Notes on Art and Politics

My review of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts focuses on Ai as a political artist. It is an obvious thing to do – Ai Weiwei is an activist artist. Not an activist or an artist, but both. For me it is important to underline this point because many theorists, and also…

The sound of the language is where it all begins

It’s Monday, it’s the beginning of a new week in pursuit of the gorgeous sound of language. I’ll be starting my day by reading a few pages in Ursula K. Le Guin’s excellent book Steering the Craft This is how it starts: The sound of the language is where it all begins. The test of a sentence…

Theory has nothing to do with it –

In the early 1960s, Agnes Martin’s geometric compositions evolved into what would later be seen as her signature style: the square grid. Referring to these paintings, the critic Lucy Lippard described them as ‘legendary examples of an unrepetitive use of a repetitive medium’. More and more I excluded from my paintings all curved lines, until finally my…

There is no halfway with art

history lesson Agnes Martin’s notes for “On the Perfection Underlying Life” lecture originally given at the ICA on February 14, 1973 on the occasion of the exhibition, “Agnes Martin” Some say she is rather esoteric in her writing, but I’m not sure I agree – just go with the flow and see what happens. In line…

art and “experience”

new ideas for my personal aesthetics – as always; snitched … “Insofar as I was interested in the arts I was interested in the disconnect between my experience of actual artworks and the claims made on their behalf,” Ben Lerner: Leaving the Atocha Station (2011) Descent from the Cross – Detail Mary Magdalene In Leaving the Atocha Station, the…

Existence itself is nothing if not an amazement

I’m reading Ten Windows by Jane Hirshfield. It’s a great book, a book to read slowly, to partake in. And it is a text very relevant to my ongoing investigation in the uses of art – listen to this: Poïesis as making A work of art is not a piece of fruit lifted from a branch:…

enchantment

This post made me want to take a closer look at Rita Felski’s book Uses of Literature (2008). Felski’s intention is to bridge the gap between literary theory and common-sense beliefs about why we read literature. Uses of Literature deals with four key elements of the reading experience: recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock. These four recall, as she…

Art Criticism: “A Term I’ve Always Kind of Disliked”

“…[M]y 50 years of art writing have often been motivated by a desire to escape the art world. I’m … pleased that the award is for art writing and not art criticism, a term I’ve always kind of disliked, since most of what I know about art I learned from artists, and artists from pretty…