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Posts tagged "seeing"

Aug 04, 2014
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I have to make time to daydream and change my eye… Mrs. Vreeland was right: “The eye must travel.” You have to see something different, even if it’s just finding a new way to walk home.

Feb 28, 2013
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“Masterpiece,” Roy Lichtenstein, 1962. Oil on canvas.


  My work isn’t about form. It’s about seeing. I’m excited about seeing things and I’m interested in the way I think other people saw things.


I came across this Roy Lichtenstein quote, and then I liked this review of a show in Chicago:


  What is lacking in the elegant retrospective at the AIC is any evidence of the source material Lichtenstein used, a choice which deprives viewers of a full understanding of his working process. A selection of drawings (mostly preparatory) help, but they are segregated in a side room painted in a deep purple (the rest of the walls are white) as if to broadcast their difference. The problem is that, lacking this give-and-take between the artist’s working process and finished product, the exhibition becomes too stylish, inviting viewers to float along on pure surface.


Filed under: show your work

“Masterpiece,” Roy Lichtenstein, 1962. Oil on canvas.

My work isn’t about form. It’s about seeing. I’m excited about seeing things and I’m interested in the way I think other people saw things.

I came across this Roy Lichtenstein quote, and then I liked this review of a show in Chicago:

What is lacking in the elegant retrospective at the AIC is any evidence of the source material Lichtenstein used, a choice which deprives viewers of a full understanding of his working process. A selection of drawings (mostly preparatory) help, but they are segregated in a side room painted in a deep purple (the rest of the walls are white) as if to broadcast their difference. The problem is that, lacking this give-and-take between the artist’s working process and finished product, the exhibition becomes too stylish, inviting viewers to float along on pure surface.

Filed under: show your work

Jan 19, 2013
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If you’re told what to look for, you can’t see anything else. So one thing is to see, in a way, without words…. Once you have an idea, or somebody tells you something to look for, that’s about all you can see. I had this experience recently: A dear friend of ours has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I hadn’t seen her for about six months. And when she came and visited, I couldn’t see her anymore. I could only look now for symptoms, how the dementia was manifesting itself. I couldn’t see her through any other lens but the possible symptoms. And that one word, that one piece of knowledge totally corrupted every time I looked at her.

Dec 10, 2012
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Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees + True To Life by Laurence Weschler

Two fascinating books that really must be read together…1

When the artist David Hockney read Lawrence Weschler’s Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin soon after its publication, in 1982, he telephoned the author to say that while he disagreed with virtually everything in it, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. He invited Weschler to his Hollywood Hills studio to discuss it, initiating what has become a series of engrossing dialogues, here gathered together for the first time.

Weschler explains in the introduction to the Hockney book:

For some twenty-five years now, whenever I have written about one or the other of these two giants of contemporary art… the other one has called me to tell me, “Wrong, wrong, wrong.” The two have never met or conversed in person (straddling that Southern California scene like Schoenberg and Stravinsky before them, each seemingly oblivious of the other’s existence though in fact deepy seized by the work); instead they have been carrying on this quite vivide argument for over two decades, through me, as it were.

It’s fascinating to juxtapose excerpts from the two books — there are so many things to cross-reference, so many subjects that come up again and again.

One thing that fascinated me is the way in which each artist’s process is driven by asking questions (both artists in the course of their careers have befriended scientists, and waxed poetic about the connections between science and art in terms of inquiry), but how the way each goes about his inquiry has direct economic implications.

At one point, Irwin talks about the importance of artists structuring their finances “in such a way that they do not have to rely on the sale of their art”: “Look…it’s really quite simple. Pursuing the questions which art provokes is a long-term activity that necessarily needs to be free of short-term measures and rewards.” This take is an outgrowth of Irwin’s process: he spends a great deal of his artistic inquiry not actually making anything tangible. In fact, his installations are of such a fleeting and ephemeral nature that “he simply was not producing much by way of salable items.” Irwin admits, “I spen[d] days, weeks, months finishing things no one is ever going to see,” and, “My stuff, my offering, for the most part simply isn’t going to be there to pass on because…almost all my more recent steps have essentially been erased.”

Hockney on the other hand, while working through his questions he is constantly making pictures, whether it be his photocollages, photocopier experiments, paintings, etc. He’s leaving a kind of paper trail behind, and a paper trail can be picked up and sold.2


  1. Oddly, my reading year has been a year of paired books: reading one book, then reading another that compliments it or cancels it out… 

  2. This isn’t to say he’s necessarily intentionally structuring his process in a way that produces salable items. (“I’m not so much interested in the mere objects I’m creating as in where they’re taking me, and all the work in the different media is part of that inquiry and part of that search.”) 

Sep 12, 2012
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Looking, for Hockney, is interest-ing: it is the continual projection of interest.

Jul 22, 2012
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xkcd: Visual Field

Filed under: vision

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We see with memory. My memory is different from yours, so if we are both standing in the same place we’re not quite seeing the same thing. Different individuals have different memories, therefore other elements are playing a part. Whether you have been in a place before will affect you, and how well you know it. There’s no objective vision ever – ever.

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Writers and artists have always been self-conscious consumers and filterers of experience, saving it and using it for artistic purposes later on. Perhaps Facebook and Twitter and Instagram incline more and more of us to respond to our experiences as only artists once did — perhaps in that sense the optimistic view that all of us are becoming creators is really true. Though whether that’s a good thing or not, whether the moment tends to get lost in the anticipation of its digital representation — that bears thinking about…

Jul 08, 2012
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These sketchbook pages by Lynda Barry reminded me of this sentence I read recently: “quieting the mind so that God can get on with the surgery of the soul.”

May 23, 2012
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thenearsightedmonkey:

‘What It Is’ class flag

Filed under: Lynda Barry

thenearsightedmonkey:

‘What It Is’ class flag

Filed under: Lynda Barry

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