Friday, July 3, 2009

Collage, 3-1/2" x 5-1/2"


  1. the word breakthrough is overused and unfair, because it conscripts its object into a narrative, the same old narrative which is not truthful or not always or necessarily truthful to how art happens and artists work.
    Worse, it presumes to attempt to coerce its object into a particular path.

    So forget I mentioned it. Here the pictorial is woven out of the concrete, and the concrete remains in the pictorial. Such categories "pictorial," etc. are so tedious, but I would never banish them because they are provisionally useful. And I think a mistake people make with language is to treat its ephemerality and unreliability and irresponsibility as if it were a fault. Someone on a blog called me out for using the word "classical" claiming its meaning had become so diffuse as to be meaningless. Well, sure, unless you read it with imagination instead of waiting for it to hold still and give itself up for the taking.

    Here also, not patterns, but modes, tendencies, are proposed and then disrupted. Like red, like distribution, like solidity, like regularity. and also constriction and over and under.
    "over and under," crowded and diffuse, smudged, are all just as profound content as Newman's "the tragic" and much more so than "mediation"

  2. Wow. Thank you, vc. This means great deal.

    (Oh, I remember that silly criticism of your word "classical." What you say here about language is interesting.)

  3. That was me who criticized your use of the word classical in a comment thread on a blog called...oh never mind. I think I was pointing out that it didn't mean anything, especially in the context of Joe Bradley's work, but after mulling it over I can see what you mean. His work is obviously clean edged, concise, non decorative, flowing in a simplistic way. Words often don't mean anything, especially in reference to visual art, so I guess my criticism of your use of the word classical from over a year ago was silly or meaningless.

  4. Ha, that was you. I didn't remember. Oh well. Too late to be diplomatic.

  5. ha that's funny it was you with the classical business. as to the usefulness of words, I guess it's all in how you look at it; that is, their imprecison can be enriching, but only if one has gotten close to precision. I mean 19 year olds may not be as fruitful in their imprecision. Apologies to any geniuses out there. I will admit that I was being contrarian or deliberately obscure in the Joe Bradley context.

    Hey Nomi, ask me how my blog hiatus is going.

  6. You were being contrarian?!? So, you're kind of a stealth troublemaker, the Clark Kent of art academics, the . .. oh, I can't think of another good analogy. Wait, Clark Kent's not even good cause Superman's not a troublemaker. Hm. I'll come back to this.

    I have a problem with the idea that words are inadequate. They often are, of course. But then there are those rare times when they are startlingly accurate. If I were a rolodex brain, I'd pull out an example right now, but it's often when an odd or unlikely comparison is made, like when someone uses one sense to describe another, something that should be wrong or just meaningless but is instead extremely right.

    Does anyone know what I mean?

    That's not to say it has to be a contrary comparison to make words adequate. That's just the dramatic case that comes to mind. No, the words just have to be right in some way and then, yes, I do think they can be as expressive as anything, even when describing art.

    Examples would help, so vc, please put your people on this.

    (I thought your blog hiatus ended at least 24 hours ago. Though maybe you were never honoring it, hm. Is this a cry for help?)

  7. Yes, examples would help, but I am all dried up right now. Let me say simply that words are not paintings, and the fact that they are two different orders of experience is cause for endless riches and frustration.
    What I mean is, when you read someone writing about an artist, sometimes they make it come alive for you and other times you wonder if you are looking at the same thing. And that disjunction in itself can be good or bad for one's own viewing. (clumsy words- not "bad," just not stimulating?) Compare Donald Judd's criticism with Harold Rosenberg's. I'd type in a couple sentences if I were more generous.

  8. I knew it I knew it. I knew you were ungenerous at heart.