Wednesday, January 04, 2017

I began reading Ways of Seeing many years ago, and didn't get very far. It was simplistic. But watching the first episode now, his arguments are simply vulgar and anti-intellectual.

"As if pictures were like words, rather that holy relics." He talks about paintings as images, when they're things, crafted by hand. An image of a Caravaggio has the relation to a Caravaggio at best, that a student translation of Flaubert has to Flaubert. His argument works more for film, which is an art of images, but he has no interest in art he won't talk about the construction of images, the craft of making, so he talks about the effect of the juxtaposed images when channel-flipping but he doesn't mention Kuleshov. That's almost fraud. He talks about Vertov and not Eisenstein. Benjamin was an ass. Even photographs are more than index.

Fine art is the art of the church and the monarchy, the art of authority. That's why it's the art of objects, that only power can afford, and why its related historically to the words that serve power, to philosophy and theology, not the vulgar and common, mere fictions. etc. etc. etc. all repeats.

I'd wanted to read his novels from Switzerland. I may at some point, but watching interviews with his old neighbors and watching him talk about them (all on youtube), you really get the sense he didn't even know he was a dilettante and that he thought he'd made them into art, in print and on stage, which they would never see. He comes off as the worst of Bloomsbury falling in the love with the innocence of children and peasants.

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