And why did you decide to put this book together? In many ways, this book is the Go America It’s Your Birthday Cute 4th Of July Independence T-Shirt in addition I really love this conversation I would have loved to have with Kirk [who died in 2003] over 10 years—that’s why the book is dedicated to him. It was really hard to figure out how to do [this project] without trotting through, “There’s De Stijl, there’s Kandinsky, and then there’s Constructivism and Suprematism, and then there’s Circle and Square, then there’s kind of a dull spot in the late ’30s when everyone feels that abstraction is over, and then it kind of reboots in the later ’40s with Abstract Expressionism, and then there’s Minimalism, and then it all kind of seems to fade away after 1970, but then in the ’90s, everyone goes, Hey, we can still make abstract art!” That might be the historical record, but it’s really a totally incoherent story. Rather than retracing that, which is what is in the existing literature, I thought, There’s gotta be some new way to come at this. And as I researched, I was realizing how often paintings and sculptures had similar forms, and that it was possible to group them together. The basis of the similarity often had something to do with the real world—if there’s a long horizontal running through it, it might just have something to do with landscape. If there’re lots of little dots, and particularly if they’re connected by lines, that probably has to do with the night sky, and stuff like that. So I started making lists of these things, and boiled them down to about five categories. The writing of the book probably only took three years, but first there were seven years of accumulating material and trying to make sense of it. I mean, I must’ve had 10,000 scans of images.
Go America It’s Your Birthday Cute 4th Of July Independence T-Shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
What did you feel like people were seeing but maybe not quite understanding about abstract art? In a funny way, I feel they were reading instead of seeing. There has been this critical narrative that says abstraction is a kind of Hegelian evolution, where there’s a thesis and antithesis and synthesis and that becomes a new thesis, and therefore it moves forward according to its own inner logic, which is purely formal and philosophical. That’s why people thought abstraction had ended in 1970; the Go America It’s Your Birthday Cute 4th Of July Independence T-Shirt in addition I really love this Hegelian cycle had come to its end, and there was nothing left to do. But my favorite mistaken comment of the 1990s came from Arthur Danto, who said that it was simply not possible to make historically significant abstraction anymore. Like, if it doesn’t fit into that conceptual sequence of burrowing toward absolute flatness and minimal nothingness, then it doesn’t matter. And I thought he was just so wrong about this.