Re: And how sharp I am was/Re: Temperaprint & Gum

From: Sandy King ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 01/31/04-09:34:54 PM Z
Message-id: <a06020425bc421e22f333@[]>

Judy Seigel wrote:

Hi Judy,

Further comments.

1. The potential of photography to convey a prodigious amount of
detail is one of the most fundamental characteristics of the medium.
Sharpness is not an end in itself, but it often signals a superior
level of craftsmanship in the types of photography where this
characteristic is valued.

2. Issues of permanence have always been of greater importance with
photography than with other art forms precisely because of the lack
of permanence of many photographic processes. Concern with archival
issues by individual indicates, in my opinion, both artistic
integrity and a sense of value of their art. It is in fact an
expression of confidence in their art, not lack of it.

3. The great majority of artists, in virtually all periods and in all
places, have placed a high value on permanence. To suggest otherwise
simply ignores reality.


>On Fri, 30 Jan 2004, Sandy King wrote:
>> > I make an analogy to the
>> >obsession over archivality that you DO NOT FIND, and NEVER HAVE FOUND
>> >among painters or persons who draw. That's because they're confident
>> >about what they're doing, don't feel worried that it's not REAL art, so
>> >they try to prove a point with archivality.
>> I think this may be more opinion than fact. It is true that many
>> contemporary artists do not appear concerned with archival issues but
>> I think a very good case could be made that most artists of past
>> centuries were highly knowledgeable of their materials and selected
>> them carefully for permanence.
>I doubt many serious artists are ignorant of these issues, but other
>values often take precedence over utter absolute "permanence." You're
>declaring an either/or that I think is off the mark. Whatever is not total
>A is not by necessity all B.
>> Perhaps you are familiar with the Parnassian school of poetry of 19th
>> century France? I recall a specific poem in which the poet, who was
>> also a sculpture, praised the qualities of more permanent materials
>> such as bronze and marble over the more fugitive materials.
>Well if he was also a *sculpture,* I'd say anything he said was
>remarkable, but I hardly think 19th century France is the only locus of
>loving grand (grandiose?) materials. (For sure that "Grecian Urn" was made
>of clay and breakable.) Equally to the point, I think calling the
>alternatives "fugitive" is tendentious. Certainly works on paper and
>fabric have survived very handily and less likely to have their noses and
>arms lopped off by earthquakes or rumbling of subway trains underneath.
>Some of our most precious relics are carved of wood (exquisitely
>ornamented by worm holes) or wax, even fragile glass.
>More to the point, today our most dazzling art is hardly in bronze and
>marble; we have art povera, art surreal, art conceptual, art in wax,
>process art, elephant dung, frozen blood, gun powder, piss on silver
>nitrate, bottle caps, chewing gum, tar, celotex,and a hundred things I
>don't think of now, plus infinite permutations thereof.
>> >When this field is REALLY confident, we'll hear that about 5 times less
>> >than formerly.
>> I can state with confidence that our entire knowledge of the past is
>> based on things that have survived.
>In the first place, that's a truism, but hardly defines which media
>survived. We have enough work on papyrus from thousands of years ago to
>tell about Egyptian life, and actually tell us more than the stone
>pyramids. I also suggest that you consider that our most treasured
>"antiques" are hardly "archival" in the sense that they do NOT resemble
>the originals. After all, much (all?) classic sculpture was polychromed.
>Now consider, say, the Venus de Milo, painted bright colors. To us that
>would be *so* Hollywood !
>In the second place, that line you quote (clearly) referred to my comment
>about the fetish for sharpness... had nothing to do with archival
>materials. I'll add, and here's something I've thought about often --
>when something starts to show its age, say in 100 years or so, it doesn't
>disappear in a flash.. Odds are a photograph only gets a little faded.
>I have albums of the 19th century with some prints pale, but most fine and
>dandy. I'd say that if a future world cares about the work, they'll
>"preserve" it --- making jobs for curators. In the same way that now a
>whole industry "preserves" the drooping paint of the abstract
>expressionists, or the famous ones, while the others ooze and slump in a
>barn somewhere.
>And I also think of John Dugdale's remark that he loved the look of yellow
>faded albumen, and wondered if there was a way to instant age it. I
>myself also like the aestheticizing look of age... brand new can be kind
>of, um, new looking.
>I don't demand that you roll your prints in the mud... but make the point
>that many artists have other values... And IMO there's more concern with
>archival and sharp in photography than warranted, due, again IMO, to
Received on Sat Jan 31 21:37:06 2004

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