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WELL TASTE! TASTE is a word that became compromised during the 19th century.

It was in good standing in the 18th when a phi!osopher !i"e #ant and Eng!ish phi!osophers o$ aesthetics too" $or granted that that%s the $acu!ty you e&erted in e&periencing art and e&periencing anything aesthetica!!y. And then in the 19th century it wore down into something that had to do with $ood c!othes $urniture decoration and so $orth and became 'ery much compromised. (ow I thin" it%s a much handier word than aesthetic )udgement or $acu!ty o$ taste $acu!ty and that it shou!d be rehabi!itated i$ on!y because whi!e we can%t de$ine it we recogni*e it. And it%s got a nice o!d+$ashioned $!a'or to it that I particu!ar!y !i"e. And one other thing taste is intuiti'e and nobody yet "nows what goes on in intuition. The psycho!ogists ha'en%t been ab!e to ta"e intuition apart nor ha'e the phi!osophers. We!! by the same to"en nobody yet has been ab!e to ta"e apart art or aesthetic e&perience. We!! there is ta!" especia!!y nowadays about swings o$ taste turns o$ taste and so $orth. True taste doesn%t swing doesn%t 'eer. The 'ery notion o$ taste swinging is anoma!ous. True taste genuine taste de'e!ops e&pands grows. It changes on!y inso$ar as it corrects itse!$ true taste. And it doesn%t do that temperamenta!!y but as part o$ the process o$ its growth. ,rowth means increasing openness catho!icity inc!usion more than e&c!usion. As you go a!ong get o!der and !oo" at more and more art you $ind yourse!$ !i"ing more and more art without ha'ing to !ower your standards. Taste re$ines itse!$- it%s true. It discriminates more as it de'e!ops and yet at the same time parado&ica!!y it becomes opener. .pen in this way/ that you !oo" at 0indu scu!pture say in the same way by and !arge as you !oo" at contemporary art or the art o$ the o!d masters or any other "ind o$ art. And you !oo" it%s hoped with the same honesty. .ne o$ the a$$!ictions o$ art and o$ taste is the untruth you may te!! yourse!$ about the operations o$ your taste or !et%s say the resu!ts o$ your taste and the untruth you may te!! to others. 1ou%re to!d that 2aphae! was a great painter and you can%t see it yourse!$ but since you%'e been to!d it you%'e read it e'erywhere and so $orth you !oo" at a 2aphae! and you may !oo" at a $ai!ed one and say 3we!! it%s got to be good because 2aphae! is so $amous the authorities say he%s so good.3 That%s one o$ the worst ways in which to begin or to continue !oo"ing at art. .n the other hand when the authorities do say that someone%s good and you can%t see it $or yourse!$ it does he!p it%s a!most essentia! that you go bac" and !oo" again and again. 1ou may sti!! decide that this particu!ar 2aphae! is no good but at !east you%'e tried and you%'e been honest and with yourse!$ abo'e a!!. I%'e "nown co!!ectors who owned 4icassos who rea!!y pre$erred (orman 2oc"we!!. I$ on!y they had owned up to it it wou!d ha'e been way better $or the !i$e o$ art and not that I thin" 2oc"we!! is so neg!igib!e I ha'e to use his name because e'erybody "nows it. 0e wasn%t that bad o$ a painter incidenta!!y but there are peop!e who !ie to themse!'es that way and I don%t thin" that that he!ps art in genera!.

(ow taste in the Western wor!d has usua!!y $unctioned in a pretty norma! way I wou!d say. The resistance to modernist art that started with modernism itse!$ was new ++ the con$!ict between the going 3cu!ti'ated3 taste and this new art which happened to be the best art o$ its time ++ but taste itse!$ operated in a norma! and I wou!d say in an honest way. 1ou cou!d say that the peop!e who resisted modernism didn%t try hard enough as I thin" they didn%t. 5ut in the end a$ter a generation or so each phase o$ modernism in painting and scu!pture and the other arts o'ercame and somehow the resistance $aded. 5ut there was a!ready present one $a!!acious habit ++ I can%t ca!! it a $a!!acy ++ the business o$ re)ecting a body o$ art in toto instead o$ !oo"ing at the wor"s one by one. There were c!assi$ications ++ this happened with the Impressionists and they were dismissed who!esa!e at $irst and then they became accepted maybe who!esa!e. That 3$a!!acy 3 the business o$ approaching art generica!!y or categorica!!y or c!assi$itori!y ++ that%s a bad word but c!assi$ication pertains today more than it e'er did be$ore. There%s a reason $or it and there%s a history behind it and hard!y anybody here is o!d enough to ha'e witnessed that history in person. I don%t thin" enough peop!e "now that modernism as an idea the who!e notion o$ it the notion o$ the a'ant+garde o$ ad'anced art rea!!y triumphed in a genera! way. in a wide way on!y towards the end o$ the 1967%s and the beginning o$ the 87%s. And that had to do in the $irst p!ace with 4o!!oc"%s consecration. 4o!!oc" rea!!y began to go o'er around 1987- his pictures rea!!y began to se!! then. 0e was dead ++ had been dead $or a ha!$+decade by then ++ and that was a "ind o$ turning point. Together with that came 5arnett (ewman%s a!most apotheosis which too" p!ace %69 %87+%81. (ow 4o!!oc" was $irst greeted when he went 3a!!+o'er3 ++ when he began to drip and pour ++ by his $e!!ow artists as we!! by the art pub!ic as brea"ing with art as it had been hitherto. 0is paintings were thought to be uncontro!!ed e$$usions which had nothing to do with painting as such painting as a discip!ine- it wasn%t a 9uestion o$ !i"ing or not !i"ing them and $ina!!y his name hung on. 0e became notorious be$ore he e'er became $amous and in the end there he was/ 4o!!oc" was this big name with this big ++ not myth not !egend this big reputation. When (ewman had his $irst two shows in %67 and %61 in (ew 1or" I remember some o$ his $e!!ow painters saying to me didn%t I thin" that (ewman was out to "i!! painting that this was the death o$ painting this was worse than 4o!!oc": 0ow cou!d painting go on i$ (ewman%s "ind o$ painting stuc"- i$ this was considered painting: We!! (ewman didn%t show again $or another eight years. 0e showed again in %69 and $or some reason his success had a!ready been prepared. 0is show made him a great name and he was ta"en $or granted as a great painter. In $act the schoo! o$ ;inima!ism too" o$$ $rom his e&amp!e as some o$ the ;inima!ists themse!'es say. And what coincided with this was the co!!apse the spring o$ %8< o$ second generation Abstract E&pressionism. It was as though o'ernight between =ebruary and ;ay %8< it was wiped out- it was tru!y dramatic and I don%t use the word dramatic !ight!y and that too shoo" cu!ti'ated art

opinion and $or some reason the European especia!!y the =rench e9ui'a!ent o$ Abstract E&pressionism 3l'art autre3 or tachism co!!apsed at the same time ++ a!! in the ear!y %87%s. (ow it%s true the $irst generation Abstract E&pressionists their reputations $!oated to the top in a short whi!e but in %8< 4op Art became the reigning mo'ement in this country and the second American art tendency to ma"e an impression in Europe. (ow certain conc!usions were drawn $rom these e'ents and $rom the "ind o$ art in'o!'ed in them. E'en be$ore these conc!usions were drawn it began to be recogni*ed ++ more wide!y than e'er be$ore ++ that by and !arge the best art o$ the preceding three+9uarters o$ a century had been modernist a'ant+garde. Some peop!e had recogni*ed that a!! a!ong but this time in the ear!y 87%s the recognition seemed to come with a bang and younger peop!e $or the $irst time too" the recognition as a matter o$ course. There was no !onger any arguing about it. Then 4o!!oc"%s success (ewman%s success $urthered the conc!usion that the reason $or modernism%s success in the past was that it had shoc"ed pre'ai!ing taste. That it had been $ar out that it had been new new new and that that was probab!y ++ this a!! too" p!ace rather unconscious!y or subconscious!y that you made your mar" in art history by pro'o"ing shoc" and resistance and by doing the une&pected. And doing it in a spectacu!ar way. We!! then now 4op Art wasn%t so much a product o$ these conc!usions I don%t thin". I thin" 4op Art was simp!y and not so simp!y a re'o!t against hard art. I%!! go into that a bit !ater. 5ut a$ter that ;inima! >onceptua! Inter+ media 4er$ormance 4attern ++ a!! in pursuit o$ the $ar out. That was your guarantee o$ getting into art history. There weren%t mercenary moti'es here. The artists I "now ++ o$ course they a!! wanted to ma"e a !i'ing !i"e other norma! peop!e but they wanted abo'e a!! to get into art history. And that%s rather norma! too. (ow some o$ the !ogic the succession o$ trends or $ashions ?and I ca!! them $ashions ad'ised!y@ !i"e 4op and !i"e (eophotographic 2ea!ism and the (ew E&pressionism proceeded on the !ogic that i$ you turned around on the "ind o$ new art that had immediate!y preceded you that wou!d somehow count that wou!d be signi$icant that had a 'a!ue in itse!$. 4hotographic 2ea!ism said in e$$ect/ 3we%re going to shoc" you by doing the thing that%s been anathema since the mid+!9th century. We%re going to stay c!oser to nature we%re going to stay as c!ose to nature as photography does and we a!! "now that%s aw$u! and that%s precise!y why we%re going to do it.3 4attern 4ainting or Aecorati'e 4attern 4ainting now that was a misunderstanding a !itt!e bit because e'erybody "new that to be decorati'e was to be bad ++ in spite o$ ;atisse in spite o$ 4o!!oc" in spite o$ e'er so many other modernist painters o$ the past who were $irst re)ected as decorati'e. 5ut now a$ter 4hotographic 2ea!ism 3we%re going to go in $or decoration in its most decorati'e most e!ementary $orm as it were. We%re going to paint patterns simp!y because that too has been anathema a!! a!ong as $ar as picture ma"ing is concerned.3 (ow each trend more

or !ess turned on the preceding one and so $ashion went in the wor!d o$ contemporary art. 5ut the troub!e or the damage o$ a!! this was not done so much to art itse!$ ++ good art "ept being produced a!! a!ong and sti!! is superior art. The damage was to taste the taste o$ the supposed!y cu!ti'ated art wor!d that part o$ the art wor!d that interested itse!$ in current art. It came to be ta"en as a matter o$ course that without "nowing it you )udged art by the c!ass to which it be!onged. I$ it didn%t be!ong to the c!ass o$ the 3new3 or the 3e&perimenta!3 ?I hate that word e&perimenta!@ i$ it wasn%t new enough i$ it wasn%t new in a conspicuous ob'ious way it was to be dismissed. Bohn 2usse!! in the New York Times someone I respect a good dea! persona!!y but don%t thin" much o$ him as a critic wou!d write about !et%s say Aarby 5annard and say 3oh he had this and he had this but maybe he%s repetiti'e maybe he%s dated.3 (ow datedness is not a 'a!id aesthetic )udgment. It doesn%t say whether art is good or bad. Aated art can be as good as up+to+date art. ?There are 9ua!i$ications there- but I won%t go into them.@ 1ou can%t dismiss a wor" o$ art because it%s deri'ati'e. There may be a certain degree beyond which deri'ati'eness does hurt art but deri'ati'eness as such doesn%t isn%t crucia! to the 9ua!ity o$ a wor". .ne more thing be$ore I get bac" to true taste/ what struc" me maybe surprised me more than anything e!se in the audience $or new art was its patience with boredom. >onceptua! Art was an e&amp!e o$ that 9uasi+>onceptua! art some "inds o$ ;inima! Art. And it was precise!y that because peop!e were bored that they thought the stu$$ had something ++ that it rea!!y had something and they were missing it ++ and the $act that it was there to be missed meant that it was rea! new and rea!!y important. I$ they got it i$ they got the art i$ they en)oyed it some it was probab!y s!ic" it was probab!y $aci!e and dated. (ow I%m not e&aggerating here- this is !itera!!y reporting things I%'e heard. 5ut bac" to true taste. True taste in any o$ the arts $ocuses on one thing at a time. It doesn%t c!assi$y. It doesn%t accept a c!ass or a genre or a species- it doesn%t re)ect. It !oo"s at one thing at a time. (ow I noticed !ong ago how peop!e wou!d $ai! to !oo" at one thing at a time. A case o$ 'ery une'en artists and an artist who went in se'era! di$$erent directions at once !i"e 0ans 0o$mann. 0is $e!!ow painters wou!d come in ta"e one g!ance at the show and dismiss it and say 3we!! i$ he%s wor"ing in so many di$$erent directions he%s not serious in any one o$ them and he%s probab!y being in+$!uenced a!! o'er the !ot.3 And so $orth. The same thing wou!d happen with Aa'id Smith who was !i"ewise. A 'ery une'en great artist too and whose o'erinsta!!ed shows wou!d !oo" !i"e underbrush the pieces going in so many di$$erent directions and too c!ose to one another. 1ou had to wor" to see a Smith show had to !oo" at one thing at a time iso!ated $rom the ne&t but I noticed that there%s a widespread re!uctance to do that. Somebody%d wa!" in !oo" around and say 3oh it%s no good.3 CThat%s what happened in those days when you cou!dn%tD ma"e head or tai! out i$ it. A$ter the ear!y 87%s i$ you cou!dn%t ma"e head or tai! out i$

it it had to be good. (ow the business o$ the new $or its own sa"e has erased distinctions o$ 9ua!ity. I remember <7 years ago in London ++ as !ong ago as that ++ being considered an o!d $ashioned connoisseur because I said there were good 4o!!oc"s and bad 4o!!oc"s and there were good 2oth"os and bad 2oth"os and a!ready at that time the students at the 2oya! Art >o!!ege thought that was beside the point. 1ou didn%t !oo" at art that way anymore and ma"e discriminations o$ that sort. 1ou bought 4o!!oc" in toto and you bought so and so in toto or you re)ected so and so in toto. (ow the $ai!ure to ma"e distinctions o$ 9ua!ity and the business o$ c!assi$ying o$ e&periencing art in terms o$ c!asses ++ the new and the not new ++ has a!so brought on as you a!! "now a "ind o$ permissi'eness. I%m not saying anything particu!ar!y new but some+thing that I don%t thin" is repeated enough. (ow there%s e'en a tendency to ma"e art especia!!y in painting that%s ug!y. I mean de!iberate!y ug!y which sounds !i"e a contradiction in terms but there%s one artist named ;a!co!m ;or!ey he%s an Eng!ishman origina!!y who !i'es o'er here now who%s a huge success with his oi! paintings ?his waterco!ors show he can paint@ which go $or shoc"ing prices. I%m to!d his !ast show )ust so!d out. ;or!ey hard!y ma"es any bones about the $act that he%s trying to ma"e ug!y pictures because that wou!d top e'erything in the way o$ the new. We!! in a sense it does. As respectab!e a critic as 0i!ton #ramer has written that he thin"s ;or!ey probab!y the most important o$ the (ew E&pressionists. The (ew E&pressionists ++ they%re the !atest success. 5y way o$ parenthesis !et me ca!! to your notice the speed with which these trends disp!ace one another. It%s supposed to be because art mo'es $aster now than it used to and that%s a $a!!acy a misconception- it%s not so. .n the most super$icia! !e'e! on the most con+spicuous !e'e! $ashions do succeed one another $aster than they used to. They )ost!e one another more c!ose!y. 5ut that%s the level they%re on. At any rate 4attern 4ainting was supposed to be the thing two years ago. 1ou can read about it you cou!d te!! by reports o$ the prices it brought but then o'ernight a!ong came these Europeans the Ita!ians >!emente >hia some ,ermans Lupert* #ie$er 5ase!it* ?I $orget the other names@ and Cthe AmericansD Bu!ian Schnabe! Aa'id Sa!!e and they push 4attern 4ainting right out o$ the picture. A!! o$ sudden it%s straight painting $or a change/ you no !onger had to put three+dimensiona! e!ements into pictoria! conte&t to !oo" new. This was straight painting. 4attern 4ainting went out o'ernight. The Ita!ians a!so wanting to be 'ery ad'anced introduced representation ++ human $igures etc. and there%s nothing wrong with that ++ but they were put in you can te!! they were put in because it was "nown that this was naughty. And the same with Schnabe! the same with Sa!!e. (ow the Ita!ians in my opinion don%t paint so we!!. I happen to thin" that Schnabe! puts paint on we!! but there%s more to ma"ing pictures than putting paint on we!! in hand!ing the medium. 1ou a!so ha'e to ma"e a picture which is the most di$$icu!t thing as it was $or the o!d masters as it was $or 4o!!oc" as it was $or ;ondrian as it was $or (ewman ++ putting a picture together. That%s not )ust a technica!

9uestion- you don%t ha'e to "now the inside o$ art in order to appreciate a unity something that stic"s together and something that doesn%t. The Europeans and Schnabe! and Sa!!e and ;or!ey sudden!y don%t ha'e to ma"e pictures. A!! they ha'e to do is put paint and maybe a !itt!e $iguration on a rectangu!ar sur$ace or o'a! sur$ace ++ it doesn%t matter. Schnabe! puts croc"ery in his pictures or seashe!!s or so $orth but that%s beside the point. ?CIt%s possib!e toD ma"e great art doing that but the troub!e with Schnabe! is that when he puts croc"ery in he usua!!y puts it in in an academic way $o!!owing 4o!!oc" 3a!!+o'er.3@ The point is going bac" to straight painting to show you don%t ha'e to ma"e pictures anymore. I%d rather see preposterous scu!pture as you see so o$ten in the Whitney 5iennia!s or in Soho. =or me that%s not as bad as seeing peop!e paint without ma"ing pictures. I $ee! 3good ,od 3 I cou!d paint some- I wish I%d en)oyed that !iberty. Then there wou!dn%t ha'e been any strugg!e when I tried to paint abstract E7 years ago- I%d ha'e )ust put things together on a support. (ow it su$$ices that Schnabe! and the Europeans the (ew E&pressionists !oo" new ++ and they are new- with a!! their academic e!ements they%re new wor"s o$ art I%d ne'er seen. (ow CnewnessD is enough/ peop!e ha'e said to me 3It%s something new. It%s something new.3 CTodayD that%s what matters most. (ow art the production o$ art goes on in surprising ways or surprising gi'en the conte&t. E'er since ;anet%s time e'er since the 1887%s the new art that got attention $irst was in$erior art. Any painter or scu!ptor or any writer $or that matter as T. S. E!iot can testi$y or any composer who went o'er $ast didn%t !ast. ?That%s an unconscious rhyme.@ That%s the record. I don%t say it has to be that way but the record is unbro"en. And those who go o'er $ast occupy the $oreground o$ attention as $ar as current art is concerned. That%s been true since ;anet%s time since the 1887%s. ;eanwhi!e the best new art is there in the bac"ground a!most behind the scenes. And that%s what the record says too. We !oo" bac" at the path and things tend to te!escope into one another. We thin" that 4icasso went o'er 'ery $ast and so $orth- butthat%s not true. Aegas said sometime in the !ate 1897%s that 3in our time you didn%t succeed.3 4icasso cou!d ha'e said the same thing. So cou!d ;atisse. So cou!d 4o!!oc". So cou!d (ewman. So cou!d Aa'id Smith. So cou!d Anthony >aro. In our time meaning by our time be$ore we were F7 or be$ore we were E6 or be$ore we were 67 in our time you didn%t succeed- "Dan notre temp on n'arrive pas." That remains as true today as e'er. 5ut art has its ma!ice. That%s one o$ the many things to re!ish about art. A$ter the ear!y 1987%s there was a genera! reso!'e that we art !o'ers weren%t going to repeat the mista"es o$ the past with regard to new and ad'anced art. We were going to run to greet it as a matter o$ $act. (othing is going to be too new too scanda!ous or too shoc"ing $or us not to accept and i$ we can a$$ord it buy. That became the ru!e I%d say a ru!e that sti!! pertains. 3I%m not going to be an o!d $uddy duddy I%m going to "eep up with the newest thing.

5ecause o$ those 67 years o$ uninterrupted errors made by the cu!ti'ated art wor!d $rom ;anet%s time on- 87 years more. (o more! We%re not going to be caught out again. I$ it%s new enough it%s good. And i$ it isn%t new we "now it%s academic it%s to be discarded. We%re not going to go $or 5ouguereau again. We%re not going to go $or ,erome again3 ++ good Lord ,erome wasn%t such a bad painter when he stayed sma!!. And now they "now enough to re)ect the best new painting art with its ma!ice has contri'ed to ma"e the best new painting come a!ong rather so$t!y. It comes as straight painting so ca!!ed. It comes a!ong as straight scu!pture. Abstract $or the most part yes but not a!ways. 5ut it%s coming as it were too stea!thi!y. It !oo"s too dated to peop!e !i"e Bohn 2usse!! who don%t !oo" hard enough. And so there%s a !ot re!ati'e!y a !ot o$ good new art being produced in our time and by young peop!e too. >urious!y enough among painters an unusua!!y high proportion o$ women. I%m not saying that as a sop to the $eminists in the audience. 5ut as I indicated art mo'es more s!ow!y than it used to. These $ads and $ashions are a!! in the $oreground they%re not part o$ the bottom history o$ art as ;anet and the Impressionists and the 4ost Im+pressionists and the =au'es and the >ubists and the Abstract E&pressionists and the Sti)!ests were. (o these $ads and $ashions these $ar+out things they%re part o$ the $roth on top the $roth that%s been with us since the 1867%s. And it%s not as good $roth as it used to be because then there were good painters !i"e ,erome and ;eisonnier or Landseer e'en and others who at !east when they stayed sma!! were good. (o the down underneath art periods change more s!ow!y than they ha'e at any time since the 18<7%s. ;ain trends I don%t !i"e to use that word 3main3 right now but I mean sti!! a!! that Cit imp!iesD ha'e ta"en !onger to wear themse!'es out as the !eading mo'ements $or ambitious serious younger artists. Abstract E&pressionism !asted <7 years. =au'ism !asted $i'e. >ubism a do*en years. The %87s ha'e been with us $or << years now because I consider e'erything since 4op Art the %87s. Art at bottom the best art drags its $eet as it were. That%s nothing against it I mean that%s not a 'a!ue )udgement but it drags its $eet. The %87s are sti!! with us! That isn%t the most important thing I ha'e to say but I%!! conc!ude on that and we!come your 9uestions.