Editorial Volume 33 no 6 September – October 2019
One can fall in love with a magazine. With a passion for its attempt to trust its writers, edit lightly to allow for varied opinion, and its invaluable outlook inherited from the twentieth century pragmatic philosophers in Chicago. A time when America had philosophers everyone with an interest in American power and how it would be wielded, read and discussed. When alternative opinions were valued.
It is not hard to find either good writers or deep readers in the USA, it never has been. But the element of the population that thinks it knows all it will ever need to know, has spread to use modern media as a conduit to shout so loud, it is their agenda that occupies everyday discussion.
Their voices have been heard as far afield as in the UK, Hungary, Brazil and Slovakia. In such a politically fascist maelstrom it is a comfort to find places to write and be read; where you are certain the conversation flows with respect for thought and is not partisan, or bigoted or infected with the many elements of small-minded thinking that places ego above community, pits individual against individual as if it was a law of life and had no measure of that most precious of all human attributes: peace.
We now know, biodiversity is essential for natural environments to thrive and continue to sustain all life. So too, human diversity of thinking with its challenges and joys, inherent mutual respect and imparting of knowledge so that individual experience can be shared, is vital if we are to fight our way out of the limiting, valueless system of vanity that economics has become. Conversation has created all we know of civilized values; the lack of conversation has created all we know of conflict.
So we here, at the New Art Examiner delight in the questions. We are on a journey which has no ending; we assume nothing; we expect dangers, intellectual or otherwise. Should these fascists and neo-Nazis take over more countries, and should they rise to abuse free-thinkers, historians, artists and contrary opinions as they always do, the spark that is originality will be as needed as a life-saving medicine.
We have been here before, we know how it works. We can see millions of people losing their sense of where their thinking leads or more frighteningly, not caring.
So we will continue to be a place of thinkers who love the discussion because ultimately we know only from our discussions and those of others like us, comes a future of co-existence.
Daniel Nanavati / Lily Kostrzewa
7 thoughts on “Editorial Volume 33 no 6 September – October 2019”
The X Musuem of Y has named Z
as its new deputy director and chief curator.
Z is the one who said “no one knows what art is anymore”,
and is a major promoter of artists who cut pictures out of art magazines
or who destroy furniture and claim it’s a masterpiece.
Z may occupy that position for decades. Z also hates my guts because of what I wrote,
articles trashing A and B, two of its favorite artists.
I’m ashamed for my country.
For sure the spirit of generosity is fleeing American cultural discourse. The great contribution of Trump is his banality. He has made it clear the low life is not only with the low life, it is with the high life. So what is to be done if anything?
You have written something I can clearly relate to, as we all can from wide and far. I think Thomas McEvilley covers this very well in the debate in the New York Times (October 12, 1997) led by Amei Wallach: ART; Is It Art? Is It Good? And Who Says So?
Thomas, McEvilley, then Professor of art history, Rice University; contributing editor at the Artforum magazine wrote:
The last time I was in Houston, I went to a place called Media Center, where someone had set up posts as in a back yard with laundry hung all over. I immediately knew it was an artwork because of where it was. If I had seen it hanging in someone’s yard, I would not have known whether it was art, though it might have been. It is art if it is called art, written about in an art magazine, exhibited in a museum or bought by a private collector.
It seems pretty clear by now that more or less anything can be designated as art. The question is, Has it been called art by the so-called ”art system?” In our century, that’s all that makes it art. As this century draws to a close, it looks ever more Duchampian. But suppose Duchamp didn’t have Andre Breton as his flack; most of his work could be dismissed as trash left behind by some crank.
What’s hard for people to accept is that issues of art are just as difficult as issues of molecular biology; you cannot expect to open up a page on molecular biology and understand it. This is the hard news about art that irritates the public. if people are going to be irritated by that, they just have to be irritated by that.
Hi Alan. I so disagree with your comment “It is art if it is called art, written about in an art magazine, exhibited in a museum or bought by a private collector.”. Would you say that sand is food if written about in a food magazine, exhibited in a food museum, and so on? Roger Scruton in his BBC article “How modern art became trapped by its urge to shock”, wrote that “it is now an effective requirement of finalists for the Turner Prize in Britain to produce something that nobody would think was art unless they were told it was”.
Rob Storr, when he was curator of MOCA, said that “in the 1960s, the art world moved from the Cedar Tavern to the seminar room”. The seminar room is left brain, intellectual. The right brain is subtleties and creativity. When you make art intellectual, then you cut off creativity, even if you have a system of powerful curators supporting you.
On a final note, when art is anything you can get away with, the worst you can get away with is always the best strategy, leading to a steady degradation of the field. If it sucks and someone says it’s art, I lose respect for that person because there are higher standards. So perhaps standards count. Some are satisfied with trash; other’s aren’t. We make the world we live in.
I am writing a book saying most of Duchamp’s work was trash. Here’s 800 words, basic notes on Duchamp that tear him to shred, and this was blind-reviewed, peer reviewed, and published by RISD. Duchamp was proud he made art intellectual but once he did that he stopped making art. Jasper Johns quotes Duchamp saying “You didn’t mean to do it… it was like a broken leg.” Duchamp also said consistently that found objects are not art. And the Urinal called Fountain is not Duchamp’s, now proven to be by a female artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Time to trash our sawdust heroes.
(disclosure… I have vested interests, being a NAE writer. That out of the way, everything Daniel Nanavati said is admirable.
Are you suggesting that American philosophers no longer exist? What about David Abram, philosopher, ecologist and performance artist? Marilyn McCord Adams, who recently died? Owen Flanagan with his work on the philosophy of the mind? David Carrier, American philosopher and also art critic? Have you heard of Professor Michael Slote, professor of ethics? The list of well-known American philosophers could go on and on for pages. The American mind is not all superficial and social media focused; some people here still think they can think. 🙂
Don’t you “think” that artists are also philosophers? Perhaps not all artists, but many try to portray the meaning of life in their work, giving a visual aspect to wisdom and human thought. Philosophy and art are very closely connected in their study of aesthetics, but not only.