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That formal vs. concpetual thing

Post #1157 • April 15, 2008, 2:23 PM • 39 Comments

This is one of those days that I used up all my writing yayas in an E_W comment thread. If the deep link doesn't work, search the page for "where do these critics come from." (PS to Marc: I know, I still haven't fixed it.)




April 15, 2008, 4:39 PM

I think you are wasting your time, Franklin. You are not getting direct, coherent responses. These people are not comfortable with plain hardnose reason and common sense, and when you shove it at them they flee. (I see that George has fled). They like a nice chummy comfortable blog, and there is nothing wrong with that.

It is a problem for this blog because it has gotten down to a hard core of people who can usually hack it, and that is a small number of people, so we talk to each other. It's a shame, but what to do?

After 3 years commenting on this blog I am still waiting for an opposition voice who can mount any kind of tough response, something actually difficult (and fun) to deal with other than snide asides, drivebys and diatribes. I don't think it will happen.



April 15, 2008, 5:03 PM

I have not yet made myself go over there to see firsthand, but what OP says is exactly what I would have expected (which is the main reason I'm not very motivated to bother looking).

I also share OP's feelings otherwise, especially those expressed in his second paragraph. Unfortunately, popularity has a price, and the price is not infrequently too high. Similarly, calling it like it is and letting the chips fall where they may also has a price, and we're paying it.


Marc Country

April 15, 2008, 5:27 PM

You mean Aibright-Knox, or concpetual, Franklin?

I can understand not having the energy to correct either, though... that Winkleman blog is mildly vampiric, I suspect...



April 15, 2008, 5:54 PM

Those are large Caribbean gastropods that never stop, right Marc?



April 15, 2008, 6:15 PM

Oh no, Franklin, tell me you didn't take George seriously enough to expend that much time and energy! It's like a dog returning to its own vomit. No doubt he's far better off at Ed's place, where his peculiar bent is bound to make an infinitely better impression than he ever made here, but don't waste yourself on him. Let them have him and savor him, if they can, but remember the maxim about pearls and swine.



April 15, 2008, 6:19 PM

I assumed he was referring to 'concpetual'.



April 15, 2008, 6:42 PM

I'd like to back you up at Ed_'s, Franklin, I really would, but there's just so much airborne horse-hockey there that the merest whiff of getting into a did-so/did-not stink with the likes of g or z, who can't tell head from hind (with fans cheering them on, no less), makes me throw up a little in my mouth.


Marc Country

April 15, 2008, 6:46 PM

Agreed: a post-reading rinse-and-spit is needed... Ew, indeed.



April 15, 2008, 6:52 PM

Beer makes a good palate cleanser, I'm told.



April 15, 2008, 6:59 PM

Well, I suppose we should be happy for George, who seems to have found a suitable home. Heaven knows what took him so long. And I suppose Franklin has to make certain tactical appearances in certain venues occasionally, something along the lines of mingling or networking or advertising or what have you. The whole exercise is still distasteful, for reasons already alluded to above, but so it goes.



April 15, 2008, 7:04 PM

Beer also goes well with concpetual, which tends to be hard to swallow without a suitable (and preferably copious) liquid chaser.



April 15, 2008, 7:05 PM

What's the question? Is the statement below the basic hypothesis we're supposed to examine? (Lifted from one of Franklin's remarks at EW's blog, as linked above).

My view is that conceptual elements have no quality. (Not poor quality, but no quality - no goodness or badness as art.) Consequently, the success of art hinges on form, which can have quality. Therefore, if you like good art, this is the way to go. If you're more interested in "truths," well, good luck to you. That this view isn't popular doesn't make it wrong.



April 15, 2008, 7:39 PM

A question I find to be of interest from the 90+ comment thread comes from Catherine Spaeth: ...I wonder if a larger issue is that NOBODY writes as though there is something at stake...

This is picked up on by a couple commentors, g among them. Although they seem to agree that there's nothing left (in art) to feel strongly about, yet they adamantly declare their boredom with anyone gutsy enough to announce and defend a definite position.

The Franklin quote Hovig cnp'd describes, with some urgency, the thing most at stake.



April 15, 2008, 7:47 PM

Yes, Ahab, a certain sort of eminently safe boredom is the new inadequacy, or insecurity, or shallowness (or all of the above).


Marc Country

April 15, 2008, 7:55 PM

Thank goodness... the old inadequacy just wasn't good enough...


Marc Country

April 15, 2008, 8:00 PM

Re: Artists who write...

I'm an award-winning columnist... does that count?


Phil I.

April 15, 2008, 10:28 PM

Get oüt, hoser...



April 15, 2008, 11:00 PM

#16: about that award winning column ...

Be careful what you ask for Marc. Art departments are expensive to operate compared to most others on a university campus. If the U of A art unit goes independent, it will have to face the (probable) fact that its income does not equal its expenses. There are only three ways to address such a problem: raise tuition or lower costs or both. All of them are detrimental. Your other suggestions were quite sound.


Marc Country

April 16, 2008, 8:16 AM

Catfish, in my ideal scenario, the UofA art school wouldn't be independent, so much as arms length: a satellite school. So, it would still draw from the same budget, but have more tuition coming in through greater enrollment. Then, the only major added expense is the new building to house it all.

Originally, my suggestion was for the UofA to buy our downtown Bay Building for such a purpose. They bought it, all right, and even put in an art gallery facility that the AGA inhabits temporarily (which, in Karen Wilkin's words, "is nicer than many galleries permanent spaces"), but they're not putting their art school in it. It will have other uses.

Incidentally, it surprised me to learn recently that Alberta is ranked dead last in post-secondary participation (with qualified students turned away due to lack of spaces). Meanwhile, the UofA's president is the highest paid in the country. Go figure...



April 16, 2008, 8:40 AM

Marc, are you sure you're Canadian? You don't look Canadian so much as Celtic or something, judging by that picture with your column. Of course, Wayne Gretsky always looked Eastern European to me...


Marc Country

April 16, 2008, 8:59 AM

And to think, I only gave them that picture because I was standing next to Ralph Klein in it, and then they go and crop him out...

Funny you should mention my Irish heritage, Jack... I'm just planning a trip to the motherland now, for early June.

Any y'all ever been to the emerald isle?


Marc Country

April 16, 2008, 9:01 AM

Oh, and Jack, as a Canadian, technically, I can't let your misspelling of Gretzky's name pass...



April 16, 2008, 9:48 AM

The correct spelling is even more Eastern European...



April 16, 2008, 11:00 AM

Looking Celtic and looking Canadian are hardly mutually exclusive, Jack.

Marc, I would love to go to Ireland and poke around. I envy you.

If you go anywhere near Cork have a pint with Declan O'Mahoney:

You should tell the US audience that Klein is the former premier of Alberta, so they can be properly impressed.



April 16, 2008, 11:13 AM

Thanks for the Klein info, OP. I thought Marc meant some fashion guy (I got Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein conflated in my head, which shows you how fashionable I am).


Chris Rywalt

April 16, 2008, 12:38 PM

Marc, you are one handsome devil! I don't know who the goof on the left is, though....

No, seriously, Marc, man, you're so young and good-looking. I imagined you very differently. I figured you for a swarthy, thick guy with glasses and thinning black hair. No idea why, other than my active visual imagination. Something about the word "Country," which seems heavy and rugged. Grr!


Chris Rywalt

April 16, 2008, 12:45 PM

As far as Ed's blog goes: I go there because I like Ed very much. Back when I started blogging about art, I got in touch with J.T. Kirkland, and when he came to New York he introduced me to Ed. Ed is a really nice guy, or anyway seems to me to be one. (Although I should note I'm coming to realize I'm one of the worst judges of character of all time, because I tend to take people directly at face value, and very few people are really who they seem to be. I think.) Anyway. I like Ed even if I have no idea where he gets his taste in art or his philosophical predilections.

I think Franklin goes there right now to keep his wits sharp -- you can't keep in practice arguing without finding people to argue with. I suspect he'll tire of Ed's in a little while. Personally I've gotten my ass kicked around Ed's enough for one lifetime. Once I even invited Franklin to join the argument because I needed someone else on my side; he did, and we both ended up making zero progress. Such is life.

Also, I find every time I get into a really big argument at Ed's, the hits on my blog go up. So there's that.



April 16, 2008, 2:12 PM

Marc, the goatee thing is good, but you should go with a full-fledged Charles I/van Dyke look. Don't forget the dangling pearl earring (only one ear, of course). Fancy lace collar is optional, as a concession to the times. As a final touch, you can then change your Artblog moniker to Cavalier.



April 16, 2008, 2:20 PM

Sounds like what to wear to a premiere - that should attract the attention of USmagazine readers.


Chris Rywalt

April 16, 2008, 2:30 PM

Ah, but the goatee is a clear reference to the Great Artist John Gnagy.

Okay, maybe not. John's got the van dyck thing going, too.



April 16, 2008, 4:44 PM

If he looked like that, Jack, he would have to rearrange his acronym to Mort Racycut.


Marc Country

April 16, 2008, 4:45 PM

I was going for more of a Norville Rogers vibe with the goatee, but it's been gone for a while now.



April 16, 2008, 6:23 PM

I still think that following my advice would help Marc raise his profile, certainly in Edmonton. Of course, it might not attract quite the sort of attention he would like, but then again, neither did the Ganesha flap, now did it?


Chris Rywalt

April 16, 2008, 6:48 PM

"Hey, Scoob, wanna do a gram of coke?"

"I ruv you, Raggy!"

Who the hell knows that Shaggy's real name is Norville Rogers?

Who the hell knows that "Marc Country" is an acronym?


Marc Country

April 16, 2008, 7:39 PM

"If he looked like that, Jack, he would have to rearrange his acronym to Mort Racycut."

If my new look turned out to be popular with the ladies, I could maybe go with Roy Cramcunt , instead...


Roy Cramcunt

April 16, 2008, 7:44 PM

"Marc, the goatee thing is good, but you should go with a full-fledged Charles I/van Dyke look. "

Do you mean something like this?



April 16, 2008, 7:46 PM

You've been staring at Courbet's "Origin of the World," haven't you, Marc? If you keep that up you'll go blind.



April 16, 2008, 7:55 PM

Re 36, very good, but wrong hat, and the collar shouldn't be turned up. Here, like this:

Again, don't forget the earring.



April 17, 2008, 5:23 PM

I looked at that Winkleman thread, Franklin. You must feel like you are standing in a stable swatting at flies, but I guess you at least get to exercise your brain a little. A little, that is. I guess if no one wants to play hardball there is nothing much to do but go over there and play Blind Man's Bluff.



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