Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Several Indefensible Assertions About Art

Art is as much a part of things you don’t need as it is a part of things you do need.

Art is an opportunity to escape from one’s subjectivity by blending it with the necessary subjectivity that is the art object.

Art is as it will be. It washes up against itself as time.

Art is always going to refer to itself as “Post-war Paris” but it’s always going to sound as if it’s saying “Plaster of Paris.”

Art always knows less than you do, but something that you don’t.

Art does no better escaping time than you do.

Art exists so that you can ask yourself if you inhabit it or if it inhabits you.

Art wants to say “inhibit” as much as it wants to say “inhabit.”

When our art is gone, so are we.

Everyone dislikes most art.

Art gets as caught up in the moment as you do.

The best art wants you to question it. The best art makes you feel as if you should question it.

Art can do nothing but deliver you to yourself.

Art is necessarily ambivalent. The frame forces the issue.

Art school is not the same as art. The best art schools know this and work within this tension.


At 12/14/2010 1:32 PM, Blogger Justin Evans said...

As I posted on my blog:

"It takes six or eight years to get educated in one's art, and another ten to get rid of that education."---Ezra Pound

I know you are talking about the nature of art, but I wanted to put this in the mix.

At 12/14/2010 1:54 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

That's certainly one way to accomplish the last one on the list. He certainly had a point.

One goal that would seem to me to be a good goal would be to try to accomplish the six or eight years in such a way that one doesn't need to then spend a decade dragging themselves back out of it. Is it really how something must be done? They say the same thing in sports, right?

At 12/14/2010 4:03 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

>Art is necessarily ambivalent. The frame forces the issue.

the frame IS the issue? Because the frame so often goes uancknowleged? It's just sort of "natural," there...

Well, frames, plural, really.

At 12/15/2010 5:30 AM, Anonymous Julio de Luna said...

The farmer's daughter
was so beautiful
he locked her door at night.
But after years and years
she tied the end of her long,
long hair to the bedpost,
climbed down it
out the window,
then cut it close
to her scalp. She lives
in the city still,
writing poems under
the nom de plume
Julio de Luna.

- de Luna

At 12/15/2010 5:52 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

When I was in college, I was never an English major. My major was Journalism, and one of the few things I remember well from that time is studying the always present editorial aspects of the frame. In pictures, yes, that’s obvious. The frame is editorial. But every story has its frame. The place where the story stops and the imagination of the reader/listener continues. A lot of things get pushed out of the frame for coherence and for creating a story, for focus. So, yeah, I’d say the frame, and an acknowledgement of the frame is fundamental to ethical art, as it must be to ethical journalism.

In poetry that can’t just be an acknowledgement of “form,” as some argue, but rather an acknowledgement of excision and the necessary reductions that are all art objects. Even a mirror has a frame. It has to be placed. It creates the opportunity to say "issue," I think.

At 12/15/2010 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May we add, "Art is not reducible to bromides" to this list? Or is that indefensible as an indefensible?


At 12/15/2010 8:26 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Speaking about assertions, I found these in my files (there are about twenty others). I'd completely forgotten I'd written them. Maybe that's saying something about them, of course, that I'd forgotten. But why not share them somewhere. If nothing else, they may be the only self-conscious cinquains written by anyone in the past five years:

Rae Armantrout is a Finalist for the NBCCA.

D.A. Powell is a Finalist for the NBCCA.

Rachel Zucker is a Finalist for the NBCCA.

Keith Waldrop has won the NBA.

Language poetry is like the USSR.

Freddy Seidel imitates loon calls in Ely.

Kenny Goldsmith copies the Times in New York City.

Laurie Glenum talks kinky in Poughkeepsie.

Pakistanis scatter, a mile below, like ants gone crazy.

Who says American poets don’t have manifold talents?

Joshua Clover leans into the wind, like Lenin.

Juliana Spahr sprays bullets into a Seven Eleven.

Once I was in the Soviet Union with Barrett Watten.

Where are you going, Barrett, I said to him near the Neva.

The sun was behind him, and his face was like a disc of fire.

The fury of Flarf has one oil against two vinegars.

The atavism of Conceptualism has two shovels against one can.

Why did Helen Vendler flee across the fields, beyond Erzurum?

Leaving her garments neatly folded, atop this mossy stone?

Because, Frank, those are Capital's dumps that were our
Coral towns.

Oh well. Slow day.

At 12/15/2010 8:41 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...


>Because, Frank, those are Capital's dumps that were our Coral towns.

that should obviously be "that *once* were our Coral towns."

Got to get those allusions right!

At 12/15/2010 8:48 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

just one more, in the spirit of "assertion":

ConPo has taken over totally in Buffalo.

Flarf has completed its coup in Iowa City.

HTML Giant unscrolls its Ode to being hip and thiry-five.

Where is Franz Wright, the hermit of Habsheim?

He is a pillar of snow, with a carrot for a nose, and a tulip for a mouth.


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