Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Hoarder

September 3, 2017

Recently this writer had the opportunity to interact with an installation occupying the fullness of a gallery dedicated to art (Pan:ic! Interactive Art Space by Al DiLorenzo). The installation itself was a super saturation of imagery and stimulation, one on top of another on top of another with the overabundance marked primarily by a complete and absolute lack of any style, voice or directive connection. It was akin to a hoarder’s domocile with visual/spatial imagery being compulsively warehoused, unable to be discarded. This installation took collection art to its next logical incarnation – hoarding. This “viewer” reminisced about the first installations experienced, as well as those only glimpsed through history archives (Duchamp would probably be one of the earliest, if not the earliest). Then there was the “sky light” structures of the 1970 where the “viewer” looked up to an opening that simply showed the sky. Many artists played with this in different manifestations. The 80’s found installations to be reproductions of intricately detailed everyday tableaux’s. Eventually the format expanded to whatever cohesive inclusion the installation artist desired (real or imagined) until the current one just witnessed. Following the installed trail of installation (the residue, the trace) one finds the earlier work exhibiting “direction” on the part of the installation organizer, to reproduction of experience, to self-conscious production or generation of experience, to the final abdication of any kind of control (the ability to discriminate and discard experience). Not surprising is this chronology and progression of development. Folks like Ranciere were consciously (or unconsciously) affected by the rather acerbic estimation of Arthur, “Beyond the Brillo Box,” Danto. From his “After the end of art”: “Art began with an “era of imitation, followed by an era of ideology, followed by our post-historical era in which, with qualification, anything goes… In our narrative, at first only mimesis was art, then several things were art but each tried to extinguish its competitors, and then, finally, it became apparent that there were no stylistic or philosophical constraints. There is no special way works of art have to be. And that is the present and, I should say, the final moment in the master narrative. It is the end of the story.” Today’s art (and that includes installation), is often affectionately referred to as art after the end of art (Ranciere’s Art regime). Fair enough this art historical thread of narration for what is/has been. Not to be quibbled with. But there is another insight for why and how installation became hoarding. One a bit more “Lacanian,” in a sense. To address this more anthropological take, we need to go way back in the way back machine of western culture to classical Greece. In spite of our blasé and passé belief that all there has been defined and redefined, much of its own contemporary “why” of art is not. Indeed, the Greeks themselves spent surplus energy just trying to define simple things, like “the good” (see Plato or Aristotle). One of the myths addressing this was that of Orpheus. Homer may have been real but the story of Orpheus embodied what to Plato was reality – the form of art (though Plato denigrated both). Especially in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice we find the repetition of Orpheus’ art in relation to task. Indeed, art follows this thread all the way to the present, though the present stresses the task as that of capitalist entrepreneur. With installation, from Duchamp on, we find some task involved with the experience of the installation. The installation originator formulated the experience for some specific “viewer” experience (How does an art gallery show differ from a wholesale coal repository? Take the time to appreciate the splendor of the eternally changing sky. Etc.). Amongst the art entrepreneur’s, Disney would have been most notorious. Art after the end of art finds not only a shift in what is presented, but a shift in the artist herself. No longer addressing a task in terms of relationship to those experiencing the work (social or otherwise) but rather a totally un-tasked “shared experience” (the culture of a shared economy?). We all know the art snob diatribe that now everyone is an artist. And in actual deed many institutions, both of art and social service, rely on this maxim to equivocate what is produced and its interpretation. Evidence from Pan:ic! shows that the artist is no longer engaged in terms of a task like Orpheus, but something else is on display. True, true, true that one of the cutting critiques of art in the late 90’s was that so much of it looked like homework. The artists felt tasked to produce it; evidence of the “post modern” position of the artist “solving” an art “problem” (there is such a thing?). With Pan:ic! we find the artist no longer bothering a task of what ever sort or relationship. Rather, we find the artist as one burdened with continuous art stimulation and experience (everyone is an artist implies everything is art). The “art show” itself becomes a way of “sharing” (the new, shared art economy?). In a “Lacanian” sense, the burden is the artist, what makes the artist an artist. The artist no longer interacts with the world for some or any purpose (art up to Brillo). After all, it is an “interactive” art space. Rather, as Pan:ic shows, the artist is now someone existentially burdened by a continuous stream of sensual, intellectual and visual stimulation – objects, and light, and texture, oh my! Much as junk mail, or spam, the hits just keep on coming. And we all know, it is such a task to sort, define, and chose to deal with this inundation of valuable stuff. Hoarding is just too convenient.

Lord’s Day Snap Short

February 20, 2017

(Roland Barthes was a French thinker whose interest covered a wide variety of sins, from professional wrestling to photography. His partiality to photography is best remembered for his insight on the photograph itself. His unique understanding of the image was of something that had occurred, that was actual at one time, and would never be present again (save for the photographic image). The description bordered on mourning. Photographs described by Barthes as exemplifying this significance easily could be described as incongruous, with the image always inadvertently revealing something not immediately apparent without considered study. In this spirit All The Noose That Is Knot presents vignettes entitled Snap Shorts)


Sunday is for shooting. At one time the Sunday country morning was that of bird songs, insect droning, and spontaneous amphibian choral competitions. Before noon the world was a John Cage composition, interspersed with cattle lowing, crows calling, or passing Sunday-go-to-meeting church goers. If the Lord’s Day happened to be fair, the afternoon of the fauna turned mechanized with off road roaring, buzzing and humming – pick ups, ATV’s and motorbikes. But the juke box was never turned on before noon. Today the blue laws are gone, replaced by staccato gunfire, from surrounding compass points, dawn to dusk, with no breaks for lunch or supper. The change began about nine years ago. Words were spoken, and recorded; an embarrassment about “those people”, their guns and religion. In response, like a school student with a new band instrument only too eager to fulfill a request, Sunday became the perfect day to perform, and practice. Now the week’s rehearsal starts after 4 on Thursday from a few isolated virtuosos. Friday and Saturday brings tentative ensemble play. By Sunday, it is practically orchestral with all calibers deployed – single shots and semi-automatic rounds capped by fully automatic flourishes with a few high explosive cannon rounds thrown in to create an 1812 crescendo. True believers make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Ohio Snap Short

February 3, 2017

(Roland Barthes was a French thinker whose interest covered a wide variety of sins, from professional wrestling to photography. His partiality to photography is best remembered for his insight on the photograph itself. Barthes’ unique understanding of the image was of something that had occurred, that was actual at one time, and would never be present again (save for the photographic residue). The description bordered on mourning. Photographs ascribed significance by Barthes could easily be described as incongruous, with the image always inadvertently revealing something not immediately apparent without considered study. In this spirit All The Noose That Is Knot presents vignettes entitled Snap Shorts)


There is nothing sadder than a pick up truck with a snow plow on the front flying down a bright dry highway on a 60 degree day. Even bedded in the barren grass next to a barn, it is the very image of abjection, bearing witness to a work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit somewhat out of sync. Clearing snow was always a sure way to supplement a rural income in Ohio which is witnessing its second “mild” winter (to say the least). It may be good for the wheat, but not so good for those looking to profit from snow covered parking lots and driveways. Temps are above freezing on more days than below. Precipitation, when it has been (and it has been), is mainly in the form of rain, at most a dusting of snow. Cyber illiterate coots recall late January/February as being the coldest time with sledding, ice fishing, and the great blizzard of 78. Cyber savvy scientists, who study this sort of thing, say that the rise in the mean global temps is accompanied by isolated yet equally mean severe weather events. For most of Ohio, for the most part, it has simply been another mild winter. So sad these pick up trucks with the snow plow on the front and on the back, next to the faded green “Let It Snow!” bumper sticker, a fresh new “Make America Great Again” sticker.

Review Of A Review

July 29, 2016

Here are excerpts from a book review by Robin Adele Greeley that appeared in the Summer 2016 Critical Inquiry. The book is Art beyond itself: Anthropology for a Society without a Story Line by Nestor Garcia Canclini.
“Artistic practice, once object-based, is increasingly founded on contexts; artworks are being “inserted in the media, urban spaces, digital networks, and forms of social participation where aesthetic differences seem to dissolve”. This “de-defining” of art throws into question long-standing analytical concepts such as Pierre Bourdieu’s art field that still depend on some idea of national cultures and distinct spheres of aesthetic production or (at the other end of the scale) on postmodern nomadism with its illusion of a world without borders.”
“Our trouble in providing a cogent storyline for contemporary art, Garcia Canclini insists, is of a piece with our vacillations about how to confront a post 9/11, post-2008 world in which conventional categories no longer explain contemporary experience, economics and politics have become “an unconvincing display,” and coherent narratives founder on the “barely explicable ruins of what globalization has destroyed”. Yet it is precisely in contemporary art’s ability to capture this state of incoherence that Garcia Canclini situates its capacity to address our present condition.” [!]
“Garcia Canclini argues that what defines contemporary art’s persuasive power is its “imminence”: its ability to “[insinuate] what cannot be said,” to “[say] things without pronouncing them fully,” maintaining them inventively unsettled. Art’s imminence is “the place where we catch sight of things that are just at the point of occurring”; it produces a “zone of uncertainty…suited not so much for direct [political] action as for suggesting the power of what hangs in suspense”. Art’s ability to critically embody that constitutive indeterminacy is what allows it to confront the bewildering splintering of competing or unconnected narratives.” [we’ve seen this movie before]
“If, for Ranciere, art’s politics resides not in giving marginalized social groups a means of representation but in introducing between the work and the spectator the paradox of the unanticipated, then Garcia Canclini rethinks this model, giving light to art’s current postautonomous condition.” [Didn’t anticipate that one, did you?]

So, next time you encounter something (“just at the point of occurring”) labeled art that makes no sense (“in which conventional categories no longer explain contemporary experience”) and is totally incoherent, you’ll have a handle on how to articulate what it is you are looking at and its significant imminence. Or not. Either way you’ll be able to say “that’s art!”

A Question Of Unity

August 31, 2014

There she was at the outdoor arts and crafts show hidden behind her work (the only shady spot to be found). Not a pretty woman, with bad teeth wearing overalls and work boots, she displayed portraits of exquisite detail featuring various animals, wild and domestic. She was literally behind her work.

Dorothea Lange was featured on a PBS American Masters episode. Of particular note was that Lange had been laid off by the FSA around 1940 and this completely disoriented her. Prior to this, though not well paid, she and her work had the connection of support that allowed entry into migrant workers camps and entitled her to photograph their conditions and inhabitants (for which she became famous). After the outbreak of the Second World War, Lange was picked up by the WRA to document the internment of American citizens of Japanese descent. Her work proved too good and was impounded by the Army that had hired her. After the war she went on to document the conditions of sharecroppers in America’s south through various impromptu, on site portraits.

Today’s artist is not found behind the work but rather is contained in the surface of the work (“if you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” Andy Warhol). Lange’s legacy is tainted by the question of whether the haunting portraits of Americans (as Americans) were unified by Lange herself (ala’ Woody Guthrie) or whether the unity had to do with the political economy of the time, which gave her a job, a purpose, cover and a mission. Would Lange have done what she did without taking a position with the FSA (and the WRA)?

Today, though not in the form of the outdoor arts and craft exhibitionist, the contemporary artist is expected to initiate and take ownership of an enterprise such as Lange had formed organically through her job involvement and the passage of time. Not only is the exceptional artist expected to have the “vision” of all the implications of their work, but they also are expected to obtain all the necessary connections and funding to bring it to fruition. Alternately, the subjective individual artist not pursuing such a socially visionary route is expected to draw from their own personal archives for portrayals within which they can be found, neither behind nor solely on the surface.

In either case, the unspoken question is where does the unity lie? As so many of today’s “social events” verify, unity is found through the discrete portrayal of the event’s participants themselves (through the near instantaneous documentation appearing on social media, etc.). This further implicates the contemporary social documentarians, along with the visionary arts entrepreneurs and subjective artistic interpreters, as discrete units within an abstract cohesive entirety entitled “Art”. This coordinates well within the operational determinants of a contemporary capitalist political economy that emphasizes personal choice and the freedom (and responsibility) of “rugged individualism”. The conditions of Lange’s pre-existing unity, promoting and spurring her creativity (and outcomes), as well as the pre-supposed unity of the subjective artist, with her viewer audience supporting her individual personal statements, are long gone. Today’s American culture emphasizes continuous discrete differentiation from any singular unifying definition.

That Is A Happy Person

January 1, 2014

Various online news sources carried a report by Finnish researchers regarding how the human body (overall) feels different emotional states. Study participants were asked to rate how, and which parts of the body were affected (or disaffected) by different emotions. These plus or minus indicators of feeling were then mapped unto a color chart (deep blue max minus feeling to light yellow max plus feeling). The composite of statistically arrived at color indicators were then projected unto silhouettes of a figure so that a primarily darkened figure would be neutral, and various colored combinations would appear under a heading like fear, anxiety, etc. One report focused attention on the bodily “feel” of love, which appears to have the greatest max plus concentration, primarily in the torso and head (with the feet appearing deep blue!). Happiness, shown positively lighting up the entire body, was unmentioned by any report.

It is with trepidation that one chooses to speak or write about happiness, let alone a happy person. Zhuangzi (also previously known as Chuang Tzu, etc.) appears to hold top honors when it comes to producing a justification of third person knowledge of this subject with his The Joy Of Fishes. Comparing Yo Yo Ma (in performance) with a fish definitely stretches reader imagination (as well as credibility). Yet Yo Yo Ma, performing in concert or solo, appears to be a very happy person. “That is a happy person” would be met by a totally different response than “He’s a great musician” or “That was an amazing performance.” To say “That is a happy person” is to point out two things – the person, and something about the person (that happiness gathers there). The first seems ordinary enough, but what makes for the second affirmation (something Zhuangzi so eloquently addresses)? “That is a happy person” now becomes something other than a statement of fact.

Although Wittgenstein reminds us that “nothing has so far been done when a thing has been named” (The Literary Wittgenstein, ed. John Gibson and Wofgang Huemer 2004, pg.19), many would still claim that Yo Yo Ma is a celebrity, on stage, performing (as an actor), or that he has been gifted with his talent, position, or even that he is recompensed handsomely. How so that it can be said “That is a happy person”?

Without addressing The Joy Of Fishes (but rather the joy of Shakespeare), Stanley Cavell writes, “My idea is that, in varying ways, each of these sensibilities is one whom Shakespeare’s posing of the skeptical problem of the existence of others takes the form of raising the possibility of praise, of finding an object worthy of praise, and proving oneself capable of it.” (Philosophy The Day After Tomorrow Stanley Cavell, 2005, pg. 37) For Cavell, skepticism involves not only the “stuff” out there (and whether I can know it, if it exists, etc.) but also the psyche – other people or minds. With Cavell, part of the utterance of praising or cursing is the acknowledgement of this other. But how does this differ from naming, that is, that what is said becomes simply a kind of title for the person praised or cursed? The “possibility”, “worth’ and capability are considered, along with false praise (idolatry or iconoclasm), primarily in terms of acknowledgement of the other. Little concern is given for the actual attribute of the praise. Maybe that lies with the false praise, but it would be difficult to imagine someone who has never known happiness to say “That is a happy person.” Unless “That person exists” is interpreted as a performative utterance of praise or cursing (acknowledging existence), it appears that what is attributed as praise worthy is likewise acknowledged as existing. Saying “that is a happy person” not only acknowledges the existence of the other, someone not me, but also that happiness gathers there. If praise (or cursing) acknowledges the existence of an other then it is equally as important to be able to elaborate the qualities or attributes in conjunction with that person (OK, for the Finnish researchers, emotions). That is, what goes to make that person a person. As Wittgenstein elaborates, nothing is accomplished by simply naming. Simply acknowledging lacks character, the character of what is acknowledged. Conjoining an attribute or quality with the designated person likewise acknowledges the existence of that attribute. “There is happiness.” Praise (or cursing) deals with skepticism in a twofold manner. Not only does it acknowledge the existence of the other, but also the existence of qualities and characteristics which we may not gather to ourselves (“possess”), may doubt, or perhaps are unsure of in our own reasoning (the everyday guise of skepticism). “That is a happy person” affirms not only the existence of the person, but of happiness.

I Share Therefore I Am

December 29, 2013

“But I know it when I see it”, a quote attributed to US Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart reflecting his inability to define pornography with any kind of specific legalese. And yet he needed to rule on a case that evaded legal definition. The ordinary, everyday interacting with the highly nuanced, articulated and over defined legal canon can lead to just such expression. This conjures up an aspect of philosophy which, according to Stanley Cavell, has hamstrung the discipline since the Enlightenment, if not long before. Skepticism within not only the academic approach but our very culture has received his energy and attention. Cavell concerns himself with an “ordinary” language approach to this aberrant exercise of reason. Within the everyday it is as difficult to pin down as porn, though we would like to believe that we know it when we see it.

“In that essay, “Knowing and Acknowledging,” the ordinary is discovered not as what is perceptually missable but as what is intellectually dismissable, not what may be but what must be set aside if philosophy’s aspirations to knowledge are to be satisfied. There I articulate my sense of what happens to philosophy’s aspiration by saying that skepticism is not the discovery of an incapacity in human knowing but of an insufficiency in acknowledging what in my world I think of as beyond me, or my senses; so that when I found, in a following essay on King Lear, that Shakespearean tragedy enacts the failure to acknowledge an other, hence forms a lethal set of attempts to deny the existence of another as essential to one’s own, I came to wonder whether Shakespeare’s tragedies can be understood as studies of (what philosophy identifies as) skepticism.” (Philosophy The Day After Tomorrow by Stanley Cavell, 2005, pg. 12)

This everyday approach to the workings of culture (and one of its manifestations – Shakespeare) brings to mind a past Moyers and Co. interview (October 18, 2013) in which the guest was Sherry Turkle, psychologist, author, MIT professor and Director of that school’s Initiative on Technology and Self. She and Bill discussed her recent book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, and contemporary technology with social media (all quotes Sherry Turkle from the transcript of that interview).
“Well, I call it “alone together.” That we’re moving to a space where we feel free to respond to the three promises that technology now makes us, that we can always be heard, that we can be wherever we want to be, and that we never have to be alone.”
“John McCain recently, under the pressure of the discussion of the Syrian crisis, said that was boring. And he needed to go to something that was more stimulating. And so he went to a game. And what that showed is that what we’re going to is something that revs us up and puts us, we know, neurochemically in a state where we’re less able to come back and be part of the give and take of human conversation.”
“They could not say no to the feeling that somebody wanted them. Somebody was reaching out to them. The neurochemical hit of constant connection is what we are — is what we have now.”
“And so what concerns me as a developmental psychologist, watching children grow in this new world where being bored is something that never has to be tolerated for a moment. You can always go someplace where you’re stimulated, stimulated, stimulated, is that people are losing that capacity.”
“Sending is being. It’s starting to be that sending is being. And I think that this has a, potentially a downside, because, you know, you begin to not have as much a feeling of autonomy and sense of self if your way of thinking about yourself is so tied into sharing and texting and being enmeshed that way.”

Turkle proffers an antidote, an alternative to this pervasive cultural condition she describes:
“No, it really is a different way of seeing the self. And again, I come back to the importance of solitude, the sense that people need to learn how to gather themselves and be alone and experience solitude, which is different from loneliness. Because the way things are now, you know, people think that loneliness is a problem that needs to be solved and that only technology can solve.”

This all becomes very strange. Solitude and being alone were considered officially subversive in many countries in the 1930’s, and even today still carry a covert cultural stigma of “anti-social”. This juxtaposition of Turkle with Cavell is even all the more strange in that the cultural phenomena that Turkle describes appears to be the antithesis of what Cavell takes to be the definition of contemporary skepticism. “(a)n insufficiency in acknowledging what in my world I think of as beyond me, or my senses” appears to be blunted by a culture of constantly promised reaffirmation and acknowledgement through continuous connection. The “technological fix” to what all bothered Descartes, Hume through the likes of Kant now finds its own “fix” as being a life cultivated and promoted by those very same folks, namely one of solitude and being alone (at least within the exercise of their discipline). To a certain extent, Turkle and Cavell would find agreement in the writing of Cavell’s hero, Emerson, and his essay Self Reliance. But in terms of language, they may be miles apart. What seems to separate these two descriptions of very analogous states (skepticism and Turkle’s “Alone Together” culture) is the difference in, and evolution of, language brought about by ever new technology. Ordinary language appears to be employed when I “send”, “receive”, “share” and am “acknowledged” (affirmed) through the “connections” afforded by technological culture. And yet “I share therefore I am” doesn’t at all resemble what Descartes was saying.

Hall Of Zombies

December 12, 2013

A recent foray through the 3D section of a college art department, one that grants a BFA, presented a stark and discernible contrast. The ceramics area was all alive with whimsical creations — creatures and humanoid figures, narrative and abstract shapes in bright and varied colors, textures and surfaces. These forms originated as base clay, eventually glazed, fired, etc. The sculpture production centered around detritus derived creations composed of the cast offs of consumer society – bottles, cans, plastic bags, furniture parts, tea bags, apparel, etc. These likewise were multicolored, textured and various in attempted forms. These pieces never managed to escape the trauma of their base material’s initial priority — that of promoting a commodity based and driven culture. The components’ original intended function was to signal fulfillment and happiness found within (the beverage, food, purchased acquisition, etc. that they originally contained and delivered). Any application to utilize this spent residue was in actuality a contestation of its original functional intent by design; akin to wrestling to undo the Bauhaus through utilizing its own signature designs to create Non-Bauhaus creations. In spite of itself, each piece became a struggle, not only to overcome the overwhelming “aura” of the component material employed but, more importantly, to imagine an “other” to the market compelled ontology that these materials insist on reproducing. Few succeeded in this no rules cage match. Unlike the ceramics area “alive with whimsical creations”, the sculpture trek turned into a flight down a hall of zombies.

It Makes One Think

November 17, 2013

Much to be recommended piece of writing by Peter Uwe Hohendahl entitled Progress Revisited: Adorno’s Dialogue with Augustine, Kant, and Benjamin that appears in the Autumn 2013 Critical Inquiry. The Noose That Is Knot may possess some rudimentary passing knowledge of sorts but can claim no expertise on any of these folks. The essay is incredibly well written and clear given the obvious complexity of the matter (that Adorno could author one outlook and an exception to this outlook less than 20 years later). The substance of the inquiry makes for its relevance to current time. With the 1944 Dialectic of Enlightenment came the possibility that the Enlightenment may have primarily been in the best interest of specific constitutionalities of the west. That it definitely was not in the best interest of human progress or a future to be anticipated by humankind. Later, in a 1962 essay entitled Progress, Adorno appears to take exception with that position.

Warhol’s “Good business is good art”, Madonna’s Material Girl, and Baudrillard have left us with pretty much a surface, if not a screen, as being all there is. “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” (well, who else? Andy Warhol) Hohendahl suggests otherwise, not so much behind as beside. His interpretation of Adorno’s later essay is intriguing for contemporary raison d’etre. Jamie Dimon may rationalize for what is best for the country, the global economy, and even better for J.P. Morgan Chase in his private meetings with Eric Holder. It is always difficult to accept a separate justification for behavior or activity, a kind of exceptionalism. In a very oblique way, that is what Adorno proposes. Although not beside, he sets aside Benjamin’s recoiling horrified angel of history as well as Hegel’s (and Marx) “progression” of history. This questioning of universal history allows for the equal interrogation of what is best for man, mankind and the future. Enter Augustine and Kant with “best” (or the good) involving something besides reason (and scientific material progression). For Adorno, it is what contributes to the emancipation of the individual, all individuals; what produces and cultivates individual freedom. It is absolutely fascinating how this then opens the door for questions posed by Occupy, those concerned with global warming and the environment, GMO’s and sustainable living. Sustainable living would be the touchstone for this “other” interpretation of “progress”. Such an outlook then creates the veritable double speak that resistance to a materially or scientifically envisioned future (as progress) may be the only real progress. That resistance is the only hope for the future. It makes one think.

It Takes Place In Real Time And You Can’t Control What You’re Going To Say

October 28, 2013

Sherry Turkle, clinical psychologist and MIT professor amongst other things, was interviewed by Bill Moyers on the 10-18-13 Moyers & Company. The emphasis of their exchange was on how the self has been re-identified as one dependent on the mobile device – smart phone, laptop, etc. “You begin to feel yourself as you mesh yourself with the means of communication.” A resulting outcome is the inability of face to face conversation, resulting in one excuse for its avoidance being the title of this blog posting. The mobile device over determines exchange; “The sweetness of something new that’s coming into us on our phone.” or its anticipated promise. Conversation becomes torn, “Attention divided between the world of the people we’re with and this other reality.”

Arthur C. Danto passed away on 10-25-13. It would be pretentious to write an elegy or obit. Perhaps, especially within the volume of what Arthur Danto left us, it would be better to consider what is not found, what was missing. AP presented an elegant report by Hillel Italie with quotes, counter opinions and a brief history (Groundbreaking art critic Arthur Danto dies at 89, 10-27-13). That should suffice for reference and context. I would like to consider two areas of exploration left open within Danto’s contribution that are pertinent and relevant to understanding the art (and culture) after the end of art – the technological reproducibility of next to nearly anything today, and the “rhizomatous” aspect of art production (conflating the scientific and philosophic meanings) and how little this is valorized in our culture.

Hillel Italie gives some intriguing quotes: “”But now I have grown reconciled to the unlimited diversity of art. I marvel at the imaginativeness of artists in finding ways to convey meanings by the most untraditional of means. The art world is a model of a pluralistic society in which all disfiguring barriers and boundaries have been thrown down.”” Danto, of course, was most instrumental in the shift from the hierarchical, progression interpretation (of Greenberg) to one of no end (of art). “”From my perspective, aesthetics was mostly not part of the art scene. That is to say, my role as a critic was to say what the work was about — what it meant — and then how it was worth it to explain this to my readers,” he wrote.” reflects the innate conversational approach that he imagined his work to be about. And “”When I became a critic, I met everyone under the sun. But I knew very few artists when I was an artist. Some printmakers, some second generation Abstract Expressionists. … They were the great figures of my world, like Achilles and Agamemnon in ancient times,” he wrote in a 2007 essay about his own work.” reveals more than its brevity suggests.

Contemporaneous with Danto’s contribution and thinking were the works of other thinkers and critics, events and developments. Some of these appear within his work. Some are never referenced. Although this pluralistic society for which the art world is a model produces work in which performance, installation, ready-mades, found objects and collaborations are ubiquitous, what happens when one cannot distinguish the hand of creation, what produced what, because of the seamless incorporation of technological reproduction (what Benjamin had adumbrated)? Along with the end of art was the death of the author, but when authorship becomes usurped by technological virtuosity, what then? Is this as Turkle describes that “You begin to feel yourself as you mesh yourself with the means of communication.”? Though Danto thought that with the end of art, art’s interpretation likewise differed (no longer seen as a Greenberg progression), he never confronted the dissipation that this produced – that a work’s understanding now hinged on what was not art, what surrounded the artist (“I knew very few artists when I was an artist.”). This horizontal interpretation (of all outside what is the artist’s discipline having a bearing on “what the work was about — what it meant — and then how it was worth it to explain”) introduces rhizomatous considerations associated more with Deleuze and Guattari than Danto. This enmeshed, artist identity produces “Attention divided between the world of the people we’re with and this other reality.” The notion of art as conversation was prevalent before the end of art. It was implicated by the artist’s awareness and reference of what went on before the work at hand as well as after. Contemporary culture disrupts this by “The sweetness of something new that’s coming into us on our phone.” This sweetness is not necessarily in real time (nor referential to anything that went before or to come), but of an “other reality.” – acceptable to technologically driven art but not to conversation (which Danto imagined his own work as a critic). Art after the end of art just may involve a heavy emphasis on what is not art!