Re: [rumori] abstraction from Chuckie Bumpling

From: Steev Hise (
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 23:02:50 PDT

Fri, 14 Sep 2001 found Chris Stecker writing:

This is getting pretty far-removed from the original Hayward
rant, but i just have to comment on some of this.

>process of pattern-making. Of course IMO, the juxtapositions must be TRULY
>thoughtless, not carelessly overt (e.g., as in the random mixing of popular

is there such a thing as "truly thoughtless", where humans
are involved? what you call the "random" juxtapositions of
the Surrealists were dependent on their own subconscious.
that's what they were all about. i suppose if
thought=consciousness (as opposed to subconsciousness) then
you may have said something. but even so where would the
line be between "truly thoughtless" and "carelessly overt"
(do you mean overtly careless?)?

>have the least "critical-phase" manipulation by the artists, bringing us back
>to the potentialities of abstract art. Take as an example Reich's "Come out"
>or Lucier's "I am sitting in a room;" a simple acoustic process is repeatedly
>presented to the listener, who cannot help but have his brain rearrange the
>pieces into new and wonderful sonic images. Once the listener realizes that
>he is doing the artmaking, then the bridge has been crossed.

Hmm, you may be right about the Reich piece, but "I am
sitting in a room", to me, is a conceptual art piece, not
abstraction. it's not about the object (the actual sounds),
but the idea. The listener isnt making the art, he's having
an interesting idea proven to him.

>In fact, as a true American (that is, one who remains blissfully unaware of
>the world outside my sphere, including the lives and agendas of
>representationalist artists),

what an interesting allegation. i don't know if i agree,
but still, a seductive metaphor. ( i actually think the
average american (and indeed the average human) is still
pretty uncomfortable with Abstract Art. I'd guess there's
still a lot more prints of clowns and sunsets hanging in the
family rooms of the Heartland than prints of Pollack and de
Kooning works.)

anyway Charles Hayward is british so i'm not sure how
this whole America topic got started. maybe cuz i mentioned
Spooky and Shadow? I might as well have said Scanner and

>random abstract art holds an especially strong
>appeal for me; its "meaning" is specific to my interaction with it. No one
>can tell me how to appreciate it or that I don't "understand." Now, if
>artists feel threatened by the potential of millions of tasteless Americans
>relating to thoughtless art, each in his own thoughtless way, who's problem
>is that?

you're mixing things up, chris. you seem to be referring to
that age-old elitist lo-high dichotomy but also making some
polarity between abstration and representation with a
backward correlation, and maybe also some other oppositions
tangled up in there too. of course thoughtless != abstract,
there's lots of totally thoughtless representational art.
and there are also tons and tons of art critics who will
tell you exactly what you should think about abstract art.

and, to be sure, even the representational is open to
endless interpretation. the active consumer will poach his
own meaning even from the most overdetermined norman

and of course the "problem" of taste and the lack of it and
how it will effect the appreciation of this or that artist
or genre is also nothing remotely new.

but anyway, most importantly, Momus recently wrote
"Masturbation is to reproduction as abstraction is to
representation." And I totally agree. I have less and less
tolerance for abstract art every day. art for me is about
conveying meaning. unfortunately music, traditionally, is
the most abstract art form there is. so that's a problem,
for me at least. but there's ways out of that. collage is
one of them.

>Good riddance to "good art,"

and bad riddance to bad art!


Steev Hise, Syssy Admin
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                     *** sig almost over ***
"Art supercedes what's personal. It's a philosophy that serves
patriarchy well and I followed it more or less for 20 years."
                -Chris Krause

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