Friday, December 21, 2012

Retard of the Tide || Open Thread

I'll admit up front, this post is a bit self-indulgent and only the beginning of a (hopefully) useful analysis...but let's just consider my ability to post it (and solicit your comments) anyway my little Christmas present to myself. Hopefully it will develop into something meaningful along the way. 

retard of the tide --the interval between the transit of the moon at which a tide originates and the appearance of the tide itself. It is found, in general, that any particular tide is not principally due to the moon's transit immediately proceeding, but to a transit which has occurred some time before, and which is said to correspond to it. The retard of the tide is thus distinguished from the lunitidal interval.
Among the themes that emerged from the 35 comments on the previous post, the one that seems to have the most passion behind it is that of time: the lack of it, the false urgency of the market, the management of time, how much time art demands of us, etc. Examples include
  • I spend so much time trying to figure out class
  • But the people who cruise through Basel and drop a few hundred grand can't possibly be taking the time to truly consider the work, and end up warehousing most of what they buy anyway.
  • What do you do while the idiomatic pot boils?
  • If you view art-making as a lifetime project, it's hard to go in there and say "i'm going to create something incredible". that's a sure-fire way to create overblown crap. 
  • It’s only when you find yourself using someone as a gauge for newer stuff that you realize they were any good. It’s actually that call that makes them good. In other words it’s a retrospective judgment.
  • But this attention we give to a certain work of art... maybe it has become in the cacophony od accessability of digital dissemination and publications and art fairs, only the ridiculous reigining as the remarkable, as the attention, as the displaced authority.
  • Also, it's ok to repeat yourself, clean the studio, sharpen the pencils and do nothing for a day.  
  • Sure we have to think long term, try and present work where people aren’t pressured by a race to possess, where there is time and space to let the thing stew for a while and where the collector isn't expected to pay a year's salary for one work. Art is not a race, despite what Saatchi or Rubell might like to claim.
  • Art Fairs have just accelerated the purchases or acquisitions side, which is interesting for dealers, but it’s not really doing anything for the dialogue, unless your idea of a dialogue is speed dating.
  •  We grow more confident of placements or evaluations as we’re able to see this much – it’s the old ‘test of time’ formula really.
It's had me thinking about the relationship of time to art appreciation and the impact of that on art creation. And I'm still working through my thoughts on that.

Then, however, came the love letter of a review in The New York Times that Roberta Smith wrote for MoMA's current exhibition, "Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925." Smith wrote:
In the second decade of the 20th century, abstraction became the holy grail of modern art. It was pursued with feverish intent by all kinds of creative types in Europe, Russia and elsewhere, responding to assorted spurs: Cubism and other deviations from old-fashioned realism, the beautiful whiteness of the blank page, communion with nature, spiritual aspirations, modern machines and everyday noise.

Painters, sculptors, poets, composers, photographers, filmmakers and choreographers alike ventured into this new territory, struggling to sever Western art’s age-old link with legible images, narrative logic, harmonic structure and rhyme. It was a thrilling, terrifying process, and in terms of the history of art, it is one of the greatest stories ever told.

“Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925,” a dizzying, magisterial cornucopia opening on Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art, captures something of that original thrill and terror, in a lineup of works that show artists embracing worldliness and, in some cases, withdrawing into mystical purity. The show brings new breadth and detail and a new sense of collectivity to a familiar tale that is, for the Modern, also hallowed ground.
It's a nice review and really makes me want to see the exhibition, but it was first the headline for the article (When the Future Became Now) that connected a dot for me.

I discovered the concept of "retard of the tide" a few decades ago. As explained above, it's used to describe how "any particular tide is not principally due to the moon's transit immediately proceeding, but to a transit which has occurred some time before, and which is said to correspond to it."

What initially captured my imagination about that concept was the necessary vagueness of it: "has occurred some time before." It's not even possible to say, for example, that any particular tide is principally due to a transit that occurred X number of hours before. The variables of time and place are too random, so we've developed this vague placeholder term that acknowledges we understand it's not a direct relationship, but because of the complex way the earth's oceans, the moon's pull, and our point of observation can interact, we're not able to pin down even a definitive concept to describe/predict it.

This type of vagueness would seem to apply in the realm of art appreciation as well. For example, no one can say for certain whether the artists receiving solo exhibitions at our most important institutions today will still be viewed as important a decade or century from now. Moreover, it's often not even clear if artist X becomes popular solely because of an important museum exhibition or whether they get an important museum exhibition mostly because they are popular, or some complex combination thereof. Expand that out to movements or major developments, and the interrelationship between time and the myriad decisions we bundle under "art appreciation" becomes even less clear. 

"When the future became now," for example, is of course only possible to assert about events in the past, but more than that, and because of that, it's an arbitrary declaration chock full of vagueness about timing and cause/effect. My guess is that many of the artists whose work is in the MoMA show felt strongly that the "future" had arrived upon completion of some breakthrough in their studio. Confirmation of that by their immediate circle (artist friends, curators, dealers, collectors, poets, critics, etc.) then would make any subsequent doubt/questions from those outside their circle seem reactionary or ignorant. To them in their bubble, at least. From outside that bubble it would/could seem anything but obvious.

This declaration about when the future became now, then, depends highly on your vantage point, but is never truly definitive. Declaring it has happened is akin to declaring some moon transit which occurred some time before a particular tide is definitely its principle cause. Sure, says you!

But that's just it. 

Yes, says MoMA, the future became now during the years 1910-1925 and they've presented an exhibition to support that assertion. Another institution is free to assert otherwise and provide evidence of their counter assertion. 

And so it is that most of this gets sorted out at the institutional level (making institutional critique an important part of the process, imho). 

That's all I've got for now...must turn my attention to finding THE definitive egg nog recipe (suggestions welcome).

Consider this a holiday open thread on the relationship between time, art appreciation, and declarations of what's important.

Oh, and, Happy Holidays!


Anonymous zipthwung said...

Museum shows can be a bit magical in their thinking, chasing the moon and all - causation is a sticky wicket. That the museum of MODERN art is even attempting to address history systemically is a slap in the face of linear progress of MODERNIST thought, design and experience.

But I'm sure there were progressive wholistic ecological thinking modern primitives - I too want to see the show. preferably with some shamanistic attitude adjustment.

Egg nog sugar content can be controlled with the type of alcohol - you need some high octane brandy and/or cognac - I would experiment with those and then add whiskey or bourbon/rum if you have a sweet tooth. Vanilla is nice, as is grated numeg on top and some fresh cinnamon.

The real key though, is folding in the whipped egg whites into the heavy cream so it doesn't separate. or lose the fluff. I'm not sure what the modernists thought of egg nog. But I read Clem loved the bourgeois martini.

12/21/2012 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I should stop trying to moderate comments with my iPhone... I keep deleting ones I mean to publish.

Jo-Ann sent a great egg big recipe...will try it. Thanks!

12/22/2012 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I can't get myself to try eggnog. Something about drinking eggs... But I do love your thought process here, I find it beautiful. The tide movements remind me of the mind's ability to assimilate. Personally, for example, it takes months or years before the important events and people in my life make their way into my dreams which then influence my thoughts about the day to come.

In terms of the artist feeling like they've broken ground, well the most important aspect is the breaking of it within yourself, if you happen to be the first human on the planet to do it, or put it out there, then good for you. You'll will never know, really, if you're the first. There's just too much wasted genius in the world.

12/23/2012 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Edward ,Challenge Accepted from occupy your studio thread!

Inventing Abstraction is my core holdings!

Its just me and the Metal thats all its realy ever been. 35 years. The Metal never lies.
Did you get the proper ordering sequence in those small geometries?

Merry Christmas to everyone !
And a special Merry Chistmas to all the Lurkers out there!!

Joy to the World

Jeremiah was a bull frog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him a-drink his wine
And he always had some mighty fine wine

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

If I were the King of the world
Tell you what I'd do
I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the wars
And make sweet love to you

Sing it now

You know I love the ladies
Love to have my fun
I'm a high night flier and a rainbow rider
And a straight-shooting son of a gun
I said a staight shootin son of a gun

12/24/2012 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger CharlesRKiss said...

What's "overblown crap"?

That would easily describe what I may be doing right now. I wish there was some way to know for sure so I could stop doing it!

I'm having one of those grumpy holiday seasons, crotchety old-man style, non-seriously; but everyone have a wonderful season with peace and love, now and for always.

12/24/2012 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Stagg said...

The comments about fame/popularity/and time all seem true-the pull of the moon and our waterways are a great overlooked happening that describe related and non related subjects perfectly!!


12/26/2012 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous nemastoma said...

"on the relationship between time, art appreciation". No-one understood and explained it better than Proust in "Time Regained" in his "In Search of Lost Time".

12/27/2012 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger CharlesRKiss said...

Though unlike the tidal effects of the moon, I'm reminded of a similar effect of delay: latent heat.

Latent heat is also physical phenomenon of matter but best described in a textbook on chemistry (or a wiki): unlike the kinetic heat of a flame or friction, it is stored heat -in the form of orderliness.

In a crystal, particles share orientations, and this order is actually a form of heat!

For example, in a large glass half full of water, if you drop as many ice cubes in it, the temperature will not go below the freezing point of water -nor higher.
And you can put a flame to the bottom of the glass, and measure the temperature. But as long as there is ice, there will be no change in the temperature over time! No change whatsoever until ALL the ice melts!

Therefore, over a period of time, one can put all this energy into a system (continually), but not until all the crystallized forms melt away, (in my case, "notions") will there be an average change in the actions of its components.

It's not wasted that sharing this concept in chemistry are the words, "phase transition." To get from one form to another, solid to liquid, liquid to gas, a lot more energy is required (in my case, risk), and changes may be undetectable until a phase transition is complete.

Good luck, everyone!

12/27/2012 07:43:00 PM  

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