Tuesday May 18, 2010

For the Birds

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Sensei

While there is continuing controversy over beauty and truth in art, it’s heartening to know that some artists have figured it out for themselves.

In his 1973 documentary Painters Painting, filmmaker Emile de Antonio interviewed many of the figures, including Barnett Newman, who, after the Second World War, had fueled the abstract expressionism movement in New York City.

Barnett: “Yes, because many years ago at a conference in Woodstock that was held with a panel consisting of philosophers—esthetes, really, professors of philosophy, professors of esthetics—and artists, I declared that even if they were right, and even if they could build a system, an esthetic system that they could claim explained the activity, the creative activity, it would be of no value, because esthetics for the artist was as meaningful as ornithology must be for the birds.”

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