Thursday, July 23, 2015

Acculturation is a circular faith-process:The advertising claim that a certain sauce contains "no benzoate of soda or other preservative" assumes the acceptance of the statement itself as true, and assumes the belief that benzoate of soda is harmful.



Let a band of artists and craftsmen associate together, and ... make to themselves and all whom it may concern things of beauty and utility.- Walter Crane

Walter Crane's poster, International Solidarity Of Labour, 1889

Not Making is a form of name usurpation

Do you care that Koons did not make the Balloon Dog (Magenta), 1995-2000? 

You probably don't. But you should.

In The Art of Not Making, artist/curator Michael Petry makes the following observation:
If the intentions of context of the actual maker are irrelevant to a work's meaning, then why get your hands dirty with the making? Anyone can produce the work for you; its authorship lies elsewhere. Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami clearly fit this category, with their hundreds of assistants producing the work of "the artist" in factory-like conditions. (Intro, p. 11)
Not making is a Post Fordist assembly-line mode of production with a star artist producing artworks made by hundreds of (anonymous) assistants in glorified artsy sweatshops.

Petry purposefully forgets that authorship is a form of reference, as in:

"Balloon Dog is a Koons masterpiece," which is false. 

"Koons" refers to "Balloon Dog" as much as CO2 refers to "Water."

Petry doesn't understand that reference can not be arbitrary before it stops referring altogether. Thus, for the purposes of our discussion, Petry's not making is an omission, a suppression of the unnamed (the craftspersons whose names have been crossed out in the name of "the signature").

We wish to defend proper naming and fair compensation.

We hope you do too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Give Them What They Want (It's Really Very Simple)



1. Analyze and understand what people are feeling (empathize).
2. Identify key movements and trends that are impacting the world (contextualize).
3. Think about what these feelings + world events are causing people to need and desire (hypothesize).
4. Brainstorm what the brand can do to inspire consumers to action and fulfill their desires. (visualize).
5. Bring ideas to life for consumers to react to and experience (realize).
(From Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies)

SAPERE AUDE: Futurity is the non-quondam, the power of one's faith in unhampered advance



THE SIGNATURE that rules contemporary art

Signed by Damien Hirst. Done by Anonymous Craftsmen. 

Is this image ostensive enough? As per craft: top-notch fabrication. As per design: cheap.

Who made it? Anonymous craftspeople. 

Who designed it? Damien Hirst.

Who owns the show? They who deliver THE SIGNATURE.

Only the signature can bring together the technical excellence of a masterpiece with the design of an amusement park! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

William Morris' curated dictionary (in progress)

William Morris, 1883

Art education: (...) general capability in dealing with the arts. (TLA).
... I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few. (TLA).

Art: (...) the human pleasure of life is what I mean by art.  (A&L).
(...) It is the art of the people: the art produced by the daily labour of all kinds of men for the daily use of all kinds of men. (Idem.)
(...) ART IS MAN'S EXPRESSION OF HIS JOY IN LABOUR. (AuP).


Art and labor: (...) I understand by real art ... the expression by man of his pleasure in labour. (AOP).

Art price: ... the providing of a handicraftsman who shall put his own individual intelligence and enthusiasm into the goods he fashions. (MB).

Art justice: ... so that we may adorn life with the pleasure of cheerfully buying goods at their due price; with the pleasure of selling goods that we could be proud of both for fair price and fair workmanship: with the pleasure of working soundly and without haste at making goods that we could be proud of? (TLA).

Aesthetic simplicity:  All art starts from this simplicity; and the higher the art rises, the greater the simplicity. (BOL).
(...) have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. (TBL).

Beauty: ...everything made by man's hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her. (TLA).

Beauty of life: that beauty ... is what is meant by art. (BOL).

The handicraft question: ...have we not good reason for wishing, if it might be, that handicraft should once more step into the place of machine-production? (The Revival of Handicraft)

Ugly: I have said that the produce of man's labour must be ugly if art be not applied to it. (ACT)

Form: ... forms and intricacies that do not necessarily imitate nature, but in which the hand of the craftsman is guided to work in the way that she does, till the web, the cup, or the knife, look as natural, nay as lovely, as the green field, the river bank, or the mountain flint. (TLA).

Purpose of artwork: To give people pleasure in the things they must perforce use, that is one great office of decoration; to give people pleasure in the things they must perforce make, that is the other use of it. (TLA).
(...) art will make our streets as beautiful as the woods, as elevating as the mountain-sides: it will be a pleasure and a rest, and not a weight upon the spirits to come... (TLA).
(...) art made by the people and for the people as a joy to the maker and the user. (TLA).

Originality: (...) the essence of the art is that the decorator's art cannot be imitative even to the limited extent that the picture-painter's art is... (MB).
(...) your convention must be your own, and not borrowed from other times and peoples; or, at the least, that you must make it your own by thoroughly understanding both the nature and the art you are dealing with. (Idem.)

Tradition: It is no longer tradition if it is servilely copied, without change, the token of life. (MB).

Profit: (...) for profit the workman has been robbed of one pleasure which as long as he is a workman is perhaps his most important one: pleasure in his daily work: he is now only part of a machine. (A&L).

Art ownership: He must be allowed to think of what he is doing, and to vary his work as the circumstances of it vary, and his own moods. He must be for ever striving to make the piece he is at work at better than the last. (MB).

Craftsperson's "due": Money enough to keep him from fear of want or degradation ... leisure enough from bread-earning work to give him time to read and think ... work enough of the kind aforesaid ... and lastly, his own due share of art, a dwelling that ... does not lack beauty. (MB).

Machines: (...) chiefly machines for carrying on the competition in buying and selling, called falsely commerce; and machines for the violent destruction of life (...) men's work shall be fit for free men and not for machines. (AOP).
(...) we should be the masters of our machines and not their slaves, as we are now. It is not this machine which we want to get rid of, but the great intangible machine of commercial tyranny, which oppresses the lives of all of us. (AP).
(...) why is he (Man) the slave to machinery? Because he is the slave to the system for whose existence the invention of machinery was necessary. (SC).

Medieval labor ideals: (...) the work of all handicrafts in the Middle Ages produced beauty as a necessary part of the goods. (A&L).

Mammon-worship: Four more churches are to be sacrificed to the Mammon-worship and want of taste of this great city. (DCC)

Industrial evil: ... by far the most part of their lives in work, which at the best cannot interest them, or develop their best faculties, and at the worst is mere unmitigated slavish toil, only to be wrung out of them by the sternest compulsion. (TBL).

Simplicity of life: Simplicity of life, begetting simplicity of taste, that is, a love for sweet and lofty things, is of all matters most necessary for the birth of the new and better art we crave for; simplicity everywhere, in the palace as well as in the cottage. (TLA).
(...) is the absence of encumbering gew-gaws. (TBL).
(...) simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. (PAC).
(...) Simplicity of life, begetting simplicity of taste, that is, a love for sweet and lofty things, is of all matters most necessary for the birth of the new and better art we crave for; simplicity everywhere, in the palace as well as in the cottage. (TLA).

Commerce: (...) all Society rests on a gigantic system of usury, pitiless and implacable, which is prepared to crush out of existence all peoples and communities that cannot adapt themselves to its laws. (OOA).
(...) commercialism has crushed the power of combination out of the lower classes, the Trades Unions, founded for the advancement of the working class as a class, have already become conservative and obstructive bodies, wielded by the middle-class politicians for party purposes. (AuP).
(...) The present position of the workers is that of the machinery of commerce, or in plainer words its slaves. (SC).
(...) That system, which I have called Competitive Commerce, is distinctly a system of war; that is of waste and destruction. (AS).

List of cited Morris Essays
AS, Arts and Socialism
AC, The Arts and Crafts of Today
SC, Sign Of the Change
AP, Arts and Its Producers
A&L, Art and Labour
DCC, Destruction of City Churches
PAC, The Prospects of Architecture in Civilization
MB, Making The Best Of It
AuP, Art Under Plutocrary
AOP, The Art of The People
TLA, The Lesser Arts of Life
TBL, The Beauty of Life
OOAOrigins of Ornamental Art

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ruskin's curated dictionary (in progress)

Ruskin, 1863

Beauty: I wholly deny that that the impressions of beauty are in any way sensual ; they are neither sensual nor intellectual, but moral. (MP, Vol 1, Chapter 2).
(... ) it is evident that the sensation of beauty is not sensual on the one hand, nor is it intellectual on the other ; but is dependent on a pure, right, and open state of the heart. (Ibid, 40).
(...) By the term Beauty, then, properly are signified two things. First, that external quality of bodies already so often spoken of, and which, whether it occur in a stone, flower, beast, or man, is absolutely identical: which, as I have already asserted, may be shown to be in some sort typical of the Divine attributes, and which, therefore, I shall, for distinction’s sake, call Typical Beauty. (MP Vol. 1).
(...) man cannot advance in the invention of beauty, without directly imitating natural form. (SL, Lamp of Beauty).
(...) Must not beauty, then, it will be asked be sought for in the forms which we associate with our every-day life ? (SL, Lamp of Life).
(...) The essential characters of Beauty depended on the expression of vital energy in organic things... (SL, Lamp of Life).
(...) These sources of beauty, however, are not presented by any very great work of art in a form of pure transcript. They invariably receive the reflection of the mind under whose influence they have passed, and are modified or coloured by its image. This modification is the work of Imagination. (MP, Vol. 2, para. 1).

Vital Beauty: (...) the appearance of felicitous fulfillment of function in living things, more especially of the joyful and right exertion of perfect life in man ; and this kind of beauty I shall call Vital Beauty. (MP, Vol. 1, para. 16).
(...)  the first state of vital beauty is defined to be Happiness, perceived with sympathy ; the second, ... Moral intention, perceived with praise. Hence the first aphorism of the Laws of Fesole: "All great art is prune." (MP, Vol. 1, Chapter 1).
(...) We think we love it (art) for its beauty, but really we love it for its vitality. (SV, Intro.).

Of truth and beauty: (...) that is to say, truth first, and beauty afterwards. High art differs from low art in possessing an excess of beauty in addition to its truth, not in possessing an excess of beauty inconsistent with truth. (MP, para. 34).

Enjoyment: (...) I believe the right question to ask, respecting all ornament, is simply this: Was it done with enjoyment—was the carver happy while he was about it? It may be the hardest work possible, and the harder because so much pleasure was taken in it; but it must have been happy too, or it will not be living. (MP, Chapter 5, para. 24).

Nature: Great art accepts Nature as she is, but directs the eyes and thoughts to what is most perfect in her; false art saves itself the trouble of direction by removing or altering whatever it thinks objectionable. (MP, Vol. 2, Chapter 3, para.13).
(...) The more a painter accepts nature as he finds it, the more unexpected beauty he discovers in what he at first despised (Ibid.)
(...) High art, therefore, consists neither in altering, nor in improving nature (Ibid.)
Nature ... keeps whatever she has done best, close sealed, until it is regarded with reverence (Ibid).
(...) He who is closest to Nature is best. (Ibid, Chapter 10, para. 5).
take pleasure at last in every aspect of age and desolation which emancipates the objects of nature from the government of men. (Ibid, Chapter 16, para. 5).
(...) Observe: the whole force of education, until very lately, has been directed in every possible way to the destruction of the love of nature. (Ibid, Chapter 17, para. 31).
(...) Instead of supposing the love of nature necessarily connected with the faithlessness of the age, I believe it is connected properly with the benevolence and liberty of the age. (Ibid, Chapter 17, para. 34).

Ruskin's aesthetics: (...) For as (1) the choice of the high subject involves all conditions of right moral choicer and as (2) the love of beauty involves all conditions of right admiration, and as (3) the grasp of truth involves all strength of sense, evenness of judgment, and honesty of purpose, and as (4) the poetical power involves all swiftness of invention, and accuracy of historical memory, the sum of all these powers is the sum of the human soul. (MP, para. 42).

Rules: (...) The great men ... have no rules; cannot comprehend the nature of rules;—do not, usually, even know, in what they do, what is best or what is worst: to them it is all the same; something they cannot help saying or doing,—one piece of it as good as another, and none of it (it seems to them) worth much. The moment any man begins to talk about rules, in whatsoever art, you may know him for a second-rate man; and, if he talks about them much, he is a third-rate, or not an artist at all. To this rule there is no exception in any art. (MP, Vol. 3, para. 84).

Style: (...) The style is greater or less in exact proportion to the nobleness of the interests and passions involved in the subject. (MP, Vol. 3, para. 5).

Truth: (...) There is never vulgarity in a whole truth, however commonplace. It may be unimportant or painful. It cannot be vulgar. Vulgarity is only in concealment of truth, or in affectation. (MP, Vol. 3, para. 83).
(...) Every duty which we omit obscures some truth which we should have known; and the guilt of a life spent in the pursuit of pleasure is twofold, partly consisting in the perversion of action, and partly in the dissemination of falsehood. (SV, Chapter 3, para. 28).
(...) so far as the truth is seen by the imagination in its wholeness and quietness, the vision is sublime. (SV, Idem, para. 62).

Loving enthusiasm: (...) this loving enthusiasm, which seeks for a beauty fit to be the object of eternal love; this inventive skill, which kindly displays what exists around us in the world; and this playful energy of thought which delights in various conditions of the impossible (MP, Vol. 3, 71).

Ugly: I would fain be allowed to assume also the converse of this, namely, that forms which are not taken from natural objects must be ugly. (SL, Chapter 4)

List of works by Ruskin cited here 
SV: The Stones of Venice, in 3 Volumes, by Project Gutenberg. Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3.
MP: Modern Painters, in 5 Volumes, by Project Gutenberg.  Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5.
SL: The Seven Lamps of Architecture, by Project Gutenberg

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

havana biennial, art or politics? thursday july 2, 7:30pm at MCD wolfson campus


The panel explores issues of artistic freedom & the global market in the context of CUBA/US détente, the Twelfth Havana Biennial and the affair Tania Bruguera. 

Panelists: Ariana Hernández-Reguant (anthropologist, writer, activist), Gean Moreno, (artist, curator, editor).

Moderator: Alfredo Triff (critic, professor, MDC Wolfson Campus).

300 NE 2nd Ave. #7128, first floor, building 7
7:30pm:free admission, parking in garage/building 7