ARTICLES & ESSAYS
- Big Art--2014
Progress in art dialog comes with persistence, while not giving in to the temptation to smear others. (See Donald Kuspit's The Dialectic of Decadence.) It comes by absolutely and resolutely insisting on centering art on Content and Form.
- Postmodernism Decays: Other Attractors Awaken. A Grand View Emerges from Irony, Dolefulness, Narrowness [presented aty the SECA/MACAA College Art Conference, 1997]
This presentation first responds briefly to Modernism and Postmodernism. Then it looks at the current state in Art. Next, there's a suggestion of probable future attractors. Finally, it will survey what artists might do, if anything, to affect the progress of Art.
- On Second Thought: The Emperor's Attitude is as Ugly as His Clothes
By denying our human history that desires beauty and form, focusing on words over object, elevating writers to creative artists, and by being anti-esthetic, the museum/gallery/critic art community itself is not real. It’s not that the emperor at the procession’s end has no clothes; it’s just that they are ugly.
- The Call of the Lost Tribe
Although the ideas in his book Visual Studies sometimes overglorify the chaotic, James Elkins’ thoughts are a trumpet in the darkness for the lost tribe of the visual.
- Is a Luminary Possible These Days?
Robert Motherwell lamented that the best art is done in affirmation (as in Classical Greece and the Renaissance), but that modern life is so disgustingly materialistic and conforming that artists had to go negative. On second thought, it’s been over fifty years of thisanti stuff, and enough’s enough.
- Making It
"Follow your dream," someone says. "Get real!" someone else advises. What's an artist to do, to find a path that is both fulfilling and stomach-filling?
- Hockney Looks, Art Itself is Questioned
Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Techniques of the Old Masters took two years of David Hockney’s life. After all that effort, some people got their shorts in a knot! Susan Sontag, for example, decried Hockney’s theory. "If David Hockney's thesis is correct, it would be a bit like finding out that all the great lovers of history have been using Viagra," she said. (Leave it to her to put it in a sexual context.) She seems critical because her opinion of what makes art art is not sacred anymore. So it is with much of the book’s critics. In claiming that artists used optical devices, Hockney destroys for some people the art itself. Well then, exactly what is it that makes art? Silence from the critics. Okay, if not exactly, what is it generally that makes art. Silence still. A strobing rescue beacon has been tossed into the sea of art criticism: rescue standards of what makes art.
- Tyranny on Both Sides of the Barricades--About Today's Art Environment
Enough, already, of the code-knowing conceit that dominates trendsetting art shows and periodicals. That attitude reveals a lack of principle. Instead, artists should attempt a community of objective and democratic principles on their side of the barricade. They should not have to fear both the tyrant on the other side and mini-tyrants within their own camp.
- Gracefulness (The Beeped, The Mad, and the Ugly)
Let’s bring back the Blue Laws, where everything was closed on Sunday. No supermarkets open. No Wal-Mart. No Blockbuster. And while we’re at it, let’s disable all message machines and call-forwarding too. All beeping of pagers would be banned. If we can’t pass such a law, I think there’s a bomb that can emit something called an electromagnetic pulse, knocking out all communications. Maybe we shouldn’t wipe out all communications; phoning in for a pizza is important. But surely, if we can put a man on the moon, we can develop a bomb whose electromagnetic pulse selectively targets message machines, pagers, and beepers without hurting people. With that, we might return to some grace in living and peace of soul.
- The Smell of Decadence; The Look of Dung
This elephant dung thing, this discussion over the Brooklyn Art Museum’s "Sensation" exhibit, won't go away. On second thought there are some questions never answered by the most ardent from both ends of the discussion. One of these questions is practical, the other philosophical and moral.
- Seduced and Abandoned by Serrano
Dare an artist be unsure about Andres Serrano? Our current belief system makes us feel that artistic freedom is being challenged by the attacks on him. Did "Piss Christ" really push the boundaries of making art and reaching people, or did it make us artists seem even more elitist in the eyes of the world.
Articles ["Art and About"]
Published in The Beacher, 2016-2019, http://thebeacher.com