on media, image poverty, and affect

Marshall McLuhan’s hot and cold media bother me.

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on photography, false promises, and melancholy

Francesca Woodman, House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

“I would argue that the compulsion of the narrative derives its interpretive animation from the real threat of loss,” Michael Ann Holly writes in her book The Melancholy Art; whether as an art historian you are acting the detective solving the mystery of a painting, or the philosopher attempting to articulate an affective response to a work of art, the motivation for the work remains the same: the experience of a loss.

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on richard serra, context and museum-going in 2017

This is a cross-post of a piece of mine recently published in Arts+Culture Texas that tackles an excellent example of the tension between curator and audience. 

 

Richard Serra’s work in print-making may be unknown to the casual art-goer, the artist’s name associated instead with his massive, imposing sculptural work in steel. But as Richard Serra: Prints, on view through April 30 at Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center details, for the last 30 years or so Serra has worked extensively with an array of printmaking processes.

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On museums and technology

Caption: Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925.

“Museums innovate at their own risk,” was the way writer Mike Pepi concluded a recent piece for Art in America on New York’s New Museum’s “New Inc.”, the first “museum-led incubator for creative entrepreneurs.”

I’ve been spending a good deal of time recently thinking about our experience of art in 2016. Not just mine but generally how I imagine people are experiencing art both inside and outside of museums in an age of mediated encounters.

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On the search for a literal art

Caption: Long before Michael Heizer brought “Levitated Mass” to LACMA, he took pictures of massive boulders, above. The photos and “Munich Rotary” are on view. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

A few weeks ago I was reading an essay about Michael Heizer and came across a reference to Frank Stella’s assertion concerning his own work that “what you see is what you see.” The author of the essay seems to leave space for the literalness of Stella, Johns, or Rauschenberg’s art while using Heizer’s photographs, with his manipulation of size and scale, to “explore the ‘truth claims’ of photographic media,” to assert, in fact, photography and film as mediums in which, contrary to what one might think, literalness is more difficult to take for granted.

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Language, the Mind, and the East vs. the West

Are we, in the West, overly consumed with creating validity through language? In other words, by naming something do we legitimize (or at least think we legitimize) something ie., eliminate the possibility of debate? 

I’m overly obsessed with language and the question of how it affects the way our mind functions analytically, so I was intrigued by Perry Link’s recent New York Review of Books blog post pondering the possibility that Western languages’ preference for nouns in contrast to Eastern languages’ preference for verbs, might lead Westerners to think something exists simply because a noun (label) for it exists. 

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