Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inventing Inventing Abstraction

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky
There are sultanates in the Middle East and there is the sullenate of Manhattan which appears as midtown begins to empty out in the hours before Christmas Eve. If you are foolish enough to think you can avoid the crowds lining up for the newly installed Inventing Abstraction Show at MOMA by  going on Christmas Eve, you are left holding the bag, i.e. holding your overly salty perennially disappointing oversized pretzel in your hand as you are greeted by an unbeauteous yellow notice behind a closed grate, “Museum Closes at 3:00 P.M. Today." But you can enjoy the low definition approach by which the imagination fills in the space between the lines. Inventing Abstraction…who needs a show? You can invent inventing abstraction in your own mind. To begin with it’s not realism. So you don’t have to worry about illusion and therefore perspective. You don’t have to worry about the painting representing anything. Why? Because the painting is about itself. Admittedly you read these ideas when you were studying Clement Greenberg and you also read about people like Duchamp who said that art didn’t have to be a gilt framed portrait of the dauphin. It could even be a urinal. Though you’re making your way down Fifth Avenue rather than Broadway, you’re reminded of Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie. Yeah, art can be a little bit like music too, patterns interrelating for the sake of themselves. You’re still itching about not being able to see the new show. Secretly you’d also hoped you’d get lucky and have been one of the fortunate ones who didn’t have to sacrifice their lives in order to see The Clock (also on exhibit at MOMA. However, in your frustration in not finding something to fill the emptiness you always feel on Christmas Eve, you started to talk to yourself and in the course of talking, you leaned a little something about what you thought about art.


  1. Reflective and a reminder that empty spaces are not necessarily a vacuum.
    Thank you!

  2. thanks Jylle and speaking of vacuum. I’m finding vacuuming, particularly vacuuming in the buff to be an activity in which many ideas come to me. Vacuuming with my clothes on is equally effective, but does not make for good copy on a blog post.


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