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Re: [BKARTS] Shit (was: Book Art Criticism)

Richard Minsky wrote:


Very loud cheers from Cancun!

My list subscription did not survive Hurricane Wilma and I only re-subscribed a few days ago. I have been following the various threads on book art criticism with considerable dismay. I find Pepper's work charming. His calligraphy does not conform to academic standards, but neither does mine. The overall effect of his Bible pages is beautiful and loving.

I am not sure that I understand the attacks on his argument that faith inspires and (I guess) validates his art. Why shouldn't it? I detest much of what established religion stands for, but one redeeming factor has always been the amount of great art that it has financed and inspired. Great movements -- for good or evil -- do inspire great art, and a lot of it.

A few years ago, we had an extended and rather heated discussion on the effect of the Cold War on art criticism, especially art critic Clement Greenberg (often accused of having been either a tool or a witting agent of the CIA) who went to war against Socialist Realism. I am not going to recapitulate this. It's in the archives. I will say that much art criticism is politically determined, whether the politics are the Cold War, corporate propaganda or academic infighting, among other motivations.

No one is ever going to define art. That's why art criticism is such a fertile industry. It goes on forever, mutating as required to current political, social and economic fashions. Art is what the artist does. Works of art survive because they inspire love, whether of possession or contemplation, and that love begins with the artist's love. Art criticism is all too frequently inspired by the mean selfishness of economic appraisal. The artist's worst pain is that the work lasts for eternity, but is paid in the least value of current coin.

I have already gone on at much greater length than I planned, so I will end with this:

"Beauty is the visible expression of man's pleasure in labor." F. W. Goudy.

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1764, 77501-Cancun, Q. Roo, Mexico

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