Heavy Mettle

by Nickolas Calabrese I don’t know anything about music. I make art, and like many artists I listen to music while working. Nearly every kind of music, but mostly metal for those time-to-get-serious moments. Atmospheric black metal with little discernible speech tends to work best, because it provides a setting such that one can become…

Which way does art go?

by Nickolas Calabrese When one makes an artwork, something flows from artist to audience. The thing flowing is actually several: concepts, ideas, aesthetic experiences, duration itself, beliefs, attitudes, and probably much more. Artworks work in a similar way to language, although it would be foolish to believe that artworks are language. Their similarities to language…

More Death

by Nickolas Calabrese 1. “…And I, who timidly hate life, fascinatedly fear death.” Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. 2. I didn’t ask to be born, yet I’ve been condemned to death. Early on in Plato’s Phaedra, Socrates declares that it’s the job of the philosopher to prepare for death. Addressing Simmias and Cebes he…

An Obituary

by Nickolas Calabrese Robert Morris died last month on November 28th at the ripe old age of 87. Very ripe indeed. If he was a fig he’d have been all jammy inside, dribbling the honeyed sugars of maturation. But he’s dead, and I’m glad he’s dead. Let me step back before explaining why – this…

Smart Pain

by Nickolas Calabrese A few months back my boss and I had lunch with the person who, wearing a t-shirt that read “black death spectacle”, stood in protest in front of a painting of Emmett Till by Dana Schutz called Open Casket at the last Whitney Biennial. Shortly after his gesture another artist penned an…

Free-For-All

by Nickolas Calabrese Is art “a right or a privilege”? This question was addressed by a who’s who of artworld elites in a New York Times feature earlier this year with regards to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s revised policy to charge out-of-towners the full $25.00 admission fee rather than their standard pay-what-you-wish policy. Predictably,…

Two Dogmas of Abstraction

by Nickolas Calabrese There are two dogmatic justifications (or really non-justifications) that are provided time and time again when discussing the production of abstract art. First is ‘material exploration’, and second is ‘freedom’. If you have ever contemplated certain abstract artworks with skepticism, rest assured that your incredulity is not crazy. Even if the work…