ultimately unfit to interact with art because they can't be honest; they can't be themselves; they can't or won't deal with art personally but resort to some sort of proxy (despite ostentatious displays of being furiously individualistic). These may also be people who are not really into art as such but into art as a means to ulterior ends, in which case how they really feel about any given work is a moot point, since it's not about the work per se.

It's pretty sad, actually, and a waste, but so it goes.


I mean, you're making exactly the accusations I accused you of making, no? Am I missing something? Was it really a "gratuitous swipe"? I didn't even really think you'd take offense at my comment. I don't believe in a "correct majority," but I do believe there is benefit to keeping an open mind. And yeah, I believe "'God exists' and 'There is no God;' 'Tracey Emin is a great artist' and 'Tracey Emin is a pitiful joke,' and so forth" all these positions can lead to interesting, and valid, thoughts.

But whatever. I'm sure I'd enjoy having a beer with you just as much as I'd enjoy one with Triff. Sorry if I was insensitive.

155.

Matty

September 9, 2005, 2:49 PM

alesh,
Am I missing something?

I know that your above reading or responding to my posts, but I thought I could help out by answering your question.

From what I read, you accuse Jack of suggesting that "People who disagree with him are "not being honest, forthright, etc."

Then you quote Jack as suggesting that there are "A lot of people who are not honest, etc."...

What you fail to establish is that these people are specifically "people who disagree with Jack". This is what I assume Jack objects to.

As I read Jack's quotes, I can imagine his example of a 'dishonest person' telling Jack that he JUST LOVES Jackson Pollock (in order to get on Jack's good side), but not really being honest about it.

So, I hope that answers your question.

156.

oldpro

September 9, 2005, 3:08 PM

Matty's right, Alesh. In fact you are missing something: the meaning of what Jack said.

Jack's statement had nothing whatsoever to do with "disagreeing" with Jack but with disagreeing with one's own true reactions. Presumably Jack would have the same negative reaction to someone who lied about liking something Jack also liked. In fact, I would assume that this is part of what Jack had in mind when he said it.

157.

Jack

September 9, 2005, 3:13 PM

You're right again, Alesh: whatever. I don't have Oldpro's stomach for tilting at windmills. Keep on spinning.

158.

oldpro

September 9, 2005, 3:55 PM

Come on, Sancho, we got work to do!

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