Blurting In A & L

Answer 6/26

Author: Michael Corris  
Posted: 27.12.2002; 16:44:19
Topic: Question 6
Msg #: 633 (in response to 428)
Prev/Next: 632/634
Reads: 66393

Dear John (and Thomas, too): The discussion is beginning to get a bit more interesting for me and, I suspect, others, because it is forcing us to consider how an analysis and appreciation of historical practices might impact on our understanding of contemporary internet practices and attendant models of art. Paul Wood tackles the issue of value in his essay in Art-Language, new series, vol. 1, no. 1 (1994). It springs directly from the problems thrown up by conceptual art during the 1970s with respect to ART and "political engagement." The argument that Paul constructs is complex and subtle, and has something to do with the inadequacy of historical materialist methodology to discern how art can be of value if it is not directly engaged with topical issues or concerned with prompting effects outside the discipline of art. It's not quite a rehabilitation or rationalization of Greenberg's position on art's necessary self-sufficiency, but it also doesn't paint him as a crude formalist. It is far more satisfying an argument than ones advanced by contemporary supporters of activist art. For them, it's a generational issue. This seems solipsistic to me, and reminiscent of other, earlier attempts at self-justifying closure advanced by Lippard, Krauss, et al. We might wish to have a closer look at Lev Manovich's analysis of the "language of new media." In his view, early 20th century film supplied the framework for new media. The filmic metaphor is not the only way to conceptualize this advance. Michael, Charles and Mel (in the same issue of A-L noted,above) rely heavily on metaphors drawn from music. John's assertion that the artist painting in his studio is a reactionary practice is certainly challenged by A&L, but not necessarily put to rest. It would be a travesty of A&L's work to put them in the same boat with all and sundry who use paint and brush. Their interest, it seems to me, is to force antique modes to yield something interesting and valuable in opposition to official culture. Our interest I speak of Thomas's and mine is to discover the same for those modes of so-called new media. It may be that the production of "fakes" is more like the "fractal structure of new media" (Manovich) than "American-type painting". Michael Corris (