Abstract Critical

abstract critical: coming to an end

We are sorry to announce that this will be the last post on www.abstractcritical.com for the foreseeable future. The site was launched in January 2011 and it has been an exciting few years, seeing the site grow, and welcoming new contributors, both above and below the line. We think we have staked out something of a position in the relation to the past and future of abstract painting and sculpture, though we hope we have been open enough to avoid dogmatism. As you know abstract painting has been undergoing a revival of sorts in the last few years – we may not have changed the terms of the discourse around this revival but we certainly think we have contributed to it. Our thanks go to everyone who has read or contributed to the site, who have helped make it what it has become.

Though the site will stop being active in about a fortnight, the abstract critical archive will still be accessible, and @AbstractCrit will continue to tweet news, reviews and opinion. The Brancaster Chronicle studio discussions, which abstract critical have been hosting, have set up a separate site. Editor Sam Cornish has compiled a top-twenty from the four-hundred ‘Notes’ and ‘Articles’ in the abstract critical archive, which you can read here.

  1. Robin Greenwood said…

    Our new site launches today. http://abcrit.wordpress.com/
    First up:
    #1. John Bunker writes on Richard Tuttle

  2. Scott said…

    It’s very sad to hear that abstract critical is coming to an end. It will be missed.

  3. Suereston said…

    I’ll miss AbCrit very much-it’s been engrossing and helped me to keep in touch with the debate…glad there’ll be a follow-on if not a resurrection!
    And thank you all for your work on the site

  4. Robin Greenwood said…

    A follow-on site to abstractcritical will be announced very shortly!

  5. Keith Williams said…

    I understand the commitment such a site requires to keep it relevant and up to date, so to those people I thank you. Such a website, that stimulates debate about abstract art is required at this time and I hope something can continue.

  6. John Pollard said…

    No Peter there really is a thing called abstraction, you just have to close your eyes really tightly and believe…..
    Then open your eyes and the subject will disappear and you will be left with the object in front of you.
    Actually every work of art is both abstract and representative, you just have to work out how, why, when, etc.

    • Peter Stott said…

      What object?

      • Robin Greenwood said…

        Actually, it was all a plot by the CIA.

      • John Pollard said…

        The object is the work of art, retaining a disconnection from everywhere and everyone due to inhabiting its own physical space, although it needs a subject to recognise its objectivity. While dualities such as object-subject are philosophically flawed they retain an everyday meaning and wisdom; the tension maybe in the in-betweeness of subject and object that is forever oscillating.

        If we keep in mind the objectified nature of the work of art we may get closer to its truth, although lets drop the word ‘truth’ and go for furthering a more meaningful and useful engagement. This itself, needs to be kept open to revision lest we fool ourselves to closing down meaning through a misjudgement of temporality.

      • Peter Stott said…

        Oh no. Not that. NOT THAT. ‘The object is the work of art’. Please no.

  7. Iain Robertson said…

    Just to join in and add to the final applause for AbCrit. It has done well to sustain such a high level of content, thanks to the many good writers and contributors and of course Sam’s editorship so thanks for that. I have many favourite articles but I would think the most interesting element for me has been the introduction to various areas of current abstract practice that I perhaps would not have been able to access otherwise adding to my research and thoughts on my own work in the studio.
    On a personal note, I was very pleased back in AbCrit,s early days to be invited to be a selector for the 2012 Newcomers Award, working with the other selectors and searching out new abstraction was a privilege, I think it was a significant move and the cross generational approach, if not led, certainly echoed current trends in cooperation between abstract artists. Thanks for this initiative must go to Robin, John, Penny and Emma.

  8. Gill Ord said…

    Real shame, I was just today recommending AC to a fellow painter here at The British School at Rome.

  9. david thomas said…

    Very sad and startling news. Have very much enjoyed this since discovering it, Many thanks for all the hard work

  10. Geoff Hands said…

    Sorry to see AbCrit end. My favourite blog too. What do I tell my fine art degree students at Northbrook College to read on-line now?!
    Thank you Sam and Robin. I wait for the phoenix to rise…

  11. carolina Khouri said…

    What next then?????
    I hope something new and interesting is round the corner… keep us posted.
    Carolina

  12. Terry Ryall said…

    http://prezi.com/1iaaoby031dm/ppd-abstract-critical/

    Sorry, can’t insert a link to the above URL. It’s a short article that touches on the origins, purpose and function of Abstract Critical.

  13. Robin Greenwood said…

    We are in the process of putting together a follow-on site. Watch this space. And follow on twitter @abstractcrit.

  14. Alan Pocaro said…

    Sad to see AbCrit go. There are so few forums for the intelligent and(occasionally)heated discussion of contemporary and historical abstraction. This site will be missed.

  15. Patrick Jones said…

    Altho Ab Crit has been a lifeline and Sam and Robin deserve our profound thanks ,Im not sorry to see a change.I feel the reviews have been too general and the discussion not focused enough.There is a keen need for the cutting criticism that Robin practised because Abstract Painting is so flimsy and easily coerced into fashionable jargon/issues.I hope the Brancasters,rather than being a smoothing of the individuals egos ,can begin to identify some key issues,particularly for the development of Abstract Painting.The sculptors ,altho too narrow for my taste ,are closer to a forum of real interest.

    • Terry Ryall said…

      Patrick, I think that identifying what you refer to as key issues for the development of abstract painting (and I would also say sculpture) has been one of the great strengths of AbCrit. Given the variety of both historical and contemporary abstract art I cannot see how a degree of general focus (from which particularities could be taken) could have been avoided. Although I look forward to following the Brancaster Chronicles it has a different, more focused remit (perhaps a place for the Galacticos rather than the foot-soldiers?,- only kidding.)

  16. Lynne said…

    So disappointed…this is my favourate artblog. Thank you for all the intelligent and thought provoking posts. You will be missed.

  17. Terry Ryall said…

    Many thanks, particularly to Sam Cornish and Robin Greenwood, but also to all those responsible for the hard work of managing this very special place and to all who have contributed to the broadcasting of ideas that it has facilitated. I will certainly miss what I have come to regard as free art re-education,often with a hugely entertaining dimension. I would gladly have paid a subscription to AbCrit such has its value been to me. I hope John Bunker’s last remark is correct and that it is only hywel fawr am nawr!

  18. Ashley West said…

    This site has certainly been provocative and stirred up a mixture of feelings amongst those who have contributed as well as the many that haven’t. Many thanks to all, especially to Robin and Sam, and the others behind the scene who made this happen and kept it rolling in such a consistent and fresh way.

  19. Lucy Howarth said…

    So sorry to hear this.

  20. Katrina said…

    Very sad in many ways……. I hope someone will start up another one very soon but appreciate that it is masses of hard work and dedication.
    A special thanks to Sam for posting my reviews and for some useful editing – it has been an invaluable opportunity.
    I still look forward to reading all the things I have missed…and still worry that I never added anything to the ‘grids’ debate … and still anticipating a reply re the Moss ‘conversation’….? they will have to carry on floating…!
    One of my favourites:
    http://abstractcritical.com/article/simon-callery-interview/

  21. Noela said…

    Ah, this site has been a fantastic experience! I have learned so much and really enjoyed the articles and notes as well as the videos, so am really pleased we will still be able to access them. I have met some very interesting people, who are really talented artists, through the Brancaster Chronicles and hope to continue the dialogue.
    I have spent a lot of time being completely absorbed by the excellent content on this site and applaud Sam and Robin enormously !
    I too have had some ‘laugh out loud ‘ moments, as well as having to concentrate really hard and re-read articles in order to understand what is being expressed .
    Very best wishes to all involved.

  22. John Bunker said…

    I think AbCrit has provided an alternative forum for the voices of artists and art lovers who are tired of the banalities of the academic and market driven discourses that continue to alienate abstract art from the wider public and cultures.

    A lot of time, effort and money has been spent creating this important space for debate and critique. I hope we can keep the spirit of AbCrit alive somehow. The heady mix of passionate opinions, frustration, anger interspersed with insightful wit and outright hilarity has been quite addictive! I have been on the wrong end of various stinging critiques myself ( usually quite justified) and it has been an exhilarating way to find out what I really think. All the ups , downs and inherent problems of online debate only confirms the passionate commitment of the artists and writers who have contributed. This gives me great hope for the future. Although it will soon be in suspended animation- AbCrit ain’t over yet…….

  23. Julie Alexander said…

    Sad news. I have so enjoyed the writing and the sense that ideas expressed on the sight are truly a part of an ongoing dialogue. Thank you very much for all that you have done.

  24. John Pollard said…

    Ab Crit has helped me discover new interesting work, clarify some of the issues involved in thinking about abstraction, and contributed a great deal to my actual practice of trying to create abstract, and then better abstract, painting.
    I also think it has been a very open forum for all kinds of views.
    I have also made some very positive personal/artistic connections because of its existence.
    So, this news is a shame.
    Sam and Robin should particularly be congratulated for their commitment and endeavours to promote an ambitious abstract art.
    Lastly, I should also say it has given me some seriously good laughs.

  25. ken pammen said…

    Thank you AbCrit Team for the fantastic job you have done in keeping your subscribers so well informed. It has been a pleasure to read with interest your latest newsletters and back catalogue. Also on occasions to be able to join in the debates. Whatever form the team now take I wish everyone all the best.

  26. Evan Steenson said…

    Thank you for the great work over the past few years. Thoroughly enjoyed.

  27. Peter Stott said…

    Sorry to hear of this, glad the archive will be kept. I’m amazed at how under-used the site is, given a global audience of millions claiming to be interested in abstract art in tandem with the site’s uniqueness as a forum for it online.

    • Peter Stott said…

      This will go on because of the infernal eternal dilemma; The form that is represented is hidden by what is there to represent it. Catch-22.It’s the same problem for everyone and there is no current solution, so the debate will continue.

  28. Mark Stone said…

    Just came by to read Paul’s latest and saw this sad news. AbCrit will be missed by many of us. Thanks to Sam and Robin and the rest of the AbCrit Crew for a great few years of thoughtful debate – Best of luck to you all!

    • Tania said…

      Bit of a shock! Am just catching up with the latest articles….will miss the in-depth analysis, the broad range of work reviewed, the variety of opinions posted and, of course, Robin’s pithy reality checks. Good luck to you all & many thanks for making the site worth following since 2011.

      • Peter Stott said…

        Of course the real reason for the closing of the site is that it started off on a false premise, that there was a thing called abstraction, when there is no proof of ‘abstraction’ since all 2D data is representative of unidentified objects.