February 26, 2016

Al Held panel discussion at Cheim & Read

Cheim & Read hosted a panel discussion last night focusing on the life and work of Al Held, moderated by Brooklyn Rail's Phong Bui and panelists include Alex Bacon, Odili Donald Odita, Judy Pfaff, Irving Sandler and Elisabeth Sussman. It was great to hear stories about Held's life from people who know him academically or first hand. As you will read below, Bui centered the discussion on Held's relationship to the art dialog and canon both at the time and today.

During the talk, I thought about artist's foundations. Evidently, it is the artist's largess that fuels the creation of such a legacy preserving instrument. Artist foundations are a simulacrum of what happens spontaneously (in institutional and market terms) to legacy artists (da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, Duchamp...) in terms of scholarship (preservation of historical memory, oeuvre cataloguing, mastication of significance) and market value. If you think of artistic significance as if it has three tiers: gods, demigods and mere mortals (to explain: the inarguably famous, the arguably famous and the soon-to-be-forgotten), then artist foundations like Held's or Frankenthaler's or Ossorio's (I wonder just how many others are there?) are active efforts to realize a promise of significance. Talking to friends afterwards, there was an awareness of how the estimation of an artists' significance changes between generations. What was left unsaid was a shared anticipation of future change, of whether or not its character is mere caprice. BEHOLD! Our trembling mortality in the temple of the gods!



Posted by Dennis at February 26, 2016 6:52 AM

Leave a comment