Sunday, July 03, 2005

Suzi Gablik

I found a short article on the web by Suzi Gablik that nicely sums up some of her thinking about art. Since I've discussed her writing in several of my postings it might help to get a sense of where she's coming from.

Read The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art.


At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Josse Ford said...

Hi Suzy

Thanks for pointing out this article. I really enjoyed reading it as well as your review of the "Sacred Wild." Keep up the great writing :-)

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Michael F. Herrmann said...

First off, let me start by saying I’m a Gablik fan. BUT, I disagree with her on the point of this article. I don’t think art should be tagged with a social or political agenda. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to suggest that attaching a purpose to art is better than creativity without a purpose is ridiculous. Environmental degradation is not art. Art that
draws attention to it can be effective, but this kind of work usually has a narrative quality
that smacks of proselytizing. And while it speaks to the choir, it usually lacks the element of joy that I find distinguishes art that is created simply for its own sake.

To define picking up garbage along the Rio Grande as art seems disparaging of the creative process. One might consider it a form of Zen meditation, but not art. What distinguishes a work of art to me is something that combines materials in unusual ways that inspire me to stop and look. This is a totally subjective experience and has no
purpose other than contemplation. I feel like Gablik is trying to argue that art, which she appears to equate with conscious thought, has to have a purpose. For me, the most
effective works are those that convey something intuitive. In fact, the most satisfying are those that inspire quiet contemplation. In a culture that constantly seems to strive toward a goal, I look for the inspiration to enjoy just sitting and not DO. If I happen to focus my attention on an art work, I hope it inspires myriad responses. And those
responses would hopefully be fairly inarticulable and a far cry from anything so simple
and recognizable as a political or social agenda.

Gablik talks about marginalization as if it’s the stigma of a pariah. Any person who is
concerned about being marginialized from the current culture might wanna have a rethink. It doesn’t take much thought to realize marginalization is an indicator of something positive. A comment by Maya Angelou makes the point. She is recounting
an incident wherein a white male asked her if she wouldn’t really rather be a white man than a black woman. She replied “ know that if I tried to use my power [as a white man] in a positive way, my people would laugh at me, scorn me, jeer me, and probably disown me. So no, I have no desire to trade places with a white man.” (ESSENCE: 25
Years Celebrating Black Women. Foreword by Maya Angelou) And look at how our culture responds to anyone BUT white males. Marginalization isn’t something to avoid, it’s something to pursue!

Gablik’s final point is that historically art has served bourgeois capitalism. Unfortunately,
most artists pander to this idea by thinking the only measure of success is representation and sales, preferably in the millions (of dollars, that is). This may be
applicable in New York, Paris and Santa Fe, but if you compare artists to all the kids out there playing basketball on all the neighborhood courts and in their own yards and then look at how few make their living playing basketball, I think you have a good analogy. And yet, you don’t hear all the basketballers whining about marginalization. They just accept that they enjoy playing and accept that for whatever reason they didn’t get to be in the NBA. Such is life. But it doesn’t stop them from playing.....and that’s what I think artists need to do more After all, isn’t that one of the major perqs?

P.S. At the beginning of the article Gablik quotes Sando Chia. If you google him and read some of the writings, he seems like kind of an unusual person to cite. His website

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Jeff Hogue said...

Dear Amy, just discovered your blog. Thanks for your writing and thoughtful research. Keep the faith. These are exceedinly complex issues you're grappling with--and of course, contentious. I have been working with the ideas of Gablik, Matthew Fox, Thomas Moore, Scott Peck and many others for some time now and invite you and your readers to check out my blog/s at
I would love to interact with you and to invite you to contribute writing and thoughts to my efforts. Jeff

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous buy generic viagra said...

Hello the suzi gablik is quite and interesting topic to talk about so i want more information about it ,cause i dont have all the info at hand where can i go to get some pics.


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