Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rosie Lee Tompkins at BAMPFA


That paint has become the signifier of High Art seems arbitrary, a historical fluke, difficult to decide whether comical and infuriating. At different times tulips and tapestries were more valuable - commissioned paintings of tulips were mere souvenirs to the tulips themselves, etc. The shifting values of culture come with the ideological pretense that those values are either now ideal (progressive) or eternal (traditional), that painting, like diamonds, are and have always been, forever - the grand narrative hung in most western institutions. Greenbergian discussions of Painting in hindsight are comically infinitesimal  - Pollock's great breakthrough of image and object seems groundbreaking only in the history of paint, outside this very tight parameters the distinction is null. "Painting" becomes the history of paint, a substance as any other without the valorization of High Culture. And paint is dumb with that.