Some scattered reflections on the complex role of color in art including several things that bother me regularly in purportedly theoretical discussions of it. Color is wonderful, and necessary, but it is a happily difficult entity for theory.
It’s difficult to look into the future with any hope. What IS the role of hope in art? To me, it is all important.
Bakhtinian notions which could serve as great inspiration for visual art include his sense of the living fluidity of expression; his concepts of heteroglossia, polyphonic form, and dialogic form; his insight that these may engender the liberation of alternative voices; and his presentation of the carnival as a suggestive metaphor.
This episode's artecdote clarifies the historical terminology for the dominant Postmodernist art movement since circa 1985: 'Neo-Conceptualism.' Neo-Conceptualists themselves generally try to refer to themselves with the earlier term as 'Conceptualists,' but this is a political ploy, an ahistorical part of a powerplay, pretending that they are a part of the movement form which they derive.
This episode, I give my definition of visual metaphor. This is a new area of scholarly interest, and there have been few attempts to clearly describe visual metaphor or trope. This is an important foundational action and idea for the book on visual metaphor and contemporary art I am in the process of writing.
Conceptual Artist Lawrence Weiner is quite fond of formulating statements in which he claims to have dismissed metaphor from his artwork. He is completely wrong. No matter what is claimed, Lawrence Weiner's art, and most Conceptual Art and Neo-Conceptual Art, whether good or bad, is deeply grounded in interlocking base metaphors; metaphors commonly ignored because they are so transparent.
Goya's amazing speech to the newly founded Spanish Art Academy School. He was invited to speak to them as he was well-respected and was interested in helping other artists learn. Yet he had a profound dislike and fear of Academicism. Not only one of the best artists of all history, but was an independent and socially critical thinker, although he was court painter. Academics are scholars, and he and I are not criticizing them or their practice, rather AcademICISM, which is the worship of the Academy, the belief in Rules for Art and Creativity. And that these can be memorized.
The phenomenon of artists copying each other and themselves (not forgeries, copies). Something thoroughly disdained since Modernism, yet an activity that was important before that, for learning, out of admiration, for expanding an audience, for additional income. And some thoughts about the situation now.
New Historicism or alternately Cultural Materialism, and how its ideas are auspicious for visual metaphor, art history and conceptions of context in visual art. Art History consists of multiple histories, discontinuous and contradictory ones. The heretical response to authoritarian demand is important. Works of art express the problems and alienation of our or any time and place, but also frequently offer expressions of fullness that attack that alienation and help shatter the incrustations of belief forced upon us. Art History should discuss both.
Does originality in art even exist? A Matt Ballou listener request. "Make it new!" has certainly become old. Yet, the Postmodernist demand that a lack of originality be heralded as something new is duplicitous. A discussion of originality in art.
Paintings and novels, far from being hidebound, as is often squawked, are quintessentially antithetical: excellent disciplines for new metaphoric thought. They are ideally adversarial. They incorporate, use and criticize. They have achieved a condition of being perpetually "genres undermined." They have been in a permanent state of crisis for a minimum of several hundred years. What more could one ask for as a difficult, challenging and rewarding fray?
Metaphor is the basis of thought, which importantly arises from bodily, cultural and environmental experience. It is embodied in the body, in the world and in the expressions of it, such as visual art. Metaphors we live and create by.
Artists are directly responsible for fashioning their own tropes through the processes of extension, elaboration, composition and/or questioning. They must wrestle with their precursors, who inspired them to be creators in the first place, to do this. Such dialectical struggle, called an 'agon,' is more than simply oedipal. The African spirit Eshu, the trickster patron saint of crossroads, and Jacob, who struggled with God in the Bible, make better metaphoric models than Oedipus.
There is a somewhat frequently-heard accusation that Michelangelo forged ancient Roman sculpture at the start of his career. Here is the truth.
How is history constructed? Who makes history? And what will remain in the future from us and our culture? What is the truth? What is fabrication? Isn’t a well-told tale more exciting than simple data and facts? Facts are extremely important. Not everything goes --- yet all facts and sources of facts must be closely examined and often criticized. (Art) HistorIES.
A short podcast presenting three ideas from Feminist philosophy useful for art and metaphor: pragmatic action over absolutism, the located self, and finding loopholes in hegemonies to allow creative resistance.
A podcast in preparation for discussions of visual metaphor: one aspect of terminology, trope and metaphor.