Comments on: It’s Show Time! John Armleder at Dairy Art Centre http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Sam Cornish http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-172948 Tue, 04 Jun 2013 06:30:12 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-172948 What mean is that though your work (very much less so your ideas and responses to art?) may move beyond certain strands or traditions within modernism, and is certainly not a practice that slavish repeats the recent past, I really don’t see that it is in anyway removed from attitudes which could be fairly directly characterised as modernist. An extension of modernism (Late late Modernism) rather than a completely new way of working, a completely new attitude to art. I don’t see it as a problem – all artists need a stream of ideas which they work within and against; and perhaps a very productive way for modernism to be approached now involves artists who are both heavily implicated in it and uncomfortable with this fact.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-172488 Mon, 03 Jun 2013 08:30:00 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-172488 Well, I’d like to think we could (collectively?) move on to something new – abstraction without/beyond modernist aesthetics, perhaps? – but no doubt you’ll tell me I’m mything myself.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-172449 Mon, 03 Jun 2013 07:07:10 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-172449 Yes, but the framework of ideas, assumptions, prejudices which determines whether what is ‘new’ or ‘original’ is seen as having value is more or less modernist, is it not?

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By: Emyr Williams http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-171110 Fri, 31 May 2013 18:30:41 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-171110 Haha, you’re in danger of becoming an Art junkie John – getting a fix off trashy installations such as Armleder – or should that be Armloader? I recommend some cold turkey; maybe the Cezannes at the Courtauld? … fight it, fight it!

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By: john holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170922 Fri, 31 May 2013 10:32:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170922 By the way, I don’t find anything remotely Academic or symptomatic of the malis about the approach to making your work that you describe- your work doesn’t strike me as being about verbal signification, quite the opposite.

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By: john holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170896 Fri, 31 May 2013 09:24:31 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170896 Blimey, you’re up early.
I don’t want to suggest Armleder, Serota or anyone else is a ‘conman’. It’s all far more complex than that. And like you say, a siege mentality gets you nowhere.

But I do think the reduction of artworks to signs (sometimes retrospectively- see Robin’s experience in Yorkshire) is a major problem, and I made the Victorian analogy to emphasize that it isn’t a uniquely contemporary thing. And I do think the larger ‘Artworld’ and it’s ever increasing proliferation of secondary workers- interpreters, curating courses, the whole expanding economy of it- has a vested interest in encouraging this; as well as cultural changes engendering a desire for more or less instant apprehension.
So many things described as challenging our perceptions and revising (interrogating?)our views are actually packaging a remarkably small range of received (verbal) ideas.

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By: John Bunker http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170809 Fri, 31 May 2013 06:13:44 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170809 Sorry John but I need to find a way out of a particular ‘siege mentality’. I’m absolutely for the “meaningfulness of an engaged visual contemplation”and I do have faith in my media. Like Dr Dre’s it is a hybrid form that has absolutely no problem with using disparate elements from vastly different fragments of culture and bringing them together in new and what I hope are vitally alive and vitally visual experiences. We all know there is nothing new in this approach! Is it just another symptom of the degenerate Academicism that hangs heavy on your experience of contemporary art? Probably! You chart a kind of hypothetical journey of the artist/conman (again) making his way up the slippery pole of institutional recognition eloquently enough, but I’m not buying it. It seems to suggest that our experience of art is hopelessly mediated by evil institutions. That’s wholly patronising and I believe very far from the truth of the matter. I think the general engagement with art by so many more people has created some wholly new and amazing, complex dialogues between people and the world at large. I’m really interested in the role of abstract art in these processes.

I’m always on the look out for a bit of engaged visual contemplation. I’d have to admit that these ‘radical’ moments of transformation can be had by looking at some of the oldest paintings in the world or even some of the most orthodox ‘Modernist’ Academicism. I guess I like to think value judgements are always ripe for transformation. I don’t believe this only happens because Mr Cohen or Mr Serota has thrown a bit of their ‘Magik’ dust over a bronze cast of a bin liner or a glitter ball.

Your last paragraph is a persuasive argument that I have heard many times before when an artists work of Armleder’s ilk raises its ugly head on this site. But something in it smells a bit off to me. But I’ll have to get back to my tea leaves.

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By: John Holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170597 Thu, 30 May 2013 20:51:01 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170597 John- No, the Magik is not in “the operation of value judgements”. The Magik is in the taking of something with little in the way of dense or considered visual content, something commonplace, and believing that changing it’s geographical location will give it significance. It’s the Magik of the powerful Institution, the holy space- it’s the act of ‘giving’ significance to that which had no special qualities before.

The value judgements happen long before you get to see the work- once an artist is considered relevant to the discourse, value judgements are rare- how do you make value judgements about an artform that’s lost faith in its own medium, in the ability of the visual sense itself to convey meaning?
This loss of faith is unique to fine art; no other arts- music, literature, film- have suffered this crisis of confidence. So much visual art now, like Armleder’s, sees the investment of meaning in specific visual properties as somehow inherently conservative, and the reduction of the visual to the sign as progressive. Why is that? Why are Fiona Banner’s texts, for example, presented as painting and not literature? Is it because literature is a reactionary medium, or is it because literature hasn’t suffered fine art’s crisis of means, and so has little interest in re-presenting bits of the extant, quotidian world and calling it writing.

The high-low thing is worse than a red herring. As a general rule, if a work is about collapsing our notions (always notions, for some reason) about high and low culture, you can be pretty sure that, again like the Armleder, it’ll be utterly obscure to most people, radically undemocratic in it’s blank obscurity to the casual observer- in other words, High, in the worst sense. Other art forms, high and low, are concerned with the potential and integrity of their specific medium; why doesn’t Scorsese regail us with two hours of unreconstructed bits of TV footage and adverts, or Dr Dre (yo kids) simply appropriate a copy of Now That’s What I Call Music 36 and) put it out as his next album? Because they have faith in their media, that they can use it to say things that couldn’t be said in another form, least of all no form. They don’t make signs to illustrate verbal concepts, and then hope that the Magik of an officially-sanctioned institutional space will transform a bit of the stuff we all see around us into a pinnacle of human creative achievement.
If an art cannot be recognised as anything more than a contingent part of the everyday world unless it’s put into a special, sanctified space that tells us it is (as Armleder’s wouldn’t), then I think there’s a major problem, a fundamental, dead-end decadence that no amount of official radicalist verbalising will help.

Yes, a lot of the alternatives are still knawing at what little is left of the carcass of Modernism,(a boat I think both of us are in, to badly mix metaphors), but something will happen, something that believes in the meaningfulness of engaged visual contemplation. Maybe a new medium, maybe painting has run its course, I don’t know.

In the meantime, collections of found or pastiched objects looking for official sanction to be read as signifyers , free-floating or otherwise, is not much of an answer to anyone except those invested with the powers of interpretation- and I don’t think that it’s inherently reactionary or narrow-minded to say so. Imagine perambulating around the RA circa 1870 and being admonished, when you objected to yet another grandiose, symbol-laden illustration of the Fuzzywuzzies getting it up ‘em, or a fallen woman prostraiting herself at the feet of her hubby while his dog plays the violin in the corner, for being too fusty and judgemental about the art of now. Good grief.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170510 Thu, 30 May 2013 17:21:25 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170510 I take your point, and indeed there may be all sorts of attitudes at this ‘table’ which my comments have rather over-generalised. But maybe as a writer rather than as an artist you do not share the imperative to be progressive or original which most of the artists I know are to a greater or lesser extent possessed by?

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/its-show-time-john-armleder-at-dairy-art-centre/#comment-170298 Thu, 30 May 2013 09:53:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6970#comment-170298 PS I think you are too harsh on Julie Mehretu. I’ll post my own thoughts on it next week.

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