(c) Lewis Baltz

A lot has been going on this last month or two… been up to my arm pits in self-delusion, trouble and general confusion. As always things have slipped, been sidelined or put on some sort of half-arsed ‘to do’ list…

But a month ago Lewis Baltz died. One of the New Topographic peeps. The stripped, naked architecture (of both building and landscape) that he placed in front of us as a challenge, a question and probably some sort of cosmic joke that we all miss.

The www fired up at the time… laments and references and the like… but of course the train didn’t slow much and it was all quickly left in the distance behind…. but what did remain was what has become knownas the ‘final interview’. Whether it is the ‘best’… well people can argue back and forth for as long as they want… but it is certainly a worthwhile read, a period of time spent picking around as he fiddles with language and even lays bare the simple, banal realities of much of what he did (and was forced to do).

“This was somewhere around the time when sculpture conquered the universe. Not object sculpture, but the idea that any object, or collection of objects, or spaces or acts could be seen sculpturally, no matter how commonplace. A pile of dirt could be read for its sculptural qualities; a pile of dirt on the back of a pick-up truck could be seen as a parody of kinetic sculpture. Everything could be recovered for this Weltanschauung, including painting (like early Frank Stella) and language (like by Lawrence Weiner or Joseph Kosuth). It seemed a triumph of the power of art. Art changed nothing, but by informing people’s perception of the phenomenal world it changed everything. The world was already in the condition of art, waiting to be noticed as such. As Robert Irwin famously said, ” I feel like a man sitting beside a river selling water.” I think that’s one of the reasons some or many of The Prototypes are jarring is because I use a high-art photographic technique to present views of nothing, that is, of no special interest per se. In my mind this was absurd, a metaphor of the condition.”

Find the time… sit down and have a little read… it’s accessible, not dense at all… irritating at times but wholly enjoyable.

The article is here

 

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