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Post #1005 • May 21, 2007, 2:35 PM • 21 Comments

I'm going to be hammering on these pretty hard from now until late June, so drop back by for unannounced updates. (I may include them in roundups.) I give you Color, Paint, and Present-Day Painting from 1966, and three letters to editors from '68 and '69. Given the recent commenting about art writing, it seems apropos.

Some thoughts: can you imagine Artforum running anything like that '66 article today? There are some artists from whom I'd love to hear first-person accounts of how they do what they do, but I guess that's now seen as overly crafty or something. Pity, that. Also, that letter from Porter is easily the flakiest thing I've seen come out of his typewriter. I quite like his criticism for the most part.




May 21, 2007, 3:08 PM

That Porter response would make more sense with the de Kooning review it refers to. Yes it would.



May 21, 2007, 3:21 PM

I disagree with myself on one of those letters, the one where I criticized the use of "lemon" by Kozloff. That was silly. "Lemon" is better than "pale greenish yellow".

Oh well, it was 40 years ago.


Jeffrey Augustine Songco

May 21, 2007, 5:10 PM

Could you elaborate a little more on how an artist discussing his/her technique is seen as 'overly crafty or something'? I've been thinking about the artist's practice, and I'm wondering if its recently been taboo to think such things.



May 21, 2007, 5:31 PM

I guess it isn't taboo to think such things, at least not around here. But again, do you ever pick up an art glossy and see copious descriptions about how materials are getting used on a project? I don't know when that disappeared from the acceptable list of topics in the high-art magazines. Certainly you see that in the realist art magazines ("10 ways to make your watercolors glow," or somesuch), but not in Artforum. And now that I think about it, while I hardly like any of the work in a typical issue of Artforum, something like a cross between Artforum and Make would be a really cool magazine. Sure, let's find out how to make a glow-in-the-dark bunny, or a Jenny Holzer-style LED installation, or whatever. That would be loads more interesting than talking about them as art. They might even work better as art seen in that light. I think I'm on to something here.



May 21, 2007, 6:03 PM

Is hardware paint, latex and oil based, common in large scale painting? I often feel like I'm wasting paint using artist or even student oils for large colorist type work. Does hardware alkyd resin based paint have a lot of negative aging properties? I'm always wondering what type of paint contemporary large scale painters like Peter Doig use.



May 21, 2007, 6:16 PM

Hardware store paint is generally okay as long as it conforms to high standards and you paint it out flat. It won't do textures and shouldn't be made to. I wouldn't even throw sand in it although it's probably okay to do so. I just saw a show of Bannard's minimalist works at Jacobson Howard, painted in the way he describes, and forty or fifty years on they look fine. (There was some minor cracking here and there but not pigment-wide failure, probably just a touch of weakness in the ground and support.) Will they outlast high-grade acrylics? No. Will they outlast you? Probably. AMIEN has a ton of information on this stuff.



May 21, 2007, 6:58 PM

Now that I'm thinking about this a bit, I saw cracking on piece Bannard had up at the Goldman Olitski show, not this one. The surfaces were just a hair uneven here and there, but nothing calling out for repair by any means.



May 21, 2007, 7:03 PM

Very interesting art blog, lots of great information! [Spam!]



May 21, 2007, 7:32 PM

Alkyd paint seems durable, the flat more than the glossy, which can get brittle if at all thick. Latex would be better, in my experience. Best of all is to mix latex with some kind of acrylic medium. If you are using large volumes of paint oil is prohibitive and acrylic only slightly less so, although the mediums help.



May 21, 2007, 7:55 PM

Franklin, I'm very much interested in the craft of painting even though I'm not a painter. I could say that for lots of techniques that artists use. Even if you'd like to send me a little piece on what you do and how you do it, you know I'd love to have it be a feature on Why so many artists seem to not want to talk about things like craft baffle me. I think it helps each of us get a better understanding of what artists do, especially if the reader of an article is not an artist. Widen the circle a little and let some non-art people find out something they can love as well. :-)



May 21, 2007, 8:06 PM

I think the avoidance of craft is nothing more or less than a vulgarian attitude that "we don't talk about those ordinary things", a kind of putting on airs, as if common materials are not important.

The best and most serious artists I have known like nothing better than to discover a new material or technique, or talk about old ones, or new uses of old ones, or how how some artist did this or that. It is almost a direct correlation, and it holds true (or did hold true) in all the arts.



May 21, 2007, 8:46 PM




May 21, 2007, 9:53 PM

"Art is skill; that is the first meaning of the word."



May 21, 2007, 10:59 PM

I remember that article from ArtForum, it had an influence on me at the time.
Can't get much for two dollars these days.

Re Munsell charts. About 10 years ago, there was an exhibition at one of the NY universities (68th and Lex, whichever one that is) of just color charts. There was quite a selection, including original drawings by Musell and the others. A bit dry but fascinating.

Craft talk. As I recall, "studio talk" was one of the characteristic approaches of formalism during that period, so talking about paint was part of the program.


Marc Country

May 22, 2007, 2:44 AM

"Accuracy comes out cold, I'll admit. But what's the alternative?"

N Ice.



May 22, 2007, 3:36 PM

From Artnet:

Also from the Wayback Machine is Jacobson Howard Gallery with its show of Minimalist paintings by Darby Bannard from 1959-65, perfect circles painted on perfect squares. The card for the show features a painting of a blue circle slightly above center on a near square, called The Marriage #3 (1961) (back during the ten days that I was a devotee of Guru Maya, they told us to meditate on a blue circle) and another work titled Yellow Rose #1, which places a yellow semicircle at the bottom of the canvas, like a rising sun. The paintings are a bargain at around $35,000 each.

It kind of reminds me of the art teacher in Daniel Clowes Art School Confidential who paints the triangles...long before anyone else was painting triangles.


dont u think?

May 22, 2007, 3:59 PM

Bannards move to a more open gestural style via Olitski was a welcomed necessity.


Senor Basura, a lurker

May 22, 2007, 4:30 PM

Franklin et al-

As a "maker", and not an "artist", I find that the sense of competition between artists is what kills the cooperative spirit, and hurts in furthering education and technique. The limited funds available to a very small group of "known" artists creates a competitive "screw you, I have my secrets" discourse and lack of sharing in the art world.

Open-source art technique, anyone? This is not a magic show, where the trade depends on the secrets of performance and props.

Look at the tech world. Franklin can attest that complete strangers, in far away locations, can assist and will describe the very intricacies of Python or Ruby for nothing other than the desire to spread the word and help.

From a non-artist viewpoint, I think artists would be afraid to describe the creative process, or "instructable" on how they created the artwork, as it will perhaps make them feel as if they are showing the pickle that has been in their pants all along.

If you look at the just-occurring Maker's Faire, you see a collaborative environment where folks are sharing how they created something, and pointing willing students in the right direction to learn more.



May 22, 2007, 7:31 PM

I don't think it is competition, Senor. Competition is good for art and for most professional enterprises.

The problem is insecurity, a feeling that this is all I've got, so better not give it away.



May 22, 2007, 8:17 PM

Off topic...

It was a nice spring day in NYC, so a friend and I made the trek to the Chelsea galleries.

There were a few good shows about, but when I walked into Pace Gallery I was totally suprised by Jim Dines sculptures ofPinocchio.

These are figurative sculptures.

Painted figurative sculptures at that..

They are humorous as can be, a foil against the backdrop of the KMart Art Povera painting and sculpture so prevelant at the moment. (ok, Tim Hawkinson's show was good too)

I guess they might be considered POP art, but these pieces get past the obvious references. They had a very solid physical prescence. Very nice.



May 25, 2007, 1:50 AM

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