21 September 2013

Susan Sontag on Howard Hodgkins #2

Devolving now, the modernist tasks and liberties have stirred up a canny diffidence among painters of the largest accomplishment when pressed to talk about their art. It appears unseemly, or naive, to have much to say about the pictures or to attach to them any explicit "program." No more theories expounding an ideal way of painting. And, as statements wither and with them counter-statements, hardly anything in the way of provocation either. Decorum suggests that artists sound somewhat trapped when drawn out, and venturing a few cagey glimpses of intention. Complementing that vulnerable fortress of modernist taste, the white wall of the gallery, is a final redoubt of modernism under siege, the white mind of the painter. And the thoughtful - as distinct from inarticulate - may have good reason to be wary, anxious, at a loss (for words).

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