Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whimsical, elegant, and challenging art

I found it deeply pleasurable to fashion this posting about No. 1: First Works by 362 Artists because it enabled me to discover so many fantastic artists who were new to me, as well as seeing new facets in the work of familiar figures.Whether whimsical, elegant, or challenging, the pieces reproduced in the book are guaranteed to be enlivening and stimulating. And it's interesting how many resonances and themes continue throughout the artists' careers. In many instances, the works both awakened them to their identity as artists and showed them the path to the future.
Kenneth Noland: Ex Nihilo, 1958. "Ex nihilo" means "out of nothing," and that is exactly what this painting represents… nothing. It is simply to be looked at and enjoyed, like music is to be listened to…"
Louise Bourgeois says that The Blind Leading the Blind (1947–1949, wood and color) "refers to the blush I experienced at the side of all of the people around me. My father was promiscuous so I had to be blind to the mistress who lived with us. I had to be blind to the pain of my mother. I had to be blind to the fact that my sister slept with the man across the street. I felt an absolute revulsion toward everything and everybody, mostly for erotic reasons and sexual reasons. So when I men an American student who was a puritan, I thought it was wonderful. I married that guy."

"I had just been dumped, so I was completely hysterical and pathetic, but also egomaniacal. Those emotions are like the holy trinity of painting."—John Currin

"In making art, the best way to be subversive is to express happiness."—Richmond Burton

Mitch Epstein: Topanga Canyon, California, 1974. "At a harvest fair in the hills of Los Angeles, I came across four archetypical California girls fondling a snake while an abandoned pink-clad baby slept on the hay a few yards from them…. I saw in this picture … a new prospect for turning the ordinary into theatrical tableaux."
 Chosen for the Whitney Biennial, McDermott & McGough's A Friend of Dorothy (1986; detail) used words "called out to us on a suburban schoolyard…. All the names and catcalls stood out as loudly as we remembered them…. This painting became a pivotal point in our partnership of art. It moved us out of our parlor, leaving behind our audience with blue-rinsed hair."
Dennis Oppenheim: Annual Rings, 1968. U.S.A./Canada border at Fort Kent, Maine and Clair, New Brunswick. "Schemata of annual rings severed by political boundary."


  1. I can't wait to see/read this book!

  2. I'm glad you've chosen to highlight this title! It's really sparked some great debates/conversations about contemporary art. I, for one, LOVED it! There's a great deal that didn't do it for me but it's extremely fascinating:)

    1. That's the great thing about the breadth of the coverage. I googled some of the artists to get photos for the blog (some of the best ones weren't available), and it was like opening up a wonderland of art!

  3. What I really enjoy about No. 1: First Works by 362 Artists, is that a lot of these artists I have never even heard of so it really opened my eyes to new works of art, I was able to check out some of the artists later work as well. Super Cool Stuff!!!