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December 27, 2007



I loved this - and especially the bit about Mondrian. But I think I could also use him equally as someone who does not merely "practice" art from 2 to 6pm. De Stijl, at least to me, is about an endless, seamless take on life, with everything being art, right down to the bed. For me, that is not an activity so much as a way of living and being.


You're absolutely right about Mondrian, of course--one can take his example both ways (this is not the home of a man who leaves his work at the office, after all.) And he happily predicted "the end of art as a thing separated from our surrounding environment,"; perhaps the difference between Piet and later advocates of mixing art and life is that he thought the former would transform the latter rather than the other way around. At the same time, he frequently wrote about art as a sort of process of investigating the "natural laws" of art, of purifying art to lay bare essential truths and not mere individual expressions, etc. So there's also a context in which he describes art as an externalized, experimental, scientific practice. It's the fact that art does cut both ways, at least when it's working, that makes it both something that's very deeply part of what someone is as well as something beyond any one individual. And while I can think of artists coming down on both sides of the "practice" question, I don't think it would be a stretch to say that artists might be more acutely aware that there are different sides.


Thank you, this is well said. I appreciate your demonstrating how practise doesn't have to mean something one picks up and puts down-- that it can be inherent, integral, and continuous.


Practice, okay. Praxis, no. Die die die.


The way to handle someone who describes artmaking as praxis is to smile indulgently and say, "Actually, it's techne."


"To conclude with a more obvious point, one that Nemerov foregrounds in his analogy above..."

Foregrounds? My jargon sensor just went off!


I suppose it would be more proper to have written something like "places in the foreground," but I hardly think the word "foreground" amounts to jargon--it's an entirely standard term, Neither usage offends my ear, at least. At the risk of a very tedious debate breaking out, I'd also say that I'm not at all entirely opposed to what sometimes gets labeled as "jargon" and dislike knee-jerk reacts to academic terminology. The latter has its own place and use, however unappealing it may be out of those. One of the things I didn't like about Smith's article, and tried to indicate a little, was her basing her objections on the alleged academic nature of the offenses. That may be part of the story, but runs the risk of a certain kind of know-nothingism that I don't find attractive.


Adding, that last bit wasn't meant as a comment on anyone here, just the broader context in which these debates often occur.


I prove every day that practice won't make me perfect, nor do I want to be, but it dose allow me to be more skillful in whatever I do. Making art, music, cooking, Yoga, life; to appreciate to the fullest requires passion and (a)practice.

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