Saturday, May 01, 2004

"Don't self-praise."

This is my chair's marginal note 200-odd pages into my dissertation, attached to a sentence something like: "The following section is not intended to constitute a fully worked-out account, but to describe a promising, initally plausible line." Not exactly Ecce Homo, but fine, I changed it. (I don't know if I used both 'constitute' and 'describe,' the page isn't in front of me.)

I wish I could write "Don't self-praise" on some things that appear on this internet of ours. And then not read them until they had been changed. Come of think of it, I wouldn't mind writing the same on some persons, somewhere they'll see it. I'm sorry that this is cryptic; the issue is raised by my personal [not, let me clarify, my romantic] life. But the principle is general.

My response to the big Minimalism show at MOCA appears to be manifesting itself as lines of poems, so I'm not going to register that here. One of its big points seems to be that a number of artists one does not associate with the movement started off there, though some moved on quite quickly. We know that Lawrence Weiner and Douglas Huebler, say, got to Conceptualism by realizing they were making objects that could have as well been described (W) or picked out (DH)* -- but who knew that Judy Chicago had been making hulking Robert Morris-ish crossbars, or that Hans Haacke had started as an installaton sculptor of a highly rarified sort (ice, condensation, thin cotton sail and fan)?

*I am just noticing that this distinction between ostenstion and description -- a highly relevant one for philosophy of language -- is perhaps run together in some of the theoretical work on Conceptual Art. (I use the caps b/c I mean the 'heroic' period/figures) There's an article in that. Which reminds me, the wall text in that Hammer photo show: God-awful. Every work, apparently, "raises questions about x and y."

And the Krall/Costello (no) and Caetano Veloso (yes) discs wait to see if I will be remunerated for having opinions. I can say: The CV (A Foreign Sound) makes me want to quit music*, but in a good way, because someone gets it. (This is rich: Me praising Caetano Veloso for 'getting it.') Disc embodies a great deal of what I believe, and would like to demonstrate if I had the skill or charm, concerning the strangeness, continuity, and malleability of -- hell, you all know what I'm going to say -- 'song.' The fact that it's 'American' song isn't the really relevant part for me, but it is for CV, which is yet another layer beyond anything I'd be able to signify.

*wait, you haven't?

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