"I'm just painting what I'm seeing; I'm just trying to connect the dots of my own vision." - Julian Schnabel....

EN: Looking back on your work, what do you feel about it? You’ve said many times that you didn’t think of art as a career. 

JS: Well, you don’t understand what the real job is when you start, being a young artist. You don’t know how long it’s going to go on, you don’t know what you’re going to do, you don’t really know what it means. And then the variables change radically over the years. But I never painted to have a show; I just painted because that’s what I felt like doing. And one of the things about being a painter is you’re a bit different from being an actor, or working in film, because you’re not waiting for other people to give you a job. So when artists say, “My studio’s not big enough,” or whatever, I just say, “Go outside. Find a spot somewhere.” Because the thing is that you can always paint if you really need to. So that’s been a great luxury and kind of a freedom, to be able to do that. And actually, to be able to survive doing that is a miracle.


EN: So when critics try to read significance into your work, parsing it for symbolism and allegory, that’s really beside the point? 

JS: My work is about seeing. Ultimately, it’s about a way of looking at the world. I’m just painting what I’m seeing; I’m just trying to connect the dots of my own vision. Every time I stumble across something that’s worth a look, it stops me in my tracks. You know, I was driving down the highway in the Atlas Mountains [in Morocco], and I saw some awnings of these butcher shops. I stopped. I was with my wife and kids at the time, and they had to wait for me to get the guys to take the awnings off because the part that was burnt by the sun was ochre, and the part that was rolled up was red. And they looked like landscapes of New York to me. I put some white on them after—and you can ask me, what does the white mean? But I don’t know. You sort it out. We could start this conversation now and finish in 10 years.

—Emily Nathan


"Julian Schnabel on Why Painting is Freedom", Emily Nathan, https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-julian-schnabel-on-painting-goats-for-mike-kelley-and-why-making-art-is-freedom

"(The group began to make the sound. The Peulhs were still staring into the mirrors. I watched the actors grow hesitant, uncertain whether to continue. But the sound stretched and grew- and the Peulhs unexpectedly looked up from their mirrors for the first time. The sound took life, vibrating. The Peulhs discarded their mirrors and joined the sound. Oh, it seemed miraculous! It was as if the Peulh were pulling the sound from them. They pointed to the sky.

Just as the unimaginable sound reached its height, or seemed to, no one would venture any further. Somehow it was frightening. The two sides had met and come together in one sound. And yet it was as if they were stunned and frightened of the discovery. Ted Hughes has written of the sounds far beyond human words that open our deepest and innermost souls to sudden attention. Was this such a sound? For everyone making it, the Peulhs and the actors together, stopped suddenly and would go no further.

But now the Peulh offered an exchange and sang their songs. And they told Brook something very precious. He knew at last that he was on the right road in the search for a universal language. Perhaps we were only beginning to understand. But spirits speak there, in invisible worlds. (p128-129))........

He told me that if you watch any cat, it isn't just that his body is so relaxed and expressive. Its something more important than that. A cat actually thinks visibly. If you watch him jump on a shelf, the wish to jump and the action of jumping are one and the same thing. Theres' no division. A thought animates his whole body. Its in exactly the same way that all Brook's exercises try to train the actor. The actor is trained to become so organically related within himself, the thinks completely with his body. He becomes one sensitive responding whole, like the cat. 

An ultimate example of this state is revealed in a film of Picasso at work. in one lightning stroke you can see how the tip of Picasso's brush captures his entire imagination. His brushwork can actually be seen as his thought process. The same is true of the great orchestra conductor. After years and years of work, he thinks and transmits as one gesture. The whole of him is one. And it can be the same with the actor."
                                                                   -John Helipern, from a conversation with Peter Brook in                                                                                                                                       the book "Conference of the Birds', 1977, Great Britain, Print, p131

"Postart looks to ideology and, more broadly, theory for a foundation- and significance- and attacks the unconscious by reducing it to an ideology, more particularly, a phenomenon if bourgeois society." -Donald Kuspit, "The End Of Art", 2004, p91.

"As Rabinowitch suggests, literalism is a form of indifference to meaning and inquiry into meaning, even as a way of canceling and finally denying meaning. At the least, literalism implies a refusal to reflect in meaning, so that the given has only its material ( and social) face value... For Huelsenbeck the death of art is caused by the persistent confusion of it with entertainment in mass society. It is another way that man neutralizes it. He enjoys it by trivializing it. He also shows that it is possible to live without it." - Donald Juspit, "The End Of Art", 2004, p171-172

" The sight of a masterpiece checks you in spite of yourself, captivates you in a contemplation to which nothing bids you except an invisible charm." - Eugène Delacroix, Journal, September 23. 1854 ( in Kuspit's "The End Of Art") 

" In art ugliness becomes the fuel that powers the illusion that life can be more beautiful than it is. Thus, art puts us in a radically different emotional place than we are in everyday life- a place that seems beyond life, however lifelike. This is as much liberation from life as it is possible to have while living." - Donald Kuspit, "The End Of Art", 2004, p191.

"  "If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it." This consummate statement of postmodern nihilism suggests the reason that art has lost faith in itself: it has lost emotional and existential depth, and sees no reason to have any. It no longer wishes to plunge into the depth- it doesn't believe there is any depth in life, and wouldn't be able to endure the pressure of its depth of it believed life had any- which is why it has become risk-free post art dependent upon superficial experience of life for its credibility." -Donald Kuspit, "The End Of Art" 2004, quote from Andy Warhol, p152. 

"Most disastrously, the supposedly moral use of art as meliorative criticism and social advocacy abandons the civilized idea that art is the priveleged space of contemplation, and as such a reprieve and sanctuary from the barbarism of the world- however much that may be its subject matter- and thus a psychic space in which we can own ourselves and survive, that is, realize autonomy, however aware we are of the special and limited conditions in which it is possible. It ignores the ethics inherent in aesthetics and beauty. Artistic contemplation- as distinct from art as a kid of social practice and even theorizing (manqué) about the world- is a way of caring for ones psyche. Art will serve the mental health of whomever turns to it in pursuit of aesthetic experience and beauty. When one looks at Otto Dix's horrific images of trench warfare, his aesthetic transmutation of death and destruction into a weirdly beautiful scene gives us a certain perspective on it that is more critically effective- more consciousness raising, as it were- than any journalistic rendering of it. It is more soul-saving, for it has a cathartic effect that no war photograph can have. The photograph may move us, but it will not rescue us from the unpleasant feelings it arouses in is, which is what Dix's aesthetically brilliant images do in the very act of evoking such feelings. The photograph shows us the decistating scene, but Fix's images big only show its devastation, but involve us with it, in s complex dialectic of identification and disidentification  - shocked attachment and resolute attachment- similar to the dialectic of subject matter and form. In short, aesthetic autonomy is a prelude to personal autonomy, even a basic part of it. Human beings are not fully human without aesthetic experience.


" I think it is one of the artist's obligations to create as perfectly as he or she can, not regardless of all other consequences, but in full awareness, nevertheless, that in pursuing other values- in championing Israel or fighting for the rights of women, or defending the faith, or exposing capitalism, supporting your sexual preferences or speaking for your race- you may simply be putting on a saving scientific, religious, political mask to disguise your failure as an artist. Neither the world's truth nor a god's goodness will win you beauty's prize. Finally, in a world which does not provide beauty for its own sake, but where the loveliness if flowers, landscapes, faces, trees, and sky are adventitious and accidental, it is the artitst's task to add to the worlds objects and ideas those deliniations, carvings, tales, fables, and symphonic spells which ought to be there; to make things whose end is contemplation and appreciation; to give birth to beings whose qualities harm no one, yet reward even the most casual notice, and which therefore deserve to become the focus of a truly disinterested affection."   "

- Donald Kuspit, " The End Of Art", quote from William Gass, p37-39, 2004. 

"(For Pater and Greenburg, music and musical painting are the most aesthetically consummate arts, and as such the arts most removed from exploitive practicality and scientific reductionism, both of which manhandle reality. They murder it and dissect it, as ha. Been said, and also to use it, both of which are a kind of merciless abuse, at least from an aesthetic point of view.) They betray reality in the act of knowing it" 

-Donald Kuspit, " The End Of Art", 2004, p34.

..."as if the very threads of the fabric had been dissolved into pigment so that the picture consisted entirely of paint without a supporting surface. And yet- this is the contradiction essential to art- the supporting surface that we know to be actually there is not denied as flatness, and we feel this without feeling any less the illusion that it is not there." Clement Greenburg, from " The End of Art", by Donald Kuspit, 2004, p34

"The artist's "personal expression of art à l'état brut.. must be 'refined' as pure sugar from molasses, by the spectator... the role of the spectator is to determine the weight of the work on the esthetic scale... the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpereting its inner qualifications and this adds his contribution to the creative act". It is as though the spectator is the analyst, telling the artist the meaning of his artistic dreams. If the first creative "transmutation" or " transubstantiation"- Duchamp's alchemical and religious terms, acknowledging the deep, powerful effect and meaning of the transference- is from inert matter to subjectively raw art,  the second creative transmutation is the intellectual refinement of subjectively raw art into a social and cultural object. But this refinement, which is a kind of judgment passed on the art, as Duchamp says, is always subject to revision, suggesting that the work of art is never finished or finalized but always remains peculiarly raw and as such beyond cognition. As Duchamp writes, even "posterity.... sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists," a creative re-thinking suggesting that no "final verdict" is absolutely binding.

The engaged spectator can pass no final judgement on art because he may have a new critical reaction to it - a new creative transference to it, bringing with it a new experience and interpretation of it and a new sense of the personality that informs it, as well as a new sense of his own personality and depth- making it seem fresher than when he initially reacted to it. It may even seem fresher than it ever was when it was in a raw state, that is, when it seemed the artist's creation entirely, as though only he has the right and power to create. This, the critical spectator's personal art coefficient plays an inescapable role in the deciphering and interpereting of raw art. The spectator, like the artist, plays a "mediumistic role," which means that his aesthetic judgements tend to be rationalization a of his subjective feelings, like "the rationalized explanations" the artist makes with the hope of being approved and even "consecrated by posterity.

Duchamp rebels against the aesthetic weighing and analysis of art- against passing any kind of social judgment on it. "An everyday scientist like me," he writes, "looks in a work of art for vibrations which will put his mind in synchrony of those of the artist." He does not want to refine the personal expression of art à l'état brut but understand the artist's personal art coefficient, that is, the "difference between the (artist's) intention and its realization, a difference which the the artist is not aware of." He wants to attune the artist- indeed, identify with the artist- through the work of art, rather than decider and interpereting it for the world. For Duchamp it is a medium of communication with the artist, and through communication the communion which makes him magically one with the artist and his creative act. In a sense, it is the creative act that interests him, more than the work of art that results from it. The artist's "struggle toward the realization is a series of efforts, pains, satisfactions, refusals, decisions, which also cannot and must not be fully self-conscious, at least on the aesthetic plane." To stay on track aesthetic plane is to e blind to this unconscious struggle- this deeply personal creative process. It is simultaneously cognitive, emotional, and volitional- a complete overhaul of the artist's person, that is, a radical transformation and mastery of seemingly intractable and unbearable feelings. For Duchamp aesthetic judgment ignores the artist's creative personality, more particularly, the relationship between the artist's all too human personality and his seemingly superhuman creativity- the way he uses his creativity to transcend his personality by transmuting it into art. Duchamp quotes, with approval , T. S. Elliot's essay " Tradition and Individual Talent": "The more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates; the more perfectly will the mind digest and translate the passions which are its material." (It is Elliot's way I'd making the best of the "dissociation of sensibility" - the separation of feeling and thinking, passion and intellect- that he thought was endemic to modernity.)  Awsthetic judgement obscures his complex metabolic process, which for Duchamp is the be-all and end-all of art. It is beyond the ken of "the spectator who later becomes (its) posterity" by giving it "social (and intellectuals) value." It may be a creative act to do so, but it has little or nothing to do with the artist's creative act, and in fact obstructs its purpose.

While Duchamp recognizes the inevitability of aesthetic judgement, he wants to dispense with it, for the posterity it promises is beside the immediate subjective point of creativity. It would s too much a matter of consciousness, which invariably uses currently fashionable ideas to cut the subjective work of art down to social size, thus forcing it into a Procrustean bed if conventional objective consciousness. Only when in approaches the work of art nonjudgmentally does it begin to reveal the artist's personality and creativity and their relationship. Duchamp goes further: the work of art should have no aesthetic appeal. It should not pitch itself to win the applause of posterity. It should not try to be tasteful, for taste always changes. It should not try to be good, only to be. It should try to translate the passions and suffering which are its material as best it can, and let it go at that. It should be the " objective correlative" of a mental phenomenon, to use Elliot's term, and as such be indiscreet and esoteric at once- a provocative dream that can be interpreted, as said, but with no interpretation definitive, suggesting the unfashionable character if the artistic personality. The artist may be "a man like any other", as Duchamp says, but unlike other men he "acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out of a clearing." The "Large Glass", as he says,was "a renunciation if all aesthetics, in the ordinary sense of the word". That is, it was not "another manifesto if new painting" and thus, implicitly, a new criterion of aesthetic judgement and taste, but an attempt to translate certain feelings in complete indifference to the spectators aesthetic experience and evaluation of it. The spectator only gets it if he treats it as a medium through which the artist's intentions, however unrealized- the "Large Glass" completes itself only when it broke and Duchamp pieced the fragments back together, confirming that its intention will never be perfectly realized- rather than a new, particularly modern kind of aesthetic phenomenon. 

Without aesthetics, what would the work of art become? Something like the mechanical drawing Duchamp used "to escape taste... It upholds no taste, since it is outside all pictorial convention" (even though his appropriation of it turned it into another- a modern- pictorial convention). Or else it becomes like an African wooden spoof, that is, an aesthetically neutral or indifferent cultural artifact, at least before it became art. "African wooden spoons were nothing at the time when they were made, they were simply functional; later they became beautiful things, 'works of art'." To see works of art in a non-aesthetic way is to return them to the state in which they were "recognized" or "real-ized" as works of art- an even more raw state, it seems, than when they were art in a raw state. It is as though Duchamp is asking us to move the Mixheal Rockedeller Collection of Primitive Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to a museum of anthropology. There the objects in the collection will no longer be artistic masterpieces, but simply cultural artifacts. They will no longer be beautiful world of art- indeed, even works of art- but what they were when they were first found: symptomatic relics of a certain remote society with a particular function in that society.

Can one see such objects both ways- as everyday artifacts and elegant works of art simultaneously? That is exactly how Duchamp would like us to see his readymades. They have a double identity. They are socially functional artifacts that have been changed into sublime artistic masterpieces by the creative act of Duchamp's psyche. But they retain their everyday functionality; they revert to it in the blink of a creative eye, or rather in the mind. In short, they embody aesthetic osmosis while remaining inert matter. Supremely ambiguous, they are supremely perverse, that is, they blur the difference between art and non-art, an act of dedifferrebtiation all too often regarded as the gist of modern creativity. The tantalizing ambiguity is that the readymade precludes aesthetic idealization. When the Fountain, 1917, was praised as beautiful and tasteful, as occurred when it entered the museum, Duchamp became angry, for it was understood exclusively on the aesthetic plane, which destroyed its confused identity as art/non-art, that is, mentally art, physically non-art. Any decision to regard the readymade unequivocally as art downgrades it as a creative act, however necessary its aesthetic elevation is to preserve it for posterity. Duchamp didn't care to preserve his works for posterity- perhaps the ultimate sign of his indifference to the aesthetic. 

As he said, "I had to beware of (the) 'look' of the object... You have to approach something with an indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad fast". But it inevitably aro uses aesthetic emotion once it is accorded the " dignity and status of art", to use the phrase with which André Breton characterized the result of the mental act that created the readymade. Breton suggests that Duchamp knighted the ordinary object by declaring it to be a work of art, instantly making the proletariat object into an aristocratic one, a change from lower to upper

(indeed, the highest) class. The opposite may also be true. The conception of the readymade as subversive anti-art suggests as much: the readymade is a kind of egalitarian leveling if the handmade- indeed, custom made- art object, turning it into just another everyday manufactured object. The high is brought low, the extraordinary is made ordinary, the different is made the same. This reversal of wale us all the more ironical because the readymade is made by mental work alone, while the art object ha made by physical as well as mental work. 

Clearly the readymade has a double meaning, it is a conundrum, a Gordian knot that no intellectual sword can cut. Simultaneously an art and non-art object, the readymade has no fixed identity. Regarded as art, it spontaneously reverts to non-art. It collapses into banality the moment the spectator takes it seriously as art, and becomes serious art the moment the spectator dismisses it as a banal object. Just as the spectator critically reacts to it, thinking about and looking at it in a more creative way than he thinks about and looks at non-art objects, it becomes one of those non-art objects. The readymade always outsmarts the spectator, outwitting his interpretation of it, suggesting that it has no social value. Indeed, it resists socialization and remains indecipherable. It is absurd and tasteless- beyond good and bad taste because it is absurd. To perceive art through taste, as the aestheticizing spectator does, is to misapprehend it. In short, Duchamp's readymade exists to mock and defeat the spectator. Indeed, for all his yeasaying of "the pole of the spectator"- for all the honor he accords the spectator's creative act of interperetation - it seems "made" only to undermine the spectators expectations. It exists to ridicule posterity, symbolized baby the critical and aesthetic judgment the spectator passes on the work of art. It defeats every attempt to bring it into contact with the external world, remaining the medium and symbol of the artist's inner world."

-Donald Kuspit, from " The End of Art", 2004 p18-23: with quotes from Marcel Duchamp.

Ono No Komachi, (ca. 850) from "The Ink Dark Moon"

"I thought those white clouds
were gathered around
some distant peak,
but already
they have risen between us"

                 -by Ono No Komachi, from "The Ink Dark Moon"

I love this poem because of the beautiful disconnect described in it but also because of who wrote it. Komachi was one of the forerunners of the literature of the Heian court of Japan. She and the other women writers of that time were ones who were the most accomplished and respected. I find that to be incredibly inspiring.

for images of my work in process, check me out on instagram! my instagram name is ann13o

Excerpt from Louis Calaferte's "The Violet Blood of the Amethyst"

   Excerpt from Louis Calaferte's "The Violet Blood of the Amethyst"

Sea-smooth palm of the hand.
    Musically in tune with the sun.
    Does what I scoop up of you in the hollow of my hand take away from
your vastness, your weight?
    Who is that other person who, on one of your other shores, at this very 
moment, vends down and takes up this handful of water?
    Sea- common knowledge.

               from The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, by Louis Calaferte
                                 translated from the french by John Taylor

(I wish I could type it in the french for you as well but I don't know how to put all the accents in and I don't want to ruin it. Hopefully soon I will have my accents.)