Archives for February 2014

The Hidden Narrative

For whatever reason, I have been thinking a lot about the artists that developed in the first two decades of the 20th century, in the United States. The last strain of realism, but a realism that had already felt the rise of cubism and surrealism, and which held onto its sense of realism in a particular sort of way. One can also look at this regionally to a degree, and perhaps in two generational divisions. But this was the non-corporate realism of a vision influenced by Quakers, and Amish, and by manual labor and farming. And by factories. It was work done outside the "Art Market", largely, too. George Ault is perhaps the most siginificant, but Charles Sheeler certainly, and a generation … [Read more...]


"The breath of God had carried out a planned And sensible withdrawal from this land; The multitude, once unconcerned with doubt, Once neither callous, curious nor devout, Jumped at broad noon, as though some peddler groaned At it in its familiar twang: “My friend, Cut your own throat. Cut your own throat. Now! Now!” September twenty-second, Sir, the bough Cracks with the unpicked apples, and at dawn The small-mouth bass breaks water, gorged with spawn." Robert Lowell After The Surprising Conversions Eric Bennett has an interesting small essay on the origins of post graduate writing programs in the U.S. "The Farfield Foundation was not really a foundation; it was … [Read more...]


"The task would be not to grasp art, but first to grasp what is ungraspable about art" Theodor Adorno "The greater the work of a thinker...all the richer is what remains unthought in that work, that is, what emerges for the first time thanks to it, as not yet been thought" Martin Heidegger “Cryptic” could be a go-to word for critics describing “Mister John,” the quietly impressive sophomore feature from Irish husband-and-wife team Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy, but it’s ultimately the film’s avoidance of mystery that proves so effective and unnerving." Guy Lodge Last posting I was thinking about the increasing tendency to demonize the poor in film and TV. That the blatant … [Read more...]


"Some said, "It is he." Others said, “No, but he is like him." John 9:9 Sarah E. James, writing of Bernd and Hilla Becher's monumental decades long project of photographing industrial buildings, all of them abandoned and all of them presented in serialized sets, creating an industrial typology, has said: "There is no narrative". She suggests the structures are aestheticized and rendered as functionalist sculptures. Now, this is an understandable statement in a sense, because so little importance is placed on what constitutes a narrative, on understanding how narrative works. Micheal Fried has written of the Becher's, too. Fried is always interesting, and in the Bechers he sees an … [Read more...]