Isaac Bashevis Singer on Art

toeputLodewijk Toeput, The Tower of Babel, 1587

While the following quote from Isaac Bashevis Singer, from his Author’s Note introducing his Collected Short Stories, is about literature his remarks can be just as easily applied to the entire jumble of post-war American Art “experiments”.. The nonsensical and puerile heap of “isms”.

From The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

“In the process of creating them [the short stories], I have become aware of the many dangers that lurk behind the writer of fiction. The worst of them are: 1. The idea that the writer must be a sociologist and a politician, adjusting himself to what are called social dialectics. 2. Greed for money and quick recognition. 3. Forced originality–namely, the illusion that pretentious rhetoric, precious innovations in style, and playing with artificial symbols can express the basic and ever-changing nature of human relations, or reflect the combinations and complications of heredity and environment. These verbal pitfalls of so-called “experimental” writing have done damage even to genuine talent; they have destroyed much of modern poetry by making it obscure, esoteric, and charmless. Imagination is one thing, and the distortion of what Spinoza called the “order of things” is something else entirely. Literature can very well describe the absurd, but it should never become absurd itself. ”

And painting should have never become absurd itself, but it emphatically has. Post-Modern Painting is, in effect, Non-Modernist painting. There is no soul. There is no spirit. There is no connection whatsoever between an Eric Fischl painting and an Edward Hopper painting. Even more so his pompous and absurd claims to be related to Degas and Manet. This kind of talk would be completely laughable in any art world or group of serious painters that had any kind of connection at all to serious artistic practice.

 

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I'm an artist.
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