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Since when did form replace Art?

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

From Koons back to Warhol back to Picasso will give us our answer. But specifically it was Picasso's ego that feared Matisse had stolen a march on his own work, so rather than be supplanted by the Fauvist Matisse an angry 'get off my patch' gave birth to Cubism? really? Art trivia has never been so excited! But if there is any truth in that accusation then Art inherited a 'Art Race' in which Art was just another currency of power; if that is true then Art is another form of speculation?

What is wrong with this picture? There isn't even a picture to resolve this question today, because the medium of Painting has been relegated from the top table of contemporary Art. Yet ironically, in absentia Painting has the very freedom from the prison of form that has rendered some Painter's ready to counter-attack! indeed, perhaps the function of contemporary Painting is to arrest fixations on 'Form', and to image-make once again; could Painter's evolve further from either public disconnect and technological and new material's exhaustion? Does Painting have a renewed social function other than the pretified or the esoteric, or the obsession with pleasing primarily the Art community? Perhaps the landscape of Art can be interpreted by the landscape of wonder, beauty and both the positive and negative elements of self-discovery through Art?

Why does the Art community need to either drive atbreakneck speed a battered old mini or a Ferrari at a docile pace? Perhaps the duel between New York and Moscow from the days of the Cold War was also fought over Art ? The two superpowers were just as adversarial in the propaganda war of Art as as they were in their mutual political antagonisms and enmity. New York became it's own Artistic master by the propagation of its creation, Abstract Expressionism, and that acted like a global magnet in the competition for Western epi-centre of post-war Art. Often academics refer to having in ones possession a nuclear arsenal as an indicator of a nations pre-eminence, but I think that being the focal point of a new style of Painterly expression and attracting the Art world on your own patch says everything about global superiority shifting from Europe to an exciting and vigorous fundamentally immigrant continent of a country in the USA. But where westerners thought of progress the Stalinist's in the Soviet Union thought that Sodom and Gomorrah had landed in New York- corruption,indulgent 'bourgeois' and degenerate. So the Soviet's parked their bus across East Berlin and their Artists were reduced to 'socialist realism', a conspicuous didactic enforcement of'conformity Art'. It introduced a totally sterile formula of 'Form' to provide contrast to the 'whimsy' and 'caprice' of the fluid New York scene.

What?Let's just recall what Soviet 'Art' was: To Paint the new 'worker cog had to function on an industrial level, having to engineer a factory of obsequious flattery and deification of Communism by enforcing an absence of substantial formal changes from the pre-war years of the 1920s, patrolled by ignorance and totalitarian state arrogance. Whilst New York put down the accelerator,, Moscow peddled backwards. Now, as you know , I have resented the meteoric rise of Abstract expressionism because it did long-term damage to my medium of Painting, but it wasn't that New York was just market driven but that Europe didn't supply enough competition to it. So my beef with New York and Paris aside, the only formal regression that intruded upon the individual artist was the one in the Communist states globally.(where else would you find in history the sun never setting times by 5 but its Art world internally cast into Artistic tundra indefinitely?) Surely such artistic 'regression' that so intimidated the West explains the need to do the exact opposite here- openness and sometimes terrifying transparency, but at least we weren't controlled and imprisoned here! Such an ordeal could be explained by Tracey Emin's fear of 'Stuckism' that unwittingly defines the ultimate of 'stuckist' Art, pure and simple censorship! But with death of the past Sovietism comes a new era of resurrection, and a new light is born to explore in Painting. I believe that today's Painters have to break down walls and ceilings to reveal the Artistic equivalent of a Roman mosaic under the layers of concrete that have been laid ignorantly for artistic health and safety. A Painter must adapt to breaking bread as well as breaking myths and other social concrete, that's the job description so we must get on with it! .

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