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Writing

November 9, 2009

Artists often tell  me they can’t understand why I wrote about someone’s terrible work.  I think it’s more of a question than lack of understanding; the question is ‘why didn’t you write about me’?  I can’t answer that question in a nice way. I write about work that interest me for some reason and like/dislike is irrelevant. I’m especially interested in art that I don’t get, work that has nothing in common with what I do, shares no similar concerns.

Artists also tell me they like my writing. I really like hearing that because you never know if anyone reads anything anymore or just looks at the pictures. I usually write for “Sculpture Magazine” and make it a point to write about sculptors I feel haven’t been sufficiently noticed. I try to do genuine criticism, never PR. While I ‘m not a ‘real’ journalist, I’m a fairly articulate artist who writes. I only write about what interests me and do it from several different viewpoints while keeping in mind several different kinds of readers.

For me, art-writing is the literary extension of the studio visit. I’m more interested in raising questions, more content-oriented than descriptive. No amount of description can compete with an image and no image can come close to competing with an object.

Magazines always publish an image of the artist’s work so too much description is superfluous. In a recent profile  I suggested that readers look at the pictures first before reading the article, just cut to the chase.All the Vermeers in the world I love images especially because they relieve me of having to make piercingly intelligent observations such as: it’s red, it’s big, it has many interesting details. Ideally I want the article to represent a 3-way dialog between me, the artist and the object. The writing is condensed from conversation I had with another artist while we sat talking around and about an object, the object’s objective and why it matters.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 22, 2009 1:18 am

    The statement that you are “especially interested in art you don’t get” brings up the point that I have argued with others. That sometimes its ok to NOT know what something is, refers to or means.
    Ofcourse one should be intrigued enough to consider what possible meaning or meanings there might be in an object, song, dance , play, painting or book . But it is ok to not know and rather let mystery be the interval of resonance.

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