May 8, 2016


S-supple.gif U-supple.gif P1-supple.gif P2-supple.gif L-supple.gif E-supple.gif Skeleton Key

We make sense of the history of art by segmenting it into groups. For a majority of the time, the identity of the groupings are assigned by historians. Sometimes this is done at the time of the group's existence, sometimes it is after the fact. It seems to me that the self formation of groups had a tendency to happen in the modern era, with increasing frequency after the first world war and decreasing rapidly with the end of the second. It's significant that the self-formed art movements had happened mostly in Europe and other countries that are profoundly Euro-centric (Cuba, Australia, etc), and I note with interest that this is less so in the USA.
Reading Kurt Schwitters' biography, he was denied entry into the DADA group and so he created his own, MERZ. When I read about DADA, COBRA, etcetera, I find it striking how explicitly partizan they were in terms of following the model of insurgent political parties. Manifestos articulate party philosophy and irony twists as group formation is initiated with an instrumentalized act of simple alienation. It was extremely important then that the group members adhere to the defining philosophy, to stray invited social damage. Groups tended to have leaders and the leadership was keenly defended. Certainly, there were artists who fit into categories of Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism but I think these artists -perhaps to a person- only acquiesced in their categorization and were less concerned themselves with defining terms of inclusion and policing the ranks.

Yeah, group formation is not for me.

Count me out.


(Yeah... but what if...?)

So what is this "suppleness" all about? I let an idle thought loose like a sky borne cloud and wondered... what movement could I belong to?

The name "Supple" is inadequate, but it points in the right direction. My politics is center/center. A bird requires both wings to fly. I want artists to fly. People usually associate the middle of the road with a confused and lazy muddle, but I disagree. A lax mindset will pull you like a riptide into one political extreme or the other. To navigate the center requires intention, effort and skill. You have to think for yourself in the center. Flexing wings leverages one side for gains achieved in the other and visa versa. A supple mind can toggle between modes, can see interstitially, can find complimentary values.

Posted by Dennis at May 8, 2016 1:19 PM

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