Sunday, April 16, 2006

so what was it i was shooting my mouth off about ?

Oh yeah, abstract expressionism, or it's more lively and never-dying american freak bastard child "abstractionism." We've seen it now beget another horrible off-spring, "un-intentionalism" which is truly at the heart of what many of us are complaining so miserably about. Particularly in painting, "un-intentionalism" has been the tall mount and steed of the worst painters of the last 30 years. Of course, it is also their strongest defense. How do you know what I intended ? Of course, no one could ever intend anything because that would show some sort of objective bias, and we all know, objective bias is impossible when we live in this little understood world of radical subjective bias.

We understand that Abstract Expression was born from the psychoanalytic meanderings of a few Central Europeans and whisked off to the US where it was given official anti-communist blessing and turned into the cause celebre of that other Manhattan, the historical one that no longer exists. Midway into it's adolesence, it was joined by two other screechey siblings, pop and fluxxus. Pop retained it's English aloofness, Fluxxus wanted too much of the real world, just like Yoko wanted Rock when her fellow-artists all screamed for classical. And so Abstraction was allowed to grow into the megalithic bombastic and horrible in-humane official DOCTRINE of the CAA and the universities and the scramblers looking for cover beneath copies of October magazine. Abstraction's euro cousins returned to fertile matter and have survived without having to watch their world collapsing, as ours is, now. Make no mistake.

Dogeared copies of Greenburg and Friedman later, we've got no excuse for dropping the ball on what Abstract Expressionism was trying to do. Even bolstered by pop, fluxxus and minimalism, we still want to insist that "un-intentionalism" (as I am using to refer to all of the horrible "subjectivists") is the natural end state of things.

I am not advocating a return though, to droopy clocks, and "weird things," dream scapes and fantasy illustrations. I am asking you to look at what you like, and, if any of it is representational, or if there was intention involved in its creation, does it relate to what you think was the broader project of surrealism ?

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