Monday, April 17, 2006

the little s

The difficult thing when you get to talking about the end of abstraction, from a political point of view, is that you begin treading into the most sacred of sacred cows. What seems to have become the official doctrine, is not the logical progression from European thinking about art, but a co-opted and sacralized version of it that is reinforced by every externalised, official voice that can be mustered. It wasn't enough to merely progress from the thinking, it was necessary to create an alternative reality where artist's weren't merely working in thought or in image, but were creating a new kind of "humankind." A total break was necessary. Of course the Soviets realized the haphazardness of this project in about 1924. In our time, the paintings aren't critiqued, but the personality is critiqued. The artist is "cool," and manages his career effectively. And the paintings, however insignificant, are secondary to the careerist project. But I will talk a bit more about the abrupt nature of the split between abstract expressionism and "abstractionism" in a subsequent post. Going forward I believe I will use the terms surrealism (small s) and European thinking interchangeably, just to make things more surreal.
In case you thought such things only happen in the art world.

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