Square Made More Complicated


To fully appreciate what’s going on here you have to begin with the post about Ellsworth Kelly that I posted here, and work forwards.

Using the same hardware paint sample squares, I’ve taken and covered some of the interior colors up with other squares, layering them in various ways.  The result produces rectangles of many shapes, strong contrasts between light and dark and/or warm and cool colors, and narrow vertical bands of color that play off against the bulkier more squarish shapes.  The final image is produced in a camera. I just arrange the squares and then unarrange them — which means that the great work of art thus produced is forever lost to those high-rolling collectors who might have desired to own them.  Que sera sera.  (I’ll be happy, of course, to reproduce any of these on commission.  The price for one of these better-than-Ellsworth-Kelly pieces is only 8 million dollars.  Quite a bargain.  That’s half what one pays for a Damien Hirst.)

Anyway, since the image exists chiefly in the camera’s digital memory and upon your computer screen, it means that it can be manipulated in one’s software.  I rotated the image until I found the orientation I liked best.  One could also reverse it, change the colors and jazz it up in lots of ways, playing to one’s heart’s content.

And I hope your heart is content.  However, I think your hands should have something useful to offer as well.  The next image will take us back into the mists of time to when people made things by hand.  Or back to memories of kindergarten.  Same thing.  Children are savages.  But they can teach us all the savage pleasures, such as crayoning and drawing for the pure joy of it.

So, next post.  The plot thickens.  Remember, we’re on a journey looking for “real art.”

Teachable Moment


In the previous post I revisited my complaint about Ellsworth Kelly, who is representative, who perhaps even exemplifies, the false art that has become a staple of contemporary museums and university art history programs.  It has dawned on me over night that this topic brings with it the potential of a teachable moment.  So, I have decided to launch a kind of anti-Ellsworth project here, which can begin with Ellsworth (a topic that brings many viewers to this blog) but which leads toward what I hope can be a more fulfilling and genuine encounter with a living, everyday art.  Since I’ve always felt that one should begin wherever one finds oneself, I will begin this “tour” for the Ellsworth visitors with an Ellsworth Kelly-like idea.  Perhaps other readers may find something fun and useful in it as well.

So.  I was at Lowe’s hardward store this morning, and seeing the paint sample display I thought naturally enough about Ellsworth Kelly, my blog and my previous arguments.  Having already told readers that they could do their own “Kelly” pictures quite as easy as pie using hardward store paint samples, I decided to grab a bunch and do it myself!  Hardware stores are devoted to the “do-it-yourself” ethic, so it seemed entirely ripe and just and good to apply this ethic to art — even to the High Museum Art.  Let the art world learn something from the world at large, I say.

Above is the first result.  I took the squares and placed them side by side.  You can compare them with the Kelly image that I first posted here.  This one has fewer squares, they are all colored squares with no white or black spaces.  I arranged them quickly in what struck me as a pleasing harmony.  This pattern is more “raw” in comparison to Kelly’s chessboard-like image.  But then, I was in a hurry and felt that spontaneity has its own virtues.  Mine has shadows and messy elements of things not lining up perfectly.  I think they lend it character.

You can do the same thing, obviously.  In subsequent posts, I will complicate this project.