Read It!: The Art of the Future


I’d like to challenge you to read one of Paul’s essays each week for the next 14 weeks! I’ll do it if you do it!

Download the essays for free from Mathieu’s website here:

Chapter One, that is Essay One is entitled The Classical Esthetics: The Constancy of Form. Mathieu writes it while in China rationalizing the presence of Greek architecture and goes on to make an example of Greek pots in rationalizing forms and the odd context we place them in. My favorite tid bit is as follows:

Art History has this tendency to reposition objects in time, dissociating them from their original context and thus their original meaning. The consequences of this mindset are still with us today in our evaluation of art works and art practices.

My initial reaction was, well ya, of course. But if you really ponder that one we begin to let it sink in the fonduing principles of esthetics disseminated by the ever powerful and validating Art History as even more peculiar. All the more reason to read on!

Do you accept my challenge?


7 thoughts on “Read It!: The Art of the Future

  1. Carter Gillies says:

    I’m reading the preface now. I’ll let you know what I think. I loved this part, though:

    “Various biographies of important artists also exist but again these tend to focus on lifestyles and on rather useless and unnecessary background data, as if the author was filling up the text with superficial information in order to hide the fact that they have nothing substantial to write about. The result is almost always hagiography where we are lead to believe in the importance of the person more than on the contribution of the work, which remains largely unexplained. All recent monographs on ceramic artists I can think of are of this type and they are all basically useless, beyond gossip. They actually provide a great disservice, not only to the artists themselves, but to ceramics itself, as a field”

    1. bpracticalpottery says:

      That bit though harsh is incredibly insightful. It brings to mind the countless artist statements that are autobiographical and about lifestyle not necessarily about the art (mine perhaps included). Craft practices are so intimately wound up in the personal routine and ethics of the maker it proves hard to step back and be academic. This phenomenon is paralleled with all products being sold with a story- your energy bar isn’t just carbs and protein it is marketed with the company’s climb up Everest or a paddle in the Amazon. Is it just stories we buy and sell? Cultural submissions to hierarchy and trend?

  2. Carter Gillies says:

    Another great quote:

    “For millennia, ceramics role was primarily functional, practical. More recently, through the (pernicious…) influence of Modernism, it has become for its individual practitioners the focus for personal expression, often of a therapeutic nature and largely disconnected from the larger culture. It may be time to reassess the role of ceramics now and in the future, and a reexamination of its archival nature and potential may offer a renewed sense of meaning and provide further possibilities for inquiry. Historically, hand made pots and other ceramic objects played a seminal, essential role in the real life of real people and communities. Today, most hand made ceramics is the product of amateurism, of hobbyists and dilettantes, of the therapeutic activities of leisure. Even ceramics made by professionals tend to have as a main purpose the fulfilling of impulsive consumerism in a gift economy.”

  3. Carter Gillies says:

    I should have continued that quote to the end of the paragraph. Check this out:

    “Maybe our culture is getting the ceramics and the art it deserves, after all. A rampant symptom of this amateurism within the ceramics community itself, is the bizarre phenomenon of the “workshop” where the making of ceramics is experienced as entertainment, as if it was a cooking show, with recipes, tricks, tools and a “chef”, a “master” who demonstrates how it is done, despite the fact that this experience is not possibly transferable. When the field takes its cultural role seriously, such futile activity will hopefully cease or cease to be atthe center of its activities. I am not holding my breath.”

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