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?
In an exhibition that consists of mostly small-scale black and white works on paper, viewer engagement almost magically awakens the sleepy room.
Maria Maea’s All in Time continues an intergenerational conversation and exemplifies the artist’s process, not simply the finished pieces.
The program, along with recently announced visiting critics, will provide long term funding, promote access, and safeguard experimentation for future students of color.
Koestler Arts works with incarcerated people and patients in secure mental health units, aiming to improve their lives through creativity.
Local artists and culture workers are wondering how the arena will impact the arts landscape, including museums and alternative spaces.
Huaca Pintada comprises a rare mixture of elements of two northern Peruvian civilizations.
Lensa AI’s digital avatars have captivated users, but some say the app is stealing from artists and reflects racial stereotypes.
Contemporary art, original sketches, and more explore how the Japanese character sprung from the pages of a manga and became a global cultural sensation.
New research contests the myth that it was Christianity’s opposition to public nudity that led to the decline in large-scale bathing in the late Roman Empire.
An exhibition at San Francisco’s Letterform Archive highlights typography’s role in iconic social movements from the 1800s through the present.
Eleven Contemporary Artists Explore the Meaning of Shelter at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Artists collaborate with nonprofit institutions and field experts to examine historical and contemporary determinants of housing and the feelings of safety and connection integral to places of living.
Rocks, ducks, and a self-organized survey of Gingham are some of the things to see right now in four Chicago art galleries.
Three weeks into their strike, part-time professors are escalating their protests, backed by public figures and disgruntled parents.