Page 17 - Studio International - November 1967
P. 17

come to think of it, end up trussed and
              stuffed in a museum himself.
               So far, though, this is his business. Why
              shouldn't he amuse himself? The danger
              and the worry lie in the noise that is made
              around him, in his association with art, in
              the implication (his and/or other people's)
              that this is the new art, come to make the
              other stuff look dead even if it is still
              breathing. But what is he offering us ? An
              activity that is without quality, being
              without development. Any attempt to
              evaluate it is in itself futile, since no-one
              will be able to check the evaluation, nor to
              re-evaluate the event for another generation.
               The essential function of art is to last. Art
              is what remains after other things have
              gone. All the various social functions that
              well-meaning men wish on to it are as
              nothing to this: that art is what links men
              through millennia, forwards and
              backwards —even more directly than words,
              where words remain, permitting uniquely
              direct confrontation even where our literal
              understanding is incomplete. Quality in art
              equals intensification, and that is the vital
              charge that empowers the art of a long-past
              age to respond to the question we ask it
              about ourselves.
               Of course happenings and other events
              attract a great deal of invention and wit.
              It may be, too, that some of the events
              themselves (as opposed to the notion of the
              event as such) have real though fleeting
              significance by giving expression to
              something that really matters. In that case
              the event makers are depriving us all of that
              expression by not troubling to find a more
              considerable (literally) form for it. It is
              precisely the attractiveness of the event as
              flash-in-pan gesture, at a time when the
              notoriety of art makes communication
              particularly difficult, that makes it a
              treacherous line of regression. There can be
              no substitute for art but art.  	q

              Dr Willem Sandberg was director of the Stedelijk   Charles Harrison, assistant editor of  Studio Inter-  Alan Bowness is senior lecturer in the history of 19th
              Museum, Amsterdam until 1963, and has been Vice-  national, studied art history at Cambridge University   and 20th century art at the Courtauld Institute,
              President of the Dutch Arts Council for many years.   and the Courtauld Institute. He is engaged on a   University of London. He was a member of the jury
              He is now Chairman of the Executive Committee of   history of British art between the wars.   for the São Paulo Bienal.
              the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He is a member of
              the jury of ROSC, the Dublin international exhibition.   Gene Baro, a frequent contributor to Studio Interna-  Book reviewers are listed on page 240.
              Dr Sandberg is also a distinguished typographer,   tional, also contributes to Art International, the London
              and the layout of pp. 200-203 is based in part on his   Magazine,  and other periodicals and is London   Acknowledgements
              suggestions.                             Correspondent of Arts Magazine and Art in America.   We wish to thank the British Council for the loan of
                                                                                                the colour block for Alan Davie's The cow that said
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