Monday, September 01, 2008

Tribes

Can I just go on record to say that Scott McCloud's division of art into Formalist/classicist/animist/iconoclast is just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever read.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/08/the_tribes_of_art.html

5 Comments:

Blogger Fran├žois said...

Well, what McCloud does is not a division of art, but a vulgarization of the different styles of comic books aimed at an American public. He has a more interesting diagram in Understanding Comics. It's not so much a division into camps/tribes the way Ron Silliman does it. If anything, it's Damien Walter's explanation that is idiotic.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Iain said...

Francois is right. This is a terrible article on the Four Tribes. Not only does he explain the tribes significantly differently than Mccloud himself, his examples are beyond inane. It's almost as if he could only think of 8 obvious names in comics and just shoved them into categories.

The most striking difference between this article's explanation and Mccloud's own is that Mccloud doesn't suggest that there are specific artists that completely exemplify each category. In Making Comics, he states that most artists inhabit all four categories to some extent, but that one or two categories usually "burn the brightest" for them.

I don't fully stand behind the Four Tribes, but I do think it offers a lot of interesting ideas for analysis of contemporary poetry, much more so than Silliman's Quietist/Post-Avant dichotomy (which, in fairness, is trying to accomplish something completely different).

3:49 PM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

I wonder how many folks will post about the chart, Walter, and Silliman.

(I did it too... it's what all the cool kids are doing these days).

6:00 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

I would say that every artist is a formalist...

The thing that Silliman's reductive binary idea does have going for it is an awareness of history.

Rather than making general statements about "art", it says what does art look like in post-war American art.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Nevermind, that certainly contradicts pretty much all of my discussion about close reading. I think I resent the presentation of the iconoclast as someone who is mindless. I might have gotten that from Josh Corey's comments about the model.

9:35 AM  

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