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tions could sprout, each making a reputation. Take camels, for instance. To us, a camel is a camel - it is either a one-humped camel or a two-humped camel, and it doesn't make much difference anyway. But the Arab camel driver has a vocabulary which includes hundreds of words relating to camels; to him every camel has its recognizable and describable traits. Each camel to him, is a distinct individual. In Pop art, or in late Abstract Expressionism, or in any other close, concentrated field of specialization, familiarity breeds differentiation. There are few "pure" Op artists. Many of the artists in the Op show at the Museum of Modern Art used optical tricks sparingly, enough to produce a certain effect within a larger scheme. Op art contains forms which are visually elusive, or fool the eye, creating some kind of strain on seeing. Bridget Riley and Richard Anuszkiewicz are two representative Op artists. Riley's effects are spatially achieved, Anuszkiewicz's largely through color. The subject matter of their paintings is the optical trick played on the eye of the observer. The rendering of the painting is determined by relating the forms on the canvas to achieve the desired optical effect. Unlike Pop, Op is primarily a gallery art; you might even call it an intimate art, because its effects are apparent despite changes of scale. Like Pop, Op is one expression of the attempt to impose excitement on what appears to be a dull medium. Minimal art is the fruition of an attitude toward art-making which began five or six years ago as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism. It is characterized by extreme deliberate simplicity. Minimal art attracts sculptors because the attitude it embodies reduces the enormous complexity of choice facing the artist working in a three-dimensional medium today, in an art environment with practically no preconceptions or assumptions about what sculpture should be. Three minimal artists whose work I know are Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and Donald Judd. Robert Morris is the most complicated of the three because an element of Pop thinking surrounds his work. He is concerned with process, change and aspects of seeing and experiencing. Sometimes his sculptures represent literal ideas, or a set of interconnected literal ideas. A typical Robert Morris sculpture is a polyhedron covered with a coat of medium or light grey paint. At the same time, he is interested in pure Pop "happenings." Carl Andre's bricks, or styrofoam slabs, or lengths of beam tinder are put together in an absolutely regular manner which excludes reflection on any relationship between the parts, except that customary relationships do not exist. His sculptures catalyze the sensuous nature of the common standard objects which are their formal parts, and become materially beautiful. Donald Judd's work is the "purest" of the three. His sculptures are large boxes, factory made according to his plans, of sheet steel and other anonymous materials, sometimes painted. They are rigid, regular, exact and cold, with few sensuous or relational features. The fact that the subject matter is greatly reduced provides the content of a minimal work under the guise of "the work of art as a whole." The absence of special features and relationships provokes general questions about art. As with Pop and Op, the "meaning" of a Minimal work exists outside of the work itself. It is a part of the nature of these works to act as triggers for thought and emotion pre-existing in the viewer and conditioned by the viewer's knowledge of the style in its several forms, as opposed to the more traditional concept of a work of art as a source of beauty, noble thought, or whatever. It may be fair to say that these styles have been nourished by the ubiquitous question: "but what does it mean?" These styles are made to be talked about. That is one good reason for their popularity. These three styles are provocative, therefore; they provoke thought. In most cases the rendering of the subject matter is meant to enhance the character of the subject matter. The subject matter itself is the result of a complex, culturally shared and conditioned attitude, brought whole into the work, sometimes so little developed that the subject matter and the work are virtually identical. It is an emotional signal, an indication to react to and think of the work in a manner leading to verbalization, a set of clues leading to talk. This use of subject matter weakens a work to the extent that the work depends on it. When the artists I have mentioned do succeed, it is because of their talent and will to succeed, and in spite of the styles they have adopted. By now it is a critical cliche to say that Pop art brought the soup can up to art, but it just isn't true. Pop art has attempted to bring art down to the soup can. Like Op and Minimal works, Pop works consist of visual-literal ideas which are artistically half-digested. This is nothing new. Other kinds of self-imposed conceptual limitations hampered artists of the past, such as David, Millet, Malevich, Daumier, Bougereau, Duchamp, possibly Mondrian and Brancusi, and countless others, all gifted artists of great accomplishment who would not free themselves from the mannerisms which bound their thinking. It cannot be denied that artistic expression depends on limitation. The means of expression in painting are paint and canvas, and "style," which springs from the body of decisions the painter has already made about his work, or in other words, the limitations he has accepted as he eliminates and specializes. Today there are few cultural restraints on subject matter, and virtually no compositional assumptions. The painter is encouraged to be "free," to choose any way of painting he wants. He has to start from scratch, and build his expressive means right from zero. It is a tough job. He is constantly tempted to grab, say, a little bit of Pop to deflect attention from a weakness in his style. But Pop subject matter has its own meaning; it does not belong to the artist. Though he may claim it, he did not make it. It will prevent him from being "loose," from handling his materials freely. In the long run it is a pure handicap. The ability to build a delimited style which excites rather than inhibits expression, which expands rather than restricts freedom, is one of the traits of a great artist. When I look at the paintings of Monet, Manet or Goya, I can recognize (an envy) the deep openness and the tough flexibility which existed in that part of the artist's mind which concerned his work. In terms of simple choice, his style is restricted and specific, simply because he has rejected all repressive limitations inorder to bring his style to the point of expressive expansiveness. The mechanics of this series of decisions are terribly difficult to particularize. It is a function of the personal breadth of the artist - whether he is willing to take on big things or chooses to stick to little things. If I could explain it, I could explain the difference between Robert Rauschenberg, fettered to Cubism, and David Smith, who used that deadly style as if it were another piece of sheet steel, how Shakespeare and Beethoven could lift themes wholesale from everywhere and make them their own with apparent ease, and how Goya got away with the Horrors of War. It is beyond me to figure it out at this point. I am just pleased to be able to recognize it at work. It might be argued that the building of a viable art style is a microcosm of a properly lived life. Both consist of a series of decisions having positive results, both result in a situation of existence on the best possible terms with the environment. The difference is that you can do what you want with paint, and you cannot do what you want with life situations. In fact, I feel that artistic choices stand for moral choices, because good and bad decisions in either sphere seem to be qualitatively related, which makes paintings a kind of ethical activity. But that is another essay, much longer than this one. A simpler analogy may help to clarify the difference between a hobbled, inhibited style and one which is free and expressive: the relation between two games, Monopoly and chess. This is not a comparison of games with paintings, it is a comparison of types of complexity. At first glance Monopoly looks like a vastly more complicated and interesting game than chess. The Monopoly board is loaded with plenty of recognizable and meaningful things: money property, houses, a jail, a pile of chancy secret choices, and so on. It is a lot of fun to play. However, the style of Monopoly playing is determined and limited by the very character of these elements, just as chess, with its extremely simple components, can become an enormously varied and flexible expression of a player's style. The expressive styles of great artists are invari-
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