Skip to content

Index: Art & Architecture

Permanently Uncanonical.

A Fortnightly Review of Heretics of Language by Barry Schwabsky Black Square Editions 2017 | 248pp | $20.00 £15.04   By NIGEL WHEALE. BARRY SCHWABSKY IS art critic for The Nation, a prestigious American weekly with a list of contributors that includes Toni Morrison, E.L. Doctorow, Noam Chomsky (and Henry James, back in the day). […]

Artaud in Ireland.

Peter O’Brien: ‘Is it possible, entre-deux-guerres, to be more insightful than to imagine and begin planning for the coming apocalypse from the western precipice of the continent? And is there a safer place in Europe during the years of World War II than a lunatic asylum? Artaud spent the entire span of that second war in various asylums. When France was occupied by the Nazis, various of Artaud’s friends ensured that he was transferred to the psychiatric hospital at Rodez, in south-central France, well inside Vichy territory.’

The new life of Whistler.

Walter Sickert: ‘If Whistler has himself left, in an interesting and passionately felt life-work, a contribution to our better understanding of the visible world, he has also done another thing. He has sent the more intelligent of the generation that succeeds him to the springs whence he drew his own art — to French soil. ‘

Looking back in anger.

Alan Wall: ‘Kitaj was obsessed all his life with Cézanne, and Cézanne certainly believed that everything needed in life and art was here, right before us, but we had to learn to see with utter integrity, and that meant ridding ourselves of false visual conventions. It is not the subject-matter of art that makes it lofty, but its method of perception. ‘

Pages from ‘Lots of Fun with Finnegans Wake’.

Peter O’Brien: ‘I have been reading Finnegans Wake on and off (mostly off) for four decades. I recently decided to annotate / illustrate / disrupt the 628 pages of text. It’s a way for me to attempt a reading of what many consider an unreadable book.’

An objective theory of Modernist aesthetics.

Tronn Overend: ‘Aquinas’s notion of clarity can be understood as the development of a theme. This sits easily with the Modernists. Explorations ‘of the thing itself’ was ‘never’ complicated by also trying to incorporate things ‘on it’. Such ornamentation would always confuse the problem of thematic development. Is there too much? Is there enough? Does it add anything to the form and the proportion that is being explored? By simplifying their project, Modernists more easily achieved clarity of purpose and a simpler development of their themes’

Of cars, carpets, and chemistry.

John McEwen: ‘The art panjandrum and collector David Sylvester called him ‘a fifties man’. For Mills, the fifties meant the ‘wonderful’ Festival of Britain and later the arrival of Expresso coffee bars. They reverse its reputation as a dreary post-war interlude.’

Artists and their Physicians: Vincent van Gogh and Doctor Paul Gachet.

Anthony Costello and Emma Storr: ‘One interpretation of the relationship between artist and doctor is that Gachet’s life-long interest in art manifested itself in the wish fulfilment to be Vincent van Gogh, so he dressed like his patient, he tried to paint like his patient and he made a second ‘fake’ copy of the eponymous painting. He also collected his patient’s paintings, painted a deathbed scene so that his painting became synonymous with the great Vincent van Gogh in death and he became custodian of a cache of Van Gogh paintings.’

Between history and myth in Austin, Texas.

Christopher Landrum: ‘ Like mushrooms in moist soil, overnight all over Austin appeared high quality epics, poems, novels, symphonies, and visual art. This was the first time citizens could recall their city breaking free of the bureaucratic interests of state government and the handful of monolithic multinational corporations that made up their coterie. And the first myth made in this new era was that the hurricane was to blame for the statues coming down.’

Post-Impressionists.

By WALTER SICKERT. ROGER FRY AND his committee have earned the gratitude of all painters, students, and lovers of art in this country by the illuminating and interesting collection they have formed at the Grafton Gallery. That they have entitled it “Manet and the Post-Impressionists” is a detail of advertisement. Only those who have never […]

Post-Impressionism.

Roger Fry: ‘How the Post Impressionists derived from the Impressionists is indeed a curious history. They have taken over a great deal of Impressionist technique, and not a little of Impressionist colour, but exactly how they came to make the transition from an entirely representative to a non-representative and expressive art must always be something of a mystery, and the mystery lies in the strange and unaccountable originality of a man of genius, namely, Cézanne. What he did seems to have been done almost unconsciously. ‘

Roger Fry, Walter Sickert and Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries.

Marnin Young: ‘Formalism’s insistence on “arrangements of form and colour” stirring the imagination simply do not require any acknowledgement or understanding of the corresponding expressive states of the artist. They work whether or not the artist intended them to. Or rather, they don’t. Not really. But if we think they do, any effects they have are rendering meaningless by their severing from an artist’s intentions. Fry’s formalism comes to life only upon the death of the artist.’

Bruno Schulz’s misplaced Messiah.

By H. A. WILLIS. Part one of the Drohobych Diptych. A GENERATION AGO, it was a book with which nobody could be bothered. The sales reps thought it was not worth adding an unknown, foreign writer to their already heavy sample cases. It became an orphan, placed on a special shelf in our warehouse in […]

The Work Programme.

UPLANDS B BUSINESS PARK, BLACKHORSE LANE, SUMMER 2011 By IAN BOURN. TODAY IS BRIGHT and cloudless in the Uplands B Business Park, which overlooks the Lea Valley and its sunlit reservoirs. I lock my bicycle to some railings near the rubbish bins in the car park of Landmark House. I could have come by bus, […]

Imran Qureshi.

David Nowell Smith: ‘Given the assurance with which Qureshi uses these large spaces, the ways in which he continually overspills his canvases, it is perhaps surprising to think his background was in miniature painting. And yet, perhaps there is continuity here, insofar as his larger scale works arose out of a desire to extend the possibilities of the smaller medium.’