Lever House Essay

Lever House Essay-77
My earlier work from the late seventies embraced a romantic approach to world culture that was current in the art world at the time.In the wake of the radicalism of the sixties, there was a widespread attitude that Western culture was hopelessly corrupt and irrelevant.On the day after the opening of his new installation project, Tom Mc Glynn (Rail): I recall the first time I ever encountered an image of one of your paintings.

My earlier work from the late seventies embraced a romantic approach to world culture that was current in the art world at the time.In the wake of the radicalism of the sixties, there was a widespread attitude that Western culture was hopelessly corrupt and irrelevant.On the day after the opening of his new installation project, Tom Mc Glynn (Rail): I recall the first time I ever encountered an image of one of your paintings.

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Halley: There’s no doubt that I have a predisposition to paint flat paintings that emphasize color.

By the time I was in graduate school in New Orleans, the emphasis was already on geometry.

Artists such as Valerie Jaudon and Kim Mac Connel represented that trend. Halley: Yes, among other things—like first generation feminism practiced by artists like Miriam Schapiro. I sometimes think that the untimely death of Robert Smithson was a big factor.

Rail: I remember writers and critics dealt with the mixed bag aspect of the seventies by labeling it a “pluralist” period. The ideas that had led to Minimalism, Conceptualism, and installation art were losing steam.

When I moved back to New York in 1980—it was a bit like Buddha leaving the palace.

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I was suddenly confronted with this Post-Structuralist critical wave engulfing intellectual life in the US.In your 1981 essay in Arts Magazine, “Beat, Minimalism, New Wave and Robert Smithson,” you explained that the Post-Minimalists evinced “a fixation on phenomenological philosophy and private reality.” In the same essay, you cite Robert Smithson’s advocacy for interdependent principles of consciousness, reality, and dialogue as a means to escape what he called cultural confinement.It seems that for some of the artists emerging in the eighties, the emphasis on consciousness devolved into a hyper self-consciousness.In all those traditions, I saw geometry used to describe the essential codes of the natural world.The formal language I was developing was surprisingly similar to what I do now, but the meaning I was giving to geometric form was diametrically different.Even now your body of work constitutes a fairly idiosyncratic thread in the tradition of abstraction.What was the development of your work prior to that time?Your interpretation will always be filtered through your own cultural lens.The only way to have any claim to critical rigor is to focus on your own culture.It was only after the economy improved in the mid-eighties that the Pictures artists began to gain wide acceptance.Rail: You know I once told Ron Clark at the Whitney Independent Study Program that I learned more from the Reagan election about simulation than I ever did from Baudrillard.

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