Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday Quote: Yve-Alain Bois

"Well, I don't share the tragic notion of negation of an Arthur Danto when confronted with a row of Warhol's Brillo boxes. There are two kinds of negation. The modernist mode of negation was: you don't know how to justify what you are doing, so you eliminate what you cannot justify. This led to many different strategies. The readymade was one of them but it also includes all strategies of non-compositionality which are a standard of modernism—the grid, the index, the field image (like Jasper Johns's Flag), chance, the monochrome. All these hyper-modernist strategies have to do with justification, motivation, the eradication of arbitrariness, etc., and this is what we call modernism. Now the eradication of arbitrariness always implies negation and therefore it implies “death”. If you finally eradicate everything that is arbitrary, then you have killed everything. Fortunately, you can never do it."
--art historian and critic Yve-Alain Bois from Andrew E. McNamara and Rex Butler, "All About Yve: An Interview with Yve-Alain Bois," Eyeline, Autumn (27):16-21, 1995.

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