Thursday, 8 April 2010

More is more

"LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE. Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’"
- Milton Glaser, 10 Things I've Learned

"There’s a certain kind of critic, usually male and British, who finds the exercise of a Romantic imagination to be a suspect and unwholesome activity. That suspicion often sees a single “story” being told in art history which skips from Impressionism to Cubism and ignores the Symbolists and Decadents; it dismisses Dalí’s work after the 1930s and won’t even look at the paintings of HR Giger, Ernst Fuchs or Mati Klarwein; it’s a suspicion which marginalised Mervyn Peake almost to the year of his death in 1968, which scowls at genre fiction and ignored JG Ballard (always a proud science fiction writer) until his Booker Prize nomination in 1984. Minimalism and restraint is favoured over exuberant invention, and a blokey cynicism is favoured over any kind of visionary impulse which is seen as tasteless or kitsch, with “kitsch” in this context almost always meaning “whatever I dislike”. For every Marina Warner, Michael Moorcock, Clive Barker or China Miéville who assert and promote the value of the imagination, you’ll find a vocal crowd who find the whole thing to be unpalatable and juvenile. It’s an older argument than punk versus hippy, going back at least to the nineteenth century debate between Realism and Romanticism. It’s also a peculiarly joyless English attitude; the French have shared the debate as far back as Zola but are generally a lot happier for serious intellectual dialogue to sit side-by-side with comics, movies, science fiction and fantasy."
- John Coulthart on Roger Dean

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