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Re: Tom Stoppard on crafting art

At 02:49 PM 3/26/97 -0500, you wrote:
>On Wed, 26 Mar 1997, Jeff Peachey wrote:
>> Then I guess you are using a definition of art that I and most of the world
>> do not understand.
>> jeff peachey
>Most of the world?  I doubt that very much.  I think most of the world
>does understand and those who don't understand are blindly following the
>few who lead.  Now, before anyone starts to send me blistering messages,
>let me ask just one question.  Suppose an artist creates one or more
>pieces of work which you feel are so lacking in any thought, creativity
>and artistry that you decide (s)he is a terrible artist.  Suppose then
>that several of the world's foremost art critics take one look and hail
>this artist as a genius and the greatest artist of the century.  Would you
>then have the nerve to stand up and openly disagree with them?

Yes, I would. I do it all the time with regard to 20th Century poetry --
but then I also know that there may be less agreement there on the part of
the critics.

I think it's the absolutism in your statements about modern art (and what
about postmodern art?) which have given me a hard time, rather than simply
the statement of your opinions. I.e. not simply that you don't appreciate
Rothko or Pollock or whoever, but that you can't believe that anyone
considers them skilled artists. I know that for me, most so-called
"western" artists (Russell, Remington, etc.) are artists I have never been
able to develop an appreciation for -- but I know people who have a great
love for that work, and I really don't want to insult those people.

More interesting, perhaps, and bringing this back to the book arts -- are
there book artists who you also have such feelings about, because of the
influence modern painters have on their work? I know that for me, a paper
artist (not a bookmaker, but certainly related) like Mary Hark's work would
not be possible without such painters as Pollock and Rothko and DeKooning
etc. -- just in the way Mary creates color forms and joins them in
particular tensions. Yet her handmade paper works are, to me, among the
most beautiful in that media that I have ever seen.

Other ways to bring this modern art discussion back to book arts?


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