We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"1001 Paintings You Should See Before You Die acknowledges the question "What is Painting?" The answer: "Who cares?""
What I found especially useful about the review is that it puts Modernism in perspective - not as the End of Art, but just as another phase in a long, ongoing story of "what painters do."
Here's a quote:
A weird thing happened to painting during the 20th century. In the eyes of many painters and critics, the little problems of painting became the big problem of “Painting” itself. People suddenly became motivated to paint by asking themselves, “What Is Painting?” The attitude of 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die is to collapse this problem back into the history of little problems, to flatten out 20th century artistic practice and put it back into the ongoing history of “things painters do.” The way our woman in black from Brown looks at it, Malevich is a worthy painter and we want to include his paintings in our book. But in doing so we are also implicitly if not explicitly punching a hole in the metaphysics that motivated him to paint as he painted. We're implicitly denying that there could have been a definitive final act in painting or that painting could ever have achieved its own end. We are rejecting the idea that painting was ever really in crisis at all. We are disproving Malevich even as we laud him.
You could just read ART by Paul Johnson, an excellent book however he describes paintings but doesn't have any pictures of them in the book. The local library has been very helpful in ordering books of them from the interlibrary loan system. Loved the Turners and other British watercolorists. Whole catalogs of them.
If I could do it, it is not art. heh. I like that saying.
RE: modern art. I do not get it and I am trying. Is it about the surfaces and the paint? The medium is the message? Pollacks paintings are exceptional because he has a very special and unique way of getting paint to drip on canvas that deconstructs previous ideas about paint and canvas? Is that the concept?