on art

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the poetics of writing on art

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I write on art not as a critic or art historian but as myself, which I suppose means as artist and poet. I make this distinction because I respect the professional disciplines of both formal criticism and art history, although I take issue with certain fundamental assumptions in the practice of both. I should say that I read art criticism and art history with interest and even pleasure but when I write about an artist’s work I am not particularly in dialogue with critics and historians. I write from experience and a strong interest in the underlying principle(s) of given work.  I regard my writing on art or poetry (or pretty much anything), as I do my own work in art and poetry, as principle-based.

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When I write in depth about an artist. I try to spell out the underlying principles of my own inquiry into the nature of the work. The prime example of this in my writing about art is the work I have done on Gary Hill (generally in some degree of collaboration with Charles Stein).  Most of this work has recently been published in a single volume, An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings, Foreword by Lynne Cooke (Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009), which will be excerpted on this site. As regards the theory of principle art, I would draw attention in particular to the Prologue to that book and to the piece, “Configuring Principle,” written for the Berlin journal FAIR, both of which are reproduced here.

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