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September 24, 2008



But why should one have to be informed faced with an abstract expressionist painting?
Did this movement, like tacism not postulate an ideology of anti-depth, anti-education, anti-intellectualism, anti-art history?

Pauline Kiernan

I've only just come across the Tom Lubbock piece 'on' Rothko. This was a review of Tom Lubbock's extensive knowledge of inane pop music from a bygone era which he clearly still inhabits. 'LP'?!

His comments on Rothko - squeezed in between his self-referential and abysmally self-congratulatory hymn to manipulative sentiment - are best treated with a kindly, pitying pat on his head.

M. Jones

I've just read both the Lubbock and the Jones articles, and I find the Lubbock piece far more persuasive and cogent in its analysis of the art itself (the Jones simply assumes the art is great and gives one or two emotive and unexaminable assertions of its power).

Really it is worrying that a philosopher should dismiss, as not worth consideration and somehow 'inappropriate', what are quite reasonable arguments from Lubbock. They are in fact arguments of an unusual seriousness for a daily newspaper, where discussion of art is usually so superficial.

I can think of various counter arguments to Lubbock's, but (and) certainly his article deserves serious reply. It is in the responses to him on this website, not in the original piece, that complacency and intellectual laziness is evident.


Lubbock is correct in noticing the kitschily unabashed manner in which Rothko's paintings reach directly for the Romantic sentiments, just like a big, cheesy ballad.

I suspect your problem with this is simply that it is taboo to compare "high" art with low pop.


Incidentally, I think Jonathan Jones is the worst art critic in Britain. I used to think it was a toss-up between Waldemar Januszczack (doctrinaire and unperceptive) and Matthew Collings (irritatingly inconsistent faux naif style, and refusal to actually make judgements - until recently), but JJ trumps them both in banality without even trying. Sad that you should hold him up as a good example of something. JJ's casting Rothko's suicide as a redemptive act is even cheesier than Rothko's own paintings -- and that's saying something.

Martin Shellabarger

I often feel that to be an art critic one should be required to be an artist. . . but these days, looking at the inane crap which passes for, and is accepted as, art makes me pause. . .

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