Bonus pre-travel roundup
Post #1445 • January 16, 2010, 11:34 AM • 204 Comments
I'm going to New York tomorrow, largely in order to attend a press preview for the Bronzino drawing show at the Met. Artblog.net returns Thursday, January 21. In the meantime, here are some items to tide you over.
Because of his iconoclasm, Zyg could be a particularly bracing or scary influence on students, most of whom cling tightly to any rule that might help them through the complexities of art. Rather than help, Zyg felt that "The Rules" hamstrung students, and made them afraid to trust their own instincts.
I quite like this.
At Hyperallergic, Hrag Vartanian inteviews Karen Wilkin.
The crucial thing is to keep looking, read critics who see and write well — and absorb Strunk and White The Elements of Style — and keep writing. Be willing to be wrong in public. There are no provable right answers. Resist fashion. Learn as much art history as you can. Read as widely as you can, to get a sense of the context of what you’re looking at — not everything was made last week. You know that I believe that the best criticism is informed by studio experience. It helps to know the nuts and bolts of what you’re looking at and knowing what artists think about and talk about is invaluable — or at least, I used to believe this, before pretentious artists’ statements and proscriptive artists’ explications began routinely to accompany works of art.
After the famous, concentric circles — ‘target’ paintings which could hardly have been a more total refutation of Jasper Johns’ oeuvre — there would be shaped canvases, diamonds, stripes, chevrons, yet more ‘targets’, late flowerings of interest in tonality and mark-making, and what look like amateurish designs for new tartans. The continuity, though, and also the most obvious strength, remained Noland’s extraordinary feeling for colour. The result integrated all the various influences name-checked above, somehow producing from them something that felt clean, new, stripped of distractions and inessentials — a coolly unsentimental, unapologetically beautiful art, neither ironic nor socially engaged, concerned with very little, indeed, except some sort of alchemy of beauty itself.
The reason Graham's essay isn't entitled "Hackers and Pastry Chefs" is not because there is something that unites painters and programmers into a secret brotherhood, but because Paul Graham likes to cultivate the arty aura that comes from working in the visual arts. Having been both a painter and a programmer, I can certainly sympathize with him.
Great paintings, for example, get you laid in a way that great computer programs never do. Even not-so-great paintings - in fact, any slapdash attempt at splashing paint onto a surface - will get you laid more than writing software, especially if you have the slightest hint of being a tortured, brooding soul about you. For evidence of this I would point to my college classmate Henning, who was a Swedish double art/theatre major and on most days could barely walk.
A beautiful show at Common Sense gets written up by SEE Magazine.
Although he is passionate about art, [Cesar] Alvarez says he can't take himself with the same seriousness. "I don't pull all these grand theories into my work," he says. "I see an image in my mind and I make it. If it changes halfway through, so be it. I don't know why we are always forced to explain our reasons. I know the nature of the wood and I know the images I want to create. So I create them."
Watch out for that last step: It's a doozy!
Department of Skillz: Abdominal Workout.
Bonus track: Breathe Later.