July 29, 2016

MY GOD MAN, PICK YOUR BATTLES A BIT MORE CAREFULLY: “A minor matter it may be, and with no legal repercussions, I hope, but let me mention that I hate Piet Mondrian:”

I only realized this yesterday. Prior to that I rather liked him, or more precisely, dutifully applauded his uncompromising abstractions, his pursuit of “the absolute” in growing disregard of all the traditional “content” of painting, such as representation, draughtsmanship, colouring and shading; the “pure plasticity” he advertised. The actual enjoyment was tepid at best.

Funny, I really like Mondrian. As with Mies van der Rohe, he’s a fascinating case study to watch his transition from a trained traditional artist to radical modernist. And as with postwar pop culture, modernism in general was only interesting when it had a traditional culture to push against. Once that was vanquished, both high and low art lost a great deal of vitality.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

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