“Kenneth Noland’s paintings were based on the simplest patterns, target, chevron and stripe. In the best of his target paintings, like Song, he could set a splashy grey rim whirling around concentric circles of red, black and blue with an airy energy that few American painters could equal. Like gigantic watercolours his targets and chevrons bloom and pulsate with light; they offer a pure, uncluttered hedonism to the eye.”
The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.
And he was a pure critic: both his memoirs and his essays on cities came most alive when he was laying into someone, or pouring praise on something, explaining why one fountain in Rome is more beautiful than another, or why someone he met in the course of life was not beautiful at all. The critics’ work was his work—not disclosing, but describing, fixing, defending, denouncing.
Adam Gopnik remembers the art critic Robert Hughes, who died this week. Click-through to continue reading: http://nyr.kr/S0ZI5d
Tatlin […] regarded the still-life (which Picasso’s sculptures generally were) as a genre tainted by bourgeois conventions. Still-life, after all, was the chief image of private property in Western art. To make ‘socialist’ art, one must stop depicting ownable things: in short, go abstract. (Tatlin would have considered today’s art market nothing less than an atrocity.)
Like the Brontës and Victorian literature? Summer reading recommendations:
Originally given to me by my Brontë professor. Thanks!
- If you like stories with sinister villains, you may like Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, which also features clever disguises, ladies in distress, and bad sewer systems.
- If you like stories with creepy children, you may like Robert Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica, which also features wild storms, incompetent pirates, and a stabbing.
- If you like stories with lots of walking, you may like Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which also features paganism, illegitimate pregnancy, and Stonehenge.
- If you like stories with strong female characters, you may like Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, which also features estranged fathers, secret affairs, and an oppressive stepmother.
- If you like stories portraying Victorian psychology and its impact on women, you may like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, which also features a proudly plain heroine, mysterious doubles, and an eccentric Count who wears white mice in his clothes.
- If you like stories with mysterious doubles, you may like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae, which also features mental derangement, sibling rivalry, and pirates.
- If you like stories portraying gothic entrapment, you may like Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas, which also features religious cultists, a one-legged villain and an oppressive uncle who takes a great deal of opium.
- If you like stories with opium trips, you may like Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone, which also features a stolen Indian diamond, multiple narrators, a detective story, and quicksand.
- If you like stories of women in oppressive foreign locales, you may like George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which also features a sickly husband, a dashing doctor, and scheming relatives.
’…the beautifully composed The Wake of the Ferry. Black stanchions and a tilted line of roof frame the cold blue evening sea from the stern of the Staten Island Ferry, as the blue in Whistler’s Thames was framed by Battersea Bridge. Daringly, Sloan counterposed the dark mass of the lone woman gazing astern against an open, swiftly brushed diamond pattern of the safety rail running out to the left, giving both balance and a sense of exposure: you see the wet light on the steel deck and feel the cold.’