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Surprise Roundup

Post #1208 • July 14, 2008, 8:07 AM • 12 Comments

Ironic Sans demonstrates that any sufficiently thoughtful person can generate conceptual art, but too many interesting, legitimate problems call out for solutions. See also David Friedman's thoughts on the corporate artist in residence. (Andrew)

Hilary Spurling would blog if she could. "If I were young now I'd not only be reading blogs but writing them." (AJ) Possibly contradictory: world's oldest blogger dies. (Reddit)

Video footage of the work my friend Ed Sullivan did carving an eleven-foot high marble Madonna ten years ago.

Tom Lubbock: "Read any gallery wall-caption or leaflet or catalogue, and see how long it is before the writer commends the work solely on the basis of what it's about. And then note how it is isn't really about that at all." (MB)

Obsequious, yet austere: Eduoardo "Pickles" Passolini.

Some notes towards a Conservative arts policy.

Department of Poor Baby: Your appropriation art got appropriated. Or, you're a one trick pony and somebody learned your trick. All together now: Awwww. (AJ)


Urgent update from the Department of Value Addition: the Abbeville coupon expires tomorrow.




July 14, 2008, 8:41 AM

That Lubbock is great:

"Or tell me this: if it investigates and celebrates something, is its investigation serious or superficial? Is its celebration sincere or phoney? You have no idea. I have no idea. Because it doesn't investigate or celebrate anything. The verbs just don't apply."


Chris Rywalt

July 14, 2008, 8:51 AM

Video art selling video art: Good.

Video art selling iPhones: Bad.

Appropriations artists get appropriated: FUCKING AWESOME.



July 14, 2008, 10:07 AM

The good thing about the Lubbock piece is that it is clear, simple, logical, reasonable and 100% right.

The sad thing about it is that it makes no difference at all, it will have no "impact", as they say. The idiots will continue to practice idiocy as long as anyone pays attention to them.

What's wrong with Spurling? Take it from me, being an old fart is no impediment to blogging.



July 14, 2008, 10:21 AM

It follows then, in assessing any one impediment, as a general rule:

If you can fart, you ain't blog-blocked.



July 14, 2008, 11:14 AM

Spurling probably should have said that she would have no time to do research and write excellent books if she fell down the rabbit hole of the Internet. Her Matisse books are great, especially the first volume.



July 14, 2008, 3:23 PM

"The idiots will continue to practice idiocy as long as anyone pays attention to them."

Yes and no. As long as the creators, purveyors and promoters of idiocy get what they want, especially in material terms, they're golden. Mission accomplished. Do you think for one second that a Damien Hirst gives a shit what I think of him (which is really, really bad) as long as Gagosian's clientele keeps buying his crap? Of course not.

The idiocy will continue as long as enough people pay not only enough attention but enough MONEY, which is key. The real idiots are not those making the stuff or selling it, but the ones BUYING it, both figuratively AND literally.



July 14, 2008, 5:08 PM

And OP, of course the Lubbock piece will make no difference, though it never hurts to tell it like it is. I've come to believe that the further out of touch with reality and the less sensible things are in the art world, the better the would-be illuminati like it. It makes them feel ever so much more special and above those who are, well, you know, out-of-it.



July 15, 2008, 8:27 AM

An interview with Norman Kleeblatt, on the Action/Abstraction show he curated... Seems Norm isn't any better informed on Greenberg than his interviewer is... I wish the artinfo site had a comments section, so I could leave them some corrections...



July 15, 2008, 9:34 AM

That show obviously had good art in it but unfortunately it further codifies the silly action/formalism fiction. Academics love to saw off the edges and round the corners so that they can get a nice simple formulation that is easy to put into words and easy to understand, no matter that it is false in fact and feeling.

This Kleebat fellow understands neither Greenberg nor Rosenberg, repeats all the received information that has filtered down to us and proceeds to make inane mistakes, such as Hofmanns "Fantasia" being the "first drip painting" - it wasn't even Hofmann's first drip painting!

He also negelcts to mention, when discussing sculpture, Greenberg's strong support of David Smith, and makes the astonishingly dopey statement that Greenberg had a problem with sculpture because sculpture wasn't flat! I mean, can you image a scientist making such a dumb blunder? He would be a laughting stock. But these people are the shepherds of our culture, and they gently lead the sheep to slaughter while we all nod blindly in agreement.

Please, blog readers, be SKEPTICAL above all else!


Chris Rywalt

July 15, 2008, 10:58 AM

I haven't gotten the impression, from what I've read of Rosenberg, that he actually liked Anxious Objects, but was simply reporting that that's what artists were making.



July 15, 2008, 1:16 PM

What? Greenberg had a problem with sculpture because sculpture wasn't flat? Is this guy retarded, or is he simply too clumsy to be effectively malicious? Who was the editor for this embarrassment?



July 15, 2008, 5:02 PM

OK, I read the Kleebatt interview. It's not quite as bad as OP made me expect, but bad enough. Talking about Greenberg and sculpture without mentioning David Smith seems highly odd. Surely Kleebatt is aware of the connection, or he most certainly should be. The interviewer, as usual, simply regurgitates the party line on Greenberg, which is always safe, if nothing else.

And of course, while both dutifully talk about the limits and shortcomings of the dead, neither says a word about the comparatively far greater flaws of current so-called critics, who are largely useless and nowhere near as relevant to their own time.



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