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Geometry Friday

Post #1171 • May 2, 2008, 4:58 PM • 25 Comments

Aw baby.

Comment

1.

Ari

May 2, 2008, 10:08 PM

woah.

2.

Phil

May 3, 2008, 10:27 AM

nice

seems more like chemistry

could be a great visualization tool
for nanotechnologists

3.

MC

May 4, 2008, 8:46 AM

Mmm... Topological Art!

4.

Eric

May 4, 2008, 12:35 PM

Sorry that this is off topic. In a review of an exhibition of George Rickey sculptures we have this laughable todbit:

"While he was always considered a pioneer of abstract sculpture, it is fair to say that during the 1960s and 70s Rickey was overshadowed by David Smith, whose work got much more critical and curatorial attention than did Rickey’s more ethereal, scientifically oriented and intellectual constructions. (Smith, you’ll recall, was a key fixture in the dictatorial critic’s influential canon. Clement Greenberg also had something to do with advising the Smith estate). Rickey acknowledged his debt to Smith’s welding techniques (they actually had met in the 1930s) and studied his asymmetrical configurations. But he rejected the symbolic and Surrealist overtones of Smith’s work, embracing instead a strictly rational and technological approach to his own art."

Some really poor editing going on over at artnet. They refer to Greenberg as the "dictatorial critic" before they even actually mention his name for the first time in the review. Amazing.

George Rickey review over at artnet

5.

MC

May 4, 2008, 7:53 PM

"The galleries showing George Rickey’s sculpture post wall labels next to every piece reading "Please Don’t Touch and Don’t Blow.""

Of course, Rickey's sculptures already blow...

I swear, if I was managing Greenberg's legacy, I would get litigious on some of these slanderous motherfuckers...

6.

opie

May 5, 2008, 4:24 AM

When of course all Greenberg did was point to the best.
For this inexcusable crime he is now cast as the Josef Stalin of art criticism.

The art world is a cuckoo's nest.

7.

opie

May 5, 2008, 4:25 AM

When of course all Greenberg did was point to the best.
For this inexcusable crime he is now cast as the Josef Stalin of art criticism.

The art world is a cuckoo's nest.

8.

opie

May 5, 2008, 4:27 AM

Franklin I believe that happened when I used "preview"

9.

Eric

May 5, 2008, 5:39 AM

tidbit not todbit.

The fact that they referred to Greenberg as the "dictatorial critic" before they even mentioned his name is telling. His name is now synonomous or code for authoritarian. Another byproduct of intellectual laziness and fear of the truth. Art is hard indeed.

10.

Eric

May 5, 2008, 6:04 AM

Blake Gopnik thinks that

"Its work (Takashi Murakami) outdoes Goya in revealing our folly, though it puts on a lighthearted air. That makes it even more chilling."

No it doesn't.

11.

Franklin

May 5, 2008, 6:29 AM

I'm content to disagree with Roberta Smith when the occasion calls for it. Gopnik is a whole order lower of awful. Probably no one writing in print loathes the humanistic aspirations of art with greater vitriol.

12.

MC

May 5, 2008, 7:00 AM

Gopnik is a pathetic case. "A certified Vuitton original is so very desirable simply because we've all decided, almost arbitrarily, that it is something we're supposed to want."

We've all decided? Uh, no. Actually, I like to stand outside Louis Vuitton stores, pointing and laughing hysterically at the people purchasing goods inside... I decide for myself what is and isn't absurd, thank you.

And, speaking of absurd... "Once staged in a venerable museum, Murakami's art about consumerism becomes more powerful ... And also because, at heart, we all know that fine art, hived off in the remote world of museum culture, no longer has much power to affect our daily lives. "

Powerful AND powerless, you say? Please, Mr. Gopnik, do go on...

13.

MC

May 5, 2008, 7:06 AM

Gopnik on Purity:

"The retrospective shows how even the supposedly "pure" world of fine art isn't immune to the consumer bug."

"A Vuitton bag, after all, is purified commodity."

"That's because great art is supposed to purify even the naughtiest imagery."

Three times in one article? Something of an obsession, you might say...

14.

opie

May 5, 2008, 7:29 AM

There are two Gopniks, Blake and Adam. I don't know which one is worse, but my tie-him-up-and-gag-him award would go to the one who write the Clem-bashing review of the Rubenfeld book.

If I could amplify Franklin's judgement I would, but he put it quite accurately and succinctly. They are not just bad critics, they are malign and destructive.

The ironic thing about Vuitton bags is that ever since they were bought up and cheapened and taken to the popular market you see them carried around the mall by little fat ladies with belly folds hanging over their mustard-colored polyester stretch pants. No true "fashionista" would be caught dead with a Vuitton bag these days, unless the bag and the person are plainly over 60 years old.

15.

Eric

May 5, 2008, 7:52 AM

I don't hate fat ladies in malls but I do hate the Vuitton corporation.

Thanks for pointing out how bad the entire Gopnik review is. I didn't make it past the line about Goya.

16.

Eric

May 5, 2008, 7:53 AM

It might be interesting to do an analysis of the rhetorical 'we' that critics often use.

17.

MC

May 5, 2008, 8:08 AM

I believe "me-too-ism" is the accepted phrase....

18.

wwc

May 6, 2008, 8:28 AM

Those of us who show in the Washington DC area hate Blake Gopnik's writing with a special fury. He's the main critic for the Washington Post, but he writes about art as if it's something yucky on the bottom of his shoe.

I like his brother Adam's writing a little better, but they both display a habit of taking whatever fancy or reaction they have and projecting it as universal. Greenberg's writing is still so vital because, unlike both Gopniks, he makes a case (historically, experientally, etc) for his opinions - that's what is so infuriating to me about the caricature of him - he lays out his thinking clearly, but since it's usually pretty airtight the only attack one can make is personal. Kicking your ass in an argument does not make one a dictator.

19.

opie

May 6, 2008, 9:03 AM

When you get your ass kicked in an argument it is time to start paying attention to whatever is kicking your ass.

20.

catfish

May 6, 2008, 9:08 AM

wwc: "... since it's usually pretty airtight the only attack one can make is personal. Kicking your ass in an argument does not make one a dictator."

You are absolutely right, wwc. Most "intellectuals" feel very cornered when they lose an argument, and see personal attack as the alternative, especially if many of their buddies affirm that the personal approach is the"correct" one. "He is a dictator" amounts to a single idea, one that illustrates well what GK Chesterton called the neat, well lit prison of one idea. And it is a commonly accepted way to disagree with Greenberg. Once you reduce your thinking to something singular, you can weave in just about any fact so that it does not contradict a simplistic, personal approach. Around here, opie sometimes gets hit in the same way when he displays his consummate skill with words and argument.

But there is another way to resolve losing an argument. For eons scientists, even, argued the world was flat. They won that argument, too, until Galileo, and even then, it took a while for them to finally lose. But they were wrong all along. So, it is not necessary to believe you are wrong simply because someone else is better at argument. Don't panic. Instead simply say "you win the argument, but that does not necessarily carry any weight as far as what's really what goes. I'm through arguing with you." It has a tendency to drive intellectuals nuts, since they usually overemphasize the role of the intellect in real life, but they get over it when you walk away. That seems to me an honest response too, while attacking the one who argues better than you in a personal way is not.

In the end, arguing is just words. That's the context, the frame that separates intellectuals from real life. There is fun to be had on both sides of the container.

21.

opie

May 6, 2008, 10:15 AM

But Catfish, what you propose is entirely suffused with sweet reason and common sense. If the name-callers were possessed of these virtues they would probably come to the same conclusions. They don't, so they characterize.

22.

catfish

May 6, 2008, 11:06 AM

Yes I know opie. They panic. Maybe that's because, in their hearts, they are worried they are wrong.

I forgot to mention, whenever I win an argument, I don't assume that I'm right either. Or when you win. Or when anyone wins. I'm a congenital skeptic.

23.

wwc

May 6, 2008, 11:08 AM

Re #19, amen.

My thought after reading #20 is that Galileo could also point to actual phenomena to bolster his argument. Greenberg does the same and the only way to truly wrestle with either is to address those reasoned arguments.

But after reading #21 I get Opie's point - this kind of debate assumes all participants are reasoning, thoughtful and intellectually honest folks. We know that isn't aways so, and it's so damn tempting to kick a dead "dictator" around.

To circle back to #20 - the idea of walking away from an argument has helped me with my wife many times - "Honey, I disagree, but I can't convince you so let's leave it there." If I can get to that point early in a disagreement it saves lots of trouble...

24.

opie

May 6, 2008, 11:20 AM

Wives are a different order of magnitude, WWC. You do not win arguments there. Or perhaps I should say, you better not.

25.

wwc

May 6, 2008, 11:29 AM

Again, amen brother, amen.

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