Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Art: The Last Reality? (or, Would Someone Throw Me a Definition, Please!)

Wonderful and ponderous food for thought in the artinfo.com interview with Richard Tuttle by Robert Ayers. Folks may recall that I consider Tuttle one of the most influential living artists, but as Ayers notes:

When Tuttle had his first major retrospective, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1975, Hilton Kramer infamously savaged it in the New York Times: “In Mr. Tuttle’s work, less is unmistakably less. It is, indeed, remorselessly and irredeemably less. It establishes new standards of lessness."
(SIDEBAR: Speaking of lessness: What genius at The New York Times decided that right after they hiked up their price to $1.25 was the appropriate time to decrease the width of the Old Gray Lady by 1.5 inches? If I wanted a "standard" [their rationale for the change in size] newspaper, there are dozens of other, cheaper choices out there. It's not really the smaller page, as much as the one-two punch, I mind. But...the NYT has enough to contend with, with Murdoch hot on their tail, so I'll leave it at that.)

The major theme in the Tuttle interview centers on the notion that art is the only realm in which we can experience reality in our culture. It seems a dubious assertion, IMO, but let's give the great man a listen:

[RT:] Eastern philosophers talk about the illusion of the world. I feel very sympathetic to that, because you know in an instant if a person is involved with appearances or reality. There’s a whole huge structure out there that gives high marks for appearances. Then there are the people who are involved with what’s real. By far the vast majority of people’s lives are involved with appearances—even most art is just appearances. People are literally swept away by appearances.

[RA:] But you believe that you’re working with reality rather than appearance?

[RT:] In our culture there is a job for art, because we can’t experience reality anywhere else. And the experience of reality is absolutely fundamental to human existence. My job is to give the best possible visual experience. I try to raise the bar on the visual experience so that people can enjoy their lives. I get to thinking a lot about motivation—the purest motivation should result in the best visual experience. This is the first show where I think I’ve really connected with this motivation. It takes a lifetime to achieve one’s work. Art is not an overnight career. You can’t face your own desperation until after a long time.
I couldn't agree more with that last idea: "It takes a lifetime to achieve one’s work. Art is not an overnight career." But I'm not quite sure I understand the logic behind "we can’t experience reality anywhere else," (and anyone reading here for a long time will know that the idea that art has a "job," per se, chafes the back of my neck).

I assume Tuttle means that because our culture is dominated by mass media, which is, when all is said and done, just a vehicle for advertising, which has been raised to the science of inducing purchasing behavior via tapping into individuals feelings of inadequacy, mostly about superficial issues (has anyone noticed how those VISA check card commercials are geared toward making you feel like a stone-age loser if you pay with cash or a check?) that "our [mass] culture" is so overwhelmingly concerned with appearances that little reality can eek out of it. But I'm not so sure those pockets of Art that (may) manage to provide a glimpse of "reality" are any less pronounced/effective than those pockets of other realms (including mass culture) that do so as well. Or perhaps I'm working with a different definition of "reality" here.

To my mind, regardless of how raw or true to form an artist's materials are, once they've been rearranged and fixed into that arrangement, they reflect one person's "reality" more than anyone else's.

OK, so that was a bit disingenuous of me (allowing me to slip in that last tidbit to shake things up); Tuttle goes on to explain more fully what he means here:

[RA:] Why do you think that most art deals with appearances rather than reality?

[RT:] I think that it’s necessary to achieve art that is reality-based. In our culture, imitation-based experience dominates reality-based experience. I find this an awful thing. But there are artists who know from the bottom of their souls that art is about the experience of reality. The reason we have art is because you can’t get a real experience from the world. Philosophers can’t tell you, religion can’t tell you. So art has become hugely important.
Again, I full agree with that final notion (i.e., philosophy and religion don't come close to providing me with the kind of real experience that art does). But we're still left wanting a solid definition of "reality" here. Tuttle continues:

But our culture suppresses art. In our culture, the people who need art to survive are given the message that they’re weirdos. Every day and from every corner of the world they’re getting the message that art is imitation-based, which is absolutely the opposite of the truth. You would never base your life on imitation. Even the people who are saying to do it never would. It’s fucked. It’s really fucked.
Now, I can project onto this a definition of "reality" that makes this true for me (my "Reality" definition presupposes the entire universe and everything in it is but part of one big bowl of "molecule soup" and that we only believe/imagine things [like artists and sculptures] are separate, but they're actually all part of the same whole), but I wish to Hell Tuttle had offered his own here. Not that Ayers didn't try to get him to clarify:

[RA:] Can you give me an example of how art is presently conceived as imitation-based?

[RT:] Well, in the New York Times, art is treated as “entertainment.” When you get tired and you want to be distracted, then there’s art. There was a recent review that said, “Don’t expect to find tickets for Richard Tuttle’s show at Ticketron!” This is not that kind of show. This is about art as a necessity. There are shows where people will stand in line for blocks, but those are not about necessity. Fortunately, most of the world is not desperate enough that they need this kind of thing. But people who still have art in their lives, they’d be dead without it, because the suppression of art is so enormous.
That's a rather sobering notion, for me, actually: "people who still have art in their lives" (implying that art in my life could end as well), but can anyone restate those last two or so lines? I'm not at all sure what he's trying to say here. And, more to the point, I don't feel I'm any closer to his definition of "reality."

The closest I feel I got to understanding what he meant was in this passage:

[RA:] What do you think has brought this state of affairs about?

[RT:] This is a very special moment in human history, I think. We have a very clear vision right back to the foundation of our particular culture, and you can see that at the foundation of our culture, the artists worked out the theory and the practice of art. The theory is that art is reality-based, and the practice is to make something that shows that. But it’s tough. It’s hard. Every part of it is hard. The Hellenistic philosophers said things will be a lot easier if we say that art is imitation-based. They didn’t care, because they weren’t artists and they had a lot to gain from art being less than it is. So it stumbles along, year after year, without really satisfying anyone.

Every once in a while, usually in really desperate periods, when life becomes totally confused and almost unlivable, artists come back and create art that is reality-based, and everyone says, “thank you very much.” But then as soon as they can, they turn back to the imitation-based art.

This last notion implies either that artists must constantly struggle (against their tendencies) to create reality-based art or that artists, being products of the same culture the rest of are, would prefer to make imitation-based art because they long for it like anyone else. And, again, all of which would be much easier to decipher if we had solid working definitions of reality-based and imitation-based art, but, alas...feel free to jump in and save me from myself here at any point....

Image above from artinfo.com website: "Richard Tuttle, "Section II, Extension C." (2007) © Richard Tuttle 2007. Photo courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York"

Labels: artists process


Blogger George said...

Oh gawd,

Gag me with a spoon!

8/07/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Having a bit of a Valley Girl moment there, George?

8/07/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I love this post. Richard Tuttle is so brilliant that I am going to go back and reconsider his work, which I have never devoted much time to.

There is art that aspires to tell the truth about the world around us (usually something that the world does not want to hear), and art that aspires to do something other than trying to tell the truth, such as looking like the popular art of the day, or being yet another distraction from reality.

"This last notion implies either that artists must constantly struggle (against their tendencies) to create reality-based art or that artists, being products of the same culture the rest of are, would prefer to make imitation-based art because they long for it like anyone else."

I am certain that there are artists who can create nothing but reality-based art, artists who consciously ignore creating reality-based art in favor of creating something more palatable, and artists who never had the impetus to begin with, and by default create imitation-based art.

I think we need both types of art. If all artists made reality-based art, it would be too much: art would become less popular, or would eventually be outlawed. Even artists who make reality-based art get pleasure from imitation-based art.

8/07/2007 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

I like Richard Tuttle’s work.
I’m not interested in what Hilton Kramer says.

In our culture there is a job for art, because we can’t experience reality anywhere else.

uh, try: isolate then experience; put it in a museum, anything can be art?

The reason we have art is because you can’t get a real experience from the world.

hmm, guess I was wrong above, the museum is in the world.

Ed’s "molecule soup" is good.

The ‘world’ is a huge database of information we continually access. No two people can access this database the same way at the same time, so there is no ‘reality’ and therefore a ‘reality based art’ is an illusion.

8/07/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous pp said...

Artist A:
- I'm the most influential living artist!
Artist B:
- I'm so influential that when I complete a new work, all art prices collapse!

8/07/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

This interview (as you point out) is entirely confusing. And sometimes, unfortunately, confusing art speak passes for intelligent.

The word "reality" seems to be synonymous here with "truth" (and valued as good). But, Tuttle stops at that. The nature of reality (or truth) is not discussed.

In the beginning, he hints at Eastern philosophy. Buddhist art is such that image becomes presence. By depicting a deity, that deity is invoked, not only in the viewing of it, but also in the process of creating its depiction. In this way, image has power.Is it this power that he is calling real?

8/07/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To Do Is To Be" Socrates.
"To Be Is To Do" Plato.
"Do Be Do Be Do" Sinatra.

8/07/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous oriane said...

There used to be a saying, "reality is just a crutch for people who can't handle drugs."
I saw an interesting twist on that years ago on a bathroom wall in San Francisco. Spelling error or social commentary? You be the judge:
"Realty is just a crutch for people who can't handle drugs."

8/07/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Taylor said...

The difference between Reality and Immitation art makes me think of Pop art and even Raymond Pettibon. Where do these artists fit in?

I am also thinking maybe Tuttle is (kind of) still in the older modernist generation where you needed to define everything. Where you have to have a name for what your doing so that it can be in the books. I love his art but I love Raymond Pettibon more just because I feel he is really dealing with the world, culture, reality and ...imitation? Is Tuttle escaping? It's not that I think Tuttle is a pure formalist and his work can't represent things that Pettibon does, but I can't help but think this a little. I love abstract painting, (Contemporary and older) but personally I am always balancing work that is abstract and something that is more figurative like Pettibon's. I guess I"m just as confused as you Edward.

8/07/2007 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Taylor said...


As Edward mentioned, maybe someone should try and define the two terms "Reality Based Art" and "Imitation Based Art".

We could even put it on Wikipedia! or not...

8/07/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

The thing I think he's getting at, and it sure comes across as muddled in this interview excerpt, is the difference between direct and mediated experience.

But there's a big difference between creating art based on your direct experience and experiencing that art as a viewer. At that point the viewer is having an experience of the artist's work, which is by definition mediated.

The idea that you can't experience reality except through art is whacked. It would be more accurate to say that you can't experience reality through media. But I don't have a problem with his notion that there is a job for art. It's another way of saying that art has a function in society, which, while there might be disagreement about what that function is, is kind of hard to argue with.

8/07/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I think I can explain the difference between reality-based art and imitation art. It comes down to E.E. Cummings' poem: "Being nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle and human being can fight, and never stop fighting."

Reality-based art is art based on the real you. Based on the real you living real life. On being nobody-but-yourself.

Did you see, Ed, Simon Schama's program on Mark Rothko? (Thanks, by the way, for recommending the series -- it was great.) The show changed my entire view of Rothko. I had no idea he was that intense. I never got a lot standing in front of his paintings, but I now appreciate what he was trying to do. And I understand that we're both, in a sense, reaching for the same thing.

That's reality-based art. And the Pop artists Schama was going to see in 1970, shortly after Rothko bled out on his kitchen floor, were creating imitation-based art. That's art created from things other people have left in the cultural dumpster, stuck together to look familiar and comfortable.

George Orwell talked about dying metaphors, that is, images "which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves." He then formulates this advice: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

We could say the same about art, couldn't we? Imitation-based art is the same as the dying metaphor of Orwell, the same as not being nobody-but-yourself.

8/07/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous sherie' said...

The thing that Tuttle points out about...a lifetime to face your desperation...is something most are unwilling and/or uninterested in doing today. The difficulty in doing such a thing would permanently distract us all from our various "entertainments". And we're not about to give that up.

To face our desperation is the crux of it. He's nailed it, but we can't see it if we haven't been there.
Guston went there. Rembrandt went there. So did Soutine and de Kooning and others. What about us? What are we prepared to do?

8/07/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

"Between the world of men and transcendent divinity there exists art.
Art is the will to truth made physically manifest. It is more real than reality... it is a dialogue triumphant over time."
-Andre Malraux

8/07/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Durbin said...

Without getting too philosophical or attempting general definitions, here's how I understand what Tuttle is saying.

I disagree with him that "you can’t get a real experience from the world," but I think that what he's calling real/authentic/true is not what one gets from the normal level of engagement with the world that entirely suffices for everyday life in our society. It's what you get in those aha moments (epiphanies if you like) where you sense you've actually realized something non-trivial about the world. Art can help provide these if you "connect" with an artwork that jolts your thinking in a new way, possibly (though not necessarily) in the same way the artist was thinking or intuiting. Depending on the art you see and how you deal with your everyday world, it could be that art elicits these REAL moments more often than the world itself does.

8/07/2007 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

We art folk do take ourselves so seriously. What makes us think we're actually so special, that what we do is so meaningful? (I am the first to be guilty of this)

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon) somehow applies.

8/07/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous House of Rats said...

Tuttle: "...a person is involved with appearances or reality. There’s a whole huge structure out there that gives high marks for appearances. Then there are the people who are involved with what’s real."

time and time again, it just blows me away that an artist can say that appearances are mutually exclusive from "reality". Well, some people's reality is consumed with aesthetics, all about beauty, synonymous with sensing, or what have you.
And they're supposed to believe its somehow superficial? Somehow less "truthful"? Less real?
That's pretty presumptuous.

8/07/2007 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

[RT:] This is a very special moment in human history, I think. We have a very clear vision right back to the foundation of our particular culture, and you can see that at the foundation of our culture, the artists worked out the theory and the practice of art.

I agree, this is a special moment in history, it is the blurred cusp of a new millennium and the edge of a new century. These dates, these moments of whole numbers, are of major importance to the human psyche, they cause a transitory intensity of focus upon our actions in the world.

The notion that we have clear vision right back to the foundation of our particular culture is irrelevant, that ‘culture’ has passed into history, the memories of a simpler time. What passed as art in the last millennia is dead, the source for its creation is frozen in history and no longer accessible to us, the art remains only as a reminder that it was once possible. This should not be construed as meaning we cannot find inspiration in the past only that what we may come to consider art in the future, may not be what we consider art to be today.

I would infer that ‘the theory that art is reality-based’ only means that it cannot be a simulacra of something else. This is not the same as saying something cannot be an image of something else, for to make this limitation denies human experience.

It appears to me that the culture declares what is art as much as the artist does. (This may be the source of our desperation) Many contemporary artworks would not have been considered ‘art’ in past moments of history, one might ask why are they considered art today? I’m suggesting that what makes something art is a binding between the artist/artwork and the culture and that after the fact we construct elaborate reasons why this occurs (the theory).

8/07/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

George sez:
It appears to me that the culture declares what is art as much as the artist does. (This may be the source of our desperation)

Funny. I thought our desperation was due to the inevitable pain and death, caused by being human. That, to me -- and I suspect to Sherie up there -- is the desperation we need to face, if we're to make real art.

Molly sez:
We art folk do take ourselves so seriously. What makes us think we're actually so special, that what we do is so meaningful?

I wonder about this all the time. Is art really worth it? I've said it before: When I asked my psychiatrist that, he looked at me like I really was insane and not just in need of mild medication.

Of course, nihilism is that roof ledge we all look over from time to time, tempted to find out what it's like to jump.

8/07/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sherie' said...
The thing that Tuttle points out about... a lifetime to face your desperation...

I was wondering if anyone was going to pick that up.
Struggling here but where did Tuttle say that his art-making, or making art in reality, was a job?

8/07/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

This post is interesting to me because I remember becoming intensely interested about buddhism and Richard Tuttle's art at about the same time. One didnt lead to the other, it was purely by chance really. But I recall linking the two in my mind because (firstly) they seemed to be alternative ways of thinking about life that I was used to, or I should say they seemed familiar to me, just despite all the influences around me (big macho painting, fire and brimstone,etc.).

There is a "remove the veil" quality to both which i suppose could be interpreted as involving reality. My cue from Tuttle as a student was to depict the "reality" of material, space, and form. I guess one could call this awareness thru searching.

As a teacher, the struggle is to find a way to relate the visual awarness one gains in an intro drawing class to a broader awareness of meaning. Not too many folks are interested in searching right now. Perhaps that is what Tuttle means? That focus on imitation is just a lack of further reaching which often comes out of despiration?

8/07/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

What makes us think we're actually so special, that what we do is so meaningful?

Feeling special, and the gift to others that they may feel special, is special and so meaningful.

Funny. I thought our desperation was due to the inevitable pain and death, caused by being human.

My (remark) was a little ding at RT.

RT’s remark a lifetime to face your desperation is not something one(usually) focuses on in their youth. It is the result of reflection on a path taken over time, the discontinuity between expectations and reality.

8/07/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

But, most of the time, isn't feeling special in fact delusion, arrogance, self-importance?

How do you go from teaching seeing through drawing to teaching to search for meaning?

8/07/2007 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Molly sez:
But, most of the time, isn't feeling special in fact delusion, arrogance, self-importance?

Is it? Or not? Pretty Lady would probably take this even further, but I can say, isn't it just possible that we -- all of us -- are really special and important? The universe is huge and we're very small, but maybe -- maybe -- there's more than we can see right now.

Just the other day I had an ultrasound done of my heart. I got to watch the screen and see the chambers of my heart pretty clearly. I watched them pulse in and out. And I thought, wow. This is pretty fucking amazing right here. My heart, working away, without any input from me, keeping the thing which calls itself me going (for now, anyway). Also amazing: Humans have reached the point where we can watch it while it works.

I'm not one to believe in anything, least of all universal creators, but there are times when the wonder of it all shakes me up.

8/07/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

It's funny, because the Artist as a Mysterious Guy is such a cliché and yet it goes over so readily. I wouldn't trouble myself too much over Tuttle's statement - it's part of the shtick that lends to his work being called "Zen-like" and such. Speaking of Zen, and reality, John Cage recounted a story about Shunryu Suzuki: Once in Hawaii, at a meeting of philosophers sitting around a table discussing reality, several days passed and Suzuki said nothing. And finally the chairman said, "You've been silent all this time. Would you say something about reality." And Suzuki didn't say anything. I think he may have looked up. Finally the man said, "Well, is this table real?" And Suzuki said "Yes." And then the man said, "In whatsense is it real?" And Suzuki said, "In every sense."

8/07/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger George said...


There is a difference between 'feeling special'M,

There is a difference between 'feeling special' and acting with arrogance or self-importance. If you are in a relationship with another person who makes you "feel special’ you feel elevated, in the euphoric sense, a feeling that your existence is important in the world. It is.

Arrogance or self-importance, act to direct ones sense of ‘feeling special’ with the intent of separating oneself from others by placing oneself above others. This behavior in essence reveals that the arrogant or self-important person does not feel they are special.

I think that in moments when we ‘feel special’ we can make others feel the same way by induction.

The activity of the artist is directed outward, we create something. This is a different activity than doing a job to someone else’s specifications.

Creation is the act of making something from nothing. The fact that there often is no creative roadmap means the artist must act with the belief and conviction that what they are trying to do will succeed. We also know that most of the time we do not, or only achieve partial success. The ability to face this uncertainty requires a degree of belief in oneself, if only for the moment we must feel we are special.

8/07/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Tuttle, if taken at face value (and I assume many do) is a charlatan.

He is implying that as an artist, at least some of the time his work is "true" and that at others it is not "true".

Unless he's an egomaniac.

This means that some of his work is qualitatively different than other work. One must assume he destroys or keeps this inferior work to himself.

This is what most real artists do, and even with an overheated market, or out of necessity, I'm sure that honor is bond.

Tuttle makes mini abjections - "falures" - what is it about failure that people can't hack? It's truth? I think thats what Tuttle's truth is. The failure of death. The failure of art.

Is this failure - this pathetic truth any more true than the winner's - the warrior's truth?

During the Reagan years the US was winning - was it not right that the art of the time should reflect the triumphal reality?

Will we revise history to reflect a different reality - one in which we are losing?

If truth is contingent (as in some great database, thank you for the metaphor) then the only truth is omniscient, and thus not contingent (see Goedel's incompleteness theorem).

What is complete?

Do we need an incomplete art to "tell us the truth?"

Or do we need a complete art to give us hope?

I was just watching the Hannibal Lecter movie where he becomes THE Hannibal, and let me tell you I feel like I have a masters degree in clinical psychology. It really got under my skin in a way that a lifetime of talking to strangers never has. He really gets me!
(I'm into the recent spate of torture porn)

Lets clean out the Augean Stables of delusion right now!!!!

I've been facing the winds of spring break for some time now.

No one likes a loser, estheticly. Plus its contagious like pink eye or sysiphus.

I get that.

Lets flog this dead horse some more!

Look ye into the void and become it!!!

8/07/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Oh but maybe some of the work BECOMES true - but I never see his work shown in abject settings - maybe some of his collectors do that for him.

I'm still kind of confused.


8/07/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

I appreciate your response, George. Thank you.

8/07/2007 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Sorry, that was D.T. Suzuki, not Shunryu Suzuki.

8/07/2007 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zip made the most sense yet again.

8/07/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Massumi says "A thing has as many meanings as there are forces capable of seizing it". If Tuttle's reality is such a thing then all the comments above express one of the forces that is capable of seizing it.

Here's another that relates to both what George says about creating something out of nothing, and the quote from Kate "Between the world of men and transcendent divinity there exists art..." etc.
From one perspective in eastern philosophy everything is illusion and the only reality is the luminous ground (the unity manifest as a light below all things from which all creation emerges as a separation, fundamentally of light from dark, but also as any other duality/separation you might imagine). From this perspective reality is about how close you can get to this luminous ground, how you can reference it as the source through the illusions/allusions that you create.

8/07/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

How meanspirited to say that someone YOU DONT EVEN KNOW is a charlatan? Or egomaniac?

Its okay if his art or his artspeak aint your bag, but that is just too far IMO.

8/08/2007 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

The common-sense nihilist party's position is that nothing is real.

Of course, on a day-to-day level, we endorse Philip K Dick's position: 'Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

(On a somewhat related note, I love the instruction 'Choose your identity' in the leave your comment box. Doesn't that kind of say it all? In every sense (ha ha) - art, the Internet, the fundamental meaninglessness and futility of existence.)

8/08/2007 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Dude, its not an ad hominem attack. read closer, read deeper beyond the world of appearances.

The pure and potent truth value of my real and highly original argument - that totalizing (you can use fascist like some people but that's not technicly correct) forces are kept at bay by abject art pauvera like Richard Tuttle's.

abjection is no longer Tuttle's role as an established artist, which means that he comes full circle and swallows his own "gift of shit" (see Lacan).

He realizes this and like Damien Hirst in his own way (but not a lot of egomanics like say Mark Di suvero I dont think - unless he's really really dry), is begging you to take his conceptual head off with a real weapon, not some ersatz samizdat namby-pamby visual attack pun(which is why I'm folding this paragraph and hammering it out).

Anyone who thinks their work is always good (in time and space) or that their own judgement is infallible is at least a bit egotistical - if you get any other interpretation from my statement then you are WRONG.

It is highly probable (and generally accepted) that even the best artists make and display work that is inconsistent with their "highest" achievements, and that shows by the best artists can be curated badly. You do the math.

This is not advertised or discussed much in schools or consignment shops - it hurts morale and sales. But its part of the fun of the game of conoiseurship - or if not, then you are not "serious" and should keep your collection of gold leafed buddha status trophies to yourself.

oh yeah, but charlatan, I stand by that one. The lie that sells the truth You name it bro.

And another thing, nobody really know you (me) you, not really. No its a harsh realm out there.

TO reiterate: Tuttle wants a fight, not witty ironic barbs at his faux buddhism.

8/08/2007 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger tim atherton said...


I think Tuttle is talking of something rather different than many here seem to have understood him.

The key is when he mentions appearance and reality.

What we all deal with everyday (consumer society or not) are appearances - that's all our eyes can give us. Seeking out the underlying reality - which may or may not be at odds with how things appear to be - is much harder. I think that's what he's talking about vis a vis the "work" of an artist.

It might be worth taking a look at John Berger's book "Another Way of Telling". Although it's ostensibly about photography (one of the best books about photography imo), it is very concerned with issues or art, appearances and reality.

Just a taster:

"In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning. This expectation should be separated from a desire for an explanation. The one who looks may explain afterwards; but, prior to any explanation, there is the expectation of what appearances themselves may be about to reveal. Revelations do not usually come easily. Appearances are so complex that only the search which is inherent in the act of looking can draw a reading out of their underlying coherence.... Another way of making this relation clearer would be to say that appearances are themselves oracular. Like oracles they go beyond, they insinuate further than the discreet phenomena they present... The precise meaning of an oracle depends upon the quest or need of the one who listens to it".

I think that what Tuttle is talking about in some way is art, and his work as an artist, being about this quest, seeking this revelation, being able to go beyond what the everyday appearances normally only seem to present - both for himself and for the person "listening to it"

8/08/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

That helps a bit Tim. Many thanks for the effort!


8/08/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Humble Oracle said...

But is Tuttle an egomaniac? I think thats the unresolved question.

8/08/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

But is Tuttle an egomaniac? I think thats the unresolved question.

This might answer that:

Bruce Nauman: ....We were having dinner with the Tuttles one time, Richard and Mamie. And I had said that about Sol [LeWitt], that he was interested in finding these questions and setting them up and seeing what happened. And Richard said, "Well, that's the difference between us, because I already know the answers." (LAUGHS) And so I was driving home with Susan [Rothenberg] and I thought,"You know, I forgot to ask him what they were." (LAUGHS) I was just so amazed.

8/08/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am nature...

When we consider the quiet mind as something akin to 'all possibility, which has been and what will', in quiet it is possible to know everything, though in quiet you would not be able to address the smaller addresses in their impermanence, different locations, where all quiet resides. This would only unquiet the mind and break things up to addresses. We can't address the quiet mind.

To [be in] a state of 'knowing [all the questions & answers]' would suggest a level 4 consciousness.

Level 5 would question this in the form of an address, 'Is there more to everything than meets the I'. As the I is part of all things as a set of parallel lines then clearly there are no more things to meet.
All things have been met by the small space between. All things are parallel.

To get out of consciousness level 5 the quiet is found in 'knowing all things meet the Is via the small parallel space left between'.

Level six is difficult.

Having got through 4 and 5 you would think there couldn't be any more ...
what more is there,
to meet, what possibly could have not been met by the two Is when all things ....
have crossed the I...
At this stage the two Is loose their parallel stasis and spin in the air and cross to form IS.

6 is the wheel of sacrifice, which later will spin with fiery little heads of pure light.

At 7 Richard Tuttle walks in.

God: You're late!

Tuttle: I knew you were going to say that!

8/08/2007 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

It's simple.

Pay attention.

Everything one needs to know is accessible if they pay attention. People don't pay attention, hence the problem of 'appearance'.

RT pays attention to what he does. There's nothing mystical about this. His detractors are dealing only with appearances, they are not paying attention.

8/08/2007 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

play attention.

8/08/2007 11:15:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home