1. See: John Kissick, Golub’s Punished Bodies: The Interrogation Series as Cultural Document. A paper presented at “The Whitney Symposium on American Art,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 1989.
2. See: John Kissick, Art: Context and Criticism, Brown and Benchmark, Madison, 1992. This is a massively scoped introduction-to-art-101-first-year-text-book. As such it is an astounding achievement for a non-PHD to have written and it is in this fact that the text’s greatest strength lies. It is written from the perspective of a thoroughly engaged and informed contemporary artist (with a distinct lean towards semiotics and conceptualism) rather than a “pure” academic historian. Rather than attempting to forge a history based on notions of priority, Kissick’s text deals with historical motifs as imagery to unpack and (potentially) make use of. In a strange way, the book seems to foreshadow his entire subsequent oeuvre.
3. Although admittedly it may function in some capacity as both.
4. Karin Davie (Canadian, 1965-)
5. See: John Bentley Mays……
6. “John Bentley Mays writes non-fiction, memoir as well as reviews for a variety of media. He is the author of Arrivals and Emerald City: Toronto Visited, for which he won the City of Toronto Historical Board Award of Merit; In the Jaws of Black Dogs, for which he won the National Magazine Award Foundation’s President’s Medal; and Power in Blood: Memory and a Southern Family.” He also teaches in The School for Writer’s at the Humber College School of Creative and Performing Arts, which is where I found the bio. His recentish contemplation on contemporary painting Beyond Overcoming: Notes on Abstract Painting, C Magazine, Spring 2004, features Kissick’s work quite prominently. It is quite a wonderful (if meandering) text and within the context of this blurb is absolutely worth noting.
7. Mary Boone Gallery is a gallery in New York City that currently represents Brian Alfred, Pierre Bismuth, Ross Bleckner, James Lee Byars, Francisco Clemente, Andy Collins, Will Coton, Karin Davie, jay Davis, Eric Fischl, Eric Freeman, Chie Fueki, Luis Gispert, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Peter Halley, Hillary Harkness, Jacob Hashimoto, Barbara Krueger, Barry La Va, Damian Loeb, Aleksandra Mir, Marc Quin, David Salle and Keith Sonnier.
8. See: Lane Relyea, Virtually Formal: Formalism in Recent Color-Field paintings by Various Artists, Art Forum, September, 1998.
9. Monique Prieto (American, 1962 -)
10. Laura Owens (American, 1970 -)
11. ACME is a gallery in Los Angeles that currently represents Amy Adler, kai Althoff, Kristin Baker, Uta Barth, Miles Coolidge, Tomory Dodge, Tony Feher, Chris Finley, Katie Grinnan, Kevin Hanley, Kurt Kauper, Martin Kersels, Joyce Lightbody, Allison Miller, Carlos Mollura, Aaron Morse, Michael Norton, Laura Owens, Monique Prieto, Stephanie Pryor, Dario Robleto, John Sonsini and Jessica Steinkamp.
12. See Robert Rosenblum, Abstract Painting and the Northern Romantic Landscape Tradition: Friedrich to Rothko. New York: Harper and Row. 1975, which is sort of the extended remix of the original text The Abstract Sublime. The central argument (reductively) is that Rothko is like Friedrich without the trees. In the book version, he constructs a whole history/conspiracy theory of Northern Romanticism in painting.
13. Milton Avery (American, 1893-1965)
14. Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774 – 1840)
15. See the Shape of Colour exhibition catalogue edited by David Moos and published by the AGO. There are full page texts by an impressive array of writers that accompany each full colour illustration.
16. See: Victoria Finlay, Color: A Natural History of the Palette, New York: Ballantine, 2003. I have never read this book.
17. See: David Batchelor, Chromophobia, London: Reaktion, 2000. This book I have read, or parts of it anyway, and it is a compelling look at the drawing over colour prejudice in Western art/culture.
18. Although John is not really referencing Frank Stella’s notion of ‘working space’, which is highly nebulous, he is borrowing the phrasing. See: Frank Stella, Working Space, Cambridge: Harvard, 1986, which uses this notion of ‘working space’ to forge a history that links Stella to Caravaggio (with intermittent stops along the way.) Agree or disagree, the book reveals Stella’s blue-blooded-Ivy-league-upbringing and the fact that, masking tape and gyrating aluminum protrusions aside, he is a very smart man.
19. Hopefully you have some understanding of the philosophical notion of the Sublime because I am truly unequipped to wade very far into these waters. If you are completely unfamiliar with this concept then unfortunately I don’t have much to offer you other than the weary and snobbish advice that you should probably read more. See Kant, Schiller, Burke etc.
20. There is no better example of this “slipperiness” than in the vastly underappreciated work of Anda Kubis (Canadian, 1962-).
21. Leon Golub (American, 1922 – 2004,)
22. See note 1.
23. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall wrote about the Gate Control Theory of Pain in 1962 and 1965. (www.wikipedia.org) The McGill Pain Questionnaire was later developed by Melzack in 1975. (www.phsyiobase.com/protocols/assessment/pain_questionnaire.pdf)
24. David Salle (American, 1952 -)
25. See the exhibition catalogue John Kissick: Ether Day and Other Stories, Leo Kaman Gallery, 1995 with an introduction by Kaman and an essay by Kathleen Menus Dlugos. You could probably buy one at Kaman’s.
26. See John Kissick, Art: Context and Criticism, p 22.
27. I first became acquainted with this conversation as an undergraduate through David Foster Wallace’s essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1997. For a more specifically painting related discussion see anything written or spoken by David Urban (Canadian, 1966 -) including his wonderful essay Paintings Radiant Array, Border Crossings No.91, 2004. If you are interested in a more comprehensive cultural study of sincerity as an enlightenment value see Lionel Trilling’s , Sincerity and Authenticity, Cambridge: Harvard, 1972.
28. Peter Schjeldahl is a New York based art critic that is mostly known for his work in The New Yorker.
29. See the work of Jonathon Lasker as well as his Complete Essays: 1984 -1998, New York: Edgewise, 1998.
30. See artists like Davie, Prieto, Owens, Kubis, Fiona Rae (British, 1963 -), Monica Tap (Canadian, 1962-), Denyse Tomasos (Canadian, 1964 -) and Sue Williams (American, 1954 -)
31. For a good example of this see Douglas Crimp’s classic (if classically lame) 1981 essay The End of Painting in The Museum’s Ruins, Cambridge: MIT, 1993 and the likewise classic response (if classically awesome) by Thomas Lawson in Last Exit: Painting, Art Forum, October 1981.
32. See John Kissick, Langue and Parole: Some Thoughts on Painting, Canadian Idol and the Drawings of Ben Reeves, Complicated Matter: Ben Reeves, London, Ontario: Museum London, 2006.
33. “Post-Structuralism is a broad historical description of intellectual developments in Continental Philosophy and Critical Theory originating in France in the 1960’s. The prefix ‘post’ refers to the fact that many contributors such as Jaques Derrida, Micahel Foucault and Julia Kristeva were highly critical of structuralism. In direct contrast to structuralism’s claim of culturally independent meaning, post-structuralists typically view culture as integral to meaning.” (www.wikipedia.org)
34. Although admittedly most of the stuff that I am blanketing under the term “80’s Stuff”, such as Barthes, Baudrillard, Derrida, Foucault and Kristeva was not actually written in the 1980’s, it did rise in intellectual prominence in North America in the late 70’s and was pretty much art school gospel by 1983. These notions had a tremendous influence on 80’s art as a whole, particularly on the Simulationist/Neo-Geo people. For a more vivid portrayal of this, see the wonderful (if thoroughly Foucault-drillardian) writings of Peter Halley in Collected Essay’s: 1981 -1987, New York and Zurich: Sonnabend and Bischofburger, 1988.
35. Like the Neo-Geo people.
36. Jean Piaget (1896 -1980)
37. Despite the fact that I am using this notion correctly and pointedly, this reference is pretty much sheer academic posturing on my part as I really only have a rudimentary understanding of Hegelian philosophy.
38. Lukas Wraxall Smith (2006-)
39. Illuminating either of these two would be really condescending. (I apologize if any of my other illuminations have come off that way. It was certainly not my intention.)
40. “In contemporary philosophy and social sciences, the term deconstruction denotes a process by which the texts and languages of (particularly) Western philosophy appear to shift and complicate in meaning when subjected to the textual readings of deconstruction. The term was coined by Derrida in the 1960’s.” (www.wikipedia.org)
41. I am really intrigued by the fact that gobbledygook is an “official word” recognized by Microsoft yet gobbledygooked is not. In a completely unrelated digression Microsoft Word also recognizes the word Obi-Wan-Kenobi yet doesn’t recognize the term hybridity.
42. See the above note on “80’s stuff” but also throw in the Halley, Crimp, Lawson and an astounding plethora of other possible textual sources.