Unreal Nature

October 27, 2015

Mood Between Them

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:53 am

… mutating cuddly security into brittle vulnerability, with a quietly breath-stopping sense of imminent violence.

This is my concluding post from Modern Painting and Sculpture: 1880 to the Present at The Museum of Modern Art, edited by John Elderfield (2004). This book uses extracts from other books to comment on the featured artists (I’m extracting from those extracts… ) If that text does not refer specifically to the MoMA art that is shown in the parent book, I may choose to use some other work by the artist to illustrate my post. Today’s first is from The Drawings of Richard Diebenkorn by John Elderfield (1988):

Diebenkorn’s deepest feeling is not simply for space and light: when he lists these as his interests, he places mood between them. Neither is his feeling, finally, for place. It is, rather, for his own sense of place: he does not only look out on the world but examines his place in the world as he does so.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 129, 1984

Next is from On the Edge: Contemporary Art fromthe Werner and Elaine Dannheiser Collection by Robert Storr (1997):

… Far from playing hard to get with his audience, Nauman seeks to involve people with hard-to-grasp ideas and hard-to-face uncertainties or ambivalences, and he is prepared to use any method — formal contradictions, verbal gymnastics, blunt declarations, disturbing images, raw humor — to push aside distractions, break down resistance, and make contact.

[line break added to make this easier to read online] Correspondingly, the unease created by Nauman’s all-out and all-fronts assault on his own and other people’s mental habits expresses itself in many ways: recoil at the sight of an apparently grim object, confusion at the sight of an inexplicably abstract one, surprise at the intensity of sounds or lights, embarrassed laughter at a crude joke or cartoon. Whatever that discomfort’s manifestation, however, its importance is the same. For Nauman, thinking is feeling. To do the one is to do, even to be impelled to do, the other.


Finally, this is from Modern Contemporary: Art at MoMA since 1980 by Kirk Varnedoe (2000):

… A chilling ambiguity can be found in the spindly upright crib of Mona Hatoum’s Silence. There, the glass tubing simultaneously evokes and cancels early modern notions of precision and clarity … , mutating cuddly security into brittle vulnerability, with a quietly breath-stopping sense of imminent violence.

Mona Hatoum, Silence, 1994

My most recent previous post from this book is here.




Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: