TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT September 1975

Painting and Anti-Painting: A Family Quarrel

SUPPOSE AN ARTIST REMARKS to a critic: “You people distribute your attention badly; you overlook too many things, catch on to them too late or not at all.” This voices a familiar complaint, but the even testier one I have in mind works the opposite tack. It dresses us down for having “forgotten” what concerned us deeply once and what we held in high repute. It might have been an individual or a style from which the critics first waltzed or drifted away. But for at least five years the “negligence” has been more extreme than that, since a whole mode, painting, has been dropped gradually from avant-garde writing, without so much as a sigh of regret.

Criticism is one way of externalizing topics in art thinking. More than that, it provides an indispensable forum of debate, agitated not only with careerist maneuvering and intellectual fashion, but with the possibilities of thought and the competition of ideas—all of which, at times, mingle fairly indistinguishably with each other. We need the fix that ideas and words offer us, as they’re necessary for our intellectual togetherness. For “Silence,” said Chesterton, “is the unbearable repartee.” No matter how little that silence corresponds with many people’s commitments (or accomplishments), it is a thing to ponder. Even the most critically disaffiliated painter must be aware of alien and dire rustlings which writers listen to with great interest. Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a carp in the milk, or a horse in the gallery.

In asking, though, why many critics ceased orienting themselves to painting, we should rule out any idea that there was a wholesale abandoning of paint by American artists. On the contrary, we’re impressed by the overall increase in the number of painters. Nor can we say that this animus has been directed toward painting exclusively, since many forms of abstract and realist sculpture have also been proscribed in recent esthetics. Finally, taste judgments may contribute to, but they don’t explain a change in critical rhetoric; for the level of artistic energy has not fluctuated significantly over the last decade.

No, painting fell a victim to criticism, if nothing else, because it was not rewardingly troublesome—it lacked the “downward mobility” essential to the game rules of modernism. Benefits tend to be given to those workers who can successfully identify themselves, at any one moment, as the top underdogs or most calculated pariahs. They are the ones able to drive home a temporary contrast between worthy outcasts (themselves), and ambitious or unambitious losers. Yet there was nothing in the least democratic or humane about the turnover process to which some of them appealed. Artists are not obliged to make extensive and bizarre claims of unapproachability. Or, if they made them once, they’re sane to balk at the relentless quest for novelty. They can be thought delusionists only when they subscribed to modernism and resented that it was fickle. In this light, it was simply not possible to void painting of its articulate residues or to make it look underprivileged enough.

Artists had on/in their hands an inherently expressive medium when what some of them wanted most was to evade expressiveness itself. And despite a persistent stripping down, you couldn’t even do much to subvert or destabilize a painting’s physical attributes. To purge it of incident only reinforced the enduring decorum of the picture—made all the more evident its discreteness, its stillness, its wall-attached presence and coated surface. To deprive it of color, the very birthright of painting, was to emphasize these features all the more. Further, there existed the perennial history of painting, that backlog of thousands of objects with which any new canvas would enter into instant dialogue. The wealth of inputs, the surfeit of connections, available with the slightest brush glide or poof of spray: here, it seemed, was the least promising franchise with which to make an unintelligible statement.

None of this implies, though, that content yields itself any more forthcomingly in painting than, for example, in Conceptual art. How could that conceivably be argued? Yet, the special enigmas of painting, as a medium, never cease to perplex us. While our internal experience may replenish their waywardness, our social outlook schematizes them and tells us that some, for cultural reasons, may be more important than others. But here is a dilemma: though our culture may guide, it does not necessarily intensify our intuitions. And though our intuitions may nourish us, they do not automatically shape our culture. Ideally, criticism commutes between the one necessary sphere of response to art and the other; but in practice, it operates socially, being drawn to struggles over ideological principles within its public realm to arbitrate. Private meanings and public values often attract, but also conflict with each other—and it is the uncertainty of their coupling that modern culture thrives upon. Eventually, then, the undertow of pictorial ambiguity became too familiar—loose or even glib—for a culture bent upon elevating the cryptic. One might flounder amidst the visceral complexities of painting, but miss in them a resolute, pinpointed bafflement.

This I take to be the core of Donald Judd’s brief against painting. The art lacked clarity in resisting acculturation; it couldn’t be counted on to lay hold of unequivocal ciphers. For Minimal sculptors, there was a promiscuousness about painting that made it look mindless in its age-old dualism of illusion and ground. Long after de Kooning had said that a (painted) square could be mysterious, they made uninterpretable but utterly forthright cubes. Since a painting can be as precise in its marked-off vacancies or units as any sculpture—obviously a number of Minimalists had studied Newman and Johns—the sculptors were claiming for their 3-D order a more acute blankness. It was a nice paradox that terrible simplifiers of art should feel obliged to expand into “actual space” (Judd’s words) a geometry that had so far only been flatly disposed on a canvas surface. Needless to say, these sculptors were thoroughly socialized in their self-understanding. Had they not ephemerally taken up the pen themselves . . . on their own behalf? Had they not become critics . . . of sorts?

I spoke of a reverse pecking order (“downward mobility”), as a determining influence of avant-garde rhetoric. Another way of stating this thesis is to talk of modern artists working chronically against the previously defined or agreed-upon norms of a medium—and of the value placed upon forcing the means at hand to do something contrary to that to which viewers were habituated. It is one more sign of the inventive, but also perverse behavior of modernism that it often consciously reinforces technical deficits and augments formal handicaps. Did painting induce a spontaneous, personalized touch?—then banish it with surfaces that appear almost annealed. Did sculpture classically utilize a pedestal and deal with volumetric, freestanding structure?—then do away with them as you gouged out the earth or strewed wool. Did photographs consistently transmit a highly resolved and chaotic visual information?—then expunge it, in simple patterned zones or Instamatic crudeness. Were movies and TV, dance and theater, inextricably temporal and narrative arts?—then sabotage them with your static time frames and spatial mind-set. Anything that had been thought intrinsic could be shown as extrinsic to your statement. Anything that had been done with the right, the left hand was capable of. We applauded artists who took the greatest pleasure in living on the margins and writing in reverse. Finally, some of them took it into their heads that words, strung together to resemble literary fragments, could replace, and yet be, art objects. Indeed, considerable resources were employed to throw us off the scent of a transposition of terms.

All this, in one on-going, escalating effect, tended to put painting under a cloud. It was an event that by its nature could not have happened at once, nor with consistent, overt impact. For the criteria that determined the timing and lifting of esthetic taboos shifted according only to a disorderly awareness of procedures being overworked. For a while, painting led in opening up boundaries: for example, Rauschenberg’s Combine painting and Stella’s shaped canvases. The one, taking off from collage, showed that outlandishly foreign materials, some as clutzy as a chair, could metaphorically push painting further up against the wall than had been supposed. The other demonstrated with real versatility that a rectangle need not be the inevitable field of the pictorial, and that an eccentric profile edged by a thick stretcher could give an unwonted material presence to the picture.

At the time, these moves were perceived as very imaginative advances. But now I am impressed by their self-spiting character, the eagerness with which certain artists sought to convince an audience that a painting might be worth serious regard the more it didn’t look like itself. A brilliant desperation can be sensed in such gestures, which became increasingly extravagant as the stakes for assimilation into the avant-garde were raised. “I should like to appear,” these hopeful objects seemed to be saying, “as what I am not!”

Later, other steps were taken. Richard Tuttle pinned up oddly shaped, wrinkled cloths dyed in one color, thereby giving out that the painted surface was no more than a humble, limp textile. (We knew that, of course, but making it evident in Tuttle’s way was freshly belittling to the object.) One can also recall Robert Ryman’s paper paintings and Sol LeWitt’s very delicate painting on the walls themselves, not so much, therefore, dispensing with the support itself, as with the conventional way of setting off an easel picture from its environment. (Frescoes had done that for centuries, but were not immediately on the horizon to react against.)

Such ingenious gestures suggested that painting should not continue to be viewed as a delimited object-artifice, but rather as a condition that was grafted everywhere ethereally about us, without raising the issue of sheer physical scale. Extremely recessive, these had nonetheless been worthy annexings of restricted territory. They obliged one to think of the pictorial as a general quality with which all kinds of things may be imbued, without conjuring up brushy illusions in the process. Ryman’s soignée white-on-white textures and LeWitt’s pencil marks, carried out by assistants with scanty instructions, ironically call for highly concentrated viewer sensitivity to painting. But they are at the same time bleached-out specimens of their kind. With them, the efforts of painters to “cross over” from one category to another overrefined itself, however much their abated energies furthered subsequent work.

I should not call it a media emigration . . . it was far too obviously a minority displacement for that. But one consequence of the motion was to strand a great mass of orthodox-format painters, who had no cause to be rushed anywhere, in hopelessly regressive-looking positions, while not really advancing one jot the competitive fortunes of the painted medium in the avant-garde climate of opinion. Somehow, a picture is not cut out to be modernized along the edges. And even when a big rhetorical fuss is made of getting past them, the tensions in a picture (representational or not) either carry out toward or rebound from the margins—or simply remain within. If this amounts to the most simple-minded way of deciding what a picture is, we have also to agree that many paintings are not pictures at all—legitimately enough. Still, to be a painting, as we recognize it, the object exists as an irrevocably implicit form of painted communication: the fricasee of its marks (smoothed into or standing out from each other, as it may be), being on some allusive course that only our metaphorical capacities can follow.

But these were skeptical times, and the implicitness of painting kept on being judged by the front bench as an undue transcendence of its physical thing-ness. We will remember a 1968 painting and sculpture show at MoMA, “The Art of the Real,” in the catalogue of which Eugene Goosen argued that abstract painting pertained to the world as a hard, concrete presence. A Noland, say, was to be understood as an explicit, material fact, “a self-evident crystalline structure, the objectively (instead of subjectively) real.” Well, that particular bid was already doomed by the taste for the literal which it had tried unsuccessfully to court. For we can affirm the factuality of the canvas ground all we want, and still see that it operates as a platform for fiction—yet the painting itself can never be the fiction. Painters would not have equality with their peers in a future that planned to subtract that fiction.

Nothing quite like this had happened before. In the mid-19th century there were tremors, to be sure, or perhaps just mild apprehensions that went through some studios upon the first appearance of photographs. But the most injurious thing that occurred was the disappearance of miniature portrait painting, which could not compete with daguerreotypes and tintypes in accuracy and economy. For the rest, painters cribbed vivaciously from photos, finding them suggestive and helpful on every level, whether publicly admissable or not. Photographers could not as successfully imbibe painting because they were culturally indoctrinated to stand in awe of it. Its cardinal status as a fine art held sway over them—one reason why, for so long, they adopted the most flamboyantly bohemian poses and labored under pictorial biases.

Nor did the hegemony of painting appear very threatened when socialist esthetes defected from it in the British Arts and Crafts movement. If a craftsman wanted to take political or moral issue with painting, and design wallpapers or furniture so that pictorial taste, or rather its logical derivatives, would be available in useful roles and at lower prices to more consumers, it was no cause for a painter to imagine him his natural enemy. The markets did not overlap, though sensibilities frequently did. And even the luxury aspects of painting, its stylistic assertions and individualistic hubris, were to be emulated in the applied arts, as Art Nouveau showed so well.

Much more relevant to the present scene, because self-consciously recalled today, were the problems of Russian painting in the early Soviet years. There could be no doubt that both consumerism and individualism were there first submitted to a revolutionary critique, carried out initially by painting and sculpture, and then with the replacement of these arts by the graphic modes—posters, photos, typography, film. The Russians developed an ultra nonobjective syntax in painting, an innovation they equated with a radical thrust in the social sphere. During the ’20s, they were deprived of the hope that art of this sort could contribute to a communist reconstruction, satisfy the real needs, either of government or people, in a convulsed and desperate historical moment. Not only had the minuscule patron class been wiped out, not only did painting stink of bourgeois fetishism, but more important, there had never been a community capable of reading their idealist propaganda for what they imagined it to be. But they could translate at least the syntax of their modernist utopia into set designs or communications media, and find more useful, humbler places for themselves.

American avant-gardism is quite ambivalent about this Russian legacy, to which much attention has been paid in the past five years. Some of our Conceptual artists sympathize enormously with the tendentiousness of the painting, while remaining indifferent to the agit-prop of the graphics that derive from it, garnished with Cyrillic they can’t read in any event. Yet, at the same time as they uphold a modernism pioneered by Rodchenko, Tatlin, Malevich, and others, they denigrate the painting of our day for its materialism and commercialism (if anything, rather more subdued than their own). Behind their ostensible left-wing ferocity against painting lies an opportunism that would flourish even more on the publicity of the bourgeois media and the support of the modernist critics.

Right-wing rebukes of painting concern themselves with what is considered indelicate subject matter, or at most a style, most typically an abstract style, or abstraction in general. Left-wing attacks dream of nothing less than a clean sweep of the painting thing altogether. Yet, the hermetically fact-bound newer works convey nothing of political passion itself—even the old Constructivist mysticism. This has not prevented our avant-gardists from squeezing more lemon juice on painting by suggesting that it ought to wither away as the state would, in Marxist theory, after the period of class struggle.

To anyone who has followed such arguments in the bars or the art press, evidence accrues of a great, unbreachable schism opening up (on doctrinal lines) between painting and other art modes. Brush wielders were afflicted by a creative halitosis. Not only had power (by which I mean backing, not necessarily artistic conviction) been wrested by an insurgent group from a disoriented field, but a medium had been stigmatized.

It is one signal of the force of such breaks that those who have been chilled by it should falter, miss their stroke. If your criteria for a mature development and a focused grasp of issues depend upon the presence of seriously taken art movements, you will, indeed, search vainly for such movements in recent painting. We are accustomed to viewing art activity by means of this convenience— the “movement”—whose alarms and pleasures painting is not summoning up for us as it once did. It might be said that those who style themselves the successors to painting have not achieved any organization into movements either. (In which case, we speculate that we are in a quite prolonged interval between a fizzling out and a starting up.) The topic of “movements,” in any case, is a wearisome issue. But Conceptualists or body artists, even, have monopolized theory, and it is quite enough for them to stick painting with the label depassé.

How odd it is, really, that we should be talking about media rather than styles, ideas, individual points of view, the staples of art discussion. “Medium” (frequently glossed by the word “process”) is, however, the area to which theory has retreated. This withdrawal puts at a disadvantage interested parties who should like to smooth a quarrel. For any apologia of painting as a medium must place itself on the defensive and acknowledge that ground has been lost. It is all very well to sing the virtues of lyrical abstraction, photo-Realism, funk, or “central core” feminist imagery, etc.—if any of these is what absorbs you. But there still nags the uniquely contemporary status-wound inflicted on painting and the onus that has been placed upon painters as a class. Some of them, of course, per- haps a statistical majority, remain completely untouched by this state of affairs; others have had to winterize their hopes. Neither attitude seems to me justified.

It should be noticed, first off, that those who make special esthetic claims for a process, an unusual material, a displacement or a life-context as art, have an uphill, embattled mentality, despite their settled rights of exploration. Ever since Duchamp, with his denial of the “retinal,” the bricoleurs of art have acted like spoilers, justifiably in a sense, for all their celebrity and their rewards. I am speaking not only of their dissenting poses, but of their antagonism toward such nominally bourgeois values as esthetic wholeness, impact, concision, and plausibility. This was something painters themselves occasionally judged they had to beat, but their “successors” are positively haunted by it. There was an enormous modern effort to discredit such qualities because philistine publics always seemed to be in need of them. Modern artists, however, are pledged to alienation, giving themselves over to a vindictive, sniping ingenuity that turns it into an honorable stance.

The Conceptual artists of the last ten years have especially assigned themselves that job, and if with greater awareness of their outlook, then, also, with greater uneasiness. For it must dawn on them that they are lepers after all—psychological, if not social ones—that despite some of them being established figures, they’re condemned to take the alternative position, the contrary view, to adopt the other identity, and to measure themselves against norms not their own. This deplorable modern principle of immediate repulsion between two neighboring modes forces them to differentiate themselves in a mad scatter. Or, putting it another way, it compels them to be champions of their media. And that, underneath everything, is very defensive behavior.

Do I presume in imagining some expressions of surprise at this statement? We are far gone, after all, in having conceded a maximized freedom to far-out art; the giddy works of these centrifugal artists seem so anarchic. But the special conformities that unite them have been overlooked. Suppose that we have a most distinctive art, ramified by all kinds of unusual devices; it, and they, still had to come from somewhere. Knowing their roots helps to understand how they became entangled.

Recent artists have increasingly subverted vehicles that have long been tooled up by popular culture. It would have been a mark of genuine, but thoroughly self-defeating rebellion, for video artists to have taken main cues from television; for underground filmmakers to have imitated Hollywood; for dance-performers of the lofts to have mimed . . . even Balanchine. Still, given the choice of orbiting around the entertainment or knowledge industries as little-practiced and underfinanced acolytes of them, or of spearheading the art world with sophisticated anomalies, their course was clear.

But this already explains why the factuality that obsessed them could not be readily transmittable. Facts are usually editorially gathered to inform people of the world. (A hunger for that knowledge in a national environment of rumor has contributed to the eclipse of fiction by nonfiction on the bestseller lists.) But the raw materials of current art, insisted upon as concrete, explicit data, were, in contrast, to have no point, and therefore no world. Or rather, they were to subside inertially in a closed system that pretended to be a world. Listings of family, professional, and business associations of the successive owners of Seurat’s Les Poseuses (small version), could not be more worldly (that is, historical) information, but Hans Haacke had wanted expressly to neuter it by withholding all comment when he exhibited them. So his catalogue system is serenely neat enough, if contrarily, its material potentially disturbs, even inflames. Here there could have been a hard-hitting comment on the late corporate greed that fastened on, bartered up and sanctified—though always keeping out of public circulation—a mere painting. But that would have been far more, and much less than Haacke apparently wanted. The work he actually performed hovers, in familiar schizoid terms, between a state of wanting to communicate and the denial of communication. For my purposes, though, I am also impressed by how it underplays a critique of painting itself.

It behooves most “advanced” artists to observe that tact. Consider, for example, that if their one flank, on the mass culture side, had been protected by (an)estheticizing content, they had still to mind the nervous constituency at their rear. They had managed to open a condoned space from it by the strategy of adopting unlikely media and by de-familiarizing the textures of their work. But their purposes allowed the gap to be but a pseudo-distance, while the media functioned as crypto-painting (and sculpture). The most open trade secret of contemporary art is this ex officio dependence of its media spin-offs on painting, whatever boundaries they have exceeded. We know, and don’t know of this debt, which, of late, has been touted by its critical friends as a condition of high independence.

To argue the matter rather than assert it, let me remark on the key issue of space versus time in recent art. A film or videotape extends temporally, as does a dance or reading. But we commonly experience them in the galleries as having an indefinite duration rather than a specific length, for the reason that they lack narrative signals that delineate events and make them conclusive. We are not to imagine a distaste for conclusiveness so much as one for narrative—which is too linear in that it structures time. To walk in on the “middle” or leave before the “end” of the more radically equiflow presentations is, perhaps, to lose some of their effect, but not to miss their message.

Where have we encountered this situation before? Leading question! It is no accident that it invokes paintings, artistic wholes without beginnings, middles, and ends. You cannot interrupt a painting—ever—because it delivers simultaneously present appearances which you perceive and absorb in your own time. That optional, freely created attention lies behind the phenomena I have been discussing—and betrays, through and through, their spatial premises. It brings, too, a persistent, cavalier defeat of one’s expectation to submit oneself to the piece’s time. Instead of watching what happens, as in any self-respecting theatrical event, you look at it, or rather, graze upon it. No matter how strongly accented or staccato, the piece wants to numb your awareness of the meaningful passage of time.

Ascribing a sculptural model to this reversion to spaced-out time offers little historical guidance. For most of the sculpture it may recall, as well as the resemblances it willfully cultivates, issues from painting. It was a painter, after all, Warhol, who pioneered such a narcotic approach to film. More than likely, he got it from the printed repetition of his images. If painting in series can reiterate stasis, how mesmeric to achieve the same result in film by an invisible series. It helped that the perimeters in both media are so alike. And it helped too, that painting was flat—all the more excuse to hype the immateriality of projected light by effects that implicate the screen as a surface in its own right.

Much the same can be said for the aural drones that give voice to these films. The noise grated because it was thought of as a slab of material and externalized in very much the spirit of the flickering and frittering away of the light. As for video, leave it to the artists there to have discovered the potential of its rough cathoded lines to summon up a necessarily low-yield pictorial matrix. The interminable scan of the TV camera guards the picture cavity, becalmed but for spasmodic entrances and exits, or unending low patter. Whether you read truncated texts, or gaze at Chris Burden, a self-endangering species seeming almost to will away his life functions, you find yourself in a stalled, gravity-bound, and wall-relating environment, dense with unlikely substance. Where, if not to highly reduced painting, and its sculptural apes, did most of this work trace?

It is not, of course, the first occasion that sculpture and allied arts nourished themselves from a painterly repertoire, or even enlarged upon viewing activities invoked by the pictorial medium. In the past, qualities of light, gesture, touch and subject were translated from the one field to the other. Now comes the turn, in addition to these sensory states or iconic sources, of the physical limits of the picture itself. From a strictly historical point of view, this incremented the development of art. But it was an act carried out with all the grace implied in a definition of chutzpah I once heard: a child, having killed his parents, throws himself upon the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. Criticism could at least have noted the irony of this scenario.

It is surely peculiar, for instance, that an avant-garde aspiring to go “beyond painting” should have to do so by making explicit its painterly legacy. And it could be observed that “anti-painting” artists waylaid and hamstrung temporal arts, once again, by the very act of redefining for themselves what a painting is. Yet, if painting influences traveled in this case, they traveled heavy and not well.

The consistency with which many of these artists insulated their redefinition of painting from anything that might get in its way had a social rather than a psychological origin. That, I think, is why they failed to spot the phenomenal reluctance of their forms to be turned into any human account at all. It was as if they had expended all their energy in finding new modes of discourse without having troubled themselves to imagine saying anything in them. Yet that is incorrect. In repudiating an idealism that was felt to have gone bad, they arrived, rather, at a notion of art more purely literal than that of the painters. Still, only at the cost of hitching themselves to an ideology that dragged them into ever more vapid depths could they realize their goals. I’ve already mentioned that certain very discreet paintings responded to this taste, but did not indicate that they were being seduced by temporal works of a fatal slightness. The trouble lay in the misuse of temporal modes where it is not merely legitimate but necessary to implement structure in the dimension of time (that, after all, is why it is there). If you make that structure superfluous, you celebrate emptiness beyond the power of any exclusively spatial art. It is not the happiest fate to stake your vision on a waiting game.

Far, then, from having expired as a subject for criticism, painting is inadvertently glorified once more, no matter how obtuse, thankless, and bowdlerized the substitute states in which we find it. Regnant as before, it cannot be blamed for exerting a bad influence. Still, one might wish the practice of it to enjoy a steadier health after having weathered so many recent provocations.

There are some tentative signs, as I write, of a loosening of the situation, and a desire to cut losses. In many independent positions, in so-called story-art, occasional body works, some strains of realism, some aspects of decorative painting (if you will excuse the stylistic tags), feeling is being thawed out and wit and pleasure are surfacing. If this comes about, it will not likely be through any input of renewed, uptight propriety. But the materials artists employ may be more frankly acknowledged in their liberal resources.

Here painting may be taken as another model than the one I’ve had to describe. In its milennial history, artists have had no scruples about painting on walls, on pots, on clothes and furniture. They may have known of canvas or panel, but these surfaces were not sacred groves, nor were they profaned when artists carried on elsewhere. (Any more than sculptors violated their products when they colored them.) At certain points, if the need was felt to actualize certain illusions of painting, there came into existence mosaics, stained glass, and tapestries. Each of these arts furnished its special textures, arising from its distinct physical grounds and unit of substance; but they were out to translate, not to subvert the syntax of painting. It would not have occurred to the workers in any of these media that they were parricidal because at every moment they were acknowledging the space and symbolism of painting as their natural realm. What I think this shows is that painting cannot be emblemized by the activity of brushing pigmented marks on a surface. It is, rather, exemplary as the most ubiquitous and fluent visual means devised to give an imaginative picture of the world or its energies.

Modernism has evolved a synesthetic tradition whose benefits no one wants to cancel out. But if, of late, its new or mixed media have proliferated, they do not seem to have flourished. Like all hierarchical systems, modernism is flawed by its taboos, that is to say, its social prejudices. There are more actual conventions stored up by, and natural to, artistic media than it wanted to have at its disposal. I see no reason why the singling out of just one of them, the static condition of painting, should obstruct artists at this particular historical moment. And whatever the vehicle they have chosen, the homage they have offered up to the literalness of painting in this respect has proven to be such an obstacle. But this was to have confused a part with the whole. That whole manifestly includes narrative interest, complex form, political engagement, decorative presence, autographic processing, and many other possibilities. May not the incorporative and accommodating aspects of painting serve as a program to illuminate what the other media, in their turn, may accomplish? For on that level, where fluency is allowed, they are sympathetic to each other.

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