Beauty beckons

Artists hate the word beauty, especially German artists. If you wanted to be really hated in Germany, then you would say, “My work is beautiful.” German artists believe in ugliness and nastiness. I think beauty can be something extremely important in our lives. And it’s not true that this is naive. This is what is…

To require perfection is to invite paralysis

“What I want to paint are the things that have been seen so often that people no lenger notice them …” —Eliot Hodgkin morning walk in the woods   “Insight comes, more often than not, from looking at what’s been on the table all along, in front of everybody, rather than from discovering something new.”…

Regarding Beauty

Beauty has been a recurring theme in these writings of mine – it’s a concept constantly slipping away from any final definition. Andrew Wyeth, “Frostbitten” (1962), watercolor on paper (Private Collection. © Andrew Wyeth) In his book Why Beauty is Key to  Everything Alan Moore writes: I have always been fascinated by beautiful things: architecture, furniture, books.  Beautiful…

A custodian of larger issues (cont.)

“To require perfection is to invite paralysis.  The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly.  Your cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do, away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the…

A custodian of larger issues (cont.)

Some people who make art are driven by inspiration, others by provocation, still others by desperation. Artmaking grants access to worlds that may be dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive, or all of the above. It grants access to worlds you may otherwise never fully engage. It may in fact be the engagement—not the art—that you seek….

A custodian of larger issues

“It is a widely accepted notion that making art is about self-expression. And it is – but that is not necessarily all it is. It may only be a passing feature of our times that validating the sense of who-you-are is held up as the major source of the need to make art. What gets…

A note on compulsive performativity – and how to care (for) more

Thoughts excerpted from Jan Verwoert’s text: I CAN, I CAN’T, WHO CARES (2008) Some have said that we have come to inhabit the post-industrial condition. But what could that mean? After the disappearance of factory work from the lives of most people in the Western world, we have entered into a culture where we do no…

Ars Poetica XII: Art is a question

In my last post I offered a few points from Siri Hustvedt’s truly interesting essay on Louise Bourgeois. One of the things I have been thinking about since, is Hustvedt’s assertion that: A work of art is always part person, that is: a work of art is part-thing-part-person, it is this aliveness – according to…

Ars Poetica XI: A work of art is always part person

from: MY LOUISE BOURGEOIS SIRI HUSTVEDT ON THE COMPLEX, BRILLIANT, CONTRADICTORY ARTIST … we do not treat artworks the way we treat forks or chairs.[…] because it carries the traces of a living consciousness and unconsciousness, and it is invested with that being’s vitality. A work of art is always part person. Therefore the experience…

To make an aesthetic judgment

Further musings on Fear & Anxiety  The other day, while stumbling around in my research on anxiety & fear, I came across Sianne Ngai. Her studies of (& writings on) minor feelings is absolutely great! Her thoughts are very provocative to me as an art critic (that is to me as a person trying to make…