Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hughesie Does Away with Koons et alii

"For nearly a quarter of a century, late-modernist art teaching (especially in America) has increasingly succumbed to the fiction that the values of the so-called academy - meaning, in essence, the transmission of disciplined skills based on drawing from the live model and the natural motif - were hostile to 'creativity'. This fiction enabled Americans to ignore the inconvenient fact that virtually all artists who created and extended the modernist enterprise between 1890 and 1950, Beckmann no less than Picasso, Miró and de Kooning as well as Degas and Matisse, were formed by the atelier system and could no more have done without the particular skills it inculcated than an aircraft can fly without an airstrip. The philosophical beauty of Mondrian's squares and grids begins with the empirical beauty of his apple trees. Whereas thanks to America's tedious obsession with the therapeutic, its art schools in the 1960s and 1970s tended to become crèches, whose aim was less to transmit the difficult skills of painting and sculpture than to produce 'fulfilled' personalities. At this no one could fail." Nothing If Not Critical, intro.

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