22. 72|73|74|78|81

“The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘Self-Reliance and Other Essays’

[in progress]

1972 | IKON Gallery, Birmingham

“…directly onto the walls of the gallery / …then painted out to make way for the next show.”

– Tim Hilton, 1972

13.07.2021 | reconstruction of John Walker’s ‘Deirdre’ (chalk on wall prepared as blackboard, 10 ft x 20 ft), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1972

proximity to oblivion

[thin fragility of surface]

[discrete being was emulged in surfaceness]

[some masked irregularity in the support]

[steadiness, perfectly adjusted to pictorial incident]

[the role of surface, the fact of surface]

[touches, drags, erasures…done with a brush…done by hand…smeared around…flung on in splatters…an overflowing]

between the picture and the wall

the possibilities are endless

a real sense of the absolute communicated solely by means which are proper to pictorial art

the working activity of being an artist

the first to go

– Walter Darby Bannard: ‘Touch and Scale: Cubism, Pollock, Newman and Still’, Artforum, Vol. 10, (June 1971) pp. 58-66

Jackson Pollock: Number 1A, 1948, MOMA NY | Object number 77.1950 Oil and enamel paint on canvas, 68” x 104”

1973 | Emile de Antonio’s ‘Painters Painting’

Painters Painting : A Candid History of the Modern Art Scene, 1940-1970, original release 19.03.1973

Compendium of transcribed texts by artists, dealers, and collectors edited by Emile De Antonio and Mitch Tuchman from the film of the same title. Includes Josef Albers, Leo Castelli, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Henry Gelzahler, Clement Greenberg, Thomas Hess, Jasper Johns, Philip Johnson, Hilton Kramer, Philip Leider, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Phillip Pavia, Larry Poons, Robert Rauschenberg, William Rubin, Ethel Scull, Robert Scull, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Includes a selected chronology and an index. “Painters Painting began with hundreds of hours of interviews made for the classic documentary of the same name by the well-known filmmaker Emile de Antonio. Some 700 pages of transcripts, including much that did not appear in the film, were turned over to Mitch Tuchman, who edited this wealth of material into a coherent chronological narrative. The result is a fast-paced exchange of ideas that gives the reader a sense of eavesdropping on a an unusually articulate bull session rather than studying art history. In talking about their experiences, de Kooning, Newman, Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, and all the rest capture the messy complexity of art-making with a candor and an immediacy all too often lacking in more conventional texts.”

“Oil as a weapon against the west. / On 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria invaded Israel, beginning the Yom Kippur War. The Arab states now used the supply of oil as a weapon against the west. The combination of fuel shortages and high prices had dramatic effects on the British economy, producing an energy crisis. The government considered a range of measures to reduce the use of oil by ten per cent, including:

• Rationing of petrol

• Reduction of oil supplies to power stations

• Reduction of the speed limit

• Voluntary restrictions on domestic heating

The government also launched a diplomatic effort to persuade the Arab oil producers to increase supply. At the end of 1973, the Cabinet announced a state of emergency and decided on a three-day week in certain industries. In 1974, the government considered further measures for reducing the domestic use of oil. … At the end of 1973, the Cabinet announced a state of emergency and decided on a three-day week in certain industries. In 1974, the government considered further measures for reducing the domestic use of oil.

Inflation increased to nearly 15 per cent in 1974, and to over 27 per cent in 1975. A programme of counter-inflationary measures was devised with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI), including a wage freeze and the fixing of prices. The government produced a number of White Papers and consultative documents on counter-inflationary measures between 1973 and 1976.”

– The National Archives: ’The Cabinet Papers | https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/themes/global-oil-shortage.htm [accessed 22.03.2021]

“Cotton with coevolving pests has been grown in India more than 5000 years. Hybrid cotton was introduced in the 1970s with increases in fertilizer and in insecticide use against pink bollworm that caused outbreaks of bollworm. … The introduction of Bt cotton generated considerable controversy as some linked high suicide rates among cotton farmers to Bt cotton adoption while others dismissed the links. Unrealistic claims of 70–80 % increases in yield, and 17–20% increases nationally entered the literature with some questioning these conclusions. The above biology and controversy are imbedded in the historical economic, political, social (religion, caste, level), and ecological milieu of rural India and are background for our analysis of cotton production in India.”

  Andrew Paul Gutierrez, et al: ‘Deconstructing Indian cotton: weather, yields, and suicides’, Gutierrez et al. Environmental Sciences Europe (2015) 27:12 | https://enveurope.springeropen.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12302-015-0043-8.pdf [accessed 22.03.2021]

1974 | Libertà al Cile, Venice Biennale: Alternative Media and Art as Information

In 1974, the Venice Biennale was effectively canceled in a unilateral statement protesting the US-backed coup that put Chilean general Augusto Pinochet in power. That year, there were no themed exhibitions and no national pavilions. Instead, the Giardini served as a site for theater performances, mural paintings, and public conversations.

“This thesis examines the 1973 institutional restructuring of the Venice Biennale and the radical programming that resulted from it. For the first time in its history, the Biennale engaged deeply with leftist political discourse, and set forth a series of programs that were fundamentally committed to politics and civic engagement. Titled Liberta al Cite (Freedom for Chile) with the subheading, per una cultura democratica e antifascista (for a democratic and anti-fascist culture), the Biennale’s 1974 program demonstrated solidarity in its commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Chile, and also signaled the Biennale’s moment of transition. Though never recognized as a true Biennale, the events were presented by the organization as a ‘prologue’ to indicate the intent to continue its engagement in politics and with local audiences in the future. Through a study of the history of the Biennale, I trace the long-standing criticism of the institution alongside some important milestones that led to the restructuring in 1973. I also closely examine some of the productions of the Biennale, the outdoor mural and photography installations on display, and the experimental catalogue. These productions are studied in relation to Chile’s political history, suggesting that a mirroring of Chilean political activism took place at the events that year. Further, by placing the productions in dialogue with some of the avant-garde exhibitions and artistic practices of the time, I argue that the Biennale stands as an important precursor to exhibition models that have developed since. This project aims not only to situate the 1974 events firmly in the history of the Biennale, but also to highlight Liberta al Cite’s program as important to the history of exhibitions in general.”

– Raven Falquez Munsell’, Art Journal Vol. 74, No. 2 (Summer 2015), pp. 44-61

“A picture is not a canvas on the wall, it is the impact that hits the bull’s-eye of your mind.”

– Roberto Matta, interview with Peter de Francia, Hayward Gallery, London, 1977

1978 | The State of British Art: A Debate, ICA, London

René Gimpel: “Critics and art administrators influence art trends, but of the administrators only dealers and to some extent auctioneers exercise any real control. No art movement of any significance can bypass the gallery system because art, like any commodity, can only reach its essential market – in this case private and public collections – through the medium of exchange. While the art colleges and the Arts Council give far broader support to artists than the commercial art world, I see their role as secondary or complementary to the dealers.” [Day 1]

Peter de Francia: “Writing to Gide in December 1902, Paul Valéry, that most perceptive of critics, stated: ‘To tell the truth I think that what one calls art is destined either to disappear or to become unrecognisable.’ In context his statement was extraordinary prophetic of what was to ensue and of what has taken place.” [Day 2]

Fernand Léger: ‘Composition aux deux perroquets’, 1935-39, huile sur toile, 400 x 480 cm, S.D.B.DR. : F. LEGER 35-39 T.S.D. au revers : composition / aux deux perroquets / F. LEGER 1935-39. Acquisition don de l’artiste, 1953, Centre Pompidou, Paris, inventory no. AM 3026 P

“Considérée par Léger comme l’une de ses œuvres les plus abouties, la Composition aux deux perroquets fut exposée à Paris, une seule journée, le 15 avril 1940, dans l’atelier de son amie Mary Callery, avant d’être envoyée à New York, et d’y demeurer tout le temps de la guerre. / Elle est exposée au Museum of Modern Art, du 27 décembre 1940 au 12 janvier 1941, puis à Oakland, l’été suivant. Léger la fait revenir à Paris à l’occasion de l’exposition rétrospective qui lui est consacrée au Mnam par Jean Cassou, à l’automne 1949. Il l’offrira au Musée en 1953.”

1981 | A New Spirit in Painting

“We are in a period when it seems to many people that painting has lost its relevance as one of the highest and most elegant forms of artistic expression. … It seems to speak neither to other artists nor to a wide audience. However, the three organisers of this exhibition feel strongly that the art of painting, whose recent history and development is far more complex and rich than has been generally acknowledged, is in fact flourishing. Great painting is being produced today and we have every reason to think that this will continue. But it is only in an exhibition such as this that such assertions can be tested. / ‘A New Spirit in Painting’ is an exhibition of the work of thirty-eight painters. The choice is not arbitrary, but represents a critical stance.”

– Christos M. Joachimides, Norman Rosenthal, Nicholas Serota: Catalogue Preface, p11, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1981

“The exhibition as well as the historical moment it embodied were criticised because of their set of claims, regarded as untenable since it reenacted aesthetic positions criticised and rejected by the end of the 1960s. Inasmuch as the artists’ nationalities and regionalism were emphasised, the exhibition was said to stem from the ‘Old Masters’ rhetoric.”

– Théo de Luca: Introduction to ‘A New Spirit in painting, 1981: On Being an Antimodern’, pp 16-17, Koenig Books, London, 2020

– Carl Einstein: ‘A Mythology of Forms: Selected Writings on Art’, trans. Charles W. Haxthausen, 2019

[Postscript: HKW Berlin, 2017]


[Carl Einstein on Braque] “In him a reinvention of the world, of seeing, and of space is attempted and realized.”