Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What is Art?

One Excuse: Been trying to catch up with the momentum of life recently. work deadlines, art deadlines = dead air blogspace.

One Rant: We need it like a Hole-in-One's head -NYT's Ginia Bellafante and her article on Lisa Hartough. (Um...Has Bellafante ever looked at a Rembrandt? Hartough doesn't paint anything like Rembrandt, and I'm not talking about sepia tones. Mr. Van Rijn doesn't do stiff anal retentive brushstroke realism in flat plastic colors with no sense of dramatic (directional and/or inner) light.) Look at this detail of the hands from The Jewish Bride. Puhlease.

One Quote: [Was lucky enough to find a copy of Fluxist, Robert Filliou's 1970 book "Teaching and Learning as a Performative Art" and have been devouring it. more thoughts on this later.] "Sometime in the late 1960s, Filliou was talking with his friend Billy Kluver, a research scientist at Bell Laboratories. The reason scientists make greater strides in their field than artists do in theirs, Kluver told him, is that scientists ‘don't know what science is.’ (Filliou, 1970: 87). . .The book is in many ways Filliou's answer to Kluver's provocation. ‘It is true’, Filliou says, ‘that artists spend a powerful lot of time and energy trying to convince each other about what is art and what is not. They do not know that they don't know.’ (ibid) For Filliou this idea was more than something to muse about over drinks with his friends. Indeed for him there was something very serious at stake in his playful non-knowledge. ‘Every generation of young people’, he argued, ‘has to fight fascism. For mine, it was the overt fascism of the Nazis and their allies. For theirs, in relative peace time, it is the covert fascism of the square world. Usually this fight is lost, because young people fail to root out the seeds of fascism within themselves.’ (ibid) What he calls ‘relative peace time’ is peaceful only in that the covert fascism he describes now unfolds relatively discretely, and in a relatively bloodless manner."(Virilio and Lotringer, 1997) Who are the fascists today? As easy as it is to point fingers at Bush, art critics, gallerists etc., I/we (as artists or otherwise) should check the mirror once in a while. Does calling yourself art intelligentsia actually entitle you to free/creative thinking?? I'm not so sure. (see how winkelman thinks in "conflict of interest" or fischer6000's response to artpowerlines' "Socialist Art Public") They are trapped in a cycle of artspeak and old thought structures, trying to think outside the box while still living it in. S(h)amefully, so do I, most days.

and I leave you with. . . .
One Anecdote: With all this talk about, around, below and above the topic of 'what is art' on the blogosphere...this comes none too soon:

I ran into a friend recently. I owed him some money but forgot to bring an envelope for it, so I riffled through my bag and found a piece of scrap paper and quickly folded a little paper purse (like I used to make as a kid, at a time in life when I was easily entertained and mystified by the simple action of folding paper), put the money in the pouch and handed it to him later when I saw him.

Aeion: looks at me and says, "What's this?"
Me: "The money I owe you."
He turns it upside down, but the money doesn't fall out. He marvels for a quick second at the perfectly compact, utilitarian package. It even manages to have a happy happenstance abstract pattern on two of its corners (via whatever was on the xerox).
Aeion: turns to me again and says, "No, that's art."
Me: "No, that's not Art." (capital 'A' inflection in voice). It's just a coin purse."
He corrects me,"No, it is art. Art is a way of thinking.

Apparently your normal person at the bus stop knows more about art that the art peoples.

paper purse replica courtesy of NYT Hartough article scrap paper

4 Comments:

Blogger geoffrey said...

my mouth has not closed yet from reading that article.

stunning... As someone who has been already dabbling in painting golf landscapes for rich people for years... It's official, I am selling out.

it was nice hanging with you all. I will invite you to my island in the pacific in a few years.

And good luck with that whole "art world" thing. I'm sure it will come around someday...

6:28 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

Ha. I thought of you actually, with the whole quicksilver thing. You would make a killing. (you paint much much better. But then again, her patrons probably wouldn't appreciate or understand the difference in how you both paint. Paint by numbers golf course, anyone?

8:06 PM  
Blogger Art Powerlines said...

hola!
i noticed that you linked the wrong post. unless its the pc down here in miami. it's not the "art is about people" post, rather, "a socialist art public", that is the one you were referring to i believe...
in an internet cafe at the moment and can't read the entire article and respond at length the way i would like to. will do that as soon as i am back up north.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

righted the wrong. thanks.

5:01 PM  

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