What I’m Reading.

The Painted Word, by Tom Wolfe, a breezy book-length essay that tracks the increasingly conceptual, immaterial path of 20th century American art (and the rise and fall of some of its biggest critics).

P. 108 (from the 1987 Bantam printing):

And there, at last, it was! No more realism, no more representational objects, no more lines, colors, forms, and contours, no more pigments, no more brushstrokes, no more evocations, no more frames, walls, galleries, museums, no more gnawing at the tortured face of the god Flatness, no more audience required, just a ‘receiver’ that may or may not be a person or may or may not be there at all, no more ego projects, just ‘the artist,’ in the third person, who may be anyone or no one at all, for nothing is demanded of him, nothing at all, not even existence, for that got lost in the subjunctive mode — and in that moment of absolutely dispassionate abdication, of insouciant withering away, Art made its final flight, climbed higher and higher in an ever-decreasing tighter-turning spiral until, with one last erg of freedom, one last dendritic synapse, it disappeared up its own fundamental aperture…and came out the other side as Art Theory!


  1. Carles

    I’m reading the same thing. La palabra pintada, in Spanish, Editorial Anagram. Tom Wolfe is precisely wrong:)