PRINT March 2013


David Ostrowski, F (Auch die schönste Frau ist an den Füßen zu Ende, Allison’s feet) (F [Even the Most Beautiful Woman Ends at Her Feet, Allison’s Feet]), 2012, acrylic, lacquer, cotton, and paper on canvas, wood, 87 x 671⁄4".

THE DESKILLING OF ARTISTIC PRODUCTION is a century-old story. But the “smell of turpentine” that Duchamp so detested has not proved all that easy to leave behind, nor have the qualities—composition, pictoriality, Romantic creativity, the aesthetic—that traditionally come with it. Deskilling painting is a Sisyphean task, one enacted continually and never completed, not even with the advent of digital technology. Eliminating subjective choice, it turns out, is hard. Efforts to undo composition may only deliver it anew, with exigencies produced by external constraints recuperated as pictorial effect. We might put the axiom as something like: The deskilling of the author precipitates a reskilling of the viewer—not to mention (paradoxically) of the author, who likewise adapts to these parameters and renders them newly operational, trading manual dexterity for discursive

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