Page 19 - Studio International - December 1970
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their realization must be put at his disposal,   Correspondence                      as major works of art, when within so short a time
          At this point the educational problem merges                                         opinion is completely reversed. Or do you believe
                                                                                               in being fashionable only; so that when stuff is in
          into the political, and is perceptible as such,
                                                                                               fashion you praise it, and when out of fashion you
          so far as the student goes into everyday life                                        damn it. The second impressive note from Mr
          and must make an adjustment to the existing                                          McLean's outburst is the use of language. What is
          order'," he is really expressing-particularly   Crumbling crimble                    all this sub-Brando inarticulacy doing in a chic art
          in the profound ambiguity of the word 'adjust-  After reading the definition of crimble crumble   magazine? OK, so perhaps SOme artists have
                                                     (Studio International October 1970) I wasn't sure if   trenchant, even bloody-minded views, which con-
          ment' - the helplessness of an idealist tradition
                                                     Bruce McLean was for or against it; although   tain serious grains of truth; yet are unable to
          faced with a real social and political situation.
                                                     crimble crumblers are described as potential con   make up readable sentences. That's all right for
                                                     men, masters in the art of deception, talented and   those hesitant, slightly embarassing scraps of con-
                                                     full of tricks, Mr McLean appears to admire them   versation at gallery openings, but surely not for
          41   R. Tucker, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx, CUP,   beneath his cynicism.       the pages of Studio International.  We have recently
          1961, p 130.                              The words crimble crumble are I feel part of their   had a lively correspondence about the semantics of
          42   R. Tucker, Ibid, p 130.              own definition, their invention and use fall into the   art criticism; McLean's constipated effort can
          43   R. Tucker, Ibid, p 131.              category of 'craft tricks'. Mr McLean hasn't much   only be labelled art-cretinism.
          44   Marx, quoted by R. Tucker, from Marx and Engels:   valid criticism to make about the ICA exhibition   Roland LawSOn
          Historische-Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Vol. 3, p 84.   `British Sculpture out of the Sixties'. He does   London WC1
          45   Marx, The Phenomenology of Mind, Ibid, p 53.   question whether or not the artists who exhibited
          46  R. Tucker, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx, p 133.   posed themselves questions about space and its   Letter to the Editor. BRUCE MCLEAN?
          47   Marx quoted by R. Tucker from  Marx and Engels:   relationship to their work.   David Hall
          Historische-Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Vol. 3, p 88.                                   East Twickenham
          46   Marx, Ibid.                          Was this exhibition a retrospective one? If so
          49  R. Tucker, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx.   should not its criticism be treated within that   Middlesex
            Marx,  Manifesto of the Communist Party.  Progress   context?                      [David Hall writes: 'Bruce McLean specifically
          Publishers, Moscow, 1952, p 71.           I presume that the photograph opposite the title
           51 Marx, Capital. Afterword to the Second German   page in Mr McLean's article contains the author/   stated that hardboard was specially laid down on
          Edition.                                  artist sprouting from a green- or glass-house. I feel   top of the existing floor SO that my "Displacement"
          52  Engels, from a letter to Bloch quoted in the Pub-                                could be displaced. This implied that in effect a
                                                    that this photograph (although I liked it) becomes
          lisher's Preface to Plekhanov's Materialist Conception of   the article and in fact, partly by its lack of explana-  structure was made rather than a removal occur-
          History. Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1940, p 7.                                    ring. This was not true. Hardboard was not speci-
          53  Plekhanov,  The Materialist Conception of History, p 29.   tion (written not visual, for visually it explains the   ally laid down, it is a permanent floor area and has
           54 Marx, Capital. Afterword to the Second German   article), also falls into the same category as the   been so since the Toys exhibition. I chose that area
          Edition.                                  other photographs of work. Probably because they   as it seemed most appropriate for my idea.
           55 From Lenin, by L. Schapiro and P. Reddaway. Pall   are photographs. Mr McLean seems to be aware of   `Incidentally, he carefully omitted to state the
          Mall Press, 1967, p 48.                   environment in his work; the title I'm a bit sus-
          56  Ibid, p 57.                           picious of though; it's a bit slick, contrived and   full title which is significant.']
          57  Ibid, p 59.                           trendy. I think the title crimble crumble would
          58   Ibid, p 61.                          have been more meaningful.                 Brillig idea
           59  Lenin, 'The Tasks of the Youth Leagues', 1920.   My main objection to Bruce McLean's article is   As your magazine has probably the widest circula-
          Selected Works,  Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1967.                                  tion among radical artists in this country and
          Vol. 3, p 464.                            that the criticism is non-existent. He disapproves   possibly elsewhere too, I should like to use its
          60   Lenin, 'Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-  of almost everything in sight at the exhibition with
          Bourgeois Mentality', 1920.  Selected Works,  Vol. 2,   words like 'old hat' and 'load of rubbish'. He sug-  pages to announce an exhibition that I am organiz-
          p 687.                                    gests the disintegration or 'smashing up' of military   ing during the next Edinburgh Festival, that is
          61 Lenin;   'Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Dis-  operated scenes-might be a good idea-but what   c. August 1971.
          order', 1920. Selected Works, Vol. 3, p 356.   happens then? His verbal attack on British   The exhibition will be designated ' 	', and
          62   Lenin, Ibid, p 362.                  sculpture and the establishment (ICA) is not   roughly speaking will be concerned with the area
          63  Trotsky,  Literature and Revolution. Ann Arbor Paper-  strengthened by any constructive criticisms or   of synaptic connection.
          backs, 1960, p 9.                         ideas.                                     However it will be different from previous exhibi-
          64   Trotsky, Ibid, p 19.                 I have a suggestion for the Peter Stuyvesant   tions in this field, such as Mr Szeeman's 'When
          65  Trotsky, Ibid, p 135.
          66  Trotsky, Ibid, p 206.                 Foundation or a similar body.              Attitudes become Form', in that it will be the first
          67  Trotsky, Ibid, p 186.                 SponSOred initially by such a Foundation: the   wholly unsentimental showing of this form of art. I
          68   Lenin, 'Left-Wing Childishness'.  Selected Works,   organization of a workshop/studio/gallery for non-  refer of course to the elaborate paraphernalia that
          Vol. 2, p 690.                            established ex-student artists. Equipment provided   surrounds such manifestations, and most particu-
          69   Trotsky, Literature and Revolution, p 185.   for artists who are unable to work in their particular   larly to the catalogue. The production of a lush
          79   Trotsky, Ibid, pp 193-4.             medium, e.g. etching, litho.               printed object which rapidly takes on all the cult
          71  Tatlin, The Work Ahead of Us.         The New Arts Lab in Robert Street, London is   attraction of the art object itself seems to me to be
          72  Tatlin, Ibid.                         trying desperately to keep this idea alive.   in direct contradiction of the works of art shown.
          73  Tatlin, Ibid.
                                                    Rather than sponsor and collect the work of   The perversion of the art form therefore has started
          74  N. Gabo,  The Realistic Manifesto,  1920, Moscow.
          From Gabo,  by Sir Herbert Read and Leslie Martin.   established artists who have 'made it', I would like   almost before the form has coalesced. Just as
          Lund Humphries, London, 1957.             to see Foundations sponsoring artists who need   Heisenberg's act of photographing electrons altered
           75  N. Gabo, Ibid.                       help.                                      the path of the electrons, so the unsubtle method of
          76   N. Gabo, Ibid.                       Clive Eaton                                exhibiting SO-called conceptual art has altered its
          77   N. Gabo, Ibid.                       Walthamstow                                effect. My aim will be to exhibit the art in its most
          78   N. Gabo, Ibid.                       London E17                                 unadulterated form.
          79   N. Gabo, Ibid.                                                                  This does raise SOme small problems of presenta-
          89   N. Gabo, Ibid.                       The trendy piece by Bruce McLean in your   tion. To actually exhibit works of art (i.e. SOlid
          81   N. Gabo, Ibid.                       October issue, with the ick-making title 'Not Even   multi-dimensional works) in a finite location means
          82   N. Gabo, Ibid.
           83  Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party, p 66.   Crimble Crumble', was impressive for a number of   that one is exhibiting 'documentation' which
          84  El Lissitzky, 'New Russian Art-a Lecture', 1922.   reasons. Firstly because of your courage in   rapidly pre-empts the original work. Therefore
          From  El Lissitzky,  by Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers.   printing an article taking the mickey out of all   ' will have no specific location nor will it
          Thames and Hudson, London, 1968.          that modern British sculpture which your magazine   have specific duration in time, there being no
          85  El Lissitzky, Ibid.                   has been asking us to take seriously all these years.   point in committing oneself to any limiting tem-
          86   El Lissitzky, 'Suprematism in World Reconstruc-  Surely there must be some critical rationale to an   poral continuum. Nor do I intend to select. The
          tion', 1920. Ibid.                        art magazine, no matter how open it is to opinion.   imposition of the SO-called expert has always struck
          87   El Lissitzky, Introduction to Veshch No. 1, 1922. From   Gene Baro, after all, is one of your regular contri-  me as a monumental act of arrogance and lack of
          El Lissitzky by Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers.                                            trust in the artist.
          88 El Lissitzky, Ibid.                    butors, and he has written often, if I remember
          89  Moholy-Nagy; The New Vision, 1928. Fourth Revised   rightly, on British sculpture. If it is now all crap,   All artists therefore who wish to are invited to
          Edition, George Wittenbom Inc., New York, 1947, p 15.   according to McLean, and presumably you don't   participate. Should they so desire they may com-
          99  Moholy-Nagy, Ibid, p 16.              disagree with him, should you not be a little   municate their projects to me at the given address,
          '91   Moholy-Nagy, Ibid, p 17.            chary about dishing us up with all this new stuff,    and I hope that in one year's time you will enable
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