Saturday, September 07, 2013
Jean Clay anticipates me:

"We are no longer in a vein of reverent quotation, but of tapping and recycling.  Manet skims from anywhere -- he reverses, assembles, tinkers.  In this wholly prosaic rapport with tradition, the history of art -- its institutions and rules -- is denied the silent authority that it had exercised on every young painter since his first stroke of the brush."

(Jean Clay, "Ointments, Makeup, Pollen," October 27, 1984).

Two takeaways, as the kids say:

1.  Local Frieze reviewers apparently don't read October.

2.  Resemblance is a stumbling block for critics.  If artwork A resembles artwork B, the typical suspicion is that A must be "reverently quoting" B, and, therefore, in the thrall of pernicious influence (qv. Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence).  Even B's creator might be confused.  But resemblance is best considered "ostensible resemblance."  Ostensible because intrinsically different (made at different times, in different places, with different materials, for different reasons). (Borges' Pierre Meynard wants to close these gaps; comedy ensues).  Critics who identify iconographic resemblance have to work harder to prove conceptual resemblance.  Most of the time they can't.

Q:  What if you could have gotten [professional printer X] to print your tree?

A:  I wouldn't have.  I'm not engaged in making copies.

Q:  Or snuck on set?

A:  I'm a peer, not an employee.

Q:  Or seized control of the whole studio production process?

A:  Rose T. Cat would have, sure.  In a heartbeat.  But she's not making my pictures.

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