08 December 2007

Glenn Ligon on books

In the December "best of 2007" issue of Artforum, Glenn Ligon is one of those who picks books. While he does pick Witness to her art, edited by Rhea Anastas with Michael Brenson, he starts his column with a paragraph on making art:

"In a monograph on Felix Gonzalez-Torres published by A.R.T. Press in 1994, there is an interview between Gonzalez-Torres and the artist Tim Rollins. I reread it every year or so to remind myself that artists don't only talk about the market, their fame, or their latest commercial sponsors. Some of them even talk about why they make art. Following a tradition started by Art Resources Transfer founder Bill Bartman with the book Between artists: twelve contemporary American artists interview twelve contemporary American artists (1996), A.R.T. Press editor and artist Alejandro Cesarco has begun publishing a series of must-have books called Between Artists. Each volume is a record of two artists talking to each other, and the pairings have been inspired: Liam Gillick and Lawrence Weiner, Paul Chan and Martha Rosler, Silvia Kolbowski and Walid Raad. Forthcoming volumes feature conversations between Andrea Bowers and Catherine Opie, Maria Eichhorn and John Miller, and James Benning and Julie Ault. In the conversation between Amy Sillman and Gregg Bordowitz (published this year), there is an amazing discussion of ambivalence; at one point, Bordowitz says, 'I'm interested in art that provokes an objectless yearning. There's a feeling of want in the work but I can't fully identify what's wanted by the work .... I'm very much interested in queer things. Queer things don't yield easily to comprehension. They refuse to recognize, or be recognized. They work from, or occupy, a place of shame or embarrassment. Those are the kind of artwokrs that attract me, regardless of their medium.' In that brief passage, Bordowitz perfectly sums up what makes me keep going back to a Gonzalez-Torres sculpture or a Willem de Kooning 'Woman' painting I have seen dozens of times: a feeling of want that travels between viewer and artwork and is both real and resitstant ot quantification. That feeling is also what makes me make art." -- Artforum, v. 46, no. 4 (Dec. 2007), p. 111

06 December 2007

good and beautiful

When I first noticed the headline that Brad Pitt was commissioning house designs for New Orleans, I was impressed and figured it was similar to what Habitat for Humanity does. Habitat has been criticized by some in the architecture and preservation communities for being unimaginative or insensitive. Brad Pitt's project is especially wonderful because he has commissioned thoughtful architects to do something imaginative, something particularly relevant to New Orleans. In the small pictures in The New York Times, the results look pretty interesting. They will certainly cost more than Habitat's plain Jane houses but they may have more community value. I really don't have anything against Habitat (even send them money regularly) and think that simple houses can serve well. In Jane Jacobs disciple speak, we are thankful for the diversity on the street. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/arts/design/03pitt.html (or search "brad pitt designs" at nytimes.com)