R. Mutt

Adam Robinson has some introspective things to say in reaction to my last post:

"I need to know more about what the word "beauty" means to you. Are you speaking specifically about the aesthetic surface of a work, or does your definition include the conceptual depth as well?
For instance, I don't think the dadaists created a lot of really neat looking stuff, but what the toilet seat on the wall meant--that art requires not just paint and canvas, but it's a process that demands your life as well--is beautiful.
It seems you are ascribing to "poetry" part of what is included in "beautiful." Creating the distinction is counterproductive."

Jared Sinclair chimed in with:

"Without this love, there is no beauty. And in the absence of adverse circumstances and pain, there is only profound boredom. To such a person, "beautiful" really means "interesting." The most beautiful art is that which distracts her the most from herself, and from the awareness of Others."

Firstly, I am speaking specifically about the aesthetic surface, as well as the conceptual depth, as well as the historical relevance, as well as it's application, as well as it's intended audience. I am including part of what is inclusive of "beautiful" into "poetry." It is necessary. I agree that making a distinction is counter productive. You've hit it on the head in more ways than you know.

Creating distinctions is what keeps us from an understanding of postmodernism. Rococo is an answer to the "grand manner" of Baroque art indentified with the formality and rigidity of the seventeenth-century court life. Picasso's abstractions came from a rejection of classical realism and it's association with French nationalism and essentially (although I give more credit to Georges Braque) what gave birth to cubism. Throughout the history of art or music (Johnny Rotten) or literature (The Beats, the Boom of Latin America) there is a pattern that emerges of rejection. Throught the rejection comes the next movement. The next best thing.

Post-modernism, I take, to be a rejection of the idea of rejection. Too often people ask post-modernism to be an answer to modernism. It is not. It asks and borrows and reeks of modernism and neo-classical romanticism and abstract impressionism and punk rock and minimalism and any other distinction you can make. Like wise, by looking for the poetry in the artwork we ARE looking for the beauty, but we're also looking for the love, for the hate, for the anger, for the prose, for the lack of prose and for the history. By looking for the poetry we are forced not to stop at beauty. We ask more of the art work. When asked to define art making Mel Chin said,

"Recently I've thought of it in terms of the ecology surrounding the survival of a simple plant, where an unpredictable number of conditions are present in varying degrees, for whatever reasons, putting the system of life always at the verge of chaos."

This is how we need to think of artwork. Through this context. Here, Marcel Duchamp is illustrating the thirst for poetry.

"He (speaking of R.Mutt or himself essentially) took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that it's useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view--and created a new thought for that object."

Is this not what we do with words? Couldn't this be a perfect definition of what poetry does with words?

"It isn't that they're questions are particularly abstruse (a horrible word, thinks Lucas, who tends to heft them in the palm of his hand and familiarize himself with them depending on the color, the smell, or the touch." -Julio Corta'zar from A Certain Lucaus.