FINAL PART II ( A Decade of Negative Thinking: RECIPE ART )


This essay immediately follows Schor's Trite Tropes, Clichés, or the Persistence of Styles, and appropriately elaborates on similar ideas. Schor first begins by discussing how a contemporary artwork can be recognized by it's description, 

"It was a 12-foot-tall replica of a church, or more accurately the charred beams and gables left standing after a church had been burned. Instead of wood, however, the entire structure was made from salt."

Schor explains the high concept two sentence description as being reviewed because it can be written about efficiently. It is not necessary to see the piece. She discusses an example, Alan Schechner's Buchenwald Coke can, and how her mother didn't see the exhibition it was featured in, but read so much about it, that it occurred to Schor, 

"but the point is that based on one reproduction in the New York Times and several descriptions of it, only two paradigms (in three words) are relevant to the mechanism - Buchenwald + Coke can - and these were enough to make the work memorable, sight unseen. Any work whose description would be longer or more complex is too long and too complex and therefor probably not a good contemporary artwork, because it would not display the economy of content that is the partner of recipe art."
Alan Schechner

Schor continues stating that the description of the work may matter more than the work itself, that sculpture is plagued by the same range of clichés as painting, since much recipe art is object based. She gives a thorough example of  "The Ten Most Popular Art Projects in the 90's", then makes a clear statement of works that are derivative of Surrealism,

"Surrealism continues to be a favored style, evident in the extravagant imaginary creatures populating Matthew Barney's Cremaster series; the new Goth sensibility of David Altmejd's 'bejeweled werewolves'-.."

David Altmejd

Schor gives numerous examples of contemporary artists making work within the surrealist family tree. Schor then switches gears into other traits that recipe art possess.

"Despite the prevalence of formal economy, another characteristic of recipe art is that the premise of the work can seem very recherché, or what the French call "tirer les vers du nez" (to pull worms from the nose, a difficult job).  You need to know a lot to understand the work, or the work may be visually pleasing, and the premise may have validity, but the connection between the two is obscure to the viewer who has not read the accompanying, or precessionary, text." 

This particular quote by Schor resonated with me because this trait of an artwork has been one that has constantly baffled me. An artist makes a work that is near completely inaccessible, or requires so much work that is cannot be understood, yet it is constructed in such a visually trendy way that you're left pulling at strings. Works that fall within this category never fail to make me feel as if the artist has little to no interest in their audience whatsoever, on top of that, they seem only interested in making their work obscure and likeable enough to elicit commercial interest.

"If the general rule of recipe art is that it must take physical form in order to participate in the market but also be formulated for quick verbal consumption for marketing purposes,"

A rule of thumb to successfully market. It's not that I do not believe artists should have market success for the work that they are making, but I do believe that market success should not be the primary intention when constructing the work, and should not be a part of the original intention behind a works construction. Schor states that most teachers work hard to remain responsive and responsible to new movements, but all teachers may not be able to compensate for other gaps in contemporary aesthetic education and market conditions. This unfortunately makes graduate art students susceptible to market pressure. Schor gives examples of how schools are supporting notions of self promotion early in an artists career, and rumors about teacher's contracts being renewed by how successfully they are able to network for their students careers. She goes on, 

"Then the art world grabs the graduate school product most likely to rely entirely on the clever recycling or currently appropriate, obsolescent styles."

Schor argues the point that the structure of this system of legacy and continuity become so commodified and trivialized that the entire system seems to be going in circles. She returns to Chuck Close's comments regarding working through other people's work, 

"And we all knew it was student work, it could not be confused with mature work, and nobody thought twice about it.  You could not leave graduate school and take the paintings you did at graduate school and go to New York and get a show."

I think this point is one that many young artists fail the realize. While the work you make in school is crucial to your artistic development, it needs to be recognized as exactly that, a single part of your art practice that will develop and grow, something that needs to be worked through. Through out this portion of the essay it feels as thought Schor is stressing the need to consider the longevity of ones ideas, and the importance of seeing the bigger picture of ones own art production,

"...freezing into formulaic product what might in the past have been just a stage in the movement toward more-individualized work.  Market success makes one stubbornly resistant to change. And who am I to argue with success? Or, put differently, the young artist can think to himself, who is she to argue with my success? The artists who have learned to deploy the most current tropes are likely to be showing their work and even selling it, and it is hard to critique artists at such (usually fleeting) moments in their career."

Schor makes a clear point here, how are these artists supposed to be self critical when their work is being received so successfully and they're making money. Haters gonna hate. But Schor's sentiment lies deeper than criticizing an artist's early success. Work that is more interesting, and more successful in moving the language of art forward is being denied recognition because the work cannot be turned so easily into a commodity. 

"they undermine the very real, formal, and conceptual interest of so much other work that is successful, that addresses major issues of our time - from ecology to technology to war- within a substantial formal investigation; and they promote within the world of high culture the values of late free-market capitalism"

Because that's what every artist wants to see, art that supports capitalism. I mean, there are no problems with this in the U.S. right? None at all. Schor talks about how easy capitalism is for young artists to digest,

"In fact you don't have to force capitalism down the throats of young artists who have been bred into an unquestioning acceptance of its rules and recipes, even if they will in most cases ultimately be among its many victims." 

Schor breaks this down, explains, supports. One of her final statements becomes about authenticity and gesture. 

"It is a strangely complex paradox: self-expression and authenticity form the bedrock of the rhetoric of art practice, yet the critique of authenticity and originality has been so effective (even when the artist is uneducated to theory), and simulation, conventionalized commodification, and sampling are so present in everyday existence, that the hardest challenge for an artist today is to make an authentic mark that represents personal or formal investigation."

There is so much to say about this final quote that it's difficult to even know where to begin.  We critique originality and authenticity in favor of recipe works of art that fail to even understand what a real gesture should embody. For me, gesture isn't just a painterly mark, its an action with physical evidence that speaks not only to the content of the work and it's respective place within art history, but also to the culture at large.  I wholeheartedly agree with Schor that a gesture is an authentic and sincere mark, that it is most challenging to accomplish, but communicates everything about the personal and formal investigation that artist is having. If young artists would be more concerned with achieving this, instead of early market success and fame, the language and place of art would be in a much better place.

If man is 5, then the devil is 6, and god is 7.


American Psycho/American Psycho/24 Hour Psycho

So Deborah read American Psycho, and then I read it, because as much as I love horror movies, I've never quite red a book that was horror. It was a great book, but eventually pretty exhausting. It had a ton of talking about labels,

"Hamlin is wearing a suit by Lubiam, a great-looking striped spread-collar cotton shirt from Burberry, a silk tie by Resikeio and a belt from Ralph Lauren. Reeves is wearing a six-button double-breasted suit by Christian Dior, a cotton shirt, a patterned silk tie by Claiborne, perforated captoe leather lace-ups by Allen-Edmonds, a cotton handkerchief in his pocket, probably from Brooks Brothers; sunglasses by Lafont Paris lie on a napkin by his drink and a fairly nice attaché case from T. Anthony rests on an empty chair by our table. I'm wearing a twobutton single-breasted chalk-striped wool-flannel suit, a multicolored candy-striped cotton shirt and a silk pocket square, all by Patrick Aubert, a polka-dot silk tie by Bill Blass and clear prescription eyeglasses with frames by Lafont Paris."

Some pretty grotesque descriptions of murders that you just didn't want to read through after a while. Don't get me wrong, the build up to the first murder was excellent, and when it happened you were happy to finally see Patrick act upon his insane desires. 

"I've sprayed Mace into her eyes, mouth, into her nostrils, I place a camel-hair coat from Ralph Lauren over her head, which drowns out the screams, sort of. I keep shooting nails into her hands until they're both covered - nails bunched together, twisted over each other in places, making it impossible for her to try and sit up."

I mean, without giving too much away, Patrick really just came off as a petty wealthy person who cared more about his business cards than the well being of humanity. Anyway, this was my favorite part, and to me, made the whole book worth it, 

"I even dragged a beached jellyfish back to the house and microwaved it early one morning, predawn, while Evelynslept, and what I didn't eat of it I fed to the chow."

This made him seem the most insane to me, eating a jellyfish? That image is too good. After reading Deborah and I watched the movie! Which was full of Christian Bale looking good, but you know, he is supposed to look great.

The movie was dated, which was fine, and left out some of the more fun parts of the book (like the jellyfish). It wasn't as bloody as I would have hoped, and nearly all the murders that they did take from the book were slightly different (to be expected) but overall fun to watch because the dialogue was good and the casting was even better.  Anyway, all of this American Psycho Business really made me think of this article I read about 24 Hour Psycho, Douglas Gordon's piece where he took Hitchcock's Psycho and slowed it down to 2 frames per second, making it last 24 hours. 

Here is a little clip of that. I guess it was at MoMA in NY about 5 years ago, bummer! I haven't seen it in person but I imagine my response would be similar to that of the person who uploaded this video, "Douglas Gordon rocks my world yo." Yes, and now I just want to view this piece somewhere.  Gordon says about the work, 

"24 Hour Psycho, as I see it, is not simply a work of appropriation. It is more like an act of affiliation... it wasn't a straightforward case of abduction. The original work is a masterpiece in its own right, and I've always loved to watch it. [...] I wanted to maintain the authorship of Hitchcock so that when an audience would see my 24 Hour Psycho they would think much more about Hitchcock and much less, or not at all, about me..."

Well that's nice of him, I always appreciate when artists make it less about them and more about the work. (How it should be?) He also says,

"The exhibition begins with 24 Hour Psycho (1993), a slowed-down version of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho. A different take on a familiar classic, it introduces many of the important themes in Gordon's work: recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light."

So many themes going on in this work! I'd even suggest that many of those themes are present in American Psycho.  Repetition definitely, nearly every act that happens in that novel after a while feels repetitive. Complicity of the characters who seem completely uninterested in any affairs that don't involve how others perceive their wealth.  

Thinking about time and memory never fails to make me at least a little sentimental. I've been in NY for 9 months. 


The Guggenheim

The other day I was thinking, I've been in New York for about 9 months, and I haven't been to the Guggenheim yet. So I decided to go.
Of course I decided this when there was no main exhibition, which I learned makes the museum half price. It was  neat to see them packing and taking down all of John Chamberlain's huge sculptures.  The Guggenheim, as round as ever. 
The lack of a main exhibition takes the pressure off of trying to see everything. You have, everything else to see, without a main distraction.  So I got cozy watching films from their Being Singular Plural Exhibition. Of course there was no photography, but I found some stills from the internet.
This film by Desire Machine Collective was very calming but intense at the same time. The paragraph of information about the collective said their intention was about our, "complicated relationship with violence and societal control that transforms abstract sensory images into stand ins for repressed fantasies and fear." HMM.
Then I saw some amazing photos by Francesca Woodman. Her name decal was done in this really great font. I thought Fisk would have liked it had he been there. Then I spent some time walking in circles looking at old pals: Van Gogh, Manet, Gauguin, Braque, Cezanne, Pissarro, Rosseau, Suerat, Picasso and Toulous-Latrec.
Pretty sure this was my favorite artwork of the day. Look at that lobster, he's about to kill that cat. So good.  Picasso<3


FINAL: A Decade of Negative Thinking (part 1)

If there is any chapter in this book you should read, it must be this one. If I could just quote the entire final section, or record it so you could play it and listen to it out loud, I would, I liked it that much. Trite Tropes had two essays I fell in love with. This is the first.  Sculptures=Rachel Harrison.

Trite Tropes, Cliches, or the Persistence of Styles

So I'll just start by saying that this will be a long post because I just can't leave anything out.  Schor begins by talking about the usage of old styles, the recycling of styles and how styles like minimalism can covertly be in or out of fashion during any particular year. She talks about the patterns that are recognized on slide juries, "One hopes for someone who has something to say and who is at the same time engaged with the language of form. But this is the rarest thing." She explains that a range of styles from the last hundred years can be easily recognized by shorthand descriptions. Schor admits that jurors look for the level of newness of the chosen style.
 "Evidence of newer influence, or of recycling the correct, hip, sufficiently past style, as suggested by the October discussion on obsolescence, in the end looks better than sincere, though deadened rehearsals of older styles, even when one despises facility or pandering to market trends. Revealing the influence of Heilmann or Jenny Saville, Matthew Ritchie or Matthew Barney, Banks Violette or Rachel Harrison, at least marks the artist as being engaged with current ideas and contemporary culture."
This quote was especially interesting to me because it's one that recognizes imitation. If your work has evidence of influence from the correct hip artists, then at the very least you are aware of what contemporary art is.  Schor continues by going through a master list of descriptive words a particular gallery uses to categorize artists, and how, the more words you can attach to your art, the better recognized you may or may not be.  Schor moves on to talk about the importance of working through other people's art. 
"Certainly working through influences represents an established stage of an artist's development, and the ability to revitalize past tropes is an important aspect of a successful work.  In discussing his generation's relationship to abstract expressionism, for example, Chuck Close writes, 'Art students unabashedly worked through other people's work.  I mean it was not with any sense of irony, it was not 'appropriation'. We knew we were students and that was the way to learn-"
Schor begins this quote by talking about the importance of successfully using past tropes, that influence is incredibly important aspect of your work.  Schor then lets Close make her point that working through other people's work was always with the intention of learning. Working through other people's work was a process of learning by doing.  Then Schor makes a necessary dig at a lot painting,
"Stylized Picasso-esque figuration; street scenes that make John Sloan look postmodern; tenth generation Edward Hopper. And also gloomy academic realism, bored nudes-paintings where everything looks bored, even sneakers, lamps, apples, pears; compositions that call attention to nothing; representational paintings based on snapshot photography but where the nature of photography is not the subject of the work, and the photographic sourcing is masked in a clumsily deployed rhetoric of observation-based painterliness.  Desperate boredom- not the cool ennui that propels useful banal, emotionally uninflected works of artists who occupy and influence the high end of the spectrum or art production. Just boring boredom."
Clearly Schor is over it. Schor describes so much painting in this paragraph, most of which I imagine falls within a category of art school. Perhaps having a negative opinion of so much art could be a bad thing, but I think it's appropriate.  If your paintings fall into this category, reconsidering your strategy is a good thing. Schor then goes on the talk about how strange it is that artists are trying to say something meaningful, yet the work is absent of individuality and all end up looking the same.  She goes on about how strange it is that young artists will admire the popular artists of the time without considering who those artists were influenced by.  She goes on about styles, 
"Again, what is so notable in the persistence of styles is the generic quality of such tropes, the homogenization of quirkiness, so that the common phenomenon of throwing in extra symbolism in order to be creepier and more expressive than the next guy seems like a kind of anxiety that also reads as false speech, a sense of the unimaginative hidden behind the excessively imaginative."
Artists try so hard to be unique and different and yet still only emulate the same tropes as one another, what an oxymoron. Schor continues, saying that stylized styles are easier to commodify and are therefor looked at less critically.  Schor argues that since these issues are hardly raised, young artists don't get the idea there might be something there to think about, to imitate consciously and for cause, or possibly not to imitate. What a thought! Not imitating an artist for the sake of doing so, but thinking about the conceptual foundations of your work and imitating artists that you sincerely believe you can learn from. Big difference here, and a strategy that I personally have not seen enough artists do. Artists even imitating the imitator of bad art, vicious bad art cycles. Okay, so then Schor brings it home, 
"Again, I'm merely emphasizing the need for both conscious awareness on the part of the artist of the earlier and vanguard work in a chose genre, and some ability and willingness to analyze such styles critically. ...Everything has been absorbed but not necessarily understood.  People speak languages without knowledge of their etymologies.  Because artists are largely unconscious of the hybrid traditions they are working with, their work suffers.  It lacks the critical address of the conventions of such traditions that would be the signal feature of a work that would move the language of art forward."
 I mean, cheese and rice. Would it really kill artists to actually be invested in moving the language of art forward?  I once was a part of a discussion where it was agreed that artists put into the world whatever they feel the world needs, so why do so many artists feel that world needs more works that fails to indicate an understanding of the previous style being imitated? Why would artists feel the need to make work that lacks the ability to move art forward? Why would artists want their art to look exactly like many hip contemporary artist's work, only without the sincerity and honesty with oneself about such efforts? It's kind of gross. Schor really brought this chapter to an excellent end with her points about the need for conscious awareness on the part of the artist. Don't be lazy. Please.

OMG, the next chapter is just as great.  NEXT TIME. 


Mike Kelley

OK, OK more sharing from ArtForum because well, there are interesting things that were said, and I like to pass on the interesting ideas. Interesting is most subjective, but whatever. Yes. Whatever. Mike Kelley, was an incredible artist, and the 6 artists who had things to say about him in May's Issue, had some really unique things to say about him. So, a small post about the late and great: Mike Kelley.

Michael Smith

A joke that Mike Kelley told on many an occasion:
So, this drunk is sitting on a bus.  A brunette gets on and pays her fare, and as she's about to head to her seat the bus driver turns to her and says, "Tickle your ass with a feather?"
"WHAT?!" cries the young woman.
"I said, typical Michigan weather," replies the driver.
"Oh," says the brunette. "Yes it is."
Ten minutes later, a blonde gets on, and as she's paying her fare, the bus driver turns, smiles, and says, "Tickle your ass with a feather?"
"Pardon me?!"
"I said, typical Michigan weather."
At this point, the drunk is beside himself with laughter. He leans toward the driver and says in a loud, slurring voice, "That's hilarious, I gotta try that!" To which the bus driver responds, "Be my guest."
Ten minutes later, a redhead gets on and pays her fare, and as she passes the drunk, he screams at her, "SHOVE A FEATHER UP YOUR ASS!" The woman turns around and says, "What did you say?!" To which the drunk replies, "LOOKS LIKE FUCKING RAIN!"

Tony Oursler

"Mike understood that history is possessed by those who write it, and he was determined to harness that power. All artists drag their pasts into the future, consciously or not, but Mike's brilliance lay in his ability to amplify the strong ideas so they resonated, shedding new light on the past and suggesting unexpected paths forward."

 Paul McCarthy

"...Mike said Mike said Mike said it was so blah Mike said it was so blah where did you call where did you call where did you call why why what can go what the P what can the matter what's the matter what can the matter and so black for later this day underneath your mother's house it's so black for later stand underneath your mother's for layers down underneath your mother's house it's so blah where's my mother where's my where's where's the microphone where is my phone where's my where's my mother where's my phone where is my mother where's my phone where is my father my father my mother where's my mother awake later at night after Mike's death"

 Kim Gordon

"Mike was a ceaseless worker, but he harbored dreams of pleasure that he was perhaps never able to attain.  His house turned into his studio, which he jokingly called his pleasure palace. I have so many memories of Mike Laughing, deep and loud and long; his laugh would make his whole body shake like a tunnel, a conduit.  The expressions, 'laugh yourself silly' and 'laugh yourself senseless' would, for Mike, mean 'laugh yourself ecstatic,' till you ached and tears streamed down your face."

Of course there is more about Kelley here --> http://www.mikekelley.com/ And of course we should do all we can to keep Kelley in our minds as we continue our art making process. Of course, a horse of course!!


A Decade of Negative Thinking: OFF THE GRID

The title of this book is called, "A Decade of Negative Thinking" with the subtitle "Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life" and here is the chapter that featured an experience that would leave its horrifying mark on that which we call daily life. This chapter was about 9/11, and it occurred to me as I read, that while this event would never leave my memory, I had never read anything about that horrific day in New York City.  This is probably a sin to admit considering that as I type I am in Manhattan. This realization prompted a lengthy discussion between Fisk and I that ended in our mutual understanding that however we fret over our daily existence, the world will never fail to remind us that there are real and scary events that are never explained and can never be rationalized. Here are some quotes that I found most provoking. 

"I heard two sounds, some kind of muffled roar and then a thudding crash.  This neighborhood is incredibly noisy, so it could have been a truck crashing into something on Canal, but the noise was notable enough that it crossed my mind that it might be a building collapse in the area.  After the interval of time it took for that image to cross my mind, within less than a minute of the sound, an announcer on WNYC yelled that there had been an explosion at the World Trade Center.  I rushed into my clothes, grabbed my keys and my camera, ran out the door, and got to the corner of Lispenard and Church by about 8:57am.  This is the corner from which the video of the first plane crashing into one the buildings, which I would call the "money shot," was filmed.  In this brief clip you may notice firemen and wonder what they are doing there." 

"The site is said to be indescribably enormous and terrible, the TV miniaturizes it.  The relief work is incredible-the people who run New York turn out to know what they are doing.  People in the neighborhood also speak of girders covered with blood and workers vomiting on the site.  One artist went to his roof after the first plane crashed and found it covered in blood, fragmented flesh, debris, and paper.  I repeat these things not to exploit their horror, but because this repetition is part of what it means to be a New Yorker now.  We always have to be experts, so now we are experts of the details of horror.  What seems ghoulish relish is really one of the myriad ways in which we are trying to get a grip on understanding what happened."

"I did not see my students for more than a week.  I wondered what I would say to them about the repercussions of this event on artmaking, because that is what we do and will go on doing.  Perhaps irony will not look like such an easy option now.  What we saw "with out own eyes" looked like a movie; we couldn't believe what we saw, and we don't believe anything we didn't see with our own eyes, so what is the nature of the image?"

" A LAST THOUGHT ... FOR THE MOMENT: Yesterday, walking in  the Village, just as I was wondering if many people had already forgotten, three young people passed by, a guy in a flashy robin's-egg-blue suit carrying a boom box, a guy with a film camera, and a girl following along.  Suddenly the guy in the blue suit put the box down and broke out into a perfect Mick Jagger imitation, complete with jerky dance movements, on the lawn in front of the Picasso sculpture at the NYU house on LaGuardia Place!  The annual phenomenon of NYU film students fanning out in the Village to work on their spring projects!  The divine silliness of the moment served to reinforce my suspicion that for many people the Titanic-like disaster was just a blip on the screen of their youth, and that only those already immersed in loss in their own lives and histories would keep this terrible memory in their hearts.  And perhaps that inexorably forgetful energy of youth is the truly necessary movement forward to joy."

The suddenness of the crash and collapse, the graphic reality of death, the ramifications on art practice, and the forgetful joy of youth. Each of these paragraphs served a heaping dose of thought that required much attention in order to facilitate a proper digestion. I can't summarize how 9/11 affected my life and I can't explain how this chapter affected my life either, but I can say that I am happy to have read this chapter, feeling that it has brought some sort of appropriate thoughts/feelings about an event that deserves a thorough investigation, one that inspires a true understanding of it's consequences. Mira Schor, Mira Schor, Mira Schor. 



My life needs them, and I've been in the studio for the last 2 days. I was able to spend some serious time getting everything all set for painting. Three new paintings ready to get going.

I've finished reading A Decade of Negative Thinking, and American Psycho, posts about both, coming soon. Now to start Design and Art OR Looking at the overlooked? Perhaps both! We'll see.


A Decade of Negative Thinking: Modest Painting

"Enormous size certainly intends to call attention to itself, but modest paintings are not necessarily small and small paintings are not necessarily modest."

One of my favorite things about Mira Schor's writing style is her ability to get right to the point and end the essay when her point has been proven many times over. There is a no muss no fuss sense about her style, even when you believe she is just telling a story, her personal anecdotes becomes weighty supportive facts.
Schor begins by putting forth the notion of modest painting, because the truly modest painting will never put itself forward.  She most clearly illustrates this definition,
"The category 'modest' also has an emotional quotient: a character of expressive reserve even if the expressiveness is lyrical rather than stentorian.  However, it must be understood that modesty is not synonymous with lack of rigor or ambition for painting.  In fact, modesty may emerge from an artist's emphasis on rigor and ambition for painting itself rather than for his or her career. The modest painter may submit the painting to a ruthless criticality that precludes virtuosity for its own sake and, in so doing, risks getting less attention than the painter with fewer scruples about the meaning and integrity of each stroke."  
Schor emphasizes that modesty in painting can be born of effort and desire to create a good painting. It's the attitude of the artist that is different, prioritizing effort towards the work itself and the artist taking less or no interest in self promotion. I have always been a fan of prioritizing the work ahead of unnecessary self congratulating, so I love Schor's sentiment here. 
Schor continues on, references the small history of modest painting, how a small painting can sometimes require more attention, and mostly how looking for modest painting can be a frustrating act of just missing the work entirely. Comparing it to slowing down to see unlit driveways when you're speeding down a busy highway. She then enters into a personal example, talking about her father's very modest style of painting in relation to various popular styles of the time. She talks about Jim Forsberg's relaxed deployment of abstract expressionism's rules, describing his painting and others, 
"they are often found outside of the primary art market, in the transfer of artworks among artist friends in the form of gifts, trades, and benefit auctions.  They are the chips of artistic communication of shared aesthetics and, often, shared fun." 
Never failing to make important points, Schor discusses how these modest paintings live a different life than those that fall into the major art market. These modest paintings reflect an artistic community of shared aesthetics and low and behold, fun.  Then she uses two primary examples to emphasize her point, 
"Myron Stout and Jack Tworkov, who, with equally rigorous ambition for painting, produced very different types of work that nevertheless share characteristics of the modest."

Jack Tworkov

"...both were deeply and similarly committed to a disciplined private studio practice of abstract painting as both a visually intuitive and a rigorously intellectual domain."
"Their choices suggest that producers of modest painting have a troubled relation to hubris.  They know what it is, they may even wish they had it, but they don't, because it wouldn't be right.  Or, perhaps it is precisely their sense of justness and their search for truth in painting that is their form of hubris."
 Jack Tworkov 

Schor utilizes abstract expressionism, a period of painting in which ego seemed to set the bar for how self aggrandizing artists were allowed to be and become, to highlight the honesty of two truly modest painters. Before discussing the mechanics, structure, and over all academic rigor of these two painters, she makes an apt comparison, 

Myron Stout

"Although Tworkov and Stout were modernists who in no way participated in the developing culture of the simulacrum, their work touches on the post modern ideal of the death of the author, because in some sense they both placed the text--the painting--above the ego of the author.  Tworkov writes: 'The most creative moments in the painting of a picture occur when the 'I' that's painting and the 'I' that's watching merge into mutual obliteration--when you can say no 'I' whatever exists.  It's a toss-up whether one can call that the purest consciousness or the most complete absence of consciousness. Certainly what disappears is 'self' consciousness. Whatever then happens can perhaps be described as the picture taking over as if the painter had no will.'" 

Myron Stout 

This moment pretty much summed it up for me. I can't really emphasize enough how great of a moment this could be, for a work to really abandon it's creator in a way that makes the work even stronger. This is one of my favorite notions about art, one that crosses over to all genre's really. One that demands the work communicate without agenda of creating popularity for the artist. Modesty is so attractive, there isn't much more to say than that.


FAMOUS PAINTING: James Rosenquist & Others @MoMA.

So yes, I went to see the big Cindy Sherman exhibition at MoMA (no photos allowed) and to my surprise F-111 was on display! Lucky me. James Rosenquist is outstanding and one of my favorite painters, so to see such a seminal work of his was awesome. I took photos for you, that's right, just for you.

 A great aspect about the display of this painting was the addition of resource materials. It can be nice to see an artist go from resource to work of art, especially when the translation is so literal. Of course there was a lot of text explaining the relevancy of such a huge painting. 
"Through its expansive network of colliding visual motifs, unfolding across twenty-three panels, F-111 questions what the artist has described as 'the collusion between the Vietnam death machine, consumerism, the media, and advertising.' Its jumps of scale, surprising juxtapositions of fragments of imagery, and vivid palette exemplify Rosenquist's singular contribution to Pop art in the United States." 
Holler.  1964, of course, but nothing beats seeing works like these in the flesh. So since I was at MoMa I thought, okay, let's check out some other paintings too...
 Edward Ruscha, OOF, 1962, Oil on canvas.

 Alex Katz, Upside Down Ada, 1965, Oil on canvas.

Whoa! AND Felix Gonzalez-Torres! "Untitled" (Placebo) 1991. Security guards were helpful in telling us that we could take the candy. I took a few that I ate through out the day, a little lingering lemon taste.  Anyway, Cindy Sherman's photos were pretty incredible. I came to the conclusion that everyone and no one knows what Cindy Sherman really looks like, unless you've seen the Art21 about her.