New: Weekly Roundup, Nov. 6, 2015

by Glasstire November 6, 2015

Rainey Knudson and Michael Bise discuss topics covered by Glasstire and the Glasstire community over the past week: Zombie Formalism, Debtfair, Artprize Dallas, and Halloween.



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Laura Spector November 7, 2015 - 09:40

Thank you a million times for discussing Zombie Formalism. I simply call it Crapstraction.

Artist and art teacher here. I have found the overwhelming majority of my students who want to learn how to make Abstract art simply don’t know how to draw. Once they learn how to draw, they usually want to make representational art and narrative work. While I don’t know if the whole world will fall completely to shambles, (Doesn’t every generation think this?) I do know this world needs more beauty, beautifully made artwork and more options than Mark Rothko to be inspired by. Abstraction and Minimalism does not reflect or mirror what the population is going through right now on our current timelline. Therefore, it is basically irrelevant aside from noting it was an important movement at one time. Does Rothko need three venues in one city in 2015? Probably not. But, I’m sure investors of Rothko are as thrilled as the schoolchildren who went on their local field trips to the Houston museums last week were disappointed. (I heard there was lots of complaining about “too much of those colored boxes” from groups of 6th-9th graders.)

Regarding univesrity debt, there are other options than university art programs to avoid sinking in a lifetime of debt. If a student wants to learn the skills of painting and drawing, studying at an Atelier is a fantastic option. We don’t have them in Houston, (I try my best to implement info into my classes but time and resources are limited.) I was told Atelier openings around the country shot up from about 4 locations within the US to over 130 within two years. It suggests this type of teaching is not available in universities, yet there is a great demand for it. Ateliers teach Classical Realism, basic techniques, how to use materials and good craftsmanship. What they lack in concept, they gain in actual hands-on education in visual communcation. Better yet, they cost about $3k a year, so a 3 to 4 year program won’t set you back in debt for the rest of your life. They don’t require prior training or certification. I’m putting this out here because I teach high school kids who can’t afford university and this is a realisitic option for them. I spoke to two reps from two major university art departments last month and asked about painting skills taught in their classrooms. Both of them told me that if my students wanted to learn painting skills, they would not be a good match for their universities. Perhaps their professors simply no longer know how to actually paint? Or, perhaps there is so much influence from the marketplace that the education is being driven by the consumers who have money but no actual understanding or interest in visual art to begin with? I’m an optimist and believe if artists promote well-crafted, thoughtful narrative artwork that it would reach more people. I don’t necessarily mean a basket of apples on a canvas. But, if the world is going to explode, I’d rather spend my last few days with a well-crafted narrative painting created with skill over any form of Crapstraction..

Naomi Schlinke November 22, 2015 - 16:01

It sounds like you are only looking for the examples of abstraction that are suited to the point that you want to demonstrate…namely an immature or superficial use of the practice. I’d like to offer you a very brief list of gifted painters whose work has caught my eye recently. There are MANY more. Erin Lawlor:

Tim McFarland:

Paul Behnke:

Rubens Ghenov:

Sara Bright:

Suzanne Caporeal:

Deborah Zlotsky:

EC :

Leslie Vance:

Marcelyn McNeil :

Fran O’Neil:

Clem Crosby:

Amy Feldman:

Carrie Moyer:

Jason Karolak:

Carl November 26, 2015 - 10:52

ab exers invented a new way of image making that changed everything, it just worked too well and no one has topped them since, the movement after them? just folded itself into the crappy stuff that was already happening in advertising, soup cans? effing snooze fest! abstract painting just works, people like it, people can buy it, tons of it is crappily made sure, but it is a great way to make art for people that seriously dedicate themselves to it, americans invented it, america is the best country in the world, and we are all waiting for someone else to do better and it has not happened and probably won’t in our lifetimes, just like capitalism is gonna be around WAY LONGER than any of us, you can bet abstract art will be too, and people making it are gonna sell the beejezus out of it cause people like it and there is nothing people understand better than buying things. zombie formalism? how about the total failure of every art movement after abex to engage an art audience in the same way they did. how hard did those artists work for their images? how much did they sacrifice to make their work? and how hard are artists working now to produce good art?


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