Artists don’t make objects, artists make mythologies, and it’s through the mythologies that we read the object.

Anish Kapoor (b.1954, India/UK)

VAST, GLOWING VAULT 

with the swarm of
black stars pushing them-
selves out and away:

on to a ram’s silicified forehead
I brand this image, between
the horns, in which,
in the song of the whorls, the
marrow of melted
heart-oceans swells.

In-
to what
does he not charge?

The world is gone, I must carry you.

- Paul Celan, from Poems of Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger (source)

Unlike other subcultures—skinheads, Teddy Boys, and Rude Boys in Britain; hippies, Beats, and bikers in the States—mods were something radically different: in their bespoke suits and careful haberdashery, they looked sharp because, to some extent, they were desirous of great things. […] And unlike so many later subcultures that announced themselves in absolutely oppositional terms—punks, say, whose aggressively shredded look served as a general fuck you—mods didn’t hide the fact that they shopped, and cared about what they bought. While they attacked middle-class office drudgery and lily-white respectability, they also rejected a rigid British class system that denied them access to a life of consumer luxuries and services—a life brimming with the very stuff work would enable them to purchase. Mods were, in short, a half-rebellious youth subculture that kept one eye trained on the rewards of adulthood. Mostly working-class kids, they railed against the system because, deep down, they wanted their share of its bounty.

Going Underground by Raphael Allison - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics (via guernicamag)

Don’t Understand Abstract Art? Sol LeWitt Explains

Art Gallery of New South Wales20th Feb - 3rd August; Free

Must read before going: “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” (1967) Sol LeWitt

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Sol LeWitt’s exhibition at the Gallery of NSW is one which leaves you with a profound resonance. What at first glance resembles a drawing you scribble at the corner of your page through utter boredom, the beauty of Lewitt’s work resides not within the final product, but the initiating idea. One mustn’t be deceived by the works simplicity on face value. What you see is not merely a drawn line or a semi formed cube, but a line which is representative of a mathematical logic process which as an end product, produces a single line within space. Thus, embedded within each line is a history of a procedure initiated by a concept.

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“Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form.”

The form within artworks like LeWitt’s “The location of twenty-one lines with lines from midpoints mostly” (1974) illustrate the dynamics between the simplicity within the idea verses the complexity of it’s execution. The artwork is complete with twenty one lines which are drawn within the boundaries of a canvas which forms the two dimension space. Penciled along these lines are the individually unique descriptive characteristics which despite being chosen at random, define the lines in a detailed relationship to each other in that each line exists interdependently, in association with another. 

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As LeWitt points out, the artist’s role within conceptual art isn’t the transcription of the art onto the canvas, but rather the conceptualization of the process which will govern the arts form. 

The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.

The conceptual artist doesn’t control the art’s direction but merely initiates it. It is then the rules which the artist has conceived which transcribes the idea onto the chosen medium. 

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The arithmetic repetition became so complicated within “Incomplete Open Cubes” (1974) Lewitt had to consult a mathematician in a process called combinatronics and exemplifies his desire to reach the logical extremes within a rational process. 

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Take a shot drawing your own LeWitt line. Here are the instructions! (The answer can be found at the exhibition within the books cabinet)

“A line equal to half the length of the axis between a point halfway between the centre of the page and midpoint of the left side and a point halfway between the midpoint of the bottom side and the lower right corner, drawn from the midpoint of the axis and perpendicular to the axis, in the general direction of the upper right corner.”

Goodluck x

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Being tired of all illusions and of everything about illusions – the loss of illusions, the uselessness of having them, the prefatigue of having to have them in order to lose them, the sadness of having had them, the intellectual shame of having had them knowing that they would have to end this way.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet (via acontentmentwithobscurity)

It’s the same feeling as playing music. When the instrument is in tune and you sustain a note, you’re not just hearing a note in tune: you can actually feel it. It resonates and almost vibrates your body in a certain way. It gives you as close a feeling as you can have to instinct as you can recreate it… The “Aha!” moment is the feeling you get when you’re totally in sync with what you’re doing and there is no difference between the note you’re playing and the note you’re hearing; or what you’re making and what you’re trying to communicate.

Interview in The Great Discontent, with writer, designer, editor, and educator Liz Danzico, NPR’s first-ever creative director, echoes Tchaikovsky on the exhilaration of creative flow(via explore-blog)

There are always meaningful songs for somebody. People are doing their courting, people are finding their wives, people are making babies, people are washing their dishes, people are getting through the day, with songs that we may find insignificant. But their significance is affirmed by others. There’s always someone affirming the significance of a song by taking a woman into his arms or by getting through the night. That’s what dignifies the song. Songs don’t dignify human activity. Human activity dignifies the song.

Leonard Cohen, from Songwriters on Songwriting (via brainpickings)

For centuries, the myth of the lone genius has towered over us, its shadow obscuring the way creative work really gets done. The attempts to pick apart the Lennon-McCartney partnership reveal just how misleading that myth can be, because John and Paul were so obviously more creative as a pair than as individuals, even if at times they appeared to work in opposition to each other. The lone-genius myth prevents us from grappling with a series of paradoxes about creative pairs: that distance doesn’t impede intimacy, and is often a crucial ingredient of it; that competition and collaboration are often entwined. Only when we explore this terrain can we grasp how such pairs as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy all managed to do such creative work. The essence of their achievements, it turns out, was relational. If that seems far-fetched, it’s because our cultural obsession with the individual has obscured the power of the creative pair.

Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of The Power of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs, explores the power of creative duos in an essay for The Atlantic. 

Complement with a brief history of the genius myth.

(via explore-blog)