I really wanted to make a hearty post about one of the fabulous essays from the Painting chapter within A Decade of Negative Thinking, however, my wonderful mom and aunt are coming to town and there has just been so much to do to prepare! BUT, I will not leave you high and dry. Here are some super amazing quotes from the essays I've been reading, all of which are so full of content. It's sort of insane how great this collection of essays is, really Mira Schor is incredible. INCREDIBLE.
Some Notes on Women and Abstraction and a Curious Case History: Alice Neel as a Great Abstract Painter
"The excitement of an Alice Neel painting is consistently located as much in the inventiveness and the sense of conscious commitment in each paint stroke and area as it is in the figurative subject. Not only is Neel's portrait of Robert Smithson (1962) redolent of his intensity and intelligence, but many a painter could make and entire career from the richness of abstract painting she deploys in the small area of his cheek alone." pp.113
Like a Veneer
"A comparison of Yuskavage's women to those of her contemporary, John Currin, is instructive. Yuskavage's women, in her early works, are featureless, pink inflated sex-dolls, and, in her later work, bulbous half naked figures waiting indoors for something to happen, trapped and hypnotized by their own bodies. Currin's women are even more perfectly 'pnuematic.' As polished, buffed, rosy, and pumped with soma as any young woman in Brave New World, they present a cheerful silly front: after all, as a heterosexual male, Currin gets to enjoy the favors of these bouncy, smiling, young naked ladies, whereas Yuskavage has to deal with her own body's inadequacy in relation to the Playboy or Penthouse ideal. As much as any other, she is a victim of the cultures obsessive representation of the female body as a zone of fear and pleasure and of a regime of domination by impossible ideals of beauty and sexual appeal." pp.125
"Another type of painting that might be mistaken as modest or, even, and perhaps more significantly, mistaken as abject, has been manifest in recent exhibitions with the most cutting-edge curatorial ambition. In such shows, overall aesthetic position is a calculated demonstration of the loss of belief or the lack of interest in participating in disciplines or intellectual 'isms'... ... The makers of these paintings are not primarily painters. They are in some cases art historians, in others agents-provocateur conceptual artists working in a variety of materials and modalities. To even discuss their work from the position of a commitment to challenging the problematics of painting through a belief in the discipline, the materiality, or visual pleasures of painting would be to fall into the familiar trap set by one of the conceptual premises of the work." pp. 156/7
I mean, I really could sit here and analyze each one of these quotes and talk about what connections I feel they are making to contemporary art, BUT, they just seem so concise and effective in communicating without me. I haven't decided which essay I'm going to write about, but I'd love to write about them all.. maybe I will.. maybe.
My mom, aunt, and I are going to check out the Moma on Friday, which means I'll be seeing that huge Cindy Sherman exhibition among other things.. posts about that as well.