Monday, December 28, 2009

Peter Schjeldahl Notes Part IV




















Selected notes from Peter's teachings on critical writing, continued (click here for Part I, here for Part II and here for Part III):

A gallery front room is a perk for the artist.

The audience for a catalogue introduction is only one person – the artist. It is not a sales brochure.

The definitive weakness of an immature writer is lots of adverbs.

The absolute futility of a generation of art critics that assumed Warhol's work was ironic. He was innocent and greedy (A statement that is insulting to the middle class.)

The difference between humor and satire: Satire is always reformist.

Never use the word "problematic." It's the archetypal academic dodge. Its semantic sense is unsound. There's something unhealthy here. As a writer, everything should be spelled out.

[When looking at a] Cindy Sherman [photograph (or any work of art), we have a] three-step response:

  1. Shock and/or delight.
  2. [The work] falls apart and becomes nothing.
  3. The original illusion returns, integrated with the artifice, and you're aware of it as a made thing, and it becomes beautiful. Everything works to the common good, nothing gets in anything's way. [The work] reconstitutes itself at a higher level.

To be continued.

Cindy Sherman photograph via Elizabeth Avedon.

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