Thursday, October 13, 2011

Art Is Too Important to Love

Thinking, like life, builds accidentally.

What happens in art doesn’t need you.

(But we have no hope of testing it observationally.)

If a description fits everyone, it’s not much of a description. This is a problem people who would categorize movements and periods in art continually face.

When I see someone write about a way an artist or some artists work I usually have the reaction that it is in some ways an attractive proposition, but that its proposed application to reality is pure speculation. I also feel this way when reading some poems.

Art is always a disappointment, because, in the end, it’s just people talking. Perhaps this is why people often like the say that art is like money or religion.

Artists are more afraid of circus clowns than are non-artists.

“Over time, only the best models survive,” only works in a generally horizontal community. I know of nowhere in history where a generally horizontal community has existed.

Art is a system that develops chaos. People tend to know this intuitively and then proclaim or deny art because of it.

Could there be an art as without mind as math is?

The genius is the first one to make a joke about a tragedy when it’s not too soon.

People often approach others with “how are they wrong?” when we all know that nearly all positions have a point, so that a mindset of “where are they right?” is just as valid, and a more profitable position from which to begin.

That said, sometimes you have to fight.

One of the many tricky parts of art is to be able to lose sight of your objectives while still working toward them. Which is first, to have objectives, and second, to not have objectives.

Between friend and enemy, the stranger must be restored to conceptual order. And what if we’re braced with the new, then? The perfect stranger? What if it’s unresolvable?

In art, one must never claim that what one is doing is possible.

There are ways of looking at art that are compatible, or sympathetic with each other, ways that are neutral with each other, and ways that are incompatible rivals.

How can art approach fundamental meaning when, in our daily lives, fundamental meaning continually recedes? Encounters with meaning are inevitable. But how one chooses one’s way makes all the difference.

The general population’s lack of knowledge of contemporary poetry removes contemporary poetry from its context. The context no longer generally understands itself in the poem.

When one does criticism, marking themes, value, intentions-outcomes, achievement, what has one accomplished? Is there a way of doing this that keeps the text in play?

I, too, wish John Ashbery would win the Nobel Prize.

Binding ourselves to genres as if they were closeable yields absurdity, absurd distinctions. Yet, yielding ourselves to the indefinability of genres leaves us without a stage from which to speak.

Either / Or! It’s difficult for anything to follow that without falling into fallacy.

Cleaning a chicken doesn’t mean giving it a bath.

As an artist, there are always places you won’t go, places you can’t go. That doesn’t mean art can’t. just that you can’t.

A car promises you there is a road.

Art is not kind to experts.

That’s just it. There is no mold. That is why the definition of what we’re doing will always recede. Each new art object is part of the syntax. “Watch the other children and you’ll know what to do” is only a start.

The end of a method: we can no longer envision, but invention’s easy.

Imagine that these are all brand new words.

Good luck.


At 10/13/2011 8:41 PM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

"Good poets learn everything they can.
Great poets forget everything they learned."

Gary B. Fitzgerald - 2005

At 10/14/2011 4:37 AM, Blogger David Grove said...

"Either / Or! It’s difficult for anything to follow that without falling into fallacy."

Frisson! Several of these aphorisms arouse a frisson of recognition, actually, but this one reminds me of an old Paris Review interview with Burroughs:

"Yes, it is unfortunately one of the great errors of Western thought, the whole either/or proposition. You remember Korzybski and his idea of non-Aristotelian logic. Either/or thinking just is not accurate thinking. That's not the way things occur, and I feel the Aristotelian construct is one of the great shackles of Western civilization. Cut-ups are a movement toward breaking this down. I should imagine it would be much easier to find acceptance of the cut-ups from, possibly, the Chinese, because you see already there are many ways that they can read any given ideograph. It's already cut up."

A few days ago Silliman posted a video in which Burroughs said almost exactly the same thing to Kathy Acker. But this older interview gets so wild when B. talks about the cut-ups of coincidence: "I was reading Raymond Chandler, and one of his characters was an albino gunman. My God, if there wasn't an albino in the room. He wasn't a gunman."

Cut-ups: thinking building accidentally, art as without mind as math is, working toward your objectives by losing sight of them.

At 10/14/2011 7:32 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I've not read/seen the Burroughs bits. I'll go looking.

I'm a big cut-up fan. Or at least my version of cut-ups, which is what I suppose happens to most of us as the world comes to us in overheard bits and pieces.

At 10/14/2011 7:46 AM, Blogger David Grove said...

Yes, that's Burroughs' point precisely. Cut-ups are happening all the time. I'm looking at what I'm typing now, but at the same time I'm aware of my blue-and-black plaid sleeves, the coffee cup next to my laptop, and the noise of someone dropping things in the mailboxes outside my door. That's a cut-up.

At 10/14/2011 7:48 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Absolutely, yes. That's precisely it. Or its. Or thems.

At 10/14/2011 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoying your recent posts, John, and I especially like these aphorisms you bring out occasionally. With regard to your recent subjects/discussion, you may get a charge out of Eyolf Ostrom's past blogs on Dylan/mathematics ...

the content of which is pertaining to Dylan's writing in Chronicles about his meeting/discussion with Lonnie Johnson back in the olden days, pre-MTV. lol.

Fascinating stuff that I posted a couple three years ago or so at the Alsop Gazebo theory board, following some strange and raging discussion re: spoken word poetry/slam, if I recall correctly (the old Gazebo stuff all sadly disappeared into the ether one day a few years back when the server crashed).

The Ostrom essays are still up on the net, far as I know, and pretty easy to find.

Dylan, btw, was reportedly a contender for the Nobel this year, landing somewhere finally near Ashberyville. All best,


At 10/14/2011 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or maybe I should have said near

Ashtabula ...


At 10/14/2011 10:00 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I would welcome them awarding Dylan the Nobel. Certainly, yes. I've heard his name mentioned quite a bit. But the Nobel people don't like giving the literature award to Americans.

At 10/15/2011 4:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleaning a chicken doesn't mean giving it a bath, but Julia Child did recommend rinsing and patting dry a chicken before cleaning it.

Jacques Pepin disagreed, saying it was unneccesary because "anything that can survive 180 degrees deserves to live."

Hope you are well, John.

Tim Ackerman

Tim Ackerman


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home