Its an old idea. The typical John Doe sees an abstract expressionist painting, and explains to himself that there is no justice in this world. Why should the likes of Willam de Kooning, Jackson Pollock et al. be so immortalized when he, his child, and the family dog; well maybe not the family dog, but certainly a monkey could have painted THAT. Fame and fortune seems so indiscriminate sometimes, giving unjust rewards to the greater self-promoter and hustler. None other than John Canaday once derided almost all abstract artists as “fakes and charlatans” who were imitators of Kandinsky and Miro and its leading figures such as Barnett Newman were “dull artists”.
Long live Dada. Tristan Tzara saw Dada as a nihilistic revolutionary movement. An anti-theory since he asserted no recognition of formal theory. Or, it was a theory of negation that rejected all credos that purported to define and impose convention; any sense of academic order with the arts. “…To impose your ABC is a natural thing— hence deplorable. Everybody does it in the form of crystalbluffmadonna, monetary system, pharmaceutical product, or a bare leg advertising the ardent sterile spring. The love of novelty is the cross of sympathy…: it is a transitory, positive sign without a cause….
…In documenting art on the basis of the supreme simplicity: novelty, we are human and true for the sake of amusement, impulsive, vibrant to crucify boredom.” …And so Dada was born of a need for independence, of a distrust toward unity. Those who are with us preserve their freedom. We recognize no theory. We have enough cubist and futurist academies: laboratories of formal ideas. Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice nice bourgeois? Rhymes ring with the assonance of the currencies and the inflexion slips along the line of the belly in profile. All groups of artists have arrived at this trust company utter riding their steeds on various comets. While the door remains open to the possibility of wallowing in cushions and good things to eat.” Had he been playing chess with Lenin too long?
“A child could paint that.” To which Angelina Hawley-Dolan and Ellen Winner replied: “Could they?” The duo wanted to test the assertion that abstract expressionist art is devoid of talent – that it could be done by a mere child, or even an animal. To find out, Hawley-Dolan and Winner asked 32 art students and 40 psychology students to compare pairs of paintings. One piece of each pair was the work of a recognised artist, such as Kline, Rothko, Cy Twombly, Gillian Ayre, and more. The other came from the oeuvre of lesser-known painters, including preschool children, elephants, chimps, gorillas and monkeys. The paintings were matched according to colour, line quality, brushstroke and medium; the students had to say which they preferred and which was better. Read More:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/14/a-child-couldn%E2%80%99t-paint-that-%E2%80%93-can-people-tell-abstract-art-from-a-child%E2%80%99s-or-chimp%E2%80%99s-work/
Obviously, it was the non-traditional and non-representational means that appeared to give free passage into the realm of the facile as a short-cut to a mimicry of chaos. The loose structures, the sensuality and the psychological which sidestepped any conventional representation or imitations of reality was a specific form of art attributed as a product of the genius of American art and culture, marketed as a new artistic vocabulary which articulated in essence liberty: a spirit of revolt and a belief in freedom of expression; a democratization of the arts. In effect, WWII had brought had brought political refugees such as as Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp, Mondrian and Max Ernst, and many others to America which extended an influence.
Much of the creative intellectual ferment of the time was focused in the theories of the Russian émigré painter and writer John Graham who befriended Gorky, Pollock and others. His book Systems and Dialectics of Art (1937) justified abstraction as distilling the essence of reality and traced its roots to primitivism, the unconscious and the painter’s empathy with the brushstroke. The younger American artists thus seem to have become highly conscious of their historical position and dictates. Most felt that they had to reconcile Cubist spatial organization with the poetic subject-matter of Surrealism and realized that original art would then need to go beyond both. (MOMA) Read More:http://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?section_id=T000253&theme_id=10051
The new art mixed with the American homespun realism of regionalism who had seen literary equivalents in the John Steinbeck and John Dos Passos; but added the legacy of American radicalism and anti-fascism that had been bubbling since the turn of the century mixed with Freud, Jung, the surrealistic school of Andre Breton and other elements which constituted the American melting pot. In this case a stew of conflict between impulsive chaos which was the world view of the irrational and the insane responsible for humanity’s incomprehensive behavior and the need for reason which would impose some overall sense of order and provide grist for thelict between psychological states. Think of it as electro-shock therapy for romanticism.
…Throughout the experiments, the students typically picked the professional pieces between 60% and 70% of the time. These aren’t overwhelming majorities, but they were statistically significant. On average, a child could not “paint that”, even if first glances might suggest otherwise. Nor are the qualities of the abstract art only visible to people steeped in the art world – even untrained people responded to the paintings in some way…“People untrained in visual art see more than they realize when looking at abstract expressionist paintings. People may say that a child could have made a work by a recognized abstract expressionist, but when forced to choose between a work by a child and one by a master such as Rothko, they are drawn to the Rothko even when the work is falsely attributed to a child or nonhuman. People see the mind behind the art.” Read More:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/14/a-child-couldn%E2%80%99t-paint-that-%E2%80%93-can-people-tell-abstract-art-from-a-child%E2%80%99s-or-chimp%E2%80%99s-work/
Keith Martin-Smith:The question “what is art” is both more simple and more complex than it might seem at first glance. Marshall McLuhan, philosopher of media theory, said in the heyday of 60’s Pop Art, “Art is whatever you can get away with.” Is it? His observation raises some interesting questions: How does one go about judging a work of art as “good”, “bad”, or “better than” something else? What standards are used? Is something shocking, like a New York City artist who recently put vials filled with her menstrual fluids on display, art? Or is such a display really something else? For those that defend such displays as art, what exactly do they see that the rest of us are missing? Read More:http://www.integralworld.net/martin-smith2.html
Kloosterman:A study by a British animal behaviorist Desmond Morris, reports Haaretz, suggests that certain primates not only enjoy creating art for the pleasure of it, but they also develop their own unique style and type of artistic expression over time. In some instances, says Sharfstein, from Tel Aviv University, one cannot tell the difference between modern art created by humans or that created by an ape. “I prefer to see them as indications of the interesting closeness between art and its pre-human sources,” he says. Read More:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06/birds_elephants.php
Tristan Tzara ( Dada Manifesto 1918 ):“Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it puts to sleep the anti-objective impulses.”
“Logic imprisoned by the senses is an organic disease.”
“Inability to distinguish between degrees…: Measured by the scale of eternity, all activity is vain”
“to…float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement.”
“if we allow thought to engage in an adventure the result of which would be infinitely grotesque and add significantly to our knowledge of human impotence…But supposing life to be a poor farce, without aim or initial parturition, and because we think it our duty to extricate ourselves as fresh and clean as washed chrysanthemums, we have proclaimed as the sole basis for agreement”
“Art…an intelligible work is the product of a journalist…When a writer or artist is praised by the newspapers, it is a proof of the intelligibility of his
work:…piss contributing to the warmth of an animal brooding vile instincts. Flabby, insipid flesh reproducing with the help of typographical microbes.”
“We have thrown out the cry-baby in us. Any infiltration of this kind is candied
diarrhea. To encourage this act is to ‘digest it. What we need is works that are strong straight precise and forever beyond understanding. Logic is a complication. Logic is always wrong. It draws the threads of notions, words, in their formal exterior, toward illusory ends and centers. Its chains kill, it is an enormous centipede stifling independence. Married to logic, art would live in incest, swallowing, engulfing its own tail, still part of its own body, fornicating within itself, and passion would become a nightmare tarred with protestantism, a monument, a heap of ponderous gray entrails. Read More:http://aaronasphar.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/notes-the-critical-poetics-in-the-dada-manifesto-of-tristan-tzara-1918/