This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
tm © 2012
LOUISE NEVELSON....a troublesome, playful nanny with a contribution
For some reason, I do not remember why, I was walking to the entrance of the Fine Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico .......or, perhaps. it was to the entrance of the Hallowitz Gallery when by chance a figure I’d never before seen but immediately recognized as that of Louise Nevelson confronted me at a 45 degree angle and a six inch distance and I was threateningly faced by 3/4inch eyelashes attached to a face distinguished mainly by its elongation and its wrinkles cramped into an expression of amused seduction. It gave me a clue as to how Louise viewed her art production and her position in the theatre of erotic bewilderment. That expression and the one which emerged from her eyes were entirely mischievous and, at that very moment, I understood what state of mind she had adopted to produce her arrangements which are, essentially, two-dimensional. They are certainly attractive and they perform the function of providing visual entertainment and, not so by the way, tell me she resented having to keep house by putting things in their prearranged places....she would rather place things where they weren’t, or ever had been and to allow them a breadth of self expression which inanimate objects rarely have the chance to do and while, still not animate, they stand boldly daring anyone to voice any expression of disapproval. “I am what I am, an arrangement of wood pieces where
wood pieces usually are not and I’m proud of my otherness from other wood pieces....proud of what I am....and you shut up about it!”
One the other hand those dragon-taloned eyelashes beguile the innocent and after a long period of recovery reminded me of the time I found myself sinking into the gaze of ...of my!...... what was her name again?
NEVELSON’S WOOD ASSEMBLAGES.... monochromatic and rarely explores the third dimension.
The third item on the top row does exhibit some greater sense of three dimensions. It would have been a fairly natural consequence of having observed changes in conditions and appearances as one progressed in the work and the result speaks well for Nevelson’s willingness to embrace what may have been an accidental development....after all, are there any creative artists who do not take advantage of what some might call “accidental?” It does, after all, take a certain talent to recognize a value even if it is a happenstantial one and no detraction from Nevelson’s accomplishments should be understood, but, nevertheless, and by and large, Nevelson did not show much interest in experimentation as such, but rather, some contentment with having chosen a fairly “off-centered” interest in boxes and their possible contents...but then, we must remember Pandora did the same sort of thing....and I do claim that in both Pandora and Louise there is a great quantity of mischievousness...and I call to witness the ¾” false eyelashes she waved at me as we passed each other in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After all, false seductive eyelashes decorating the experienced eyes of an 80 year-old woman might be classed as a classical example of faith....in the supra-natural. ARTISTS DO NOT COMPETE...THEY BEHAVE
As for unusual arrangements of waste products consider these toiletpaper roll works by Henrickson rivalling, in some way, perhaps, Duchamp’s urinal.
ON THE OTHER HAND........
If one were to identify and to list the characteristics of a creative item would the number of characteristics listed, assuming the list to be complete, identify the most and the least creative work and all those in between? It would be a relatively simple algorithmic process and would have the “virtue” (if that is the proper adjective to use) of eliminating the influence of subjective judgments so despised by those so proud of their totally objective points of view. Few have suggested, thus far, that this “pride” may be a subjective element as well. I do not know the source of the report that Picasso had, at one time, expressed surprise that his public would accept anything he might do...simply because he did it. While this may be a correct description of the case it should not, ideally, be confused with what is called “aesthetic” judgment, unless, and this may be legitimate at least among sociologists of fashion, one’s attention has shifted from the product of artistic production to the performance of production...sort of not judging the painting, but an actor acting the role of an artist on the stage might
produce but judging rather his rendering of the act. There are several develpments at play here. First among them, perhaps, is the near total break-down of what might ve balled “principles of aesthetic development.” Of thid Picasso seemed obviously aware, but the event seemed to amuse and perplex him and as basically, a clown, and one ready for a joke, he saw no reason to oppose it. Besides he and his associates probably enjoyed the elevated living style. Dali, too, was aware of it, but he was even more accomodating and developed an approach that was even more insidious and devasting of the public taste which, by now, or by then, had been eaten away to raw bone...not unlike the Emperor’s new clothes, or this portrait of a woman for which Neveleson might have modeled for de Kooning...a clear
expression of a woman graphically illustrating her requirement for attention
“WOMAN” by Willem de Kooning.
AND THEN LET US FOCUS IN ON SINCERE EFFORT.....I do not think Cezanne capable
of identifying the rediculous.
It ook a serious and relatively obtuse man like Paul Cezanne to be concerned about building pictures...and he had to rid himself of his adolescent erotic passions in order to achieve it.
These two works represent an astounding creative evolution the meaning of which, I believe, we have not yet begun to understand, and, in all truth, I believe there to be a crowd of commentators waiting in the wings to keep us
from understanding the significance simply because there is more ready cash in mystery than there is in intellectual closure. Whoever it was who labelled Cezanne as the “father of modern art” had it right, but us kids and grand kids have certainly gotten off track. There are, of course, as always, a few exceptions. When we come to consider the powerful projections of personality I am reminded of the odd circumstances surrounding the visit of Louise Nevelson to Santa Fe and Doris Cross’s voluntary silence on the subject...silence, that is, until I asked her if she knew she was there. I knew they knew each other. Doris admitted she knew that Louise was in Santa Fe, but that was the end of it.... there was no interest in seeing an old friend. DORIS AND LOUISE...THE DIFFERENCES
It is my guess that both Louise and Doris had ambitions for the self (who doesn’t dream of being loved by another forever and ever?) that significantly exceeded their private estimates of their worth and that their painful awareness of their limitations (at least in terms of the art world establishment) which fuelled their determination to be acknowledged that this, as opposed to academic acceptance of pre-set standards encouraged the mischievous Nevelson to reduce her efforts to the simplest lowest common denominator and for Doris to more aggressively demolish the very pillar of academic structure...the dictionary column. It may be, in this fashion, that the story of Thor’s hammer first destroys before it allows creative growth and makes the creative human being .... a being which affirms the life process. It may be coincidental that two of the other artists mentioned, Brach and Agam seemed to have offered nothing more than the performances of self display: “I am here see how clever and cute I am!” Beyond showing his audience that they participate in the creation of a work when walking, or moving, past it
(those who have not seen an Agam may be unaware that the works have largely been created by the application of milled lumber measuring about ½” x 1+3/4” and that the protruding dimensions have been painted in contrasting colors providing the viewer, as he walks by, with a different picture at each step), he offers us no other insight.
As for Paul Brach, Leo Steinberg stated it with considerable panache when asked about Brach that the work illustrated "the invisibility of an encompassing,
As for the statement itself it has brought Steinberg as much attention as Brach who told us he drove a Porche, a Mercedes and had a house in the Hamptons. And from this we might be expected to believe he had been successful as an artist.
Henrickson’s portrait of Doris Cross which may have been prompted by his subliminal understanding of her unremitting self-abnegation....Is there any wonder that her son Guy placed her cremated ashes into a round tubular oatmeal container? Or, her husband’s not
quite forgotten rejection of her in favour of a belly dancer.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?