“The moral principle of photographic portraiture is respect for the identity of the subject. Such respect does not come naturally in a medium that can without effort produce countless unrelated likenesses of the same object. Light, of which photographs are made, can endow people and scenes with emotional associations that are completely irrelevant to them – a half-lighted face transforms every girl reading into a pensive madonna. To achieve truth, the photographer needs to curtail his resources, which means he must make photography more difficult.”

Harold Rosenberg, from his essay Introduction to Avedon’s “Portraits,” 1976

From Picasso Gorky learned: above all, keep at it. If you have no ideas, draw the model. If you have no model, copy reproductions. If you are depressed, draw; if you get drunk, go home and start a picture. If there is shooting outside the window, go on drawing. For the artist, there is only one real situation, and only one salvation: art.
—  “Arshile Gorky:  The Man, The Time, The Idea”, by Harold Rosenberg, 1962

En lugar de utilizar caballete y pinceles, colocaba en el suelo el lienzo y sobre él vertía o dejaba gotear la pintura, que manipulaba después con palos u otras herramientas, e incluso a veces le daba una gran consistencia mediante la adición de arena e incluso fragmentos de vidrio.

Gracias al apoyo de algunos críticos como Harold Rosenberg, su nombre, asociado a las obras realizadas con la técnica del dripping, se convirtió en uno de los más significativos del expresionismo abstracto y de la action painting, tendencia de la que, con De Kooning, es el representante más típico y destacado. Fue además uno de los primeros artistas en eliminar de sus obras el concepto de composición y en mezclar signos caligráficos con los trazos pictóricos.

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Eyes in the Heat

The basis of mass culture in all its forms is an experience recognized as common to many people… The more exactly he grasps, whether by instinct or through study, the existing elements of sameness in people, the more successful is the mass-culture maker. Indeed, so deeply is he committed to the concept that men are alike that he may even fancy that there exists a kind of human dead center in which everyone is identical with everyone else, and that if he can hit that psychic bull’s eye he can make all of mankind twitch at once.
—  Harold Rosenberg, The Herd of Independent Minds (1948)

Late October 1947

Possibilities 1: An Occasional Review is published as the fourth volume in the Problems of Contemporary Art series. Conceived by Motherwell and Harold Rosenberg, Possibilities 1 has four editors, each overseeing a different discipline: Motherwell, art; Rosenberg, literature; John Cage, music; and Pierre Chareau, architecture.

Motherwell and Rosenberg write in their introduction: “This is a magazine of artists and writers who ‘practice’ in their work their own experience without seeking to transcend it in academic, group or political formula…. If one is to continue to paint or write as the political trap seems to close upon him he must perhaps have the extremest faith in sheer possibility.” 

View the full Motherwell Chronology.

[ImagePossibilities 1: An Occasional Review (winter 1947–48).]

the Mona Lisa Without a Mustache, Art in the Media Age

8 pages, saddle-stitch, full color 
8.5 x 11 inches 
Published by Girls and Beuys Club // Aimee Lusty, 2009.

Visual interpretation/ translation of Harold Rosenberg’s 1976 essay “the Mona Lisa Without a Mustache, Art in the Media Age,” compiled from google image searching each individual word. This essay follows the descent of fine art into popular culture and its consequent transformation/deformation, as a direct result of the ease of mechanical reproduction. This work intends to “illustrate” Rosenberg’s thoughts on mass production and popular culture by using a contemporary version of the process he is describing.

- almost sold out of the second printing of this! $4 on Finders Creepers.

To be Modern Art a work need not be either modern nor art ; it need not even be a work. A three-thousand yeur-old mask from the South Pacific qualifies as Modern and a piece of wood found on a beach becomes Art.
—  Harold Rosenberg, cité par Thierry de Duve, in Au nom de l'art, Les éditions de minuit, Paris, 1989, p. 107.