Archive for the ‘ H ’ Category

DAVE HICKEY

Dates: 1939-

Nationality: American

Dave Hickey is one of the best known American art and cultural critics practicing today. He has written for many major American publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper’s Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He is currently Professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Known for his arguments against academicism and in favor of the effects of rough-and-tumble free markets on art, his critical essays have been published in two volumes: The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty and Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997). In 2009, Hickey published a revised and updated version of The Invisible Dragon, adding an introduction that addressed changes in the art world since the book’s original publication, as well as a new concluding essay. Through his writing and lecturing, Dave Hickey has gained a substantial international reputation. He has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, Texas Monthly, and elsewhere. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called “genius grant.”

Hickey has had a varied career. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 1961 and received his PhD from the University of Texas only two years later. In 1989, SMU Press published Prior Convictions, a volume of his short fiction. He was owner-director of A Clean Well-Lighted Place, an art gallery in Austin, Texas and director of Reese Palley Gallery in New York. He has served as Executive Editor for Art in America magazine, as contributing editor to The Village Voice, as Staff Songwriter for Glaser Publications in Nashville and as Arts Editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2003, he was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Friends of the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries. He is married to art historian Libby Lumpkin.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Dave Hickey’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 October 2010, 15:20 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dave_Hickey&oldid=392416621>

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ROBERT HUGHES

Dates: 1938-

Nationality: Australian

Robert Studley Forrest Hughes, AO, is an Australian-born art critic, writer and television documentary maker who has resided in New York since 1970. Hughes left Australia for Europe in 1964, living for a time in Italy before settling in London, England (1965) where he wrote for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Observer, among others, and contributed to the London version of Oz. In 1970 he obtained the position of art critic for TIME magazine and he moved to New York. He quickly established himself in the United States as an influential art critic.

In 1975 he and Don Brady provided the narration for the film Protected, a documentary showing what life was like for Indigenous Australians on Palm Island. Hughes and Harold Hayes were recruited in 1978 to anchor the new ABC News (US) newsmagazine 20/20. His only broadcast, on June 6, 1978, proved so disastrous that, less than a week later, ABC News president Roone Arledge dumped Hughes and Hayes, replacing them with veteran TV host Hugh Downs. In 1980, the BBC broadcast The Shock Of The New, Hughes’s television series on the development of modern art since the Impressionists. It was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. In 1987, The Fatal Shore, Hughes’s study of the British penal colonies and early European settlement of Australia, became an international best-seller.

During the 1990s, Hughes was a prominent supporter of the Australian Republican Movement. Hughes provided commentary and highlights on the work of artist Robert Crumb throughout the 1994 film “Crumb”, calling Crumb “the American Breughel.” His 1997 television series American Visions reviewed the history of American art since the Revolution. He was again dismissive of much recent art; this time, sculptor Jeff Koons was subjected to scathing criticism. Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore (2000) was a series musing on modern Australia and Hughes’s relationship with it. Hughes’s 2002 documentary on the painter Francisco Goya – Goya: Crazy Like a Genius—was broadcast on the first night of the BBC’s domestic digital service. Hughes created a one hour update to The Shock of the New. Titled The New Shock of the New, the program aired first in 2004. Hughes published the first volume of his memoirs, Things I Didn’t Know, in 2006.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Robert Hughes (critic)’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 October 2010, 10:55 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Hughes_(critic)&oldid=391418244>

MARTIN HEIDEGGER

Dates: 1889-1976

Nationality: German

Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was an influential German philosopher. His best known book, Being and Time, is considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. Heidegger remains controversial due to his involvement with National Socialism.

The Origin of the Work of Art is the title of an article by German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Heidegger drafted the text between 1935 and 1937, reworking it for publication in 1950 and again in 1960. Heidegger based his article on a series of lectures he had previously delivered in Zurich and Frankfurt during the 1930s, first on the essence of the work of art and then on the question of the meaning of a “thing,” marking the philosopher’s first lectures on the notion of art.In his article, Heidegger explains the essence of art in terms of the concepts of being and truth. He argues that art is not only a way of expressing the element of truth in a culture, but the means of creating it and providing a springboard from which “that which is” can be revealed. Works of art are not merely representations of the way things are, but actually produce a community’s shared understanding. Each time a new artwork is added to any culture, the meaning of what it is to exist is inherently changed.

Heidegger begins his essay with the question of what the source of a work of art is. The artwork and the artist, he explains, exist in a dynamic where each appears to be a provider of the other. “Neither is without the other. Nevertheless, neither is the sole support of the other.” Art, a concept separate from both work and creator, thus exists as the source for them both. Rather than control lying with the artist, art becomes a force that uses the creator for art’s own purposes. Likewise, the resulting work must be considered in the context of the world in which it exists, not that of its artist. In discovering the essence, however, the problem of the hermeneutic circle arises. In sum, the hermeneutic circle raises the paradox that, in any work, without understanding the whole, you can’t fully comprehend the individual parts, but without understanding the parts, you cannot comprehend the whole. Applied to art and artwork, we find that without knowledge of the essence of art, we cannot grasp the essence of the artwork, but without knowledge of the artwork, we cannot find the essence of art. Heidegger concludes that to take hold of this circle you either have to define the essence of art or of the artwork, and, as the artwork is simpler, we should start there.

Artworks, Heidegger contends, are things, a definition that raises the question of the meaning of a “thing.” As this concept is so broad, he narrows down the definition to “mere things,” meaning inanimate objects. He then chooses to examine a pair of shoes painted by Vincent Van Gogh, looking to the work to establish a distinction between artwork and other “things.” This was actually typical of Heidegger as he often chose to study shoes and shoe maker shops as an example for the analysis of a culture. Heidegger explains the viewer’s responsibility to consider the variety of questions about the shoes, asking not only about form and matter—what are the shoes made of?—but bestowing the piece with life by asking of purpose—what are the shoes for?

Next, Heidegger writes of art’s ability to set up an active struggle between “Earth” and “World.” “World,” represents the essence of Being, the sum of all that is ready-to-hand for one being. So a family unit could be a world, or a career path could be a world, or even a large community or nation. “Earth”, meaning something more along the lines of objective “existence”, instead represents nature, and all that is outside the ready-to-hand, and importantly, that which the ready-to-hand cannot make intelligible. Both are necessary components for an artwork to function, each serving unique purposes. The artwork is inherently an object of “world”, as it creates a world of its own; it opens up for us other worlds and cultures, such as worlds from the past like the ancient Greek or medieval worlds, or different social worlds, like the world of the peasant, or of the aristocrat. However, the very nature of art itself appeals to “Earth”, as a function of art is to highlight the natural materials used to create it, such as the colors of the paint, the density of the language, or the texture of the stone. In this way, “World” is revealing the unintelligibility of “Earth”, and so admits its dependence on the natural “Earth”. It can be seen that here a struggle ensues, as for “Earth” to become “World”, it must be stripped of its unintelligible nature, yet “World”, and the culture it perpetuates, requires the natural materials. The existence of truth is a product of this struggle–the process of art–taking place within the artwork.

Heidegger uses the example of a Greek temple to illustrate his conception of world and earth. Such works as the temple help in capturing this essence of art as they go through a transition from artworks to art objects depending on the status of their world. Once the culture has changed, the temple no longer is able to actively engage with its surroundings and becomes passive—an art object. He holds that a working artwork is crucial to a community and so must be able to be understood. Yet, as soon as meaning is pinned down and the work no longer offers resistance to rationalization, the engagement is over and it is no longer active. While the notion appears contradictory, Heidegger is the first to admit that he was confronting a riddle—one that he did not intend to answer as much as to describe in regard to the meaning of art.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 December 2010, 05:56 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Origin_of_the_Work_of_Art&oldid=400075079>

GEORG HEGEL

Dates: 1770-1831

Nationality: German

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, and one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of the total reality, as a whole, revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to continental philosophy.

The obscure writings of Jakob Böhme had a strong effect on Hegel. Böhme had written that the Fall of Man was a necessary stage in the evolution of the universe. This evolution was, itself, the result of God’s desire for complete self-awareness. Hegel was fascinated by the works of Kant, Rousseau, and Goethe, and by the French Revolution. Modern philosophy, culture, and society seemed to Hegel fraught with contradictions and tensions, such as those between the subject and object of knowledge, mind and nature, self and Other, freedom and authority, knowledge and faith, the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Hegel’s main philosophical project was to take these contradictions and tensions and interpret them as part of a comprehensive, evolving, rational unity that, in different contexts, he called “the absolute idea” or “absolute knowledge.”

According to Hegel, the main characteristic of this unity was that it evolved through and manifested itself in contradiction and negation. Contradiction and negation have a dynamic quality that at every point in each domain of reality – consciousness, history, philosophy, art, nature, society – leads to further development until a rational unity is reached that preserves the contradictions as phases and sub-parts by lifting them up (Aufhebung) to a higher unity. This whole is mental because it is mind that can comprehend all of these phases and sub-parts as steps in its own process of comprehension. It is rational because the same, underlying, logical, developmental order underlies every domain of reality and is ultimately the order of self-conscious rational thought, although only in the later stages of development does it come to full self-consciousness. The rational, self-conscious whole is not a thing or being that lies outside of other existing things or minds. Rather, it comes to completion only in the philosophical comprehension of individual existing human minds who, through their own understanding, bring this developmental process to an understanding of itself.

Central to Hegel’s conception of knowledge and mind (and therefore also of reality) was the notion of identity in difference, that is that mind externalizes itself in various forms and objects that stand outside of it or opposed to it, and that, through recognizing itself in them, is “with itself” in these external manifestations, so that they are at one and the same time mind and other-than-mind. This notion of identity in difference, which is intimately bound up with his conception of contradiction and negativity, is a principal feature differentiating Hegel’s thought from that of other philosophers.

Wikipedia contributors. “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Wilhelm_Friedrich_Hegel>

German philosopher. He called his philosophy ‘Absolute Idealism’, holding that Mind or Spirit (Geist) is the ultimate reality and that only Absolute Mind, which he equated with God, is entirely real. He maintained that history demonstrates a continuous progression towards greater self-consciousness of Mind. Art had a major place in Hegel’s account of history, as a mode through which Mind comes to know itself. In a course of lectures (1828) he outlined three stages of its development. The ‘symbolic’ art of early cultures grappled with physical material simplistically; ‘classical’ art, principally that of Greece, achieved an equivalence of matter and thought that remained a lasting norm of beauty; whereas in ‘romantic’ art—meaning all post-classical work—Mind took precedence over its material embodiment, a tendency that might eventually lead to the end of art. The characteristic forms developed by each phase were, respectively, architecture, sculpture, and painting. Hegel’s innovatory historical system, contentious but enlivened by his sensitivity to particular works, had a deep influence on subsequent conceptualization of the field.

Collinson, Diané and Julian Bell. “Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/opr/t118/e1178>

DAVID HUME

Dates: 1711-1776

Nationality: Scottish

Scottish philosopher and historian. Although he studied and became well known in France, he lived mostly in Edinburgh and is regarded as a leading figure in the Enlightenment in Scotland. His work was influential in the development of theories based on empirical knowledge, contributing in particular to 18th-century debates about beauty, taste and judgement. In his Treatise of Human Nature (1739, II.i.8), Hume held that beauty is a form, or structure of parts, that produces pleasure, and can be discerned only through the operation of a sense of beauty or a faculty of taste. His Essays Moral, Political and Literary address, among other topics, the cultural conditions of the production of art (‘Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Science’), the connection between art and morality (‘On Refinement in the Arts’), taste (‘Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion’) and also the technique and style of writing. The problem as to whether taste can be right or wrong, first raised in A Treatise of Human Nature (1740, II.ii.8), was explicitly tackled in his essay Of the Standard of Taste (1757). Although the discussion is confined to literature and oratory, Hume attempted to establish that not all sentiments of beauty or deformity are on an equal footing. After noting the great variety exhibited in taste, he provided a standard of taste in the form of a rule by means of which such sentiments may be either confirmed or rejected.

Code, Alan. “Hume, David.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 </www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T039421>

Hume proposes that feeling, not thought, informs us that an object is beautiful or ugly, or that an action exhibits virtue or vice: “The very feeling constitutes our praise or admiration” (T, 471). The feeling or sentiment is itself an aesthetic or moral discrimination. It is prior to, and the basis of, any subsequent expression of praise or admiration. The sentiment is the beauty of the object and it is the virtue of desirable human action. Sentiment is the sole source of values governing human activity. Taste is a “productive faculty, and gilding or staining all natural objects with the colours, borrowed from internal sentiment, raises, in a manner, a new creation.” That new creation is “beauty and deformity, virtue and vice” (EPM, 294). However, the sentiment is calm rather than violent, so an unphilosophical perspective treats it as a property “of the object” (S, 218).

Hume defends the centrality of sentiment with the following reasoning. Recognitions of virtue and beauty require particular sentiments in human observers. If the discriminations of taste took place without these sentiments, we would lack any motivation to do what we regard as moral. Moral and aesthetic judgments have practical consequences that mere reason lacks. So taste differs from the assent that characterizes understanding or reason (T, 458; EPM, 172; S, 219). Although taste responds to real qualities of objects, we cannot replace the exercise of taste with the assent of reason.

Gracyk, Ted. “Hume’s Aesthetics.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). <plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/hume-aesthetics/>

HAPPENINGS

Dates: 1959-1970

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Jim Dine, Robert Whitman

Happenings were theatrical events created by artists, initially in America. They were the forerunners of Performance art and in turn emerged from the theatrical elements of Dada and Surrealism. The name was first used by the American artist Allan Kaprow in the title of his 1959 work 18 Happenings in 6 Parts which took place on six days, 4–10 October 1959 at the Reuben Gallery, New York. Happenings typically took place in an environment or installation created within the gallery and involved light, sound, slide projections and an element of spectator participation. Other notable creators of Happenings were Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Red Grooms and Robert Whitman. Happenings proliferated through the 1960s but gave way to Performance art in which the focus was increasingly on the actions of the artist. A detailed account of early Happenings can be found in Michael Kirby’s 1965 book, Happenings. Jim Dine’s 1960 suite of prints The Crash relates to the drawings that were props for his 1960 Happening, The Car Crash.

“Happenings.” Tate.org,uk. Tate.org,uk. 12 March 2010. <http://www.tate.org.uk/collections/glossary/definition.jsp?entryId=131&gt;

Jim Dine

HARD EDGE PAINTING

Dates: 1959-1970

Origin: Great Britain, United States

Key Artists: Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland

Term applied to abstract paintings composed of simple geometric or organic forms executed in broad, flat colours and delineated by precise, sharp edges. The term was coined by the Californian art critic Jules Langsner in 1958 and intended by him merely as an alternative to the term ‘geometric abstraction’. Generally, however, it is used in a more specific sense: whereas geometric abstraction can be used to describe works with large numbers of separate, possibly modelled, elements creating a spatial effect, hard-edge painting refers only to works comprised of a small number of large, flat forms, generally avoiding the use of pictorial depth. It is in relation to this type of painting, particularly as produced by artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1960s, that the term acquired general currency. Characteristic of this style are Newman’s The Gate (1954; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.) and Kelly’s White Black (1961; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.).

“Hard-edge painting.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T036613&gt;

Ellsworth Kelly