Re: [rumori] the simple and post-modern

From: Doug Harvey (
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 18:23:37 PDT

For anyone still interested in Sherrie Levine's pomo appropriations of
modernist art, she has a new body of work debuting at the Getty Center in LA
from June 6 - July 8, , based on De Stijl designer Gerrit Rietveld's
furniture. Here's the press release:

Levine is at the Getty Research Institute as a Getty Scholar - this year's
theme (rather unadventurously undertaken, at least by detritus standards) is
'Reproductions and Originals'. There's more info on the participating
scholars here:

>From: Steev Hise <>
>To: <>
>Subject: [rumori] the simple and post-modern
>Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 13:02:58 -0700 (PDT)
>ok, let's revisit the original (sub)thread:
>first chris said:
>"When you recreate something that closely, in what way is it
>yours? How does it have value?"
>Then Dan said:
>It's just art. It's entirely subjective. That's the bottom
>I said:
>->"that's simplifying and "post-modernizing" the issue a
>little bit too much,
>Dan said:
>->Why is that "too" much? Too much for what? Why is simple a
>problem? And ->what exactly do you mean by "post-modern?"
>Anyway, how would you say a work ->has value "when you
>recreate something that closely?"
>Ok, so, to answer your questions:
>I won't go into exactly what i mean by "post-modern". That's
>too big a question right now. But, the part of
>post-modernism I was referring to is the tendency to
>over-simplify and the "it's all good" syndrome.
>The problem with portraying things as simple when they're
>not simple is that you're just wrong. inaccurate. Chris
>asked a very provocative, interesting question about a
>complicated issue. But as soon as you invoke that tired
>"it's just art" stance, you stunt all further thought or
>discussion on the topic. yeah, this is ALL just art. so
>let's not talk about it at all. Maybe I should just shut
>down this list? It's art. We're done.
>Back to the original question. "How does a work
>have value when you recreate something that closely?"
>Another thing postmodernism does is erase the notion of
>value. all works are equal, everything is okay, everyone has
>their own personal preference, end of story. I'm not
>anti-post-modern, but i think that particular idea is pretty
>detrimental. There is good and bad. It's not absolute, but I
>think one way a culture grows and thrives is by its
>participants communicating with each other about value,
>about which cultural artifacts are things they value and why
>and how much, collectively developing a set of criteria and
>So, to really get to the question. I think Vicki had a great
>answer -- the idea that cover versions often have the
>imprint of the covering artist. I would add that a lot of
>the "added value" of the "copy" is in the context or
>Take Sherrie Levine's work in the 80s - photographs of
>famous paintings by famous male art superstars. She placed
>these exact copies in the context of a critique of the
>male-dominated art world. That had value. (And I'm not just
>saying that, she made a very big splash with those pieces).
>Or on the pop cultural end, check out the Donnas' recent
>cover of Judas Priest's "Living After Midnight". It's a
>pretty straight cover. The vocals even sound pretty similar
>to Rob Halford's. But somehow I think it's an interesting
>thing just for this group of women in the year 2000 to be
>doing that early 80s cockrock metal song. Maybe not THAT
>interesting, but there's SOMETHING there, and that something
>is about context.
>Back to the fine art world - look at Elmyr DeHory, he's been
>mentioned here before, the most famous art forger in
>history. He's so famous that his fakes are sought by
>collectors AS FAKES. His Picassos, Chagalls, Matisses sell
>for many thousands of dollars. Not as much as if someone
>thought they were genuine. But he's created value in his
>own work simply by being so good and so famous at simulating
>others' work. That's pretty remarkable. And that's about
>context too. Someone could show me a deHory and say "this is
>a fake Picasso." And if I didnt know it was deHory, i'd
>probably say, "ah, looks pretty much like Picasso. but
>since it's not, it's worthless, right?" But i'd be wrong!
>I don't know if this answers the question completely. I
>don't know if that's possible. But it continues the
>dialogue, and that's better, i think, than just saying,
>"it's art, period."
>Steev Hise, Head Chump
>*Recycled Culture:
>*Record Store:
>*Progressive radio sketches:
>*Watching power flow:
>*Democratic sound collage generator:
> *** sig almost over ***
>"Even though it's true, they shouldn't believe it, because when I
> wrote it, I thought it was a lie."
> -Kenneth J. Schmidt
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