Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dorothea Tanning

[Barry Schwabsky has a fine article about the wonderful artist Dorothea Tanning over at The Nation web site. The article actually seems to jive with a lot of things I've written here recently about fairytales and Clement Greenberg. ]

"Greenberg had a point, though in retrospect one can't help but notice the narrowness of his sense of the new. Tanning did have something fresh to contribute--as had Ernst and some of the other Surrealists Greenberg censured. With his characteristic shrewdness, Greenberg hit on what makes such art powerful, at least when it is as good as Tanning's is at her best; but he couched his observation in a tone of offhand belittlement rather than of appreciation: "The artist shows us how he would prefer life to look or how--as children do--he would prefer to be frightened." There are many different things that art can be and do, but an art that would permanently renounce experiences and desires so primal has matured one step too far--it's moribund. But still and all, you can see how a painter like Tanning would have seemed to many of her strongest contemporaries to be part of their art's past more than of its future."


Post a Comment

<< Home