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Index: Art & Architecture

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.’

Of wisdom and folly in art.

John Ruskin: ‘Over [the] three kingdoms of ima­gination, art, and science, there reigns a virtue or faculty, which from all time, and by all great people, has been recognised as the appointed ruler and guide of every method of labour, or pas­sion of soul; and the most glorious recompense of the toil, and crown of the ambition of man. “She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Lay fast hold upon her; let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life.”‘

Hell.

Alan Wall: ‘What terrifies about Satan and the demons is intelligent cunning and damnable determination, not the multi-coloured yawns of the possessed. It is that which makes them uncanny and terrifying, and it is that quality of hellishness which connects them with the goings-on in From Hell. This quality of transcendent and merciless intelligence is what intrigues us about infernal agents. ‘

Herbert Palmer.

Mark Jones: ‘IF SAMUEL PALMER is today regarded as an important and compelling artist in his own right rather than merely an acolyte of the elderly William Blake, the process of rediscovery which led to that assessment can be directly traced back to the efforts of Martin Hardie and Herbert Palmer in the 1920s. Their collaboration on the 1926 exhibition, as fraught and troublesome as it often was succeeded in rescuing Palmer from the ranks of formulaic mid-Victorian landscape painters chiefly through the revelation that in his youth he had been capable of producing the portfolio of anomalous wonders that was the Shoreham work.’