Page 23 - Studio International - December 1969
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          of it.  This  being  so,  it  follows  that  it  is  the   Corres ondence            authenticity which the expanding concept confers
          linear  character  that  I  give  to  the  frontiers                                 on the frontier issues is  conferred only  for a  short
          between  colour-areas  that finally  determines                                      time and extends only for a short distance into the
                                                                                               interior,  meaning in effect that those  issues  at its
          the apparent colour of my colours. This must                                         centre  are  more  dead  than  those  beyond  its
          be  the  reason  why  I  have  found  myself  in­                                    perimeter.
          creasingly  indulging,  since  about  1962,  in                                      This  expansionist motivation  lies  at the  centre  of
          ever sharper and more complex linear frontiers                                       the  idea  of  conceptual  art.  What  strikes  me  as
          between  my  colour-areas-because  I  had  al­                                       important is the fact that the concept of expansion
                                                                                               which has taken place in twentieth-century art has
          ready  raised  those  colours  to  an  undiluted                                     been a multi-lateral rather than a multi-dimensional
          maximum chromatic  intensity  by  that  date:                                        expansion  only  extending  the  horizontal  frontiers
          yet despite this fact-that by 1962 my colours                                        of art by a spreading encroachment on to already
          were as bright and strong in themselves as it                                        existing  territory,  conferring  art  status  on  all  it
          was  physically  possible  to  make  them-my                                         encounters. Expansion has proceeded by inclusion
                                                                                               and annexation. The flaw in the motivation is its
          works since then have appeared to get steadily                                       outer limitations. The idea that art can continue its
          more  brilliant  in  hue  yet  again.  And  this  is                                 multi-lateral  extensions  indefinitely  smacks  of  the
          attributable, firstly, to the increased sharpness                                    contentions  of the  'Flat Earth  S9ciety',  for it can
          of  the  frontiers  where  the  areas  meet;  and,                                   only  continue  to  expand until the  art world and
          secondly,  to  their  linear  nature,  to  their                                     the real world are one.
                                                                                               Painting's self-questioning has also helped to extend
          'drawing' in fact. And that drawing is spon­                                         the frontiers of art, but with Reinhardt's contribu­
          taneous  and  unplanned.  Perhaps  I  am  the                                        tion  a  crisis  was  precipitated  in  the  relationship
          first 'wobbly hard-edge' painter?                                                    between  painting and art,  or to  be  more specific,
          Complexity  of  the  spatial  illusion  generated                                    the  relationship  between  painting  and  Modern
          along the frontier where two colours meet  is   Cybernetic Congress                  Art.  Reinhardt,  by  employing  rejective  and
                                                                                               eliminatory procedures had,  in his  Ultimate Paint­
          also  enormously  increased  if  the  linear   With reference  to  your extensive and informative   ings,  sufficiently  isolated  painting's  essence  to
          character  of  those  frontiers  is  irregular,   report  of  the  International  Congress  of  Cyber­  establish  a  usable  definition  of  painting's  nature.
                                                     netics held in London from September 2-5,  1969,
          freely  drawn,  intuitively  arrived  at.  I  have   published in your Journal of October, 1969, may I   Reinhardt  thus  became  the  last  painter  who,  in
          always been intrigued by observing  the way   point out that the General Meeting of the Congress   extending the boundaries of painting, extended the
          in which first the colour on one side and then   adopted  two  far-reaching  proposals:  Firstly,  that   boundaries  of  art.  Subsequent  work  (and  here  I
          the colour on the other side of a common, but   the Secretary be asked to explore the possibility of   am thinking of Judd, LeWitt and Morris) through
                                                                                               eliminating  painting's essence pushed  forward the
          irregularly  drawn  frontier  dividing  them,   establishing a World Organization of  Cybernetics   boundaries  of  art  beyond  those  of  painting,  thus
                                                     under  UNESCO;  secondly,  that  a  Foundation
          seems  to  come  in  front.  As  your  eye  moves   be established backed by a capital of three million   locating even the furthest outpost of that medium's
          along such a  frontier  the  spatial  positions of   dollars,  its  aim  being to  publish journals, sponsor   territory well within the frontiers of art.
                                                                                               I agree with Mr Kosuth that the function of much
          the  colour-areas  alternate-according,  how­  research, found institutes, etc.      Modern Art has been  to conduct a  dialectic with
          ever,  to the nature of the loops in that fron­  ·1 have to add that my exploratory work, consisting  its  own  possibilities  and  to  add  to  the  concept
                                                     of contacting societies and individuals all over the
          tier, rather than to any change in the colours­  world, is nearly at the  end. With very few excep­  'Art' by expansive inclusion, but I don't agree that
          since these do not change.                 tions,  the  replies  indicate  wholesome  support  for  this imperialist extension of art's boundaries is art's
          These,  then,  are  a  few  of  the  considerations   the Congress resolutions.      only  fruitful  dialectic  nor  its  only  v,alid  function.
          effecting  my  work  and  leading  me  into   Yours sincerely                        What the  continuing  creation  of  art within  these
                                                                                               boundaries does is to internally enrich, rather than
          explanations  which,  in  retrospect,  have,  I   J. Rose                            externally extend the concept of art. It is true that
          must  say  (and  I  am  surprised  to see it),  the   Hon. Secretary                 Modern  Art  has  since  Impressionism  been  pri­
          appearance of having followed a logical and   International Congress of Cybernetics  marily concerned with the lateral extension of art's
                                                     c/o Blackburn College of Technology and Design
          consistent  course.  But  this  logic  is  only   Blackburn                          frontiers, but painting  (and sculpture to a  certain
          apparent in retrospect,  I may add. In painting   Lancashire                         extent)  at  this  historical  juncture  is  seeking  an
                                                                                               alternative  to  this  laterality,  an  alternative'  to
          one  proceeds  intuitively,  never  knowing                                          Modern Art, and this alternative lies in a Conserva­
          which  way  things  are  going  to  go.  Even  an   The case for conservation        tionist, though not Academic, Abstraction.
          account such as the one I have given here is   Joseph Kosuth's contribution to the October Studio   If the convervationist function of art is not accepted
          only possible in retrospect. The 'explanations'   International  contained  a  fine  exposition  of  the   it  will  be  because  the  validity  conferred  by  the
          I  have just  written  down  have  for  the  most   tenets of Conceptual Art and an able attack on the   internal,  vertical,  domestic  painting  dialectic  on
                                                     validity  of  painting.  As  a  painter mys�lf  I  would
                                                                                               certain activities will be regarded as inferior to that
          part  only just  occurred  to  me-because  I  am   like to offer a defence.          validity  conferred  on  certain  other  activities  by
          having to write something about my painting.   The  central notion  of the article was,  as I under­  art's perimeter dialectic with its own  possibilities.
          Yet the linguistic form one's thoughts take, if   stood  it,  that  an  artist's  primary  function  is  to   It is my contention that this alternative source  of
          one  has  been  requested  to  write,  does  some­  question the nature of Art, framing new proposi­  validity  will  provide  sufficient  motive  power  to
          how  take  on  the  character  of  'theories'-as   tions as to what art is. These activities have, to be   assure  painting's  present  and  future  viability.
                                                     sure,  added to  our concept of art, but the style of
                                                                                                Painters cannot embrace the avant-garde virtues of
           though the ideas expressed in this essay pre­  this addition leads me to think that it might not be   the 'tradition of the new' nor can they emulate the
          ceded  the  paintings  they  are  in  fact  an   the  only  form  of  enlargement  that  the  concept   subversive  character  of  art  frontierism,  but  the
           attempt to comment on. All I can say to this   could use.                           alternative values will no doubt prove as stimulat­
           is that it often takes me weeks or months to   This notion that art is only valid at its edges is not   ing as the others and innovation and creation will
           come to the  point of  accepting  what  I  have   brand  new.  In  a  piece  from  The  Tradition of  the   progress, though maybe at a different pace.
                                                     New,  probably  written  before  1959,  Harold
           painted. The only rule I follow while painting   Rosenberg says:                     Painting is certainly a beleagured and horizontally
                                                                                                finite concept but it will survive because its makers
           is this: I always allow my hand to surprise me   'With  the  Academy  as  his  sole  alternative,  the   and  audience  alike  will  continue  to  derive  some
           ( the  lines  of  all  the  frontiers  in  my  recent   contemporary artist must either find his way to the   nonaesthetic satisfaction from it.  Maybe the mesh
           paintings  are  drawn-in in a  matter of a few   frontiers of art or cease being an artist.'   covering  the  appreciation  mechanisms  of  Mr
           seconds):  also,  I  always  follqw  impulse-for   This form of art frontierism, which I take to be at   Kosuth and others is not of the appropriate gauge
                                                                                                to permit this satisfaction to filter through.
                                                     the  centre  of  Mr  Kosuth's  article,  could  involve
           instance in the choice of colours; deliberation   two modes of expansion; one, that art moves out­  Yours sincerely
           is fruitless. But this does not mean that every   ward  from  a  centre,  say  Cubism,  gradually   David Sweet
           act connected with the painting of the picture   swallowing up objects  and  procedures  and  incor­  Hull
           is not deliberate: it is.            D    porating them forever as art;  or the other, that the   Yorkshire
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