On one of the NY Times blogs yesterday Stanley Fish offered some comparative description of a new film, an old TV show and an art opening--with some harrumphing tossed in for good measure. His harrumph is a cousin to my complaint about the hot country radio format and the experience of viewing contemporary art that I expressed a week or two back. It's worth a read, even if it skirts close to the edge of the long established grumpy-at-art writing genre. Like most of us, he's best describing and reflecting upon the things he likes. He argues for directness and artistic engagement with the quotidian details of life, and responds less well to showiness of a certain sort:
"...Although randomness and chance are themes of this...exhibit, there is nothing random in either the concepts or their implementation."Fish's objection to these highly crafted attitudinal stances in otherwise underplayed artworks is related to my objection to what I referred to as "artistic positioning."
In support of Professor Fish's views, I offer up a Stuart Davis still life [which typically requires almost no pretext on my part, as he is one of my favorites] from 1924.