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Phalaenopsis and African violet

Post #1203 • July 4, 2008, 1:05 PM • 76 Comments

I got it in my head that I was not going to put up a new blog post until I had gotten through the creative bad patch in the studio that I found myself in this week. I have come to believe in the power sitting in the presence of your irritating, inadquate self.

Phalaenopsis with African Violet, African Violet. Happy Fourth.

Comment

1.

Milé Murtanovski

July 4, 2008, 1:57 PM

Nice work!
I especially like the second one, particularly the very subtle shadow. Nuanced and sensitive.

m.

2.

John

July 4, 2008, 4:24 PM

OK. Then I'll take the first one.

3.

Jack

July 4, 2008, 6:29 PM

Second one's the better one.

4.

Jack

July 4, 2008, 6:31 PM

First one has nice color but the design has issues.

5.

opie

July 4, 2008, 8:21 PM

I like the violet. Nice color. Like many of your pix I would like to see it ca 5 x 8 feet.

6.

swimmer

July 5, 2008, 8:04 AM

in other words more like your work right Opie?

7.

db

July 5, 2008, 9:01 AM

second one.

off-topic, in re: conceptual art:
The New Yorker, July 7 & 14, p.81

cartoon. couple in bed, one says to the other, "What should we have sex about?"

8.

opie

July 5, 2008, 10:00 AM

I understand the dig, Swimmer, but it is beside the point. When work is simple and colorful with an interesting surface there is almost always an implicit urge for size.

9.

MC

July 5, 2008, 2:37 PM

"What should we have sex about?"

Excellent...

I'll go with number two, Franklin (but, I was born in February, so I'm probably just biased in favour of my birth-flower). Me and the missus were just discussing your participation in a possible floral painting residency at the Lady Zog this summer... I hope you've got a few spare weeks to spend in Edmonton...

Opie, are you really painting as big as swimmer suggests, or are their comments just misinformed? I've seen some of your recent paintings, but never anything close to 8 x 5 ft....

10.

opie

July 5, 2008, 2:47 PM

I suppose the implication that I paint 5x8 feet can be gathered from the comments but I didn't actually say I did. My recent pix don't go much over 5 feet in any direction.

However in the past I have painted pictures larget than that. My last show of new work in NY had a couple of 18 footers.

11.

swimmer

July 5, 2008, 6:05 PM

sounds sound opie!

12.

Chris Rywalt

July 5, 2008, 8:31 PM

Is it wrong to ask where one can see OP's work? And why everyone else seems to know about it but me?

13.

wwc

July 5, 2008, 8:36 PM

The blue around the violet is like a halo.

Chris, I prefer to not know who opie (or "old pro" back in the day) is - he's like a mysterious voice of authority. I just assume his work kicks all kinds of ass.

14.

Bethea

July 6, 2008, 6:25 AM

Beautiful.

15.

opie

July 6, 2008, 7:47 AM

Thanks for the kind words WWC, but I find it much easier to be sure of myself verbalizing the obvious than I do making art. I am racked with doubt in the studio, and the only comfort is a few older paintings I am pretty sure of and the fact that Cezanne went through the same torture.

16.

Chris Rywalt

July 6, 2008, 10:23 AM

I'm glad to hear someone else is racked with doubt. I'm constantly and consistently unsure of whether anything I do with paint is worthwhile.

17.

Chris Rywalt

July 6, 2008, 10:29 AM

Discussing these paintings: I agree that the second one is the better one. I like the blooms in the first one, but something about the leaves doesn't work for me. And the lighter passage to the upper left just says "I'm trying to balance the composition."

The quality of the gouache looks surprisingly different to me. I expect gouache to be heavy, opaque and flat, but here it appears -- in the JPEGs anyway -- to be light and translucent. I like it. I tended to approach gouache as one might acrylics, though, which is probably wrong, but it worked for me at the time.

18.

wwc

July 6, 2008, 12:53 PM

re #15 That doubt is why I think you're a badass.

19.

opie

July 6, 2008, 1:13 PM

I guess "badass" is good, so thanks again.

20.

Franklin

July 6, 2008, 5:00 PM

I'm glad to hear someone else is racked with doubt.

See "creative bad patch" above.

You can certainly use gouache to paint flat, opaque areas. But you can also use it like an intense version of watercolor. It all depends on what you need.

The only thing you have to be careful of in gouache is to make sure you have a permanent palette. Winsor-Newton will happily sell you a color with a permanence of B or C. It says so on the label. Stick with A and AA.

21.

Jack

July 6, 2008, 5:57 PM

Went to Books & Books today (the best bookstore in Miami, for you non-locals). They happened to be having a July 4th sale of 20% off everything in the store, which ended today.

It took me over an hour to talk myself out of buying several very tempting tomes which, regrettably, I don't really have time to read. There ought to be a law limiting the amount of work and family issues any one person has to contend with.

Alas, the gorgeous book on Ingres, with its crisp hard cover of gilt on crushed yellow silk, was left behind.

22.

opie

July 6, 2008, 6:30 PM

Or forbidding at least the work part.

23.

Jack

July 6, 2008, 7:08 PM

By the way, OP, that doubt thing is very old-hat, you know. I'm sure Mssrs. Hirst and Koons, to name a few, never have such issues. Bad for business. Ah, progress!

24.

ahab

July 6, 2008, 7:36 PM

I agree with Jack's #'s 3&4 exactly.

Have you, Franklin, thought about what your Common Sense show will be called? It may be interesting to let your blog audience in on the particulars of putting together this exhibition. It would generate publicity, and who knows, your commentors may have good suggestions we mightn't have considered.

25.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 11:00 AM

I'm thinking seriously of calling it "The Importance of What We Care About."

26.

wwc

July 7, 2008, 11:14 AM

I had a show a few years ago called "True Defenders of the Craft". It's a line from a Mike Watt song.

27.

Chris Rywalt

July 7, 2008, 12:53 PM

Speaking of whom, I just read Frankfurt's tiny tome On Bullshit. It's good, although I rapidly realized I'm a bullshitter, and therefore part of the problem he's discussing.

28.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 1:47 PM

To some degree, most of us are at some point or another. Some critics have pointed out that Frankfurt's lack of engagement with particular pomo texts and writers is in itself a type of bullshit!

29.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 2:30 PM

Some critics have pointed out that Frankfurt's lack of engagement with particular pomo texts and writers is in itself a type of bullshit!

[citation needed]

30.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 2:55 PM

I was thinking of Simon Blackburn's review in particular:

http://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/~swb24/reviews/Frankfurt.htm

See the second section in particular!

31.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 2:58 PM

Or this sentence in the third!

"And when I think of the resolute silence about the philosophical tradition from, say, Protagoras onwards, I confess to scenting a whiff of something like—well, negligence with the truth, an affectation of amateur carelessness adopted, or at any rate adapted, to mislead or manipulate the audience, and which therefore, by his own account, characterizes the bullshitter"

32.

Jack

July 7, 2008, 3:08 PM

With all due respect to Frankfurt (whom I have not read), I'm fairly comfortable with my ability to recognize bullshit by myself. A great deal of it is not all that subtle, even if it does take in a lot of people (or a lot of people act as if they buy it, because it suits their purposes).

33.

Chris Rywalt

July 7, 2008, 3:29 PM

The book doesn't so much discuss detecting bullshit as defining bullshit, asking why there's so much bullshit and what purposes it serves, and suggesting that bullshit is worse for humanity than lying.

34.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 3:42 PM

To clarify, Blackburn reviewed On Truth while making mention of On Bullshit. Blackburn seems largely sympathetic if frustrated by the book's cursory nature, despite Clem's typical overstatement.

35.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 3:50 PM

"Some critics have pointed out that Frankfurt's lack of engagement with particular pomo texts and writers is in itself a type of bullshit!"

By overstatement you mean my punctuation?

36.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 3:51 PM

Yes, and the words leading up to it.

37.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 3:55 PM

You's overstating things, Franklin.

38.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 3:59 PM

Hardly - that's your specialty. I'd break it down but your remark doesn't merit it.

39.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 4:26 PM

I think the major problem with Frankfurt's attack on postmodern thought (something he hints at in On Bullshit and fully develops in On Truth) is that he doesn't distinguish between knowledge and capital "T" Truth. There's a difference between epistemologies which are suspicious of the latter and bullshit for personal or political gain.

40.

opie

July 7, 2008, 4:56 PM

Let's all try to figure out what "capital 'T' Truth" is.

41.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 5:15 PM

It's truth where there is almost always an implicit urge for SIZE!

42.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 5:19 PM

Ron Paul shoots em all the time! : )

43.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 5:19 PM

Ron Paul shouts em all the time! : )

44.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 5:42 PM

That was an attempt at humor, apparently.

...he doesn't distinguish between knowledge and capital "T" Truth. There's a difference between epistemologies which are suspicious of the latter and bullshit for personal or political gain.

In my experience there is plenty of overlap between the two.

45.

MC

July 7, 2008, 5:48 PM

That sounds like an excellent title for the show, Franklin. Will the artist be writing a statement to go along with it?

46.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 5:49 PM

The artist probably won't be able to stop himself.

Does the show have an end date yet?

47.

MC

July 7, 2008, 6:56 PM

I heard a rumor it was to run sometime into late September, but I don't think any date has been officially mentioned.

Capital "T" Truth is the truth you find at the beginning of sentences...

48.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 9:56 PM

"In my experience there is plenty of overlap between the two."

Because claiming objective knowledge or judgement has never been a basis for manipulative political and personal gain...

Foucault wrote histories. Derrida wrote on politics, socialization, and ethics. Barthes tended towards concrete examples of culture (high and low) that caught his interest. Lyotard and Adorno where likely motivated by the atrocities of WWII more than anything, and many of their writings directly address these wrongs. All of these writers, to name some members of the "canon" worked to further their own understanding of the world and share it with others. Questioning their sincerity is the worst kind of bullshitting.

49.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 10:43 PM

Questioning their sincerity is the worst kind of bullshitting.

I can think of a worse instance: writing indignantly from behind a pseudonym selected to antagonize the people you disagree with. Has it not gotten through your simian skull that there are people here who knew Clement Greenberg well enough to call him Clem? People who miss him? Is this how far your understanding of the world has been furthered for having read those authors? If so, then I'll judge the tree by the fruit.

50.

Clem

July 7, 2008, 11:11 PM

Strange moment to personalize what I've said. On Bullshit and On Truth question the motives and sincerity of those who are considered postmodern without the benefit of directly taking up any of their claims, texts, or biography. I specifically address some problems with your writing in the other thread.

And then suddenly we're back to your beef with my anonymity? And now you're concerned with my choice of handles? It would be reasonable enough to ask for me to change it (since it did begin as an admittedly snide response somewhere else), but this is the first I've heard that anyone found it offensive.

51.

Franklin

July 7, 2008, 11:45 PM

Strange moment to personalize what I've said.

Not really. It corresponds to the moment when I realized that I was having a discussion about sincerity with a pseudonym.

On Bullshit and On Truth question the motives and sincerity of those who are considered postmodern without the benefit of directly taking up any of their claims, texts, or biography.

I have not read On Truth. On Bullshit challenges some thinkers he calls "anti-realists," and doesn't question their sincerity in the conventional sense of the phrase, but questions the very use of sincerity by these people. It's actually quite fascinating.

And then suddenly we're back to your beef with my anonymity? And now you're concerned with my choice of handles?

Do you really think I don't see through this feigned surprise? Clever three-year-olds do that to evade punishment. "Why, I had no idea that it wasn't okay to throw my shoe at the window!"

It would be reasonable enough to ask for me to change it (since it did begin as an admittedly snide response somewhere else), but this is the first I've heard that anyone found it offensive.

So it was a snide response, but you're surprised that anyone found it offensive. That and a hanky and I can blow my nose. But if all it takes is a request, then change it.

52.

MC

July 8, 2008, 7:51 AM

"Admittedly Snide" would be an appropriate new handle...

53.

Snide

July 8, 2008, 9:06 AM

For someone who hates to confuse different things, let me remind you that what I wrote concerned the sincerity of these writers.

On a personal note, I would again question your sincerity in upholding the spirit of your own comment guidelines.

"On Bullshit challenges some thinkers he calls "anti-realists," and doesn't question their sincerity in the conventional sense of the phrase, but questions the very use of sincerity by these people"

When usefulness becomes a motivation for sincerity, I tend to think one verges on insincerity.

"Do you really think I don't see through this feigned surprise? Clever three-year-olds do that to evade punishment. "Why, I had no idea that it wasn't okay to throw my shoe at the window!".

I'm only joshing, but I'd be interested to hear what a good old fashioned psychoanalyst would have to say about this implied paternalism : )

54.

opie

July 8, 2008, 9:30 AM

You want paternalism? Sincerety is for high school girls to worry about. Who gives a damn about vague, indeterminate motives like sincerety? Can we talk about whether something specific MAKES SENSE?

55.

Franklin

July 8, 2008, 10:04 AM

I would again question your sincerity in upholding the spirit of your own comment guidelines.

People who violate the guidelines lose their protections. You're a guest here. Remember that.

When usefulness becomes a motivation for sincerity, I tend to think one verges on insincerity.

Of course, he never claimed any such thing. But you knew this already.

I'd be interested to hear what a good old fashioned psychoanalyst would have to say about this implied paternalism

He'd probably see it as a natural response to intellectual adolescence.

56.

dude

July 8, 2008, 10:05 AM

Snideclem,

I pointed out how bogus and how inappropriate and how much bad faith your lil' handle evokes a long time ago...along with many others.

57.

MC

July 8, 2008, 11:47 AM

"Some critics have pointed out that Frankfurt's lack of engagement with particular pomo texts and writers is in itself a type of bullshit!

[citation needed]

30. Clem
Monday 7 July 2008 2:55 pm

I was thinking of Simon Blackburn's review in particular:"


OK, that's one... you said "some": who were the other critics that have pointed that out, Snide? The Blackburn review was a fun, short read, so let's have another! My torrent is still downloading...

58.

MC

July 9, 2008, 7:10 AM

... buffering...

59.

MC

July 9, 2008, 9:01 AM

... 36%...

60.

MC

July 9, 2008, 10:50 AM

... 78%...

61.

opie

July 9, 2008, 11:24 AM

I guess we will lose you for a week or so, right, MC?

62.

MC

July 9, 2008, 4:10 PM

... 92%...

63.

MC

July 9, 2008, 5:47 PM

Uh-oh! Time's up!

Simon Blackburn: "Frankfurt put his finger on the essential characteristic of the bullshitter, which particularly distinguishes him from the liar. The latter is concerned to communicate something false as if it is true. The former is indifferent to whether what he communicates is true or false. It is this blithe unconcern that distinguishes the bullshit artist; whether as a result he is merely amusing, or a serious menace, varies from case to case."

Well, I guess since Snide's "Some critics..." turned out to be, in reality, just one critic, Snide's status as a "bullshit artist" is confirmed, and, while Snide is merely a menace, their foolishness is seriously amusing, sometimes...

64.

Chris Rywalt

July 10, 2008, 6:41 AM

Frankfurt, in On Bullshit, discusses the difference between sincerity and truth.

The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These "antirealist" doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry. One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns towards trying to provide honest representations of himself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.

But it is preposterous to imagine that we ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and to incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription to determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake. As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them. Moreover, there is nothing in theory, and certainly nothing in experience, to support the extraordinary judgment that it is the truth about himself that is easiest for a person to know. Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution. Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial -- notoriously less stable and and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.

65.

Snide

July 11, 2008, 8:09 AM

(From a generally complimentary review that starts out questioning his knowledge and portrayal of postmodernism)

Ethics 117, July 2007

Clancy Martin

"Harry Frankfurt's best-selling On Bullshit (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005) was originally written for philosophers but received an appreciative popular audience; his On Truth was written for a popular audience but has plenty to offer professional philosophers. Recent work by Sissela Bok, Bernard Williams, Thomas Carson, Michael Lynch, and Louis Guenin, among others, is renewing interest in questions about the value of truth and the ethics of truthfulness, and Frankfurt's slender book or longish essay is a valuable and provocative contribution to this growing literature.

Let's get the boring part of the book out of the way first. Like Bernard Williams in his Truth and Truthfulness (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), Frankfurt feels the odd need to excoriate “postmodernism.” Frankfurt does not take postmodernism seriously or mention the work (or even the names!) of any particular postmodernists, so we are left to wonder what and whom he has in mind.

Frankfurt seems to think that postmodernism represents an attack on the notion that there is such a thing as truth. “These shameless antagonists of common sense-members of a certain emblematic subgroup of them call themselves ‘postmodernists'-rebelliously and self-righteously deny that truth has any genuinely objective reality at all” (18-19). Frankfurt is concerned to attack this position because he sees the denial of the objective reality of truth as a danger threatening our society. But of course the denial that truth has objective reality-and the argument about what that might mean-is not new with Frankfurt's shadowy postmoderns; on the contrary, it is as old as philosophy itself, and the debate doesn't seem to have done much harm yet. In fact one wonders if the grand project of human knowledge would have gotten very far along without clever skeptics doubting that we know what we think we do-including the commonsense realities that Frankfurt thinks of as undeniable truths. In the same line of attack against postmodernists, Frankfurt writes that “no one in his right mind would rely on a builder, or submit to the care of a physician, who does not care about truth” (24), and surely that is true. But I don't suppose anyone, not even Frankfurt, would say that a philosopher who takes the time to argue about problems and complications with the way we understand truth “does not care” about truth. And if the problem is that one wouldn't want a doctor or a bridge builder who doubted that in matters of common sense we could see “a clear difference between the true and the false” (25), Frankfurt is forgetting that perhaps the most famous skeptic in history, Sextus Empiricus, is also one of the most famous physicians in history. Finally, attacks on postmodernism seem a bit beside the point in philosophy today: I work mostly in “Continental” philosophy, a place where postmodernism has been more welcome than not, and yet I don't know anyone in professional philosophy who describes him or herself as a “postmodernist.” This despite the fact that, especially recently, the work of philosophers we tend to think of as postmoderns-like Foucault, Deleuze, and Vattimo-is enjoying renewed, positive attention from mainstream philosophers. (Interested readers will find a nice defense of postmodernism against Frankfurt's complaints in Simon Blackburn's review of On Truth in the New Republic [November 2, 2006]). If there is a vigorous philosophical attack on truth today, it will not be found among “postmoderns” but in the work of our best and brightest analytic epistemologists (e.g., in the deflationism of Matt McGrath and others"

(From A generally critical article, specifically concerned with cognitive and education research, but calling bullshit on his take on shit was too funny not to share)

Interchange, June 2007
Rocco J. Perla and James Carifio

"In expressing the inert, useless, and meaningless nature of bullshit, Frankfurt draws an analogy between excrement and bullshit, and in doing so he provides an excellent example of bullshit by his own definition. Frankfurt (2005) states:
Excrement may be regarded as the corpse of nourishment, what
remains when the vital elements in food have been exhausted. In this respect, excrement is a representation of death that we ourselves and that, indeed, we cannot help producing in the very process of maintaining our lives. Perhaps it is for making death so intimate that we find excrement so repulsive. In any event, it cannot serve the purposes of sustenance, any more than hot air can serve those of communication (pp. 43-44). The problem with this statement is that it is a shallow, uninformed, and simply an incorrect biological (i.e., scientific) view of excrement. Excrement is vital for life and contains material that will decompose
and unlock the chemical prerequisites for life. In this passage, Frankfurt is taking the opportunity, or feels the compulsion, to speak about some topic (biology) that exceeds his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. In other words, Frankfurt is, by his own definition, talking bullshit. Further, he is not only talking bullshit, but he is missing the key and critical point about this phenomenon because of his (outdated and inaccurate) schemas about the phenomenon as well as the hidden flaws in the similes and metaphors he uses to explore and investigate it"

66.

MC

July 11, 2008, 8:17 AM

Oh, That's much too long... I can't read that...

67.

MC

July 11, 2008, 8:25 AM

No, just kidding... I read it. Good try, Snide... I especially like the guy who talks about excrement being essential for life, as if he isn't willfully missing Frankfurt's own very clear and correct point. Funny stuff!

Of course, it was his treatment of postmodernists as bullshit (not his description of feces) that you were supposed to come up with, so the second author doesn't fit the bill, and the first one mearly points to the Blackburn review, and says "me too!", kind of like you, so that doesn't count either...

68.

Franklin

July 11, 2008, 9:01 AM

The first article is at least a reasonable critical analysis, even if it never characterizes On Bullshit as bullshit. That second excerpt, though - man, that's a load of bullshit.

69.

Snide

July 11, 2008, 9:17 AM

I thought I made it clear why I included that second excerpt. I would have shared the entire article, which does go beyond Frankfurt talking shit, but didn't actually have that much interest in it. As my initial concern stated, I think his dodginess with actual postmodern thinkers and ideas about truth, is itself bullshitting. He's not actually concerned with what they're saying, but presenting a caricature.

70.

dude

July 11, 2008, 9:33 AM

Sorry Snide, but who cares what they're saying. It's bullshit!

re : 64

Thanks, Chris. This Frankfurt guy is new to me, and I really appreciate that passage. Bullshit and it's indifference to truth is obviously pathological. I tend to think there exist sustainable and optimum conditions for relationships between things out there in the world, conditions that promote growth and development,(do not read progress) not decay. Sincerity has a built-in ego of indulgence and excess. But as soon as the bullshit critique gets close to arguing for notions of optimum conditions or objectivity or correctness, Sincerity gets its back up with accusations of solidity and authority which is very problematic as it denies the characteristics of the source material (objective reality) for any one decision, and in its paranoia it also denies the fact that change is omnipresent. Weird how sincerity and the PC demand to respect anything manifest in its name has made it so difficult to tell the truth.

71.

Franklin

July 11, 2008, 9:41 AM

I think his dodginess with actual postmodern thinkers and ideas about truth, is itself bullshitting.

I think that this is a protracted version of I Accuse You Of That Which You Accuse The Author I Like.

72.

dude

July 11, 2008, 9:47 AM

Booya! (Affirmative.)

73.

Snide

July 11, 2008, 10:58 AM

"I think that this is a protracted version of I Accuse You Of That Which You Accuse The Author I Like."

Yeah, hypocrisy has always been a damning charge, hasn't it? The question is if it's accurate.

As some of the critics I've mentioned point out, Frankfurt doesn't have a grasp on what specific postmodernists are actually saying and doesn't take much care to hide it. I don't think he's lying about what they're saying, I charge him with disinterest, as worked up about the matter as he seems to be. He's talking about something that he doesn't give evidence of knowing anything about, which as we know leads to the tendency of bullshitting.

See the essays by Bannard and Greenberg that we mentioned earlier for more of the same.

74.

dude

July 11, 2008, 11:00 AM

Which essays?

75.

Snide

July 11, 2008, 11:38 AM

You'd have to look at some of the New Modernism threads, but I remember that they're all available online.

76.

dude

July 11, 2008, 11:49 AM

Alright, geez. Make me do all the work.

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