Mistakes? Who, me? I suspect a lot of what I have written is considered mistaken by many. And if I re-read my hundreds of essays and 25 books, I’d certainly find some I no longer agree with. But writing about art is a decidedly subjective endeavor. I’m not an art critic, an adversary of artists. I’m an advocate for the artists who have taught me all that I know about art. I’ve never read something by one of my peers and thought s/he’s mistaken! although I have often disagreed. Whose mistake is that? It’s not the writer’s. We write about what we like, and what we dislike (though after a few years I decided not to waste my time on art I didn’t like and save my attacks for society). Readers can figure out if they are on our wavelength or not and then they can agree with us or not.
After almost six decades of art and other writing, I know that I have sometimes let prejudice overwhelm esthetics. For instance, I wasn’t enthusiastic about Anthony Caro’s work. (It was the one show I missed reviewing for Art International’s New York Letter when I gave birth to my son in 1964.) Years later I looked at his sculpture and decided he was pretty damn good. My dislike of Greenberg and his acolytes had influenced me. (It was mutual; a Greenbergian painter once told me to my face that everything I wrote was “beneath contempt.”)
There is only one thing I can recall (blame old age) that I now know was an absolutely stupid mistake. I don’t remember the exact date, but around 1969 I called Charles Manson a performance artist, in an attempt to be way cooler than I ever was. I’m not even sure (can’t find the original) that I even called Manson a BAD performance artist. What on earth was I thinking? Well, it was a time when I was (I still am) heavy into breaking down the barriers between art and life. Performance art itself made strides in the intervening decades with artists like Suzanne Lacy and Dread Scott bringing art into “life” contexts, or vice versa. I’m always quoting Robert Filliou: “Art is what makes life more interesting than art.” And my own writing is now more about life than about art. Another mistake? Who knows? Who knows anything these crazy days?
This week, Patrisse Cullors speaks, reviewing John Richardson’s final Picasso book, the Met Museum snags a rare oil on copper by Nicolas Poussin, and much more.
Alexi Worth’s paintings demand a double take that allows viewers to look closer and begin dissembling the painting in order to understand what is being looked at.
Curated by Jill Kearney, this exhibition in Frenchtown, NJ amplifies stories both local and universal with work by Willie Cole, Sandra Ramos, sTo Len, and more.
Anastasia Pelias’s sculpture builds on this mythological legacy, suggesting we all have the ability to commune with a higher power and influence our futures.
Jack Spicer’s poetry can be deeply funny and playful but it has a consistent undercurrent of sadness.
The first lecture is on the relationship between early portrait photography and diverse notions of US identity during the Gilded Age. Register to attend on January 25.
Belinda Rathbone’s biography traces the sculptor’s embrace of kinetic mechanisms to his work in the Singer Sewing Machine factory.
It’s the first time in the country’s history that objects of this significance are offered for public sale.
Part of the university’s Artists on the Future series pairing renowned artists with cultural thought leaders, this online event is free and open to the public.
Schwartz was at the forefront of computer-generated art before desktops or the kind of software that makes it commonplace today.
Curator La Tanya S. Autry shares a set of crucial questions she considers when curating images of anti-Black violence.
Crys Yin’s subject is grief, which, for all that takes place in public, is largely a private matter.