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Great moments in unintentional art criticism

Post #1015 • June 5, 2007, 7:57 AM • 125 Comments

Unretouched screenshot of CNN.com, June 1, 2007

Comment

1.

Marc Country

June 5, 2007, 12:06 PM

Not-So-Great Moments in Intentional Art Criticism...

2.

opie

June 5, 2007, 12:50 PM

Re Marc's link:

What an astonishing piece of writing. Anyone who can say " We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today, and only current art can provide that." is so utterly out of range of any understanding or art whatsoever that reading further can only promise more zingers, and they come apace. For example " it is fascinating to see Noland carefully paint between some of the rings of his target, completely giving the lie to the concept of the one-shot painting" Painting carefully "gives the lie" to "one-shot painting"?? Doesn't he know that "one-shot" means in the viewing, not in the making?

And why would Polly Apfelbaum and Fred Sandback be in such a show when so many better and more representative artists are not? Polly Apfelbaum, for crying out loud? It's bad enough that this art was trashed for 40 years but this is the proverbial insult to injury.

3.

Luis Armstrong

June 5, 2007, 5:18 PM

Thanks for suggesting that Polly Apfelbaum's inclusion is an insult; it made me wonder why, so I looked her up and I really like her work!

4.

George

June 5, 2007, 5:46 PM

When Linsley says "...We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today,..." he might be making a valid point about a group of artists who have been out of the limelight for awhile. It’s often the next generation of artists which recognize the importance of work by neglected artists and can help rekindle interest in them. This seems to be part of the ebb and flow of the attention process within the art world and I wouldn’t read it as meaning anything more than that.

His misperception of ‘one shot painting’ is harmless, and about what most mistakenly think the term means, it’s a dumb label but Linsey shouldn’t be allowed to use them anyway.

It appears this exhibition happened a couple of years ago, so adding insult onto injury is the fact I’m just hearing about it.

5.

ec

June 5, 2007, 5:55 PM

Aha, Linsey.
Come on, 'reframing' the past is a common ploy to make it relevant in a consumer society. He's no different than most in this regard.
He does attempt to discuss painting and art making through the material and references to visual things.
Polly Apfelbaum's work in the show is a conceptual stretch, but she's a good artist.
Relativity is not a bad thing. It is not the thing itself, but it expands the parameters. If not for some, for others.

6.

ec

June 5, 2007, 5:55 PM

Aha, Linsey.
Come on, 'reframing' the past is a common ploy to make it relevant in a consumer society. He's no different than most in this regard.
He does attempt to discuss painting and art making through the material and references to visual things.
Polly Apfelbaum's work in the show is a conceptual stretch, but she's a good artist.
Relativity is not a bad thing. It is not the thing itself, but it expands the parameters. If not for some, for others.

7.

opie

June 5, 2007, 7:40 PM

I think you are just being argumentative, George

The man wrote: "...We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today,..." etc

That is not a "valid point". It is just stupid.

Do we need a reason to care about Matisse today? Rembrandt? Lascaux? Don't we care about an artist because they paint good pictures and we like to look at them?

How in the world can anyone think Apfelbaum is a "good artist"? I have seen better linoleum. Well...De gustibus...

8.

George

June 5, 2007, 8:27 PM

Do we need a reason to care about Matisse today? Rembrandt? Lascaux? Don't we care about an artist because they paint good pictures and we like to look at them?
In principle I agree.

I think something else was being addressed by Linsey's phrase, and it alludes to the fact that the artists mentioned have been out of favor, ignored, whetever you wish to characterize the present lack of interest as, and he was trying to make a point about giving them some attention again.

I'm not interested in defending Linsey, I don't think get's it right about anything else either.

I thought it was good the color field painters had a moment, regardless of who they paired them up with. Good or bad, one sees the comparison when the paintings stand side by side. Unfortunately, Linsey is an academic (I remember now reading his stuff once), he has a lot of fancy ideas but no eye.

9.

ec

June 5, 2007, 8:41 PM

You may not need a reason to care and more experienced painters may not. But young painters who know nothing have to learn somehow. That's what he meant, I think--that the work needs to be situated as important, not because it ISN'T but betcause right now, historically , it is not on the same par as the Lascaux cave paintings.
As to Apfelbaum, I can understand the difference between her work and Matisse's and see no reason why I can't enjoy them both. Matisse has more to give and I think about his work more, --actually, only in this conversation would I be provoked enough to place them together--but those floor pieces are a lot of fun and ravishing in their own way.

10.

Jack

June 5, 2007, 8:56 PM

My ennui persists, but I just made myself read an article about the fancy new Nasher Museum at Duke University and a 3-man show there called "Street Level," which includes, yes, William Cordova and his old stereo speakers. I shouldn't have exerted myself so, but we all do stupid things now and then.

I won't go into details (can't muster the energy), but the curator says the works in the show "address ways that people culturally transform space, mark territory, and position themselves within the landscape of the city." But of course. Just the thing to restore my faith in the prevailing art milieu. I can't even begin to describe how little I give a shit. You may now return to your regular programming.

11.

Marc Country

June 5, 2007, 10:19 PM

"You may not need a reason to care and more experienced painters may not. But young painters who know nothing have to learn somehow."

But, how on earth does it follow from that, to the idea that I'm going to find a "way in" to Noland, Louis, etc. through the 'current art' being made (no doubt by George's genius' twenty-somethings). THEY are going to point to what's good about Noland? In some way that I couldn't access just by looking at Noland or Louis myself? Please... Young artists aren't a homogenous cluster of automatons... some of us, at least, can make up our own minds about what's of value in current and past art, without needing Linsley to develop a 'sales pitch', however nobly misguided such intentions might be.

Richard Dawkins, responding to a rebuke of "how articulately barbed" he can be, shared the following anecdote, by way of a defense: "A former and highly successful editor of New Scientist magazine (who actually built-up New Scientist to great new heights) was asked, "What is your philosophy at New Scientist?", and he said, "Our philosphy at New Scientist is this: Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fuck off."

12.

Marc Country

June 5, 2007, 10:23 PM

...More Votaries of False Dawns...

13.

George

June 5, 2007, 11:22 PM

Re: "George's genius' twenty-something’s"
In response to Ahab the other day, I don’t know who they are, so they can’t be ‘mine’. I do know they exist which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. (there are 7000 artists on the Saatchi website, I’m sure there’s one there if you look.)

If we’re talking about the twenty-something’s then all they need to do, is see the paintings in some kind of context that they can get excited about. Whether or not they ‘get’ the paintings is more or less irrelevant.

What matters is that they are excited by them because they feel they can do something with the idea. It doesn’t matter if they totally understand what’s ‘good’ for themselves, they’ll figure that out over time.

If you’re talking about the thirty-something(plus) crowd, then I think you can expect a different reaction. Some will think they ‘know’ what is important or not, and will react accordingly. Some will be reassured because the works, and their lineage, support the path they have already chosen. Others will dismiss them because they only see them as ‘______’, whatever.

The fact is that what is important is that the works are seen, especially in a supporting context. This was an old review, I’m not sure what Linsley’s motives were, I don’t really care, it’s just one more review and it doesn’t seem like it will have any affect one way or the other.

14.

opie

June 5, 2007, 11:38 PM

The New Scientist's rejoinder was an LOL, Marc.

15.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 1:53 AM

Even better on video...

16.

Robert Linsley

June 6, 2007, 6:00 AM

Mr. Marc Country, I was interested to hear that you have enquired about rmy fellowship, but I couldn't remember your note or find it this morning. I don't restrict the work we do to painting, so I'd be interested in seeing your work if you cared to send some images. I'm open to look at anyone's work. Best, Robert
ps. sorry to send this via the blog, but don't have an e-mail address for you

also...for opie
one shot refers to both making and reception...to making in the sense that once the paint is down it can't be removed or easily corrected, as in traditional oil painting. But my point is still valid even if you are thinking about reception because when you pay attention to the tiny particulars your viewing slows down.

17.

jordan

June 6, 2007, 7:23 AM

Here are some cheaper skulls...

18.

opie

June 6, 2007, 9:11 AM

Mr. Linsley: you write "But my point is still valid even if you are thinking about reception because when you pay attention to the tiny particulars your viewing slows down."

But that's not what you said. You said that the artist's "fussing over details" "gives the lie" to "one-shot painting", and you gave the example of Noland carefully painting between some of the rings of a target painting.

However, careful painting in no way "slows down viewing". It only slows down painting. Noland was not painting "tiny particulars", he was painting a simple, solid ring (or something very similar). That element would not demand "paying attention to tiny particulars" and would hardly get in the way of the "one-shot" character of the picture.

An artist like Bruegel, on the other hand actually paints tiny particulars, and a case could be made there for prolonged viewing. But even in that case, or just about any case, any painting is basically a one-shot deal as concernes one's comprehension of it as an esthetic object. The rest is indeed just absorbing "particulars", which can be done with just about anything.

19.

opie

June 6, 2007, 9:45 AM

Marc, you are a worse masochist than Jack. Jack goes to look at bad art (or did, until he gave it up), but you seem to take perverse pleasure in bad art writing. Oh well, you're young; you can take it.

That "birth of 21st Century art" thing on Hirst is a winner. I have never read such a gush. It is chock full of real hummers; I particularly remember this wonderful sentence, right in the middle of the piece:

So what is life?

And the image of Shakepeare crowding in with the Aztecs to get a glimpse of Hirst's latest. Wow!

20.

George

June 6, 2007, 10:39 AM

FWIW, I like the skull. It's beautiful and perverse.


That said, let's spin the money.

For 98 Million bucks at retail, some collector gets a portable object which most likely will hold it's value even if sold for scrap He or she will have to insure it and worry about it being stolen (note that DH has publicly stated he doesn't keep it around the house, i.e. don't murder me for my art). etc.

Now, a person with 100 million bucks to burn could create a foundation that gave out one hundred $48,000 grants to artists, each year in perpetuity (assuming the money is invested for a 5% return and that operating expenses are kept to 2% a year.


A third possibility exists of course.

One of the twenty-something genius’s, (a rich one, at that) could use a hammer to pound it down into a flat sheet of platinum embedded with diamond dust and tooth enamel, doing RR one better, making a drawing by erasing a sculpture.

21.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 11:04 AM

Opie, and Marc Country - Do both of you have a rare and remarkable talent for reading every other phrase in a text? Or is that the spell of an evil wizard that makes you blink so much you think you're reading bad art writing?

22.

opie

June 6, 2007, 11:06 AM

Unfortunately George, diamonds lose 50% of their value the minute they are purchased.

The third possiblity is a good one. But (in keeping with your "change" theories) we are past the age of ironic art in-joke gestures and into the age of stupendous vulgar flash, if Mr. Jones the critic is to be believed. I think Hirst knows his audience. He isn't much of an artist but he is no dummy. And the idea that extravagant gesture will become (or already is) the pop art of our time may not be far off.

23.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 11:54 AM

Thanks Robert. It was maybe a year ago that I came across a brief notice of the 'fellowship in studio abstraction', on the web. Kindly, you sent me a "description of the research", which I perused, and ultimately agreed with your initial suggestion that my work was not quite within the particular area you were looking at. Anyway, I've since moved into more figurative work, so I'm probably further away from your focus now than I was even then. Nevertheless, thanks for your interest.

J@simpleposie wrote, "Opie, and Marc Country - Do both of you have a rare and remarkable evil wizard that makes you blink so much you think you're reading bad?"

No. Whatever makes you say that?

24.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 11:56 AM

I couldn't begin to say.

25.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 12:07 PM

It was a year ago... I even re-posted Linsley's backgrounder to the abstraction fellowship on the wall of the ol' abandoned artblog Cafe, just in case anyone here was interested...

26.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 12:09 PM

I couldn't begin to say.

I thought not...

27.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 12:21 PM

It might be more accurately a chronic misquoting problem.

28.

opie

June 6, 2007, 12:31 PM

I'm not sure whqt you mean, Posie. When I quote at any length I usually cut & paste, so that is necessarily accurate. Shorter quotes are soometimes paraphrased, if that's what you mean, but I don't think I have changed any meaning by doing so.

29.

Franklin

June 6, 2007, 12:43 PM

All of which is a preface to the observation that the current widespread identification of the art of painting with the manipulation of paint, and all the textures and strokes and tactile effects that it can provide, is definitely not the way, but then neither is the unthinking surface of a Christian Eckart.

Here's where I gave up. The overarching pattern in the piece is to drum up problems, issues, and connections where there are none. In this instance, the surface effects of paint are not "the way" (!) but neither are the lack of surface effects. But either way, the identification of painting with paint, of all things, is somehow problematic. I have no patience for this. I have been quiet on it because basic facts about reality persist without my defense.

30.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 12:44 PM

Yes you ARE quick to cut and paste - what would happen if you reinstated the words you have so cunningly dislodged - slowed down and read the text as it stands aloud to yourself? I'm curious.

31.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 1:39 PM

... Not as much as you might like to think, I'd say.

32.

Marc Country

June 6, 2007, 1:47 PM

...Ok, maybe that was uncalled for. I take it back.

"I have been quiet on it because basic facts about reality persist without my defense."

I haven't been entirely quiet on this, but it just about sums up my attitude as well. I should mention, I originally found the Linsley piece featured on J@simpleposie's blog, where the defense of Linsley's thesis was quite heated at times...

33.

BMD72

June 6, 2007, 1:55 PM

Please explain how that's unintentional or even intentional art criticism? Is it because at first glance one could mistake 98million or 98,000 for $98.00?

34.

opie

June 6, 2007, 2:18 PM

Posie, the person making the criticism should criticise specifically, otherwise the criticism is difficult to answer,. A generalized "what would happen if you reinstated the words you have so cunningly dislodged - slowed down and read the text as it stands aloud to yourself?" (exact quote) instruction to me, asking me to essentially reconstruct every quote or partial quote I have made on this page, is fruitless because I should not be obliged to do it and I won't do it. If you have one or more specific instances of my dereliction I will be pleased to consider them.

35.

George

June 6, 2007, 3:09 PM

BMD,

I think F was referring to 'Entertaionment'

36.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 3:46 PM

Re:

"Posie, the person making the criticism should criticise specifically, otherwise the criticism is difficult to answer,. A generalized "what would happen if you reinstated the words you have so cunningly dislodged - slowed down and read the text as it stands aloud to yourself?" (exact quote) instruction to me, asking me to essentially reconstruct every quote or partial quote I have made on this page, is fruitless because I should not be obliged to do it and I won't do it. If you have one or more specific instances of my dereliction I will be pleased to consider them."

Au contraire - Marc Country known on simpleposie as MC has taken the liberty of calling this two year old essay "a not so great moment in intentional criticism" without so much as a stitch to substantiate his contention - here on Franklin's blog.

You then made these "critical" remarks:


"What an astonishing piece of writing. Anyone who can say " We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today, and only current art can provide that." is so utterly out of range of any understanding or art whatsoever that reading further can only promise more zingers, and they come apace. For example " it is fascinating to see Noland carefully paint between some of the rings of his target, completely giving the lie to the concept of the one-shot painting" Painting carefully "gives the lie" to "one-shot painting"?? Doesn't he know that "one-shot" means in the viewing, not in the making?"

You fail to acknowledge / realize that this statement was made in response to the remarks of a very fine internationally exhibited Canadian artist in the exhibition, Robert Youds. R. Linsley agrees with Youds but offers his agreement , as I said also on simpleposie, with significant qualifications. If you read these you would not be able to hold up your little wisp as the specious bone of contention you seem to say it is.

Your next criticism is of this "zinger" and is taken from quite a bit further down the page but that fact is certainly not specified.".... it is fascinating to see Noland carefully paint between some of the rings of his target, completely giving the lie to the concept of the one-shot painting" Here again you pluck out a little feather of text without so much as considering the paragraph which contained it and behave as if it is a hungry twenty something wolverine devouring all the chickens in the much maligned modernist hen house. You couldn't have read to the end of that paragraph or you would have gotten Linsley's rather measured point:

"Problematic today is that many works are finished products before they are even made. I don't want to valorize spontaneity or process, or claim that works should not be fabricated by machine. The problem is an aesthetic one, and not reducible to a question of style. There is less place for unprogrammed experience when the space between conception and execution is narrowed. This criticism applies to any work that more or less adequately delivers a concept, and to any work that does more than that but is nevertheless routinized in execution."

As to your question in summary:


"And why would Polly Apfelbaum and Fred Sandback be in such a show when so many better and more representative artists are not? Polly Apfelbaum, for crying out loud? It's bad enough that this art was trashed for 40 years but this is the proverbial insult to injury."

If you had seen the show you'd know their respective inclusions were among the exhibition's highlights - but really you'd have to ask Curator David Moos for the answer to your question. Are you suggesting (and based on what?) Moos somehow injured paintings that he already insulted? Or was that Linsley in his review in Canadian Art Magazine? Or everyone?

My question to you - "What would happen if you reinstated the words you have so cunningly dislodged - slowed down and read the text as it stands aloud to yourself?" is absolutely specific. Though I do think you should get out more, I shouldn't oblige you to reconstruct your thinking. But I have now done you the honour of elaborating mine.

That is as much time as I have to spell it all out for you.... You are welcome. I could absolutely understand not sharing a writer's point of view but your knee jerk approach to "criticism" doesn't exactly approach persuasiveness. It verges on silly. But then I think DH's skull is silly too. Ha! Ha!

37.

opie

June 6, 2007, 4:35 PM

Posie, if someone, in my opinion, makes a mistake, I refer to the mistake they made. Whatever else they may say or someone else may say or do is immaterial. That's what I mean by being specific. If you think I am wrong they please tell me directly why the specific thing I said was wrong.. If you can do that, briefly, I will be pleased to answer.

38.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 4:43 PM

Learn how to read? Bah! Whatevs.

39.

Franklin

June 6, 2007, 5:38 PM

F was indeed referring to "Entertainment," all caps, red, sans-serif, and summing it up as well as it needs to be summed.

J@S, It doesn't matter what it is in regards to - the notion that we need a reason to care about Louis et al. and that only current art can provide it is ridiculous. If you have an eye, you care about the art in question because it holds up as art. Whether current art uses its tropes well or badly is a separate phenomenon.

The rest of the essay is riddled with this kind of thing, and although not every line is a failure, the presuppositions put forth about every third line show that the author is dealing with the art as text, a classic postmodernist strategy wholly alien to the work under discussion. He does it with enough self-awareness to see strength in Still and weakness in conventional conceptualism, but he's clearly having a highly mediated experience in front of work that calls for direct experience. One doesn't detect quality in the historical narrative; work does not gain or lose value by its antecedents, one does not perform a "reading" of art, formalist gestures are not "rhetorical." There's not much hope for a consideration of art that won't deal with it as art in the first place.

This gives rise to the next class of error, wack assertions. This includes the bit above about Noland. It includes the idea that "involuntary or barely managed details in colour-field painting" resulted in "incidents [that] escaped evaluation." It includes the notion that there was an "old modernist ambition to dissolve art into nature."

It also gives rise to the third class of problems, the coinages. Conceptuality. Routinized. I've seen worse, but it's typical of the crud that has become acceptable in art in writing - taking an idea that doesn't have a lot of inherent cohesion and trying to glue credibility on it using a high tone.

That's as much analysis as this deserves. Marc and Opie arrived at the same conclusion with less consideration, but not undeservedly less, because we've seen these kinds of distortions as common patterns. And we oppose them, because they do the art so little justice.

40.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 5:49 PM

As you were then Oh Great Wizard. I'll leave you to attend your loyal minions. They probably need new uniforms or something.

41.

Franklin

June 6, 2007, 5:57 PM

J, if you disagree with something I said, you're welcome to make a case for it.

I don't know about uniforms, but you need new blogware. That thing is crazy.

42.

opie

June 6, 2007, 6:20 PM

Once again, the Classic Pattern: specious argument followed by clear rebuttal followed by name-calling and innuendo.

43.

George

June 6, 2007, 7:35 PM

Seems like a lot of fuss over what was a well intentioned comment.

Essentially the point being inferred here is, that besides a few artists working in the same vein, not many people are paying much attention to color field painting today. He’s convoluted the language a bit, but that’s the gist of the meaning.

Color field painting is arch, it’s the anti-art for conceptual art, totally retinal and will not succumb to words. I can remember reading (and taking seriously) the phrase ‘echoing the shape of the support’ (M. Fried? re Stella) Well, it’s true, succinct, but ultimately meaningless.

So, while I think Linsley’s intention, was to bring a little positive intellectual discourse to this group of artists, his formal analytical approach fails to explain the appeal of the paintings any more than telling you your house is made of two by fours. I do not think this is his fault, but a side effect of the fact that this style of painting is intellectually void. Since they have no content other than what you can see and experience, the critic is reduced to describing the sunset.

So unless the neuro-scientists discover the jolly neuron, I’m afraid this whole style of painting will continue to be marginalized.

44.

opie

June 6, 2007, 8:16 PM

What paintings have "content other than what you can see and experience", George?

Are you just trying to add to the heap of nonsense that is accumulating here, or what?

45.

George

June 6, 2007, 8:31 PM

Gee. any painting with an image of something has content, something people can talk about.

Paintings that are hard to talk about get less press.

I am not making quality judgements here, just stating my observation of the facts as I see them.

46.

ec

June 6, 2007, 8:38 PM

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but the paradox in discussing works of art visually articulated and intended to be looked at continues.
So while Franklin's comment about the art as text holds true, it still presents a legitimate way to talk around something in order to get to it. It is not evil. It may be rain on the windscreen, but it has a legitmate use for many. Those with an eye can let the words run by while they keep looking.
Ideological resistance has power.
Time to paint.

47.

opie

June 6, 2007, 8:40 PM

Paintings that have anything at all in them have content, George.

48.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 10:04 PM

Re:



"J@S, It doesn't matter what it is in regards to - the notion that we need a reason to care about Louis et al. and that only current art can provide it is ridiculous."

I believe the point is that a reason to care about Louis et al is not likely to be found in the past or in the future - but in the present. No? This is not a whack assertion. Is the exhibition presented for a bunch of ghosts and as yet unborns or for people and artists living in the here and now who yes, have to decide for themselves what they think about it. The question of whether or not current art uses it's tropes well was explicitly raised by the exhibition's curation - would you have Linsley avoid it in his review? It is almost as if you are calling for an anachronistic critique.

You say that every third line or so Linsley puts forth presuppositions which show he is " dealing with the art as text, a classic postmodernist strategy wholly alien to the work under discussion. " It is not entirely true. He may be having a mediated experience with the work based on the fact it is largely historical and highly commingled with various theories forty years later - like the arrangement of work in a Greenberg exhibition didn't mediate the experience for anyone!

I don't know what you mean by a third class of problems, "the coinages. Conceptuality. Routinized." What is the difficulty with what Linsley says? Let's go to the source. Here it is:

Problematic today is that many works are finished products before they are even made. I don't want to valorize spontaneity or process, or claim that works should not be fabricated by machine. The problem is an aesthetic one, and not reducible to a question of style. There is less place for unprogrammed experience when the space between conception and execution is narrowed. This criticism applies to any work that more or less adequately delivers a concept, and to any work that does more than that but is nevertheless routinized in execution.

What too much high tone credibility glue?

It's great you all hold the same opinion - though for the most part that opinion seems arrived at somehow without having read Linsleys text with much care - I get the idea - you don't care to. Bravo. I guess.

49.

ahab

June 6, 2007, 10:44 PM

Like Jack, I've been avoiding following MC's torturous links; but I finally couldn't avoid reading the "Shape of Colour" article and the tortured thread at simpleposie for myself.

People so regularly forget, don't realize or insufficiently appreciate that all art is abstract - Linsley's review seems to me to suffer this setback. "Abstract art" (plus your favourite diametric-of-the-day) becomes a convenient trope for declaring eternal war on irrelevancies and writing in agog terms about relevant irreverencies. "Contemporary art" is handy for art that's deemed appropriately illustrative of current social conditions; while "historical art" is intended as pejorative, but only just to the brink of devaluing its contributions to the present state of affairs.

It's not like the article convinced me he'd not thought of these things before. But he parachuted me into more than one cul-de-sac, the first of which found me dizzily seeking solid ground at the end of his opening paragraph: "We have to ask, what does the colour-field mean to us today?" It didn't help that he'd promised "a complex response".

50.

J@simpleposie

June 6, 2007, 11:11 PM

What part of that don't you get?

Compare Linsley's "We have to ask, what does the colour-field mean to us today?" with your " "Abstract art" (plus your favourite diametric-of-the-day) becomes a convenient trope for declaring eternal war on irrelevancies and writing in agog terms about relevant irreverencies. "Contemporary art" is handy for art that's deemed appropriately illustrative of current social conditions; while "historical art" is intended as pejorative, but only just to the brink of devaluing its contributions to the present state of affairs."

Ahab, please consider this question - who's writing the gobbledegook?

51.

Franklin

June 6, 2007, 11:19 PM

Ec, of course it's not evil. It's just a shame, because it's such a poor substitute for taste. This kind of language is not harmless, though. Just like BMD72 couldn't figure out the unintentional criticism, so accustomed have people become to "art" being listed under "entertainment" that they think it belongs there, people have come to accept this irresponsible and somewhat vacuous language as the language of art. It ought to be permissible to criticise its weaknesses like people would do on any forum about any topic, but for some reason if you do so in art you inflict twisty underwear on people like J. In which case, lets get 'em nice and bunched.

I believe the point is that a reason to care about Louis et al is not likely to be found in the past or in the future - but in the present. No?

That's not what he's saying. He's saying, and I quote, We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today, and only current art can provide that. This is not about past or future. This is about the mechanism by which we detect value, and he is wrong about it because he's using an inapt frame: narrative.

The question of whether or not current art uses it's tropes well was explicitly raised by the exhibition's curation - would you have Linsley avoid it in his review?

It would have been interesting if he had managed it. As it is, he links Pollock to Apfelbaum, groups everybody else as responding to Pollock, and stops off at that positively dopey remark about identifying painting with the effects of paint before proceeding to the last room of younger talents, where the work is "as non-conceptual as one could ask for" and yet "basically narrative, and, like any engaging story, full of interesting characters" - this is a basically linguistic sensibility foundering in the face of non-linguistic work.

He may be having a mediated experience with the work based on the fact it is largely historical and highly commingled with various theories forty years later - like the arrangement of work in a Greenberg exhibition didn't mediate the experience for anyone!

I won't say why he's having a mediated experience. I'm not in his head. I will say it's a choice to approach art that way, and it's a blinkered one. As for Greenberg, go read this.

I have to retract what I said about the coinages - apparently conceptuality and routinize are real words. ("It's in the dictionary," EB White said. "That doesn't mean you have to use it.") But indeed, let's go to the source. In the bit you quote, there's a sentence that says, "There is less place for unprogrammed experience when the space between conception and execution is narrowed." I want you to tell me what that means in your own words. I don't think you know, and you don't know that you don't know because it sounds like art talk is supposed to sound. That is, as you put it, too much high tone credibility glue.

It's great you all hold the same opinion - though for the most part that opinion seems arrived at somehow without having read Linsleys text with much care - I get the idea - you don't care to. Bravo. I guess.

If the essay didn't have serious problems and you had adequate intellectual powers to defend it, you might have more options than your little juvenile barbs. As it is, you're welcome to go on thinking that I didn't agree with the essay because I didn't read it with much care, when in fact the more carefully I read it, the more it revealed itself as an empty exercise.

52.

ahab

June 6, 2007, 11:22 PM

Huh. I see now. You're right. What colour-field means is: I don't make sense.

53.

opie

June 6, 2007, 11:24 PM

Give them enough trope and they will hang themselves.

54.

J@simpleposie

June 7, 2007, 12:42 AM

No one wears underwear in Toronto. We don't blog and do bunches.

Re:
That's not what he's saying. He's saying, and I quote, We need a reason to care about Louis, Noland and the others today, and only current art can provide that. This is not about past or future. This is about the mechanism by which we detect value, and he is wrong about it because he's using an inapt frame: narrative.

The mechanism by which we detect value...the way we evaluate things is somehow outside time then. Even with the obvious relationship between current and currency. Is that what you are saying?

Re:
It would have been interesting if he had managed it. As it is, he links Pollock to Apfelbaum, groups everybody else as responding to Pollock, and stops off at that positively dopey remark about identifying painting with the effects of paint before proceeding to the last room of younger talents, where the work is "as non-conceptual as one could ask for" and yet "basically narrative, and, like any engaging story, full of interesting characters" - this is a basically linguistic sensibility foundering in the face of non-linguistic work.

I don't have a problem with the Pollock Apfelbaum link. Maybe the horizontal issue is too obvious for you but not for me. As for the last group of younger talents like Sandra Meigs and Monique Prieto? I guess I'd just have to ask what you know about that work - that of Meigs especially which has always been full of interesting characters - that of Prieto with its allusions to cartoons and her newer work with its wordy boulders.

Re:
I won't say why he's having a mediated experience. I'm not in his head. I will say it's a choice to approach art that way, and it's a blinkered one. As for Greenberg, go read ....

Nice Blinkers.

Re:

I have to retract what I said about the coinages - apparently conceptuality and routinize are real words. ("It's in the dictionary," EB White said. "That doesn't mean you have to use it.") But indeed, let's go to the source. In the bit you quote, there's a sentence that says, "There is less place for unprogrammed experience when the space between conception and execution is narrowed." I want you to tell me what that means in your own words. I don't think you know, and you don't know that you don't know because it sounds like art talk is supposed to sound. That is, as you put it, too much high tone credibility glue.

It means if you close the space between an idea's inception and its realization in material form there is less room for accidental experience of that form , or conversely more control of the program to be experienced. Those are my own words - how would you put it in your own words?

Re: If the essay didn't have serious problems and you had adequate intellectual powers to defend it, you might have more options than your little juvenile barbs. As it is, you're welcome to go on thinking that I didn't agree with the essay because I didn't read it with much care, when in fact the more carefully I read it, the more it revealed itself as an empty exercise.

For the record, I don't think you don't agree with the essay. I don't see how you could agree or disagree with something that despite protests to the contrary it is clear you only read selectively. Your remark about my intellectual powers is incredibly condescending in a comment thread containing such ripe little sugar plums as "Paintings that have anything at all in them have content, George."

You better give me some more trope.

55.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 12:43 AM

Snap. That Bannard essay is excellent (despite the typos)... I confess to having pinched that "flog their misunderstanding" line and used it myself on occassion. It's just so apt. Like beating a dead horse until you're just kicking mucilage...

To swing things back George's way, take this quote from "The Unconditional Aesthete":
In the end, it all boils down to Formalism or Pop Art. All art, in the long run, is one or the other. And history is a Formalist.

So, George is really just finishing Bannard's thought: History is a Formalist, but the future is Pop Art, so get used to it.

All teed up for ya... Take it from there, George...

56.

opie

June 7, 2007, 7:58 AM

I suppose this exchange with Posie has value because it illustrates what anyone trying to make literal sense is up against in the art business. Franklin has been saying things in response to her which are perfectly clear and they just go splat against a wall of incomprehension. I see no evidence that she even begins to understand our exception to the statement about Louis & Noland - she responds in part, for example, with " The mechanism by which we detect value...the way we evaluate things is somehow outside time" - and later the explanation for one senseless statement is yet another senseless statement, followed by a request to put what is nonsense in the first place into other words, and a characterization of another perfectly clear and straightforward statement (by me) as "a ripe little sugar plum", rather than any kind of reasoned exception to the statement.

We like disagreement and active discussion here, but for this to happen there must be some kind of common ground that relates directly to the meaning or lack of meaning of the subject under discussion and excludes petty asides, and, to the extent that the participants can do so, excludes nonsense.

57.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 8:32 AM

Marc, please e-mail in typos. I've been putting these up at the rate of four per day and the proofreading pressures are intense.

J, if you don't like condescension, stay away from comments like #38 and #40. I give what I get, maybe a little better.

I guess I'd just have to ask what you know about that work...

That's actually not relevant. My point is that Linsey characterizes the "historical" (ecch) and the contemporary work so weirdly in each of their ways that it undermines whatever he has to say about their connection, and even that he explores by reading content into the work.

It means if you close the space between an idea's inception and its realization in material form there is less room for accidental experience of that form , or conversely more control of the program to be experienced.

"Space" does not exist between an idea's inception and its realization. Time does. Since neither of you mention whose experience we're talking about, I'm going to assume that you mean the artist's experience of making the work and the viewer's experience of viewing it. You (plural) seem to be saying, then, that if an artist reduces the time between inception and realization of his work, he has more control over the viewer's experience. This is either bullshit or a nearly total misunderstanding about how art works.

Nice Blinkers.

Greenberg spent the later part of his career enduring criticism about the deficiency of logic or theory behind his work exactly because of his lack of blinkers. He wouldn't submit his taste to theory - what his senses told him ran the entire show. The contemporary art world now demands periodic burnings in effigy of the man as a display of fealty. Nice conformity, J.

I don't see how you could agree or disagree with something that despite protests to the contrary it is clear you only read selectively.

Speaking of condescension, you're not in my head either. Your only evidence of the quality of my reading is the extent to which I address the content of the essay, not the extent to which I agree with it. If the above does not address the content of the essay to your satisfaction, it's up to you to form a cogent case against it. Impugning my reading over and over again just confirms that you're unable to do so.

Opie, I sense a strong desire among certain participants in the art world to be right without going through the self-examination that would result in rightness. It's a kind of public service to provide the examination for them.

58.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 9:16 AM

Franklin, I only mentioned the typos because, funnily enough, I emailed you back when you first posted the article... I belive the subject line of my email to you read, "Aibright-Knox Gallery"?...

No pressure....

59.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 9:43 AM

Aw, nuts. Thanks for the reminder.

60.

George

June 7, 2007, 9:50 AM

Linsley asks the question, "what does the color field mean to us today?" and the train derails.

I read the article again, so let’s roll.

Two quotes [emphasis mine]
"I remember when "conceptual" painting seemed like a great thing—clever, funny, reductive in a new way, responsive to the motions of thought."

"There was a time when it seemed liberating to assert that abstraction was impurely mixed with all kinds of social purposes and needs, or that formalist discourse left out too much of life, of the body and the mind."

Mixed in there is this tidbit "I am struck by the general inability of the recent work to respond to its predecessors in any way but through quotation."

Now before I proceed with my outlandish remarks, one should note that I didn’t see this exhibition, or reproductions of any of the works in it, I’m writing blind. Also, I’m using the term "Color Field" paintings (CF) as it is used in the article and exhibition.

I can be sympathetic with Linsley’s three statements above.
A characteristic of the best historical CF paintings is that when they were first exhibited they had real physical presence that was intertwined with the era of their making

The debate over the term ‘one shot’ is pointless. The best of these works have a commanding physical presence which belies any fussing around, or over aestheticizing during the creation process. This is not to say the artists didn’t pay close attention to what they did, to the contrary, the paintings seem to stand out because they declare themselves assertively.

The apparent failure of the lineage, is that this type of painting has become mired in nuance, the effort to make a ‘good painting’, attempts to attach some rigorous conceptual framework as a validator, and the other intellectual and psychological muck that comes from thinking too hard.

In essence, what makes CF painting interesting is its brashness, its directness and clarity. Once the artists backs away from this position the works lose their power and become suitable for the fabric covered walls in a corporate conference room.

This is not to say that the Color Field painting won’t spawn successors, but this will not occur under the aegis of late twentieth century thinking, which includes the idea of the "chance to break with canonical formalist history." The twenty-something’s need to go back to the source, back to the excitement of the now-moment, and ignore the intellectual shuffle for market position or brand.

Linsley says "Problematic today is that many works are finished products before they are even made."

I know what he is getting at, but the problem may disappear when framed differently. Simply put, does a ‘masterpiece’ require that we know anything about how it was made? I think not.

Further on, Linsley goes off into the nether world of atomistic marks, while some of these observations may be true, but I think they over-intellectualize the issue surrounding the often quoted philosophy that ‘shit happens’

Still kicking, as he winds up "The times do not call for a painting that is conceptual, or postmodern, or that uses new media or technologies..." followed up by a list of possible alternative paths for future production. I suspect that painting won’t succumb to formal analysis of requirements, it’s the wrong approach.

The times do call for something to fill the void, for new inspiration, for freshness, for the new millennium. Make what you want to see.

61.

J@simpleposie

June 7, 2007, 9:55 AM

Re:
I guess I'd just have to ask what you know about that work...
That's actually not relevant. My point is that Linsey (sic) characterizes the "historical" (ecch) and the contemporary work so weirdly in each of their ways that it undermines whatever he has to say about their connection, and even that he explores by reading content into the work.

It actually is relevant. Work in the final room of the exhibition did look kind of weird in relation to the rest of the show expressly because a lot of it was narrative - for gosh sakes there was a Diana Thater video in that room!

Re:

"It means if you close the space between an idea's inception and its realization in material form there is less room for accidental experience of that form , or conversely more control of the program to be experienced.

"Space" does not exist between an idea's inception and its realization. Time does. Since neither of you mention whose experience we're talking about, I'm going to assume that you mean the artist's experience of making the work and the viewer's experience of viewing it. You (plural) seem to be saying, then, that if an artist reduces the time between inception and realization of his work, he has more control over the viewer's experience. This is either bullshit or a nearly total misunderstanding about how art works."

Suppose you have two pieces if mirrored glass. You want to reflect an image. You discover if you set them on a flat plane side by side they reflect everything in the room, full spectrum. As you set them on an angle, you narrow the "space" available to create the reflections, and find you can reduce the amount of images that appear - select them even. If you fold the mirror angle in on itself entirely - your return to simply the idea or possibility of making reflections. These are spatial mechanics. But you are right there are temporal ones too. You wake up in the morning with the idea of a skull encrusted with diamonds. You make a few phone calls and presto it shows up later that afternoon. No viewer is going to mistake that thing for anything other than what it is. And each of them patiently waiting in the line up to see it will be rewarded with the same couple of seconds flat in its presence.


Re:

"The contemporary art world now demands periodic burnings in effigy of the man as a display of fealty. Nice conformity, J."

I am not a Greenberg basher, nor do I particularly conform to much.

Re:

"Your only evidence of the quality of my reading is the extent to which I address the content of the essay."

Affirmative.

Re:

"I sense a strong desire among certain participants in the art world to be right without going through the self-examination that would result in rightness. It's a kind of public service to provide the examination for them. "

Help me please.

62.

that guy

June 7, 2007, 10:08 AM

"You wake up in the morning with the idea of a skull encrusted with diamonds. "

Hey... you stole that line from Slovadon Molosivich's trial at the Haige. I'm calling foul in this little tit for tat tomfoolery.

63.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 10:10 AM

Two quotes [emphasis mine]
"I remember when "conceptual" painting seemed like a great thing—clever, funny, reductive in a new way, responsive to the motions of thought."

"There was a time when it seemed liberating to assert that abstraction was impurely mixed with all kinds of social purposes and needs, or that formalist discourse left out too much of life, of the body and the mind."


George, in both of those quotes, I'd choose the common denominator ("seemed"), as the word to emphasize. "Seeming" is obviously not the same as "being". Being persist; seeming changes over time, and refers to the state of mind of the observer, more that the thing observed. And, one always has to ask, "seems, to whom"? Everyone? Or just the writer?

"The apparent failure of the lineage, is that this type of painting has become mired in nuance, the effort to make a ‘good painting’, attempts to attach some rigorous conceptual framework as a validator, and the other intellectual and psychological muck that comes from thinking too hard."

In other words, the "seeming" failure of the lineage... Seeming to whom? This type of painting is mired in the effort to make a 'good painting'? Heaven forfend!

64.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 10:13 AM

Yeah, Franklin, jeez, there was Diana Thater video in that room! Bet you didn't think of that, Mr. smartypants...

65.

KH

June 7, 2007, 10:14 AM

Franklin, that's a whole lot of characterization goin' on up there! And I'm talking about you. Leave off making assumptions about other's intellect.

J@simpleposie: I have many times been in your position here. You could hand a perfect argument to these participants on a silver platter, but you will not convince them. It is sad, I know, but it's not your problem.

Also Franklin, you're just being blockheaded and antagonistic here for no good reason. Linsey actually likes abstraction and color field painting, as opposed to considering it couch decor, as I am far more tempted to do. That "space" above which is in question is the same kind of space that Bannard describes in his exploration of the idea of taste in one of those essays of his from the '80s (except that Linsey is describing the limitations of a primarily conceptual approach in regards to making worthwhile art--which I would have thought you'd have perceived given that you agree with it). So don't pull that crap, where you allow someone to whom you are loyal describe something rather indescribable, while simultaneously disallowing someone you find to be the opposition (why, I don't know) the same leeway simply because you don't like the way they effing say it. Talk about troubles with a linguistic sensibility!

And no, I'm not addressing the writing. Ban me.

66.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 10:20 AM

I wondered when KH would come in for a mentoring moment... birds of a feather.

67.

opie

June 7, 2007, 10:34 AM

Nobody's being banned, KH, but don't you subscrtibe to the idea that strong statements deserve specific support? You are making characterizations of Franklin and statements about Linsley and a Bannard essay which need back up to make your points. Otherwise we just stay mired in this swamp of vagueness. And it is not fair to the people involved, pro or con.

68.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 10:47 AM

KH, always nice of you to drop by. here is Bannard's essay On Taste. See if you can find the word "space" in it. I don't know what you're talking about.

J, what KH is trying to tell you that you're beautiful just the way you are. We here at Artblog.net are just a bunch of out-of-it meanies and you're under no obligation to use the English language in any way except the one that suits you. KH has tried, you see, but was subjected to the most apalling treatment (the likes of which she would never stoop to, perish the thought).

While it's nice that Linsey seems to like color field (it agrees with his narrative, I guess), this is clunky and somewhat fallacious exploration of it. J, if it has value for you, so be it, but you should realize that it's a kind of awful poetry, and your mirror analogy demonstrates the kind of free-associative hoop-jumping you have to go through to derive that value. Taken at face value, a lot of it doesn't bear scrutiny.

69.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 10:48 AM

Hell, it's Linsley, not Linsey. My apologies.

70.

George

June 7, 2007, 11:10 AM

Re #63 MC

Regarding the quotes, I wasn't referring to anything you said, so your comment is pointless to me.

I emphasized the time element because "it seemed like a good idea at the time."

In other words, the "seeming" failure of the lineage... Seeming to whom? This type of painting is mired in the effort to make a 'good painting'? Heaven forfend!

I used the word "apparent," implying that CF painting has not produced any new heirs of import, we've just got a bunch 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation practitioners of the genera. It is not unlike the little enclave of artists who were concerned with producing 'good' impressionist painting over the years.

It's academic and boring as shit.

The exception and best follow up work to CFP is Sean Scully

71.

J@simpleposie

June 7, 2007, 11:17 AM

I thank the lord for free association - I don't think you're a bunch of out of it old meanies - I just think it has probably been awhile since you've jumped a hoop.

72.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 11:19 AM

You know, I think I'm beginning to hate metaphors...

73.

Sammy D

June 7, 2007, 11:23 AM

One is engaged (entertained) by shiny pretty things & another at color & paint.

OK.

... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses

74.

opie

June 7, 2007, 11:50 AM

Metaphors are so yesterday, Marc. We use "tropes" around here.

75.

J@simpleposie

June 7, 2007, 11:54 AM

Some trope "seems" to be used but not enough to hang a person.

76.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 12:08 PM

Well, whatever you call 'em, is seems like they get used so casually by clumsy writers, that they often end up acting like a smokescreen (that was a simile, BTW), obscuring communication instead of enhancing it. But, I digress...

Back to the unfolding drama... statements like

"I have many times been in your position here. You could hand a perfect argument to these participants on a silver platter, but you will not convince them. It is sad, I know, but it's not your problem";

"... you're just being blockheaded and antagonistic here for no good reason.";

"So don't pull that crap, where you allow someone to whom you are loyal describe something rather indescribable, while simultaneously disallowing someone you find to be the opposition (why, I don't know) the same leeway simply because you don't like the way they effing say it.";

...And...

"I just think it has probably been awhile since you've jumped a hoop."

... Do nothing to advance the conversation, not simply because they express unfounded moral pronouncements and judgments of character, when the focus should be on the actualy points of disagreement, but also for the simple fact that those accusations could be just as passionately leveled by those on the other side, even using precisely the same words.

The subject we are discussing is Linsley's text, as it exists here, in front of us, now...

77.

Jack

June 7, 2007, 12:11 PM

In the fairly recent past, I would have jumped in on this sort of thread, but I just can't get sufficiently motivated. There doesn't seem to be enough point, if any. Maybe I'm getting better, after all. But by all means, carry on.

78.

J@simpleposie

June 7, 2007, 12:18 PM

Re:
"The subject we are discussing is Linsley's text, as it exists here, in front of us, now..."


My aren't we coming around...

79.

catfish

June 7, 2007, 1:00 PM

Doc increased my blood pressure meds two days ago - maybe I'm just mellowed out. That said ...

I have been fascinated more than usual by the thread that is unfolding here. I think it is because I see merit in "both sides" and feel compelled to suggest that "my side" (MC, ahab, Franklin, opie, Jack, that guy andothers) relax a bit. Some of the "others" are tuned into the same things we are and that's good, even if they don't frame their statements just like we would like to see. In the end, it is what you like not how you describe or intellectualize about what you like.

And when there is disagreement about what to like, that's "normal" if not OK. I don't pretend to be "open-minded" about the lady who faked the 26-foot long "world record" turn for her MFA at Cranbrook, but still can find some humor in it without clicking my canines at anyone who would defend her. Needing a reason to like Louis and Noland seems as much like a simple oddity as an outrage. I certainly need a reason to like Neo Rausch, despite the fact he can clearly control paint. I don't expect a Rausch fan to ambush me over such a statement. Nor would I expect such a fan to provide a reason that would make a difference to me. And I thought LinsIey was somewhat positive in his attitude - more so than I am about Neo Raush. I could go on, but I think this is enough to undestand that I why I am suggesting a little relaxing here and there.

Heck, where would this blog be without our friend George to give us something to bounce off of. He is as essential to the conversation as opie. So, let's all get a long, at least a little more than we are here. I would hate to see this lively place reduced to a mutual admiration society, which is what it could become without serious differences in point of view.

Besides, Linsely likes Bill Perehudoff. That's remarkable.

80.

KH

June 7, 2007, 1:05 PM

Franklin, I said what I said.

One of the things I didn't say was that Bannard said "space", but that it was the same type of space--my use of the word, my choice--the suggestion of it being something more than a literal area.

Marc, you got your ass handed to you over at simpleposie.

The value of the "characterizing" statement, by the way, is that I say exactly what I think; you don't have to incorrectly infer various slights, defamations, put-downs or any other statements which were derived at by reading between the lines.

I will continue to say exactly what I mean.

Opie, I'm sorry, but in another context I'd be quite enthusiastic about having a real discussion, with supporting references. Not here. I don't find it to be a conducive atmosphere for speculative thought. [nitpicking the word "space" above a case in point--even though I obviously enjoy these special moments with Franklin. ;) ]

As far as the writings at the wdbannard site go, I don't feel that Franklin is doing the essays enough justice with his adoption of the standard (as in flag). There's a lot less rigidity in the '80's era writings than in the positions as articulated here at artblog.net. I keep referring to those because they are what I have mostly read so far; if the later essays display more rigidity, then my assumptions will obviously be wrong.

I find the exploration of the process of the thing identified as "taste" in "On Taste" to be intriguing, but I still take issue with taste as an adequate evaluation method--not, mind you, because of any question of subjectivity, but because I'm not convinced of the value of either "like" or "pleasure" (to which taste eventually comes around) (I know this position puts me at odds with most about everyone, but I really don't think pleasure is as important as it's been made out to be by lots of people [not talking about you, Franklin--not even talking about any one specific person, in fact]).

So, Opie, if you'd like to discuss, you know where to find me (virtual and real). I'm not saying this to be presumptive, but I feel it's about the only way we'll have a decent conversation.

My apologies to Linsley for misspelling his name (I'm not wearing my reading glasses, and my eyes are way taxed right now).

81.

catfish

June 7, 2007, 1:10 PM

That was a 26-foot TURD that M. HInes faked, not a "turn". She made it out of brown rope and slipped it out from under her clothing as she duck walked down a bowling alley.

82.

opie

June 7, 2007, 1:21 PM

Whether or not the blog is a conducive atmosphere for speculative thought was not what I was driving at, KH. I was referring to the age-old problem of sticking to the subject and being accurate and specific. Franklin has deliberately fashioned this blog to conform to these principles and that is why I follow it and contribute to it. I would like to keep it that way as much as possible because I find the other stuff - innuendo, bluster, incoherent English, name-calling, faulty logic and all the rest - boring.

Unfortunately, in this thread and in others lately, I find muself reduced to making this plea instead of engaging in a stimulating and interesting difference of opinion.

83.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 1:29 PM

I will continue to say exactly what I mean.

As will I. And I will start by saying, KH, that you have a wildly generous assessment of your fair-mindedness, and my alleged lack thereof. Go back and read what you wrote if you think otherwise.

Otherwise, I'll have what Catfish is having.

84.

catfish

June 7, 2007, 3:35 PM

I'm having 10 mg of Altace twice a day.

85.

catfish

June 7, 2007, 3:41 PM

That's right opie, innuendo, bluster, incohernet English, name-calling, faulty logic, and all the rest are boring. That's why there is no need to comment on them. Unless those type of comments get a rise out of someone, they tend to fade. Nothing on earth, of course, will cause them to disappear completely. But why fertilize them with a reaction? Jack's #77 has great relevance.

86.

1

June 7, 2007, 5:37 PM

back to the art.

george, john griefen is someboidy who is doing very good color field painting today. i was searching for a good image by him that is on the web and it just so happens that this article was attached. no shit. his work is definitely a derivative of olitski and company, but still good.

i think griefen is best when he keeps it more minimal and limits the color range in a picture to 2 primary or less . i have seen other nice pieces with one base color on plexiglass.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.sharecom.ca/greenberg/images/griefen.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.sharecom.ca/greenberg/criticism.html&h=327&w=672&sz=37&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=tWsIbheeTDPlqM:&tbnh=67&tbnw=138&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djohn%2Bgriefen%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den

87.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 5:42 PM

1! Anchor tag tutorial! Right now, young man/woman/genderless internet identity (select one)!

88.

1

June 7, 2007, 6:05 PM

sorry, but let's see if this works. still kinda confused.

< a href=" http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.sharecom.ca/greenberg/images/griefen.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.sharecom.ca/greenberg/criticism.html&h=327&w=672&sz=37&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=tWsIbheeTDPlqM:&tbnh=67&tbnw=138&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djohn%2Bgriefen%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den"> griefen

and it was a pain in the ass and i doubt it should have been.

89.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 6:15 PM

Almost there. No space between the initial < and the a, and make sure you close the tag with /a in angle brackets. Keep trying - I'll clean up after. Remember, it will look right in preview if it's right.

90.

1

June 7, 2007, 6:47 PM

thanks for the help. here it goes again..

griefen

91.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 6:49 PM

Bingo!

92.

1

June 7, 2007, 6:51 PM

wow!

must this "tag" link be done manually, or is there some key or "right" mouse click that can speed up the process?

93.

Franklin

June 7, 2007, 6:59 PM

For now, it has to be done manually. For a big URL like that, sometimes I'll type in everything except the contents of href (href=""), finish typing the comment, then copy and paste into the quote marks.

94.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 7:53 PM

LOL... Your ability to discern ass-handings, KH, is legendary, of course. Please, don't ever change...

95.

George

June 7, 2007, 8:11 PM

re 86,88, 90... no 1,

I'm not saying the paintings are bad, just not interesting. I was gfamiliar with Griefen's work and he one of the better ones at it.

Never the less, I find this kind of painting predictable enough that it doesn't hold my interest. It is not a problem with a singular style, I saw some decent painting shows in NYC last week, but in general as I walk around the galleries, I'm more or less bored with the predictabliity of everything. The Jim Dine show was an exception.

All this is probably just a personal reaction on my part, I'm working through a transition and putting a heavy filter on what I allow to interest me.

96.

catfish

June 7, 2007, 8:34 PM

George: You may be seeing something when you say Griefen is "one of the better ones" at the same time his work does not excite you. We are in a situation of "place holidng", I think, which limits what can be done because the culture is simply not strong enough to support going for the summit. In any case, you are the court of last appeal, when it comes to knowing what excites or does not excite you.

97.

Marc Country

June 7, 2007, 8:40 PM

"Needing a reason to like Louis and Noland seems as much like a simple oddity as an outrage. I certainly need a reason to like Neo Rausch, despite the fact he can clearly control paint. I don't expect a Rausch fan to ambush me over such a statement."

Concerns about "ambush" aside, I don't think you've characterized the quibble accurately (although I think you've accurately characterized it as a quibble). True, you need a reason for these things, but the reason is the direct experience of the work itself, not in the work of someone else that follows, not in the historical narrative (as far as the 'reason to care' about art goes,as far as experince is concerned, all art that exists today, wither historical or contemporary, is equally "current").

So, other than this particular discussion being tiresome, what's wrong with pointing this out, clarifying this distinction?

The fact that Linsley, as some have pointed out, could be considered (as KH and Catfish point out) as "one of our guys" - into abstraction, likes colour field, etc - should, I would think, if anything, point towards a willingness to set aside questions of 'sides', and address the ideas themselves, critically, without regard to allegiances. Why do I have to only argue with the Duchampistes all the time? After a while, as Jack points out, it gets depressing. The most interesting disagreements I've had on here have been with those whose opinions I respect the most, not the loonies.

98.

opie

June 7, 2007, 8:51 PM

Maybe Catfish did not quite discern the subtleties of this thing. It was not only needing a reason to like the art of these artists as it was also that the only way to like them was through "current art". I felt that this betrayed a mentality that did not even get the basic idea of how art functioned, and the discussion, for what it's worth, took off from there.

99.

George

June 8, 2007, 12:58 PM

Re #96: Catfish
"... at the same time his [Griefen] work does not excite you.

It’s not a question of ‘excite’, but one of interest. I am fairly aware of what I’m interested in looking at and for what reasons. Most minimal painting and what was loosely called Color Field painting in the Ontario exhibition is not of much interest to me when I am going to the well.

I do actively look at Pollock but I’m more interested in the works from the 40’s than the drip paintings. Many of the others, Still, Motherwell, Rothko, Louis, Stella, Olitski, Noland ... were of all of interest to me once upon a time, but at the moment their paintings don’t offer me something to work with that I don’t already know about, so I get bored.

Paintings that have surprised me lately. Picasso’s "Three Musicians" (the Philly version) and several other of his Cubist paintings at the Whitney recently. Stuart Davis, in that same exhibition, looked wonderful but I’ve always had a softspot for his work.

At the moment I’ve been looking at the early Leger cubist paintings from the 1915 period. There’s something there that interests me in the way he constructs the painting space, it’s different than the other cubists, more 3d than 2d.

So based up the above, one could infer something about what I might find interesting in the structure of a painting, and that I would probably be less interested in works that are minimal, organic, or process oriented in their structure.

2nd: We are in a situation of "place holding", I think, which limits what can be done because the culture is simply not strong enough to support going for the summit.

Bullshit! I do not believe this for a moment.

It has nothing to do with lack of support from the culture, it has to do with a failure of nerve.

100.

Greenberg wrote...

June 8, 2007, 1:07 PM

"Being for the new simply because it's new, or being for a certain kind of art simply because it's in vogue, doesn't entail an aesthetic value judgment. Nor does rejecting what seems old-fashioned simply because it seems that. (Categorical judgments are in any case never truly aesthetic ones.) What's involved here is something I'd call aesthetic incapacity: the incapacity lies in letting irrelevant factors like newness and oldness shut off aesthetic experience, inhibit the operations of Taste. This amounts to, has amounted to, a kind of judgment on aesthetic experience itself. And it's this judgment, this disparaging judgment, that seems to control too much of what's offered as criticism of contemporary fine art."

101.

George

June 8, 2007, 1:10 PM

Yeh, but so what?

102.

opie

June 8, 2007, 2:37 PM

Most pf Pollock's drip paintings were done in the 40s, George.

103.

George

June 8, 2007, 2:50 PM

Yeh, but from what I said those aren't the ones I'm referring to.

104.

catfish

June 8, 2007, 2:56 PM

George writes: "Bullshit! I do not belive this for a moment."

So much, I guess, for my vision of a kinder, gentler artblog.

Just like there are times when a culture supports business better or worse than others, I am confident similar circumstances prevail in art. Artists cannot work outside their support systems, anymore than anyone else can. What the support system does or does not contribute affects the outcome. Besides, the stagnation that I see has little to do with lack of artists with nerve. For many of today's stars, nerve is all they appear to possess.

105.

lzbth Rggtt

June 8, 2007, 3:11 PM

I just want to share my work with other artists and art patrons. I am trying to connect to fellow creative individuals. [This is the wrong place for that. Please read the comment guidelines. - F.]

106.

George

June 8, 2007, 5:19 PM

Re 104: Catfish,

My remark was addressed to the writing not the writer :-)

I’m sure this is going to get messy really quickly… but here goes.

There are ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ issues implied in your remarks. For me the ‘culture’ is an outside issue, I live inside the culture, may have an affect on the culture, but I cannot control the culture as it is a group or aggregate phenomena.

The culture has all that stuff you think it has, all morphing from one momentary appearance to another. The internal issues are about how we relate to the culture, consciously or unconsciously.

It’s the internal questions I was responding to. When I spoke of a ‘failure of nerve’ I was not referring to ‘being nervy’ but the ability to be honest with oneself in the face of adversity.

The advantage of the twenty-something’s is naivete, no experience, no history, everything to prove, nothing to cling to, nothing to rationalize, an unlimited vision of success without the taste of failure. "Steve, you can’t start a computer company in a garage, look how big IBM is, you don’t have a chance!"

It’s all about frame of reference. Once one that twenty-something starts moving down a path, they begin to accumulate experience, rationalizations, explanations, beliefs, a narrative which they use to explain to themselves how they got to where they are. Which is where we find ourselves right now.

As adults, we make assumptions about the world, about the culture, about ourselves and about our art. We believe these assumptions are true, that they represent our vision of ‘reality’ as we are experiencing it. Unfortunately, it is only a partial truth for all realities don’t point to Rome, we are self delusional.

So, if we look at the culture and observe how it seems to relate to, or affects what we do in the studio, what do we find?

If it is not being supportive as you suggest, how does one respond to this?

Does the culture ‘know’ more than we do?

Does a cultural moment in historical time, call out for a certain kind of art? If not, how does art get to be the way it is?

...

107.

Jack

June 8, 2007, 5:20 PM

Hi, Catfish. Always nice to have you comment. I'm not kinder or gentler, just tired of wasting so much time. The fact is, or seems to be, that some things and some people can't or won't come around, so to speak, and they're not my responsibility.

I don't feel any better about them, but why should I care so much about what I don't accept or respect but can't change? Why should I even pay much attention, when as far as I'm concerned, they have no real substance and are thus, ultimately, inconsequential and ephemeral?

In a sense, chasing after them so much, even if only to heckle them, has been unseemly and probably ill-judged. What's the better approach, to get all bent out of shape over a Paris Hilton, or to simply ignore the wretched creature completely?

108.

opie

June 8, 2007, 5:44 PM

George, you make me dizzy running in circles like you do.

You said "I do actively look at Pollock but I’m more interested in the works from the 40’s than the drip paintings."

I said "Most of Pollock's drip paintings were done in the 40s."

You said "Yeh, but from what I said those aren't the ones I'm referring to."

Huh?? This is not a discussion, it's blind man's buff.

109.

George

June 8, 2007, 6:29 PM

re 108 opie

What's the problem?

Pollocks from the 40's that aren't drip paintings:

Male and Female - 1942
The Moon-Woman - 1942
Stenographic Figure -1942
The She-Wolf - 1943.
The Key -1946
Eyes in the Heat - 1946

110.

opie

June 8, 2007, 6:35 PM

I'll say one thing about you George, you are a marvel of consistency. You should have been a lawyer.

You made a distinction between "paintings of the 40s" and "drip paintings". As it stands, that is a faulty distinction, as I pointed out, because most "drip paintings" were done in the 40s.

111.

George

June 8, 2007, 6:42 PM

You're the one who should have been a lawyer.

I was in a hurry, not a court of law.

I listed the Pollock paintings from the 40's that interest me, they happen to be the ones that arn't drip paintings,

Why am I bothering to expain this to you? it seems fairly clear that IF i'm interested in Pollock, but not the drip paintings, then the drip paintings made in 1972 shoiuldn't matter, or the ones made in 1963, or in 1956 or in 1951, or 1949, or 1948 or whatever. If he dripped them, they arn't the ones I was looking at.

112.

opie

June 8, 2007, 8:55 PM

Yeah, you're right, the drip paintings from 1972 are a little strange at that..

113.

Marc Country

June 9, 2007, 12:35 AM

Hey Franklin, you might as well add this to your screen-shot collection...

114.

George

June 9, 2007, 8:42 AM

Re #113...

Boooring... Hear about it in her own words [LA Times]

115.

Marc Country

June 9, 2007, 10:03 AM

Of course it's boring George, so why would anyone want to hear about it in her own words?

The point is, unveiling Damien Hirst's skull, and imprisoning Paris Hilton, are equally "entertainment", and equally unimportant (although I think I'd like to see what a horde of Aztecs would make of her...)

116.

ahab

June 9, 2007, 10:18 AM

That's not "boring", MC, that's "boor-ing", with emphasis on the "boor".

117.

George

June 9, 2007, 10:39 AM

Re #115: MC, there you go again, spouting off without reading the article. I’m assuming you didn’t read it, or could your comprehension skills just be faulty?

Let me explain the punchline: There is a punchline.

Entertainment or not Hirst’s skull in an interesting and entertaining work of art. It comments directly on the money-in-art issue which everyone here seems to have a sour opinion on. Further, as an object, I suspect it is rather amazing visually, of course, you have to ‘look with your eyes’ and leave all your conceptual prejudices behind. I suspect that’s too much to ask as you have personally experienced to much chagrin.

118.

Marc Country

June 9, 2007, 3:22 PM

Wow, George.. .you've really been emboldened by simpleposie's example... good for you!

119.

J@simpleposie

June 9, 2007, 3:27 PM

George has been attempting to converse in this thread for four days. George rocks.

120.

Marc Country

June 9, 2007, 3:53 PM

Well, George may have been rocking, but the childish dig unfortunately brought him back down to juvenilia... He can't help it, I know I get under his skin... that's ok, I don't take it personally.

121.

Marc Country

June 9, 2007, 4:05 PM

You're right about one thing, though George... I didn't bother to click your link, because I don't care about Paris Hilton... did you somehow miss that part?

Ugh. I give up. "Your side" wins by default, due to my nausea. The end.

122.

J@simpleposie

June 9, 2007, 4:06 PM

Marc Country,

So much has been said in these pages about the protocol of argument and debate and yet you have managed to leave a heap of unsubstantiated vitriol on simpleposie, hijack Franklin's thread about Hirst's skull with more of the same and then finally turn it into a hissy fit about Paris Hilton. Just tearing up everything from the prairies to the everglades. Wow.

My guess is you are too old to behave the way you are - but I know you won't let that get under your skin.

To the rest, it has been my distinct pleasure. Ciao.

123.

J@simpleposie

June 9, 2007, 4:25 PM

Didn't quite catch your last post there on the way out Marc Country. I'm sorry you are feeling ill. Nausea...blechh. It makes me sad to hear I didn't know we were having a contest. In competitive moments like this I always like to remember - it's not how you win but how you lose that counts.

Ciao again, adieu and thanks for everything!

124.

opie

June 9, 2007, 4:51 PM

Enough, guys!

125.

George

June 9, 2007, 5:40 PM

Rocking on...

#113 by MC
"Hey Franklin, you might as well add this to your screen-shot collection..."

The link MC supplied was to a similar CNN "Entertainment" page with the lead "Paris Hilton ordered back to jail" This was the first mention of Paris Hilton in this thread.

#114 by George
Boooring... Hear about it in her own words [LA Times]

Injecting a bit of humor into the trivia, I linked "The Paris Hilton prison diaries" which was a bit of sarcastic humor from the L.A. Times Opinion page. For example…

"Day 3: So that's what a bitch slap is. Wow. Just … wow. MUST remember not to make that sarcastic face again anytime soon."

#115 by MC
Fairly clear here that he didn’t follow the link in #114, that’s ok, I don’t always follow the links either.

MC goes on to say "The point is, unveiling Damien Hirst's skull, and imprisoning Paris Hilton, are equally "entertainment",…"

#117 By George
By this point, I’ve figured out that MC didn’t read the link, I obliquely refer to the idea of a punchline to indicate the link is a joke…

Following on, I try to return the thread to the topic of Hirst’s skull

#121 by MC says
I didn't bother to click your link, because I don't care about Paris Hilton... did you somehow miss that part?

Well yes, I guess I did, since MC was the one to bring up Paris Hilton in the first place.

* * * * *

So, I suppose one might ask the question are these two ‘Entertainment’ events equivalent? If so how? Are they equivalent to us as artists? Or just two ho-hum news items?

For the last several months there has been a considerable amount of discussion about money and art, about the out of sight auction prices, and about what this means, both in terms of implied quality and how we value art.

From a conceptual point of view, Hirst’s Skull nails this down with an object, a glittery bit of art-bling which reportedly cost $20 million to make. What does this have to do with Paris Hilton?

Not much.

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