David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

26 February 2015

Actually, for purposes of activation...

Act One : 
Hal Foster : Lecture, Melbourne University today
2015 Dean's Lecture Series
'In praise of actuality: Questioning Art as a Process'
Why is process, like performance, so readily embraced by artists today? One reason is that it is said to activate the viewer, the assumption being that to leave an artwork undone is to prompt us to complete it.  And yet this attitude can easily become an excuse not to execute a work fully. A work that appears unfinished hardly ensures that the viewer will be engaged; indifference is as likely a result, perhaps a more likely one.

In this lecture, internationally-renowned art critic Hal Foster argues that such informality tends to discourage sustained attention, both aesthetic and critical.  We are likely to pass over the work quickly, he claims, because its maker seems to have done the same prior to us, or because quick effect seems to be what was intended in the first place.  He also challenges two further assumptions. The first is that the viewer is somehow passive to begin with, which need not be the case at all, and the second is that a finished work in the traditional sense cannot activate the viewer as effectively, which is also false.

For purposes of activation and attention, Foster argues, give us a Piet Mondrian over a George Maciunas any day!

Professor Hal Foster is Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and a coeditor of the journal October. Author of The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (MIT Press, 1996) and Design and Crime (and Other Diatribes) (Verso, 2002/2011), he recently published The Art-Architecture Complex (Verso, 2011) and The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha (Princeton University Press, 2012). His new book Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency is due out from Verso in fall 2015.
When:Thursday, 26 February 2015 | 6:30 - 7:30pm

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...

Act Two :
Yves Klein : dimanche, 27 November 1960
The Diary of a Single Day
The Blue Revolution Continues


As part of the theatrical presentations of the Festival of Avant-garde Art in November-December 1960, I have decided to present the ultimate form of collective theatre : a dimanche for everybody.

I did not wish to limit myself to an afternoon or evening performance.

On dimanche (Sunday), 27 November 1960, from midnight to midnight, I thus present a full day of festival, a true spectacle of the Void, as a culminating point of my theories. However, any other day of the week could have been used.

I wish that on this day joy and wonder will reign, that no one will get stage fright, and that everyone, conscious as well as unconscious actors-spectators of this gigantesque presentation, should have a good day. 

That everyone will come and go, move about, or remain still. 

Everything I write in this diary today precedes the presentation of this historic day for the theater.

The theatre should be or at least rapidly attempt to become the pleasure of being, of living, of spending wondrous moments, and with each passing day of better understanding the beauty of each moment.

Everything I write in this dairy represents my own steps towards this glorious day of realism and truth: the field of operations of my proposed conception of theatre is not only the city, Paris, but also the countryside, the desert, the mountains, even the sky, and even the entire universe. Why not? 

I know that everything inevitably is going to work out very well for everyone, spectators, actors, stagehands, directors, et al.

I would like to thank Mr. Jacques Polieri, the director of the Avant-garde Festival, for his enthusiasm and for proposing to me that I present this “dimanche, November 27.”

Yves Klein

Dimanche on sale at a Paris news-stand  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...

Act Three : 
bLOGOS/HA HA : Theatre of the Actors of Regard

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...