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Post #971 • March 13, 2007, 8:58 PM • 64 Comments

I'm on a business trip of sorts, and blogging from the road isn't working out quite like I was hoping it would. So I'm going to sign off for the week, but I'll be checking in throughout.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about what I said yesterday about Einstein and Newton. I'm about to embark on a serious Greenberg binge, starting with the Harold letters and going through all four volumes of the collected essays. I'm doing this because I refer to him so frequently and have never tried to take in the whole scope of his work, but I intend to do so critically, specifically with this question in mind: what did he leave undone? You usually see him criticised on the grounds that he failed to accomodate later developments in art, but I intend the question in a different spirit. I'm going in with the idea that there are aspects of his work akin to the Poincaré conjecture—correct in its assumption but unsatisfactorily worked out. Given my regulars' experitse on the man, I throw the question out there.

Comment

1.

Jack

March 13, 2007, 8:57 PM

Franklin, it may be better to go in with no assumptions and simply see what's there and what isn't. Then, you can make your own judgments based on what the man actually wrote.

2.

opie

March 13, 2007, 10:28 PM

Reading Greenberg is a little like looking at art - short and enjoyable and "what's there is there". He never had any ambition to wrap up the whole world of art into one big ball of wax. That's what he gets blamed for, but that was not his mentality.

Just bite it off and chew it. That's how he wrote.

3.

ahab

March 13, 2007, 11:17 PM

But still, after reading Greenberg for what he actually wrote, there's room to consider what he left unsaid. And write about what he hadn't seen.

4.

catfish

March 13, 2007, 11:43 PM

Greenberg failed to grasp the significance of what he called "novelty art", the art that emerged after 1962 and that continues to hog the limelight to this day. Instead he discounted and ignored it, severly underestimating its power to lower the level that the best could attain, which it has.

Dealing with resistance is often good for art, tempering it as heat tempers steel. However, at a certain point, strong enough resistance becomes destructive and Clem would not admit this, even as it happened before his and our very eyes.

It is not a case of the bad stuff "corrupting" the best. Rather, it has grown so virulent that it has sapped the strength of the best, holding it back, putting it into a conservation mode, rather than full bore go for broke unleashed goodness.

5.

Marc Country

March 13, 2007, 11:44 PM

Read the Collected Essays, and marvel at his clarity of vision, thought, and discourse; then, read the Harold Letters, for a vivid reminder that Greenberg is, after all, only human (all too human).

6.

catfish

March 13, 2007, 11:46 PM

To put it briefly, the best after 1962 is not quite as good as the best before then.

7.

Bunny Smedley

March 14, 2007, 3:32 AM

All too human

There's a tendency to use that phrase as if there's some sort of natural tension between excessive humanity and good criticism. But is that right? Looking around Greenberg's near-contemporaries, cherry-picking people who could plausibly be described as critics, we find Cyril Connolly, Wystan Auden, Kenneth Tynan, Edmund Wilson, Geoffrey Grigson, the truly dreadful Mary McCarthy, etc, etc - none of whom was notably chaste, abstemious, invariably considerate of their near and dear, or otherwise conventionally nice. So how did Greenberg end up with unique monster status?

Possibly, by being all too honest. Personally, I love the Harold Letters. Of course Marc is right, and Greenberg does come out of them as 'all too human' - that's perfectly true - but surely that's no bad thing? I keep coming back to them, not least when I'm feeling 'all too human' myself, because reading them always gives me the sense (however necessarily illusory) of encountering another real person - sometimes petty, self-centred, unpleasant, sure - but also playful, sharp-witted and almost painfully honest.

And in a way, that's what I like most about Greenberg's writing. Opie's surely right that Greenberg never aspired to be a great systematiser. Grand systems and honest responses don't usually combine very well. And Greenberg was, I think, above all else honest. If one sets aside all the things that are supposed to be true about Greenberg, his writing is often full of quite surprising observations, bracingly fresh and alert. Where will he go next? One's never quite sure, and one might not always like the answer, but it's worth sticking around to find out - and sometimes worth trying to defend one's own point of view against his generally quite stimulating assaults on it.

To me, anyway, the most durably interesting criticism is precisely the sort of writing where one senses a real human consciousness there under all the prose, the ideology and the methodology. Whether Greenberg was the world's nicest person or not - and, for what it's worth, I don't believe he can possibly have been as awful as most people seem casually to assume these days - when it comes to that particular test, he still has few rivals.

8.

opie

March 14, 2007, 7:58 AM

Bunny writes " Grand systems and honest responses don't usually combine very well."

Exactly. Greenberg's intrisic bullshit capacity was as low as it possibly could be. Bunny calls it honesty; it was more than that. It was an obsessively singular interest in one thing and one thing only: what does this art do for me sensually, how does it come across, how good is it as measured by my intuitive reaction exclusive of everything else.

There is a willfull blindness to other things involved in this kind of focused genius which Catfish takes him to task for, I think a bit blindly himself, because one cannot do what Greenberg did without putting a huge premium on one's own reaction to things, one which may indeed amount to overreaction.

This led to a predictable reaction on the part of others. First there was an overwhelming acquienscence to the intense power of the vision and the wonderful writing. Then there was overwhelming resentment coming from another part of our human nature, one that resents the very success of genius but also, and more importantly (and less recognized by us) resentment against seeing art for what it really is: a simple, naked, straight out, intuitive response to the deep mental harmony of the great artist, something that simply will not allow any bullshit whatsoever.

We have not evolved to the point where we can handle this. We need our verbal and ideaological icing to be slathered on. We insist that art comes across "undercover". We love art, and we will guard it and pay a lot for it. But what it really does for us is still, for whatever reason, a dirty little secret, and we don't want anyone telling us this.

Clem never understood this. I don't think many people do.

9.

JL

March 14, 2007, 10:23 AM

the truly dreadful Mary McCarthy

What! I won't stand for this. True she was not "notably chaste, abstemious, invariably considerate of their near and dear, or otherwise conventionally nice." Nor was she any good at all as a theater critic or art critic (though The Stones of Florence does have its moments when taken as pure description), thoroughly a follower (and not a very wise one, though she was dead right about Lillian Hellman) when it came to politics, and was a mediocre novelist at best, if even that. All that I'll allow. But she had one of the best prose styles of any writer of her time and a gift for observation. Some of her short stories, especially in The Company She Keeps are extremely well done (however shallow "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Suit" may be, it is something of a minor classic in American short stories, embarrassing and funny at the same time.)

I've got to run, or else I'd go on--her memoirs, essays like "The Humanist in the Bathtub" and "America the Beautiful", etc. Not the greatest by any means, but please, not "truly dreadful"!

10.

Bunny Smedley

March 14, 2007, 11:23 AM

JL's right, of course, regarding The Company She Keeps etc - although I still maintain that her personality left a lot to be desired.

11.

JL

March 14, 2007, 11:40 AM

As a person, McCarthy wasn't so pleasant (a fact that affected her work, as the various nasty caricatures of people she knew which filled her fiction attest--I'm thinking especially of the cowardly, anxious, and unscrupulous character she based on Philip Rahv in The Groves of Academe.) She had a certain trouble with the truth, it must be said. But oh, could she write.

12.

catfish

March 14, 2007, 12:08 PM

Opie:

What does "willful" have to do with it? It is very difficult to imagine Clem CHOOSING to miss something as far as art is concerned.

He would make statements like "great art continues to be made just like it always has". I qualify that somewhat - great art cntinues to be made, but it isn't quite as great as that which came before. I can see how you or someone else might disagree with me, but just don't understand what that has to do with Clem's "will".

I also don't get the "dirty" part of the "dirty little secret". Instead, I'd say most people's taste is rather numb. The don't know what they see and so become confused when dealing with somebody who does. I'd also insist that the "harmony" that we respod to is in the work, not the mind of the artist. We may infer that the artist possessed some "deep mental harmony" from our experience of the work, but there is no way to access it directly. Or, indeed, to really know if it is there. In any case, numbness conceals whatever it is that cntemporay art has to offer, and thus it is not known - that resembles a secret.

13.

beWare

March 14, 2007, 12:20 PM

Given the state of our culture, vain and hollow, Greenberg has no place to support this. His ideas aim for a high culture which is obviously not a popular thing to do right now. It seems no use of hindsight is available. I don't see it changing in my lifetime so I choose to avoid the friction. I can't keep up and don't care to compete.

Greenberg's ideas for me have simply become common sense. A survival route through the muck.

There is a obvious relation between those who do not need this survival tactic and left-wing liberalism. PC is the disappointing culprit. Greenberg cuts through this grey water.

14.

opie

March 14, 2007, 2:48 PM

I think you said it yourself, Catfish. Don't you remember how he used to say, year after year, that Pop Art would run out of steam in two years? He could not, would not, see the power of the mediocre. As far as he was concerned good art carried the day. Perhaps "willfull blindness" is misguided or too strong - after all, one does not wish to be blind - but is not willful is was certainly determined.

You did not understand what I meant by "dirty little secret", and, once again, that may have been an unfortunate phrase. Nevertheless, it now occurrs to me that the resistence to seeing what art is and what is does is very much like our attitudes toward sex. It is very important to us, but we have a hard time talking about it. We will not allow art to be made "naked" by explication. We need it to be ingested privately, secretly.

Yes, people are numb and can't or won't see, but that is not what I was talking about.

Of course the "harmony" we respond to is in the work. How else could we respond? The work is what we see. It derives from something the artists refers to in his head. I chose the word "harmony"; it could be a dozen other words. If something is not there in the artist nothing gets in the painiting. Tha artist puts it in, you take it out. It is not an inference, it is a necessity.

15.

Jack

March 14, 2007, 3:26 PM

Some possibly apt comments by Noel Coward:

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.

I'll go through life either first class or third, but never in second.

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.

16.

Jack

March 14, 2007, 3:32 PM

What does this art do for me sensually, how does it come across, how good is it as measured by my intuitive reaction exclusive of everything else?

Yes. Precisely. It's really quite simple. Why is this such a problem? Why do so many insist on making it so ludicrously convoluted and needlessly overladen with secondary considerations? I mean, how hard is this to get?

17.

jm

March 14, 2007, 9:57 PM

Perhapes Greenberg thought of abstraction as an inevitable outcome that artists with perceptual talent and manual dexterity would have to addresss regarding form construction and picture making. Thus abstraction is not something that one leaps into without a reason or purpose. One must know what they are abstracting, and how.

I have allways had a problem with instructors and mature artists who impose abstraction as a stylistic practice. In most cases, abstraction is taught as a means in of itself. One must learn to see correctly first, learn to deconstruct and then reconstruct in order to abstract. This is why Cezanne is important in my opinion, even though he was considered to be of less talent than those at the French Academy.

When a building is put together, the concrete foundations and steel beams go down first - the polished woodwork and copper go on later, and the carpets and folliage go in last.
There seem to be a lot of buildings out there built out of folliage and polished woodwork however.

18.

opie

March 14, 2007, 10:12 PM

Your foliage and polished woodwork analogy is reasonable, JM. But it is possible to teach abstract, or non-objective, painting with carefully constructed exercises that build in an orderly way. It's just that it has never been built into curricula, so students learn to draw and paint realistically, more or less, and then jump headlong into abstraction and flail about with paint that evolved hundreds of years ago to paint blended and modelled detail, not knowing what to do.

If you look hard at the history of Abstract Expressionism you can see them struggling with this all through the 30s & 40s.

It just needs to be codified.

19.

ph

March 14, 2007, 10:41 PM

Don't forget to include Homemade Esthetics and Late Writings in your reading list. Even though Late Writings missed catalogue essays by CG on Goodnough & Dzubas, that book and Homemade Esthetics are still where he takes on pomo most directly. I agree he didn't say everything there was to be said, but isn't that nice? It enables us to carry on the tradition.

20.

jm

March 15, 2007, 4:35 AM

I can remember the comments of William Kentridge during his lecture at UM, in which, at the time he had stated that Clem prefered figurative art over abstraction. Clem proclaimed that abstract art was the best stuff being made in America at that time. This seems like a double standard to me. So then Mr. Greenberg was prophetic regarding South African drawers, and was, or may have been tongue and cheek regarding American abstractionists.
Poincare's sphere can not be constucted as a drawing without being an illustration firstly.

21.

opie

March 15, 2007, 6:55 AM

His preference was for figurative work but his eye told him that abstract work was the best work being done at the time, JM. That is not a "double standard", that is an honest eye at work.

He also had no capacity for irony or sarcasm whatsoever, which I assume is what you meant by "tongue and cheek" (tongue in cheek). This was simply a personal characteristic.

22.

Marc Country

March 15, 2007, 9:20 AM

I always understood Clem's take to basically mean, over all of art history, the best works, the greatest masterpieces, have been figurative; but, during his own time, looking at the world around him, current abstract painters were nevertheless outdoing their figurative contemporaries (which is not to say they outpainted ol' Rembrandt).

As for CG being 'all too human'... I found myself, reading the Harold Letters, thinking "Boy, Clem sure could be an asshole!", and in the next moment, thinking of a time in my own life when I did or had said something just as bad. An awful, awful man, just like me...

23.

opie

March 15, 2007, 9:54 AM

That is accurate, Marc.

As for being awful, yes,we all do awful things and act like jerks once in a while, and if your life gets scrutinized that will come out. We have a problem separating the good work someone does from the flawed character, and we let one reflect on the other, which is illogical and counterproductive.

The interesting question is, just what did Greenberg do to make these people hate him so much? None of the adduced facts even begin to add up to a justification for such an extreme reaction. I think the answer to this question is deeper and more difficult than we think, and relates to a primitive side of our character that most people will find very difficult to accept..

24.

George

March 15, 2007, 10:22 AM

Maybe CG just became too powerful, either in fact or just in peoples perceptions.

It was a much smaller artworld at the time and the ensuing backlash was probably greater then than it might be today. It became a story with legs into the present.

25.

opie

March 15, 2007, 10:28 AM

He was not really "powerful", George. Look at the actual record. He himself said he was not powerful. He said he "had influence", but that was all.

The "backlash" continues to this day and will for decades to come.

26.

George

March 15, 2007, 10:47 AM

It doesn't matter if he was really powerful or not, what matters is how he might have been perceived by others as 'too' powerful or influential. It's the sort of psychological condition which can cause some sort of backlash, valid or not.

Whether or not the backlash continues today is an interesting question. Essentially CG's criticisms deal with the art of the past, therefore they are part of the historical record. Whether or not critical writers find them interesting today would depend on what points of view they might find themselves in agreement with and how they might extend this thinking into the present.

Regardless, I don't think it is likely that an art critic can or will become as 'influential' today in a way it occurred in CG's time. The market place is just too big, there are too many participants with competing points of view.

27.

Jack

March 15, 2007, 10:50 AM

The hostility is not so much a personal thing, I think, but more about what Greenberg represented or embodied. It's about the principle he stood for with respect to dealing with art, about his approach. That approach is simply incompatible with what the art world degenerated into and how it currently remains. Basically, Greenberg did not allow for or condone BS, and BS is now the name of the game. They have to keep him, or what he stood for, at bay at all costs. If he or his kind prevail, they simply cannot survive. It's that simple.

28.

ph

March 15, 2007, 11:03 AM

I've always disliked that word, "influential," when applied to Greenberg. It implies that the art he admired was not worth it, and only accepted because of his personal clout. As to figurative v. abstract, his position was that OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, he preferred the figurative, but that other things weren't always equal, and in the present, the best art just happened to be abstract.. Here's the exact quote, from "Abstract and Representional." "No one has yet been able to show that the representational as such either adds or takes away anything from the aesthetic value of a picture or statue."

29.

catfish

March 15, 2007, 2:15 PM

I think the answer to this question is deeper and more difficult than we think, and relates to a primitive side of our character that most people will find very difficult to accept.

Opie, I agree that it is the primitive side of our character, but don't think it is all that deep. It works like this: if your opinions differ markedly from those of the group and you support them fluently, then your are "opinionated" and finally dispised if you keep them up too long. If you differ with the group and support your views chaotically, then you are "crazy". Agree with those of the group and you are simply "correct" and recently in the art system you are "with it" as well. The vehemence of the various put downs INCREASES as the majority gets larger - a nearly unanamous majority seems to almost panic at the thought of those few dissenters who are left, while a bare majority is much more relaxed about those who disagree. Logic says once your majority is overwhelming, you should relax and coast to what are surely easy victories. Not so, though. Guess this stuff isn't logical.

30.

Jack

March 15, 2007, 2:55 PM

For what it's worth, the Miami MOCA just sent me a card advertising their showing of a film about the 1960s NY art scene and Henry Geldzahler, credited with the dubious distinction of making said scene "POP." The film is called Who gets to call it Art?. Who indeed.

31.

1

March 15, 2007, 5:18 PM

ph

where can i find those goodnough and dzubas essays?

thanks

32.

opie

March 15, 2007, 5:32 PM

#26 - #30 all excellent comments. The blog is getting very intelligent & sophisticated. It's frustrating. Who am I going to argue with?

33.

jm

March 15, 2007, 10:14 PM

"Criticism is easy, art is difficult."
Detouches [Philippe Nericault] (1680-1754) French. Le Glorieux, 1732.

34.

ahab

March 15, 2007, 11:21 PM

Was there no such thing as "with it" to attain to in the pre-1980 artworld, catfish?

35.

BMD72

March 16, 2007, 12:18 AM

The more I read about how much this guy pissed off other, the more I think he might have something to say.

36.

catfish

March 16, 2007, 5:37 AM

Ahab: The idea that massive groups could be "with it" started in the 60s, about the same time the avant-garde became successful with its campaign to achieve the institutional blessing it had sought ever since Cezanne found he could not get into Academy shows. Or something like that.

37.

opie

March 16, 2007, 7:54 AM

The importance of "with it" gradually displaced the importance of being "authentic", of not "selling out". This was greatly accelerated by Warhol, Pop Art and the whole "high/low" rationalization to the point wherre "selling out" had its own kind of perverse authenticity. Most of the people writing herre tend to be in the camp of holding out for seriousness and uthenticity in art, which has been an extreme minority position for decades, although one very strongly held.

By the way there is new art of both types opening at the EDGE ZONES gallery tonight, including some quite "authentic" new work by Kathleen Staples. 2214 N. Miami Ave. in Wynwood.

38.

catfish

March 16, 2007, 8:31 AM

Yes opie, "authentic" was still important in the 60s, when I started out.
During that time I saw no problem in being both authentic and with it. I was wrong.

39.

opie

March 16, 2007, 8:53 AM

i think we all blithely assumed that the lightweight stuff that was coming up into prominence was just fun and what the hell. We had no conception of how virulent the general "pop" phenomenon would be, how it would take the offensive.

As a colleague of mine has noted, the Modernists were critical but quite willing to accommodate all sides. The Pops and Pomos, or their handlers and apologists, were more fanatic and idealogical and tended to want to suppress everything else. This of course, fits the academic mold. Or the Talibans.

40.

Marc Country

March 16, 2007, 9:05 AM

... and the only doctrinaire thing about Greenberg was, and still is, his detractors.

41.

kool-aid

March 17, 2007, 3:24 AM

Opie, somehow Ab-ex and Pomo hang out togther and chat. They are actually pretty good friends; they teach each other some things. Each one informs the other about what motivates them. They go back to their own studios and create while considering their opposite paradigms. They actually have concluded that there is no differences between them. They move ahead.

42.

opie

March 17, 2007, 7:31 AM

That's very cozy, kool-aid, but it really is not a battle between generalizations but an attitude, whatever you call it, which is basically anti-art. This is what predominates right now.

43.

jm

March 17, 2007, 12:17 PM

- not sure what you mean by "battle" Opie.
Since you are alive and working now, you are also "Pomo"- like it or not.
This is not a style in the traditional sense, or even an option; but an inevitable relationship with the current world. You may not like the art of current practitioners, but they may dislike yours as well. YET YOU ARE THE SAME AS THEY ARE ON MANY LEVELS.

44.

opie

March 17, 2007, 2:38 PM

There is antipathy between modernists and postmodernists which is in evidence here on this blog and in the art world at large, JM. I am sure you have not missed it. My comment was in response to kool-aids comment, and I think it is clear enough.

Being alive and working hardly makes one "pomo". If we used the word that way it would be useless because everyone would be pomo. A Modernist is one who values the ideals of Modernism (please, do not ask me to spell it out for you). A postmodernist the same for postmodernism. It is a real distinction. Of course I am like them in many ways (we all are into art one way or another), but, so what?

45.

George

March 17, 2007, 8:33 PM

Unfurling the Hidden Work of a Lifetime

ON a recent cloudy day the British art historian David Anfam stood outside a warehouse, a long concrete slab with a steel roof on the outskirts of a nondescript suburb, and confided, “I feel like the archaeologist Howard Carter about to enter Tutankhamen’s tomb.”

The secret cache of art Mr. Anfam had traveled from London to see — 2,393 works, to be exact — has been hidden from public view for decades. Most of it has never been seen by the public at all, thanks to the fierce privacy and bilious contempt for the art world of its creator, the Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still, who died in 1980 at 75.......

46.

Noah

March 18, 2007, 12:27 AM

I look forward to seeing more of Still's work. I always thought he was under-rated.

47.

George

March 18, 2007, 12:49 AM

Another artist, a massivly under-rated painter is Hyman Bloom.

48.

opie

March 18, 2007, 7:34 AM

Thanks for the Still reference George. I agree with Noah. I'm not sure he is "underrated" exactly, at least not in the sense of market/museum acceptance, but think Still started something in painting which has never been sufficiently exploited. He was such an odd, unlikely painter that his work never seemed to move into the "influjence mainstream" the way other artist's work did, although he was a powerful influence on me years ago. A number of talented painters in California were influenced by him but most of them turned away from those methods early on. It will be interesting to see what happens when this stuff gets out.

I can't agree with you about Bloom. He was very hot stuff 50 years ago, but I would (and did) consider that a considerable overrating. Let's see some images & see what other people think.

You might find this interesting, George. I have known an excellent California artist, Ron Davis, since the 60s. He was influenced by Still as a young artist. He got well-known and then his work fell in disfavor and no one would buy it. A while ago MoMA, for some reason, hung one of his works (a very good one) in their lobby. I believe it is there now. No sooner did this happen than a similar painting, estimated in the very low thousands, went at one of the big auctions for $60,000. He still has no representation in NYC, but I am sure that will change soon.

49.

George

March 18, 2007, 10:44 AM

Op,

Re Bloom, I saw some jpegs awhile back that I thought were interesting, can't remember where. Whatever might have occurred 50 years ago, he's been totally obscure since then.

I met Ron Davis several times in the late 60’s, we had mutual friends. I didn’t know about Still being an influence on him but it makes sense, there were some good Clyfford Still paintings in the LA area. I also noticed his auction result, I’m not sure I would link the results with the painting on display at MOMA, but I am sure is doesn’t hurt. It seems like auction prices for some of the early LA artists have been playing catch up lately.

Whatever, that black hole of indifference, is always on the horizon and I suspect a number of today’s young artists will have the same fate and wonder what happened.

50.

1

March 18, 2007, 12:07 PM

here are the early ron davis' paintings that have the influence of still..

http://www.irondavis.com/a_art/a60_ptgs/a6a_Proto_Music/a6a_Proto_Music_indx.htm

moma r davis..

http://www.irondavis.com/0_curr_shows/07_Museum_Shows/07b_Ring-Onview-MOMA.htm

his dodecagon painting "ring" currently hanging in the moma definitely was the main factor the other dodecagon went so high a couple of weeks ago. it might have gotten half that on the very best day if he did not have the piece hanging at moma currently.

the wadsworth atheneum museum in hartford, ct has 2 stills, one quite excellent (could not find a picture). if memory serves me correct, the sculptor tony smith gave the museum one of these as well as one of the 2 pollocks in the same room.

51.

1

March 18, 2007, 12:27 PM

below is a response that has been cut and paste from an email exchange that i had with a college friend/acquaintance about a month ago. it was in response to him telling me that "greenberg was out of his mind when he said olitski was the best living artist" from the 1970's to the early 1990's and that olitski and noland only fulfilled a niche that
greenberg was seeking to fill . my friend is a phd at an art deparment in a nyc college. he offered up johns and twombly as his living best.

here was my "cut and paste" response..

"strange how greenberg is so misunderstood. so many people are tainted by what other people have said about him, rather than what he really was about. i think he pissed a lot of people off because he did not like indiscriminately. he was very focused on what looked best, but never went in with a preset checklist on what that might entail. that is all fabricated. writers base articles and books on him based on other erroneous articles or info from detractors, rather than the people who knew him best or better his own words. he still carries a lot of influence and has to be considered one of the greatest art critics of all time. i think he was right about olitski, like he was about pollock and hofmann, just before most others could see for themselves. "

52.

1

March 18, 2007, 12:39 PM

greenberg is haunting a lot of these people, but they just can't get rid of him.

and maybe they can't see for themselves. or have not even made the effort.

53.

opie

March 18, 2007, 1:55 PM

If your friend is a PhD then he is an art historian. Art historians have a very bad record when it comes to seeing what is best. if he puts forward Johns and Twombly that is nothing but confirmation that he he is drifting in the mainstream of received and accepted taste. These are the people who liked Bouguereau in 1875 and Henri Martin in 1900. Monet and Cezanne were exactly as outlandish at those dates as Olitski is now. You can't argue with these people, you just have to let it happen.

54.

Marc Country

March 18, 2007, 2:00 PM

"my friend is a phd at an art deparment in a nyc college. he offered up johns and twombly as his living best."

Good response, 1.
Stunned silence might have been all I could return to such an 'offering'.

55.

beWare

March 18, 2007, 7:15 PM

For what it's worth, I think johns is one of the most overrated artists' around today. I say artist instead of painter because I do not see him as a painter at all. Post-Duchampian flim-flam or something like that !

56.

jm

March 18, 2007, 9:10 PM

Here is something to rip on. These things are some of the works that sold out in 15 minutes in Art Basel Miami.

http://www.eigen-art.com/Kuenstlerseiten/KuenstlerseiteME/miami.pdf

57.

jordan miami

March 19, 2007, 3:26 AM

Franklin, I hope that your trip has been very satisfactory to you and your new wife. I will communicate with you via personal e-mail.
I have no comments to put down here no/any longer. I am not that old. There seems to be an ignorance expressed here which, borders on insecurity. I am not as experienced as are your primary bloggers. They are both smarter and have achieved much more on many levels than I have. I wish not to read myself think.
Besos - talk to you soon.

58.

Marc Country

March 19, 2007, 11:15 AM

I'm not that old either...

59.

Jack

March 19, 2007, 12:06 PM

According to my info, Franklin is not yet married, unless he's eloped or something (assuming people still do that sort of thing).

60.

opie

March 19, 2007, 12:26 PM

Also, he is not on a trip. He moved. Us old farts are busy making these disctinctions all the time.

61.

Bunny Smedley

March 19, 2007, 12:50 PM

But doesn't Franklin actually write in his post that he's on a business trip, Opie?

(Just trying to prove that I'm actually far older than any of you, Opie especially ... )

62.

catfish

March 19, 2007, 2:14 PM

Jordan and his comments are very welcome here as far as i am concerned. I am saddened when someone backs off because they feel they are not enough "in touch" with what the strongest writers advocate. I once shocked a friend of mine by telling him that he won the argument but that was not enough to change my mind. But that is the case. Arguments don't change any reality but their own. So don't sweat it.

63.

opie

March 19, 2007, 3:48 PM

Bunny, you are not older than me, for sure, but apparently sharper, more observant and willing to read the post for actual facts, all decided virtues.

I agree, Catfish. Everyone has their own style. And the comment was writtten at 3:26 AM. As Fitzgerald wrote in "The Crack Up", “In the real dark night of the soul, it is always 3 o’clock in the morning, day after day,”

64.

beWare

March 19, 2007, 5:36 PM

my favorite thing to do at 3:26 am is sleep.

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