Rebecca Morris @Mitchell-Innes & NashAbstract534 W 26th StreetNew York, NY 10001
is this naive, retro or hipsterism?
RM's work like the rest in the show is relatively straight with strong references to precedence set by NY abstract painting dating to mid 20th century.What's depressing is to see press and reception carry on like this is some 'return' or 'new interest' in abstraction writ large. Its ridiculous. RM has been making this work since mid-90's, as well as others in the show. its a vein of work that still has blood in it because a select group of NY painters still make it. It goes to show to what degree the current market has turned every component from making to seeing work a stroke of style. Its unnerving. Is it in, is it out, is it hip, can it sell, which new collectors can we hookwink with the latest 'return'.
in Morris’ “A Manifesto for Abstractionists & Friends of the Nonobjective,” she states, “BLACK AND BROWN- THAT IS THE SHIT OF THE FUTURE.”
MANIFESTOFor Abstractionists and friends of the non-objectiveBE A FORCEDon't shoot blanksBlack and Brown: that shit is the futureTriangles are your friendDon't pretend you don't work hardWhen in doubt, spray paint it goldPerverse formalism is your godYou are greased lighteningBring your camera everywhereNever stop looking at macrame`, ceramics, supergraphics and suprematismMake work that is so secret, so fantastic, so dramatically old school/new school that it looks like it was found in a shed, locked up since the 1940'sWake up early, fear deathWhip out the masterpiecesBe out for bloodYou are the master of your own universeAbstraction never left, motherfuckersIf you can't stop, don't stopStrive for deeper structureFight monomaniaCampaign against the literalABSTRACTION FOREVER!
Memo. Please define your positioning statements. Alliteration is encouraged. Alliteration And ACRONYMS Are Awesome.Headlines:ART ABSTRACT MAKES ART A FACT
Postmodern camoflauge is cultural triage.
The Manifesto is more interesting than the paintings. In fact it seems slightly at odds with the paintings.New Yorker: "Humorless rigor has given away to homey reinterpretation."I'll take dusty old school modernism over faux english romanticism any day.Good for RM. I think its great I just wish they were a little less brown.
definately her manifesto is better than the actual work, in another context the work would be just plain organic abstraction, whatever that is. i couldnt totally tell, was the laura owens review in the new yorker a put down i guess it was, i liked the part about embarrassing us into liking painting or something like that. they got the joanne greenbaum show right in any case, and the chris martin, this artist could go somewhere maybe she has to lay off the manifesto stuff and just paint for a while, and stop being cutesy about it. abstraction is just the same as anything else, same decisions and thoughts.
finally, finally, finally mainstream press is willing to give LO good, hard jabs. LO and RM same yr. @ Skowhegan. Also Ruth Root. Not without coincidence.mid-90's break pt. with a formal, formalism.
I don't trust this painting.
Im down with less brown. Im no clown. But I need less frown. Proust turned the world upside down?I dont read but I like that sound.Fecund gerunds germaine to the figure-ground.
The manifesto is silly - triangles are your friend - but hey.I like this whole show. Love that Phillip Allen. Probably like RM least of all the participants. Perverse formalism, does that mean ugly?Does this look like a Schwitters collage (but way clunkier)to anyone?
F to the G - effigy leads to idolatryIdolatry can be a wordIn the beginning was the word and the word was godLogorhea is the meaning of the blogMeaning is a message and a medium combinedMessages are ideas behind a duck blindideas are a dime a dozen but all you need is oneA dozen was thirteen if you like hot cross buns.
vanilla ice and kevin federline all rolled into one!
derricks derricks derricks derricks derricks derricksderricks
does this painting have asoundtrack?
Dore ashton was paid to hang out for a few minutes with the grad students. She came into my studio and said "youre the kurt schwitters of the program arent you". I said, yeah.Then she smoked a menthol or six and told me her daughter lived in a trailer.I love Dore Ashton.
AUL SOLMAN: In the 1940's, Rothko took off in a new direction: a conscious, some would say self-conscious, embrace of ancient myth in an attempt, like the European surrealists before him, to create a global language. Ancient birds and ancient Greeks abound. Perhaps his most famous work of this period: "Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea," features symbols of music, the truly universal language. That's what Rothko said he was shooting for here.DORE ASHTON: It's a tone of voice which is eternal, never changes, and that the, the whole issue of time is not linear. It's circular.PAUL SOLMAN: So he's groping toward the eternal--some statement about the eternal.Dore Ashton and Paul SolmanDORE ASHTON: Oh, I'm sure of that, yes. Yes.PAUL SOLMAN: Sure of it why?DORE ASHTON: Well, because one feels it in the work. I feel it in the work.PAUL SOLMAN: Did he tell you that as well, I mean when you talked?DORE ASHTON: No, he would never, he would never say something so banal as I'm groping for the eternal.
That was over seven years ago or so.Dont you know, oilman.
Dore Ashton with cigarette
ze ba zu ba za ba zo ba 2(za ba) zu!
Banalities translated from the ChineseFlies have short lice.To hurry is wit in a flurry.Red raspberries are red.The end is the beginning of every end.The beginning is the end of every beginning.Banality becomes all respectable citizens.Bourgeoisie is the beginning of every bourgeois.Spice makes short jokes nice.All women hate mice.Every beginning has an end.The world is full of smart people.Smart is dumb.Not everything called expressionism is expressive art.Dumb is smart.Smart remains dumb.
another work by Rebecca Morris
SongWe contain all the passionsand all the vicesand all the suns and stars,chasms and heights,trees, animals, forests, streams.This is what we are.Our experience liesin our veins,in our nerves.We stagger.Burningbetween grey blocks of houses.On bridges of steel.Light from a thousand tubesflows around us,and a thousand violet nightsetch sharp wrinklesin our faces.
I don't know, what's the manifesto on brown and black, the one RM wrote, anyone!I like black a lot. And brown is daring in a daring sort of way--I mean that! Manifestos are good, bring em on!You know you hate them but actually it opens things up and gives a chance to see how people are thinking, or telling us that they are. When it gets that two or more artists are working something that appears the same a manifesto can help draw you to the differences.Rebecca Morris seems happy with bits of space all over the place: It appears to work! I want to move bits.And right, concerns are concerns. It's all open. But keep in mind, this stuff (the stuff people say nobody understands) is going to be everywhere by the 2008 season. It's always nothing or everything. I just don't get it even though you can see it coming a mile off. Go check the schools. I wonder if the hedge fund guys and gals 'see', or do they just 'hear'?Any hedge fund people out there? Any Bears?Anyway, sorry, slow train--go Rebecca, go everyone. It's 2007 and it's not over!BITCJback in the concrete jungle.
see me....feeeeeel meeeee-eeeExistential pinball my man. Id like to read some hedge fund theory.
Kandinsky crunched up and spray painted.Not bad to look at,though.
kind of like stella's paintings when they got all sculptural, with all sorts of references, only back to the rectangle, and dirtier/browner.
this happened in my school:place:elevatordore ashton seen smoking in said elevatordean to dore: "You know you're not supposed to do that in here."Dore to dean: "I'm too famous for you to tell me that."Dean:" ....([silence]).."fuckin hardcore man
When I walk into a gallery now, I don't see anything. It's as if the artists spent all their time trying to find ways how not to do anything. Just because you don't do anything, doesn't mean you've said something. And, as Harold Rosenberg once pointed out, just because you don't say something doesn't mean it's true. (Dore Ashton)I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect. (Ingmar Bergman)Keep braiding one's wavelengths back into oneself. That way they gain all the more external power and surround us with a huge affective and protective zone. Don't talk about this. Never talk about our secret methods. If we talk about them, they stop working. (Jean Cocteau)how do you braid your wavelengths? Thats some fucked up shit.
One cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has nothing to say. (Andre Malraux)Its funny because there was that article on how american culture is so degraded that it becomes bad branding abroad. As a child of the military industrial complex, Im pretty sure thats irrelevant; America is going to win and win big. But we need to get rid of the Christian bioethicists who say stem cell research is wrong, and that tampering with DNA is like playig god - it is but that shouldnt concern us. Its evolution at its next logical step. Its manifest destiny.We need to kick ass, because what we are saying is better than what they are saying, even if its in english.In that sense - I mean, where I am coming from, this painting is helpfull to identify the intuitive humanity that we will enhance by our evolution. Think four lobed brains. Think parallel processing. Think universal ESP. Its inevitable, and its RIGHT.Have youtubed parents today?
I saw this show a couple of weeks ago. I was struck with the idea that the mission of abstract painting has always been to find some way to take something arbitrary and make it seem specific. I guess this is probably true of all painting but I think it falls more heavily on abstract painting because the more it eschews representation the more tenuous its links to the observable world become; hence more arbitrary: there's no real reason why any element couldn't be something else. This results in different strategies of specificity.Most abstract painters devise internal systems with rules that evolve, change, or are intentionally broken. This doesn't make the paintings any less arbitrary, just more stylistically identifiable in their specificity. Another route is to tie the internal systems to historical, more original abstract painting practices such as knah suggested. Though that doesn't really mitigate the arbitrariness, it just creates that illusion or rather an allusion. But then representation always makes something seem less arbitrary.As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I think chris Wool does this in such a grand and self-consciously revealing way as to reinvigorate the practice.
Good argument Decay, really!Though if there was a mission it is not the same remotely now.Remember we live in the dominant world of knowing--of where we stand, and what we see. We live in the dominant world of things. Feelings are often attached to all sorts of things. You could even argue things give off feelings. For me though things just give me a headache! Historically Abstraction tended to preach 'behind the things'. Nowadays it more 'beside the things', or 'all things included'. It all depends on the focus. The word focus suggests that there is some kind of attention span going on, and that that span is trying to bring something together, though not necessarily a knife or a fork, or chopsticks even.If you are lost without things, and as such everything... hang on 'every thing'... 'thing', appears arbitrary, then what the hell is the thing doing. It's still a thing--a thing in itself among other things somewhere between the knife the fork and the chopstick--of all things.With this work It's between a conceptual rigor and the real thing--hard to tell which side it sings.That's my view but nobody really agrees. That's what's good. It's like you need another language to communicate.
there is no commitment. it's all play with no shock. i'd rather find a vein of feeling, something, somewhere.
I saw a great lecture by James Sienna once in which he introduced his work with a lot of slides from nature walks he had taken. As I recall, he'd show a slide of a rock or an outcropping of shrubs of some sort without much commentary. (eg: he didn't say "nature had a huge influence on my work" so much as "i went for these walks"). Then he got to his paintings and described the rule for each. But the idea was that he was looking at things, lived in the world. It seemed like he was trying to express this tug in his practice between the rules he had devised for each piece, and a life outside the studio, mentioning at one point that his kid came up with a couple of titles. The gesture of going from a bunch of paintings titled Untitled to giving them names seems conciliatory, but to what--representation?
Why can't she just paint her paintings and not try to make them hip or cute with a silly "manifesto?" As far as manifestos go, this one really isn't saying anything of importance. I mean, does the painter need to make excuses for her color choices? The paintings fall flat (no pun on lack of space here) and do not have any sense of exploration beyond tacky surface ornament.
This is interesting. I thought there would be more defense of her work, and this show in particular. That doesn’t mean that my take is a defense. Aye Bennet you said that “there is no commitment” This is at least a 15 year old body of work that has remained pretty consistent throughout. The strategy is relatively the same from the start. As ‘silly’ as the Manifesto seems, it is about ‘work’ and at some level taking the work seriously. She takes positional statements to situate her intent in a historical context, and in relationship to an art market that constantly needs assurance before purchase that work is as hip as can be. To MM’s point “Why can't she just paint her paintings and not try to make them hip or cute with a silly "manifesto?" This points to the issue of the importance of intentionality in our era that seems in freefall separate of history. I really do believe that there is tremendous anxiety among the RM generation of painters about what painting is supposed to be doing, especially in relation to a hyped art market. Finding a niche seems to be increasingly important, and having manifestos and statements about dead things becoming interesting aid the endeavor.To DI, Chris Wool is of the generation just before RM’s ilk, yes? His work is before the turn towards ‘homey interpretation’ (NY’er). Chistopher Wool, Jacqueline Humphries (I thought the thread on her work recently was lame given the importance of her work in NY painting), Pat Steir, Stephen Westfall….. All the ‘larger than life’ abstractionists of that generation exhibit a level of confidence that I think is very hard to achieve @ this point in time for younger painters. Their work appears more ‘grand and self-consciously revealing’ because their subject is a consciousness that embraces cut identity, but with a first-hand knowledge of what came before.
Jerry Saltz quoted one of his students blogs, where they complain that knowing about Walter Benjamin just reifies the power structure. THats pretty funny.Farenheight 451 is pretty funny too, if you think about it. Ive been noticing lots of people blathering about "non spaces" must be a book? A class? A curriculum? Art is overdetermined rather than arbitrary these days. Ive stated in the past that history gets longer without any means of indexing it other than by genre. Genre makes it seem like theres nothing new to do, and yet every day is new.Proliferation of information means information becomes noise. Noise is a tone. TOnes are a chorus. Redundant tones allow noise to become information again. Redundancy is built into the system.Consistency is the hobgoblin of the disenchanted.Arbitrariness is fine as a starting point but Im not convinced this tree is producing fruit so much as expressing on the way to arbitrariness. So much noise in the tree of information.This work succeeds on being unresoved in an allover way - the ambition to lack ambition. The desire to keep unresolved. The appetite for destruction. The will to arbitrariness.That means the politics are good, but the work itself is bad.That means its conceptual.As a concept its great.Good concepts make good neighbors.Like chaos theory, the transfer from macro to micro is a matter of turbulence. This work points towards a strange attractor.The curriculum.
thousand points of light,i've been aware of rm and her work since grad school '95/'96. when i say there is no commitment, i do not mean to imply that she is not committed to the act of painting, for i know she is. my problem lies with the lack of commitment intrinsic to the work, and from work to work -- a commitment of soul over hipsterism. the self-consciously awkward and ugly aspects of her painting reveal nothing of her but are a put-on, mere devices. i am aware of all this strategic positioning, but would hope that it would be subordinate to a true search for content. p.s. i said nothing about the manifesto.
Aye Bennet,sorry on the manifesto insertion... was using it to back up notion of 'work' and commitment.seems to me that the notion of having 'soul' in this work is beside the point, in fact antithetical. if its all dead, its digging up the bones and pasting them back together, and spray painting gold everywhere. the soul went to heaven long ago.not my cup of tea, but hats off to getting relatively big institutions to support your mortuary.
ADATROP : FU11CK YEAHHHHH!!!!!
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