Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Non-declarative Art: Anon's reply

Anon replied to my answer posted on Sunday. I am posting his reply here, and my brief comments.

Hello. It's me again.

Hello, Still Anonymous.

Press Releases are, almost by definition, compact, incomplete and very frequently cliche ridden. They are meant to pique your interest and wet your appetite. They are meant to get you to a show. Not explain the work. In that function the press release was successful. You seem to have been piqued.

I don't see why someone, anyone, would think that cliches would pique the interest and wet [sic] the appetite of potential viewers to get them to an art show. I attended this show not because of the press statement, which I read only after I had viewed the drawings, but because my friend is exhibiting in it.

But then you took it to a whole new level. I feel it was unfortunate that your whole experience viewing the show and the fulcrum of your beef was based on the contradiction you saw in the press release and the work shown. I believe it was kind of unfair. That's what I wanted to address.

No, my beef was with the slapdash drawings. The press statement (which, I repeat, I only read after the viewing) only compounded the beef.

I don't believe what is written about visual art is essential or even necessary to the viewing experience. Period. If you had written on your blog, "It all sucked" and hadn't mentioned press releases etc...then fine. What can you say to that?

I don't believe this line of discussion can really procede any further. It seems we're getting caught on the semantics of generalities and for me, that's boring. I think you should read Drawing Papers, rather than simply the press release, if you choose to critique the philosophy behind the show and offer an in depth analysis. Of course now, it's all too late.

I don't understand what you mean by "the semantics of generalities," and so must assume that I will find it equally hard to understand the Drawing Papers.


Anonymous said...

Come on, "semantics of generalizations", that's just a little poetry for you. I thought YOU would understand.

What I think I meant was, for things to proceed further we'd have to start talking about your definition of what "slap dash" in art practice is. Your ideas about craft, formalism etc. That would turn things away from the exhibit itself and your initial reaction to it.

But now that it's left out there--

Could there be any reason that an artist would do things INTENTIONALLY "slap dash" or carelessly or awkwardly? Are artists interested in "practiced clumsiness"(in Art Papers) just copping out because they don't have technical skill anyway? Is there validity to the approaches of Gunther Forg or Philip Guston or Richard Tuttle? All three of which have been called "slap dash".

In writing and poetry do writers sometimes write an intentionally awkward phrase or butcher grammar?And for what reason? Don't we value certain writers raw, unedited notebooks? Why? Cannot stream of consciousness poetry be rather slap dash in execution?

And this is what I mean. You'll read my questions and come back with...well, I still didn't like the exhibition. And we're not even talking about the work in the show anymore.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Dear Anon,
the aesthetic questions you raise are real and substantial ones, but I have lost interest in discussing them with someone who persistently refuses to give his/her name, and yet demands answers to his/her 40 quiz questions to which s/he thinks s/he already knows the answers.

Rui said...

Let's discuss those questions! :)

(Caveat: i'm no art expert. Just a layperson with friends who are artists.)

'practiced clumsiness' as an aesthetic practice. Hmm. Common sense seems to suggest that it's only possibly to take such a claim seriously if the artist has already proven some level of technical skill as approved by conventional yardsticks. In which case the 'practiced clumsiness' would raise questions about our preconceptions about what constitutes 'skill', 'craft', etc. In the absence of an existing ouevre of 'technically accomplished' work, it'd be too easy to conclude (cynically?) that the artist is just basically, well, hot air.

i'd be interested in what others who think differently have to say about this, cos i think, JeeLeong, that we have fairly similar views about aesthetics and craft. Maybe it's our education (stuffy s'pore, stodgy britain, and in 2 very conservative universities at that), maybe it's our personalities... i don't know.

Hoping to hear more about this.

Rui aka NonAnon