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Post #866 • September 8, 2006, 8:43 AM • 18 Comments

"Certainly its 60-foot-long flow of looping, swooping characters - they twist and shout; pump up, slim down; leave skid marks behind them - blurs distinctions between writing and painting, control and spontaneity, virtuosity and accident." Holland Cotter raves about Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing at the Met.

"Now imagine saying, 'Come here, Snowflake' to the cat. Snowflake might glance over, walk to a nearby table, rub it, lie down, and look at you. There's nothing direct about this. Yet something gigantic and very much like art has happened. The cat has placed a third object between you and itself. In order to understand the cat you have to be able to grasp this nonlinear, indirect, holistic, circuitous communication. In short, art is a cat." Jerry Saltz, after a rambling tirade against some straw-man neo-Cartesians (like whom? We never find out), but concluding with a point that is at least amusing to us cat aficionados. (AJ)

Stephen Colbert: Senior Conceptual Art Correspondent. (GR)

New Scott McCloud book is out now. (F*ck, he's coming to MIT on Wednesday! I'm glad I decided to do a roundup after all this week!)

"Everything becomes decorative after a while." Hockney at 70. (AJ)

Paper cuts. (Reddit)

Department of Skills: If you see this guy down at the pool hall, don't play him for money. (Reddit)

Posting resumes Monday. Well, today, if you think about it.




September 8, 2006, 11:07 AM

Saltz is a cipher. Every time I read something utterly inane he has written - which happens all too often - and decide to give up on him, he comes up with something else right on the mark. I have no idea exactly who he is aiming at with the neo-Cartesian thing either, but the paragraph on Antonio Cassese is quite wonderful.


Marc Country

September 8, 2006, 12:04 PM

Stephen Colbert is my hero. I've seen another report by him on postmodern art, but I don't know where to find it on the web...


Marc Country

September 8, 2006, 12:19 PM

"But if by "change" you mean, can art on its own change global warming, stop Iran's president from denying the Holocaust, or halt the spread of AIDS, the answer, I'm afraid, is no."
Then again, art can be used, in the form of 'creative translations' to suggest that Iran's president "denies the Holocaust" in the first place (Reddit).
Buy that's another story, that doesn't need to be gotten into here, despite the fact that Saltz has felt it relevant to trot out the current favorite whipping boy... "That crazy Iranian dude, his words are like AIDS, man"...



September 8, 2006, 2:57 PM

Franklin, is this cat scenario accurate? I wouldn't know, having been traumatized as a child by a psycopathic white Angora furball that despised everyone except its meal ticket, I mean owner (my aunt). Ever since then, I've given cats a wide berth. Don't trust the creatures.



September 8, 2006, 4:33 PM

Actually, the horrid animal probably despised my aunt as well; it only pretended not to in order to maintain the lifestyle to which it had become accustomed.



September 8, 2006, 5:41 PM

Cat painters: Balthus, Beckmann, Vuillard.

Dog painters: Bonnard, Freud, Goya.

There's a thesis in there somewhere.



September 8, 2006, 8:24 PM

Franklin, you forget Landseer, the famous Victorian animal painter. It's interesting how it was once possible to have a most respectable career painting animals. Landseer was even knighted (Sir Edwin, you know). English artists always went in for dogs and horses. And then of course all those hunting scenes by Dutch painters (dogs, obviously, not stupid cats). I think even the French Rococo crowd did mostly dogs, little ones, not cats. Cats are just nasty.



September 8, 2006, 8:28 PM

Velazquez was a dog painter. I rest my case. Cats are a symptom of incipient decadence, or something along those lines.



September 8, 2006, 9:00 PM

Cats are cool, Jack.

eg Krazy Kat.



September 8, 2006, 9:14 PM

Domestic cats surpassed domestic dogs in number for the first time in 1997, and I have one recent painting, done flatly like the ones I've been posting, with cats. More are coming.



September 8, 2006, 10:34 PM

OK, enough of this cat litter.

Dorsch opening this Saturday night (check his website for more details).



September 9, 2006, 4:13 AM

Art can make us aware of "JA"



September 9, 2006, 6:51 PM


It's too bed you didn't get down to NYC during the summer, Chaim & Read had a great show of paintings Soutine and Modern Art that I think you would have liked. I went yesterday which was the last day and I'm sorry I didn't go earlier.

The little Diebenkorn on page 8 of the installation views was a knockout, a small painting of a coffee cup, better than the Guston. Alice Neel's painting held up, Bazelitz didn't, the DeKoonings were so-so and several of the Soutines were really good.



September 9, 2006, 10:45 PM

happening scene at wynwood tonite. very well attended.



September 9, 2006, 11:35 PM

You keep reminding us of what we are missing in this cultural wilderness, George. Looks like an interesting show, and I suspect I would agree with most of your judgements about the art. I would certainly expect almost any Diebenkorn to outclass any Guston, and i have never seen a good Baselitz.

As for Miami, the Blanco show of still life paintings at Dorsch is excellent, and David Marsh has some dynamite all-out big paintings at the Edge Zone (?I think that's the name) Gallery, some of the best abstraction I have seen here.



September 10, 2006, 12:12 AM

re #15 Opie,

My comment was more of a prod towards F to get down to the city.. It was an interesting show (and up all summer) because one rarely gets a chance to see paintings mixed together, old and new, like they were. The Soutines were just mixed in with the newer, and in most cases bigger, paintings. It leveled the playing field.

It was a treat.



September 10, 2006, 3:10 PM

I pretty much totally agree with Opie here.



September 15, 2006, 5:16 PM

I just learned by sheer coincidence that the paper cuts are by Danish artist Peter Callesen.



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