Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible
Jackson Pollock "Number 28" and Sol Lewitt " Incomplete Open Cubes"
photograph by Hallie Cohen
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, the title for the
current show at the Met Breuer, is the one thing of finished perfection in a show devoted to works that are
either intentionally or unintentionally unfinished. Balzac wrote “The
Unknown Masterpiece,”in which
Poussin plays a cameo as he does in the current exhibit which shows his “Midas
Washing at the Source of the Pactolus (1627). However, Balzac was interested in the
kind of implosion of the artistic personality in the striving for greatness. The "Non Finito" works on display at the Met are more matter of fact
in their intention. Pliny is cited early in the exhibition since he encouraged the
artist to “take his hand off the painting.”Da Vinci’s “Head and Shoulders of a Woman (La Scapagliata)" is a perfect
illustration of the point, as the head itself is pure perfection while the hair
is left to the imagination. In the modernist framework Picasso is quoted
thusly, “To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish means to be through with
it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul” and here is the conceptualist Robert
Morris, “Under attack is the rationalist notion that art is a form of work that
results in a finished product.” A room devoted to J.M.W. Turner poses the
question of what the impressionist style is, e.g. an absence of decision in
which reality is only partially limned or, in fact, the scrim through which the
artist’s vision ultimately comes to life. A parallel can be made with Kafka
whose ending for The Trial might be
seen as the absence of an ending.The air of unfinished business of course
lies over the whole cannon of modern and post-modernism as is illustrated by
Cage and Cunningham and certainly by Pollock whose Number 28 from l950 is
exhibited opposite a work by Sol Lewitt fittingly titled “Incomplete Open
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.