Monday, November 16, 2009

Conceptual Art vs Concepts - A Post with No Conclusions

The quote in the previous post was part of summing up in the last, Episode 13, "A More Abundant Life", by Alistair Cooke in his 1973 TV series "America: A Personal History of the United States". He was likening the end of the Roman Empire to where he saw the USA in 1972/3, based on his (English) observation of the founding philosophies of the nation and diverse views on democracy. Superb television.

When he said that, I wasn't thinking of the USA in 1972/3, however; I just heard those words I quoted, and they had an immediate resonance, particularly the "enthusiasm pretending to creativeness" part.

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I spent a couple of hours this afternoon with Anna, who gave me a historical overview of how Conceptual Art came about, and where "concept (with little c)" sits in the current art environment. The information was valuable, but time spent with another enthusiastic soul, one armed with knowledge, understanding and skills to analyze and explain, was thrilling. On the one hand, I felt freed from "concepts", but now I'm not sure how I'm going to proceed with my Changing Threads project. Time to digest the new knowledge and advice, and think on my own.

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A few weeks ago I treated myself to Julia and Elizabeth Cameron's "How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy)", which arrived from today. It was totally not what I expected, and exactly what I needed. I can't emphasize enough that I have an easy life with so little obstacle in art making. All the more reason I and only I can be accountable for my productivity, my persistence, and my art. I heartly recommend this little book to anyone who has ever delayed making a warp or sitting in front of the loom for some unexplained reason.

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