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Picasso, Duchamp, Hoffman Root of Modern Art

 
 
shepaints
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 04:27 pm
...I find it very symbolic that Duchamp didn't produce much art, preferring in the end to spend a lot of his time playing cerebral chess games and even composing random music.....

Picasso never stopped creating art objects. I am not a huge fan of his, but he appeared to have immense reverence for the art object.......
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 05:43 pm
art influences
Shepaints, thanks for a fundamental insight. I've always felt that while Duchamp can paint--his descending nude and wine glass paintings were excellent--but he did seem to prefer being clever. Picasso on the hand was inspired by the on-going prospect of making images that lifted the spirit, not the brain, or at least, the spirit primarily and the brain secondarily.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 05:56 pm
A statement Picasso made is well documented, to the effect that anyone buying his new work (after 1942) we're foolish as he was now just copying himself and they were only buying his signature.
In fact, Picasso generally had a rather low opinion of his own work, that he was purposefully trying to shock. Duchamp was making an intellectual visual statement. His earlier work was very optical, dealing a lot with showing motion in a static image which we know now as futurism. He worked for years on "Large Glass" and there a literally hundreds of studies leading up to it.
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JoanneDorel
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 05:58 pm
A friend of mine who knew Picasso said that he even drew on napkins during dinner, he just could not stop. I rarely believe what artists say about their own work. LW I do not think art can be intellectual, I mean art historians may say stuff like that but artists are much more grounded or not grounded than that IMHO,
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 06:24 pm
art
I agree, Joanne. I tend not to believe what Picasso says about his work, but I have great faith in virtually all of his work. There was an abuzz thread months ago about a Picasso "confession"--don't remember the specifics--that rang of faceitiousness. I grant that Picasso was selling signatures toward the end of his life. But what "signatures". I also agree that art historians, while serving a useful INTELLECTUAL function should have as little effect on what living artists do as do plumbers. Historical schemes regarding the "evolution" of art are intellectual fabrications tending to ABSTRACTLY talk about reified "schools" and "styles" so as to ignore the CONCRETE realities of actual works. I've seen paintings that have tremendous artistic value yet are considered virtually worthless in the historical scheme of things. As artists we must keep in mind that the scheme is artificial; the painting is real.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 07:36 pm
Art doesn't have to be cerebral but there are thousands of examples of images that are not intuitive and emotional as much as they are an intellectual exercise to communicate an idea or ideal. Alber's Homage to the Square series may be the antithesis of this even though the combination of colors may elicit an emotional response. He successfully does not call attention to the calculations he's made in his mind in using combinations of color.
It is true that an artist taps into areas of the mind that we don't altogether understand -- somewhere between the conscious and the unconscious.

I only offered what has been written about Picasso and what he might have said about his own work in my thinking that his way of creating an image is gone with his passing, not to make any judgement on the work. Did he influence the artists of the 50's and 60's? I think Duchamp and Hoffman (or going before Hoffman, Kadinsky and Miro) influenced what is the climax of the era of modern art, while Picasso remains more enigmatically unique. We are now in post-modern pluralism, what has been perhaps more accurately called contemporary art. The only real art movement during the time of the end of the 60's and now is Graffiti/Cartoon art -- Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Basquiat, and Greenblat who owe more to ancient cave painting and glyphs.
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firenze pensaforte
 
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Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 07:39 pm
Which artist more influential on Abstract Expressionism?
Of the two artists in question, Picasso or Hofmann, one MUST choose
Picasso...because: Hofmann was purely and simply the messenger.
His work is NOT improvisational. He didn't present new ways of looking at color or form. PICASSO did, and his work was so successful and ubiquitous that it profoundly influenced almost everything that followed.
Hofmann disseminated those same ideas in his atelier classes. Hofmann was just one of those many Europeans who fled Europe during WWII, bringing the most advanced ideas in European painting to some very
provincial American painters. Without those advanced ideas in European painting, there would have been NO Abstract Expressionism in New York
City.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 08:08 pm
Picasso was not improvisational in any of his great paintings -- there are portfolios full of drawings and even some abbreviated paintings before he completed one of these paintings. I'm not sure how you're looking at improvisation but I'm aware that Hoffman did plan (or design, if you want) his canvasses. In that way, he was closer to Modrian than Kadinsky (although Kandinsky also a lot of pre-scetching and experiments in color ways before completing a canvas). However, it did become the basis of abstraction for the expressionist to devise a way to paint intuitively and let the painting happen in their mind as they painted. Pollock studied under Thomas Hart Benton (where he did learn to draw, unlike Robert Hughes assessment that he didn't know how to draw) and rejected the realism but in his colorways and free wheeling composition, Benton subliminally shows through. Pollock may be the furthest away from Hoffman and closer to Kadinsky. The op art painters are closer to Hoffman in using juxtuposition of colors to produce a visceral image. I see conflicts and harmony in Hoffman's paintings and that holds true for the abstract expressionists. That he was a teacher makes him even more important as an influence on the artists who followed. Picasso did champion a freedom of expression that has been invaluable to the modern painters but I also believe the beginning and the end of Picasso was Picasso.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 08:38 pm
art influences
I appreciate Picasso very much for his originality. The fact that he did not start a lineage, that he was unique is to his credit. If it were not for his co-invention of cubism, he would not have much of a role in the history of art. Nevertheless his art would be no less importance--as art (BTW, his reciprocal influence with Matisse is interesting).
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 08:55 pm
I think artists purposefully avoided influences of Picasso -- the style was too identifyable and the theme and variations exhausted.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 10:17 pm
art influences
Interesting, LW. And I agree, but do you not see some influence on Francis Bacon?
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firenze pensaforte
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 12:17 am
unfortunately, lightwizard, your text is not before me (nor can I get it up there) as I respond to its carefully considered ideas. But I DO disagree with you about the approach of Hofmann to his work. I have been in his classes for several years; I have watched him work; I have heard his ideas. He TAUGHT Cubism (Picasso's Cubism) as an approach to form, and mentioned Picasso in the same breath.
Pollock is close neither to Hofmann nor to Kandinsky. The difference between the two and the one is the fateful difference between traditional and non-traditional or contemporary painting.
Hofmann, who had much praise for many contemporary painters
when he spoke, refused to discuss Pollock. The attitude was that of
disdain, indeed. (However, Hofmann was a gentleman; he would never openly criticize any contemporary harshly.)
I think perhaps you see the similarity between Pollock and Kandinsky in the "calligraphy"...in those lyrical floating forms that
both Pollock and Kandinsky employed in their works. But it cannot be found in the substance or structure of their works.
Re: Hofmann's influence from Mondrian: Hofmann greatly admired Mondrian. But Mondrian was an intellectual painter. Hofmann's love of color and textural paint and emotional strength may better relate to his early German roots.
I suspect we shall disagree about these unprovable hypotheses.
Let me wish you a happy new year.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 11:18 am
That's good input about Hoffman mentioning Picasso. Hoffman's use of blocks of color is the only vague similarity I can find to Picasso and it reaches an entirely different conclusion on the picture plane. He doesn't distort real objects into a geometric pattern and his use of color is an entirely different process of painting closer to Cezanne. If he is using real objects in the classroom, you could certainly clue me into that. I can imagine he didn't want to discuss Pollock because it's a 180 deg. away from his approach to creating an abstraction. Like I said, Hoffman's legacy also would include op art which also has roots in Duchamp (the stimulus of motion in futurism and his earlier work are very optical). Of course, this discourse is only opinion -- it's how we process ideas differently. I just basically believe that Picasso is bound into his own expression and his influence is less evident in the art of the 40's, 50's and 60's (after which time, modern art was declared dead). I'd be certain Hoffman would not dislike me giving him more credit than perhaps others would!

On Pollock, he stated that he learned nothing from Benton which is untrue if you see the progression of his painting from Benton-like to the wild but controlled splattering of his abstractions. Either he or Benton did say he learned how to down a fifth of bourbon!

Francis Bacon is another very original painter who was not influenced at all by the New York school but by German Expressionism. Being expressionistic even though he used representational figures prompts a comparison to the Abstract Expressionists and Bacon does employ gestural strokes albeit with a lot more control of the result. I guess I could see some references to Picasso's work but I'm not sure I wouldn't be trying to implant them. It would have to be in the color ways of Picasso during the cubist period but it falls apart when I try to see any cubism in Bacon.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 11:20 am
BTW, it seems Hoffman was more stolid in teaching abstract painting than I heretofore thought.
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shepaints
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 05:55 pm
I think Franics Bacon was the original shockoholic...To me
his innovation was an interesting investigation of motion......
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 06:58 pm
art influences
Shepaints, movement, definitely. But I think an earlier shockoholic was Egon Schiele (1890-1918).
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 07:17 pm
Motion, shepaints, as in futurism?
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seaglass
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 07:27 pm
hans hoffman
did it ever occur to anyone that Hoffman's disdain of Pollock was his bastardizing of Hoffman's (and he was the pioneer) of the technique of dribbling and pouring paint which Pollack later utilized (and badly).

in my humble opinion Hoffman had an intuitive understanding of physics and math which are the building blocks of abstract art and the definitive expression of universal truths.

seaglass.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 08:05 pm
That's a matter of opinion of Pollock using the dripping of paint from brushes and cans (he often also used the end of the brush)was consciously borrowed from Hoffman -- there is no resemblance in style, of course. Hoffman was not a gestural painter. Also that he used it badly. I disagree and I've seen a lot of his canvasses in person. They reproduce terribly but in person they are powerful images.

I do agree that Hoffman was the artist who provided a solid basis for abstraction more than anyone I can think of. Gottlieb, DeKooning, Kline, Rauschenberg may have still have come to be but they all have a semblance of order in their canvases which gave rise to the term "planned accident." I always found that to be a bit of an oxymoron and Pollock has said himself that there was little accident in his paintings.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Wed 18 Dec, 2002 08:37 pm
influences
LW, I understand what Pollock is saying: his overall images are more or less what he intended. They are not accidental, EVEN THOUGH he could not control exactly the dripped lines resulting from his gestural sweeps. By the way, what do you think of my notion of "accidental plans?" When starting up a work, I often find, serendipitously, that a different course of action would be better than the one initially envisaged. Can THAT be called an accidental plan.
Seaglass, I've never been a fan of Pollock's later paintings, but I would never argue that he dripped badly. Can you describe how such a technique could be done better?
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