23 June 2021
P. 3 archeology and art crit: both longing for objectivity
P. 4 art itself might be partially defined as an expression of that moment of tension when human intervention in, or collaboration with, nature is recognized.
P. 5 art has social significance and a social function, which might be defined as the transformation of desire into reality, reality into dreams and change, and back again.
I see effective art as that which offers a vehicle for perceiving and understanding any aspect of life, from direct social change, to metaphors for emotion and interaction, to the most abstract conceptions in visual form.
Such art is not, however, effective simply by being created but by being created and communicated within carefully considered contexts. The social element of response of, exchange, is crucial even to the most formalized objects or performances.
P. 6 immateriality and impermanence were the two prime aesthetic strategies designed to combat overemphasis on “precious objects”.
P. 7 Collective components of the origins of art -religion
P. 8 art, politics and religion share the capacity to move people, through emotion and action.
Émile Durkheim stated over 70 years ago “the idea of society is the soul of religion” that only the intensity of collective life can awaken individuals to new achievements fertilize them with dialogue and the urge to communicate, he might have been talking about the necessity to integrate art and social life.
Those working with themes of regeneration and dissemination, as well as those working with overtly political issues, share a need to see art become useful again, beginning with a recognition of the insights it can provide into life and nature - their human significance in an age of dehumanized technology.
P. 9 There is still the possibility that when art is accessible - not necessarily to huge numbers, but to a cross cultural , cross-class audience -some viewers will be so directly touched by the experience that they will be led to make aesthetic, personal, or political issues statements of their own.
P. 9 blood and soil programs - natzi
Glorified nature and distant past as a way to put people in their proper places, classes, gender roles.
P. 10 early abstraction was a collective form understand by everyone in a group or society and probably constituted the earliest written language.
As early as 1842, Franz Kugler wrote that the intention of primitive art was less the imitation of nature than the “presentation of ideas”. This combination of collectivism and conceptualists is the point at which prehistoric and contemporary art most significantly meet.
…. we now “take refuge in art” rather than finding in it in an “expression of life” Otto Rank concluded that if modern art “is to have some general influence, it must manipulate some collective content of general human significance
P. 12 Overlay of nature, culture, pagan
… it is all the more tantalizing to feminists, working to understand where nature got separated from culture and how women became associated with an “inferior” natural line.
P. 12 ... but the restablishment of a coherent relationship between nature and culture is a critical element in any progressive view of the future.
Art outdoors - in streets, parks, gardens, or fields - is a particularly effective vehicle for communicating these discoveries. It can be more intimate and accessible, closer to people's lives, than Art seen in brutally hierarchical buildings or in elegant exclusive settings.
P. 13 nature on some level is still felt to belong to all of us. Art in nature or in the local community becomes more familiar, part of daily life, stimulating though not replicating the role of art in other times.
The reintegration of the political and the cultural, the personal and the natural, and all the permutations thereof.
P. 14 the alchemical petra genetrix, or generative stone, is an incarnation of prima materia - the beginning, the bedrock, the old European great goddess who was both earth and sky - “unmated” mother - sole creator of everything.
*Faith Wilding, The Great Anatolian Egg Temple, from Imago Femina series. 1978
P. 94 “if one distrusts the value system s of this society, where does one look for alternatives? Back to the beginnings. Thus in much at about elementary systems there is a certain longing for precision that is simultaneously anti-technological and anti-romantic.
P. 96 Conceptual art - 70s -anti-commodity art about numbers and time
Artists - On Kawara & Hanne Darboven
Makes me think of trash collection piece
Or Gelare collecting and exhibiting relics from travel
P. 97 the zodiac snake, the Mexican serpent with a head at both ends of its body, the world snake of so many cultures, is the optimistic symbol of the oldest circular time, modeled on the seasons and reinforced by observations of the heavens:
“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” (Pascal)
“What is eternal is circular, and what is circular is eternal.” (Aristotle)
“Everything an Indian does is in a circle and that is because the power of the world always works in circles and everything tries to be round.” (Black Elk)
Marshall McLuhan - “fragmentation through mass media”
P. 102 fajita butte site
Billed as the “American Stonehenge” Fajada is, on the contrary, the subtlest monuments, testimony to the Anasazis detailed yet tender knowledge of natural processes. “A work of art like this,” says Sofaer, “grows out of a tradition of meditation and intense mind training, perhaps a tradition that develops certain qualities and capabilities known to only a few western people, such as creative scientists, artists and mystics. And it grows out of a culture with a certain cosmic beliefs. Among the Hopi there are no words for past or future; shadow has much meaning as light; process is as important as product; matrilineal societies have a special connection with the earth.”
P.118 subject of astroarcheology burst into public view 1976 with the publication of Barry Fell’s America B.C. A marine biologist at Harvard whose hobby is epigraphy - deciding ancient languages - Fell announced that long before Columbus, Celtic, Phoenician, and Iberian settlers had left behind a vast network of inscriptions, standing stones, stone slab shelters, balanced stones, and walls all over the U.S.
Salvatore Marc Trento, Search for Lost America published in 1978, concentrates on the profusion of stone sites in the north east, particularly in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Both Salvatore & Barry raise a whole batch of questions that are hard to dismiss.
P. 119 “We are at the beginning of understanding our own prehistory”
P. 125 behavioral scientists say that mental and physical attitudes are determined by the landscape one is surrounded by. There is something revelatory about walking daily in a familiar place. Each view, each detail is consistently renewed by changing light, seasons, personal moods, becoming increasingly tangible, until that specificity doubled back into generality, then back, and forth, with rhythms of walking, day after day.
P.126 Georgia O’Keefe , “feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill... the distance has always been calling me.”
Sol LeWitt, “for each work of art that becomes physical, there are many variations that do not.”
Richard Long - sculptor who made what the art world calls a “breakthrough” in landscape art or sculpture as place. Key words: Time, place & experience by walking out his pieces
P.129 walking has been recognized as a means of concretizing and releasing emotions in many cultures, not least among them our own repressive twentieth century Anglo-Saxon one. An Eskimo custom offers an angry person release by walking the emotion out of his or her system in a straight line across the landscape; the point at which the anger is conquered is marked with a stick, bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage. (Story told by 60’s hiker artist Lawrence Weiner)
Cairns are also built up as expressions of emotions and the obsessive and repetitive quality of much minimal art suggests such an emotional source.
Process Art, Robert Morris - 1968 article, “Anti-Form”, he traced the concept back to Jackson Pollock’s ability to “recover process and hold onto it as part of the endform of the work.” “Matter and gravity... chance and interdeterminacy.” Were seen as instruments of a “refusal to continue estheticizing form by dealing with it as a prescribed end.”
Christo, Running Fence in California and Kansas City
Created visual memory from a walk.
Richard Demarco, Scottish artist turned arts administrator/organizer/spiritual tour guide
P. 132 Demarco is concerned with survival, with our “obliterate educational systems,” the need to return to direct experience, to reclaim the “spirit of the place,” and the earth's female principles. The Journey “seeks to relate spiritual dimensions to those of time and place.” It involves not only ruins, places and artifacts, but the travelers and everyone they meet along the way. Demarco's talisman is Lugh, “the many crafted one” -Celtic sun god and “personification of the artist explorer.” He sees the Celt as “the perfect representative of all the peripheral and rejected cultures provided by the European experience. For the Celt is the best-known European equivalent of the Hopi, the Apache... the best known of the peripheral European cultures threatened by the twentieth century.”
P.133 in a number of ancient cultures, the significant journey is seen as a straight line. Most of us would probably associate the winding, twisting path with the “primitive” and the straight line with “civilization.” Yet there is a certain amount of evidence to show that the “straight and narrow” encouraged by the Bible held specific meanings for far older people's, just as height itself was worshipped in the Andes and elsewhere.
The Cree Indians said that white men’s roads were crooked, where Indian tracks were straight.
I'm Peru the straight paths led to holly places (often directly up mountains) and demons awaited those who strayed from them.
P. 134/136 dowsing / dowsers & ley lines
Maria Reiche “the mother of lines” theorized that the builders of the lines used them as a sun calendar and an observatory for astronomical cycles. Hired guards to protect art until became world heritage site in 90s (Nazca plains, Peru)
Huacas - ceremonial shrines set or found as stations along the ceques (the spirits of the place)
Ceque lines - connect huacas (parallels with British ley lines)
P. 138 Pleiades or seven sisters, prominently in prehistoric astronomy the world over; in Peru they were said to be the guardians of the seed.
P. 140 Discussing the degree to which sculpture pure as place alter the site, Carl Andre defined place as “an tea within an environment, which has been altered in such a way as to make the general environment more conspicuous.”
Robert Morris, art forum 1975, “in spite of the distances involved in the lines at Nazca, there is something intimate and unimportant, even off-hand, about the work. The lines are constructed by a process of removal. They do not impress by indicating superhuman efforts or staggering feats of engineering. Rather it is the makers care and economy and insight into the nature of a particular landscape that impresses.”
Casar Paternosto -Argentinian-American abstract painter
P. 141 Carl Andre, discussing the degree to which sculpture as place alerts the site, Carl Andre defined place as “an area within an environment, which has been altered in such a way as to make the general environment more conspicuous.”