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Old 03-05-2009, 04:10 PM
Portoro Portoro is offline
Level 10 user
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 342
Re: Nude Britney Spears Giving Birth Statue - Monument to Pro-Life

Black Cat - I can see that you’re going to be very easy to wind up, and if you are I’d stay clear of forums like this! Please note: Quinn has been dealt with at some length elsewhere by most of us, and this new thread is only of interest at the level of idle entertainment – it may be worth keeping that in mind when you get all stroppy.

However, there are a couple of issues raised here that do interest me:
1) Symbolism. Symbolism is a tool, a technique. It can be used by poets, novelists, sculptors, painters, political speech writers, ad men – you name it. It isn’t something that is intrinsic to any medium (as, say, stone is to sculpting or paint to, well, painting, and as line, form, mass and space are to both). Symbolism can be exploited by practitioners in these various media, but it can also be completely absent. So, when we spend ages discussing the symbolism of Quinn’s work we are not discussing it as sculpture – we are merely discussing the use the sculptor has made of a particular generic technique that is NOT intrinsic to its value as sculpture. So, let’s hear what you think of his work as sculpture, or is the work’s symbolism IT for you? If so, then you’ve misconstrued everything.
2) Getting beyond Symbolism. I’m a Brit, as is Quinn. We come from that old European culture that has historically made everything VERY complex and intricate (like our history and just about every object in the culture, all LAIDEN with deeply-layered levels of significance and ‘meaning’), and hence we have LOVED our symbolism. Read your Henry James. European culture is a TRAP into which na´ve and usually BETTER Americans have often fallen, to their detriment. Classic American naivety, in the Jamesean sense, is a wonderful thing. It springs from the fact that your culture is at most a few hundred years old (depending when you think it started), and you have had the wonderful opportunity to START AFRESH. All that old European s**t could be set aside, and new beginnings pursued. Wow! In the 20th century American culture had the courage to do this (although people like Whitman, Hawthrone and Thoreau also did it in the 19th century). In the 20th century, it starts with writers like William Carlos Williams, who decided that all that symbolism, metaphor, etc only destroyed the IMMEDIACY of the work (in his case, the poem). Americans were in the novel position to be able to look at life afresh, without the weight of culture we Europeans have, and Williams felt that it would be ‘American’ in the best sense to reject all this European complexity (which draws us away from the ACTUAL, the vividness of reality and experience). Hence his fresh, vivid works, that ping off the page into the brain – no puzzle, puzzle. Hemingway later did something similar with the novel. And American artists have done something similar for art. Art possibly went abstract, in some sense, with Turner and Cezanne, followed by Picasso/Braque and their cubist experiments. However, Turner is still a symbolist (he’s a Brit); Cezanne got close to pure abstraction, although he never could quite give up representation. Picasso went sorta abstract, but he’s European too, and ended up toying with Greek mythology, neo-classicism and clowning around for 30 years of his artistc life. It actually took the Americans to really GET RID of the symbolism and all that. And that’s because of the tradition in America of SEEING ANEW. American practitioners of abstract/non-objective art taught us Europeans to re-think, and that’s why we Brits get Antony Caro eventually (a Brit who had the courage to go back to the artistic principles of form/line/mass and their relationship to space – NO SYMBOLISM). This is what was achieved in the 20 century, and America took it on as only America could. SO, don’t talk to me about symbolism. It’s a death-trap, and Quinn’s work DIES in its grip.
The forum member formerly known as Cantab

Last edited by Portoro : 03-06-2009 at 03:00 AM. Reason: Deleting swear word