Talk:Barnett Newman

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ornithology and criticism[edit]

Was it he who said that aesthetics is to art what ornithology is to birds? if so, could we get a reference, i tried to find one but to no avail. someone more knowledgeable should help. 00:14, 17 April 2007 (UTC)Roy is a good reference for it. It is in there in its original context, which was a symposium. It could also be referenced from an interview in the 1972 documentary film 'Painters Painting'. Sigma-6 (talk) 22:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

"developing an abstract style which owed little or nothing to European art" I don't think that's true. E.g. Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian,... are European painters, who preceded Newman and certainly developed many aspects of abstract art. Of course these were further developed by the American abstract expressionists but they didn't invent their art from vacuum. This sentence strikes me as a nationalistic and ignorant judgement, rather than a factual statement.User talk:soso 10:03, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure it's intended to be a 'factual statement' as much as it is absolutely what the first generation of the New York School were intending. They almost all of them said it, and Newman said it many, many times, about more than just his own work. Also, when you take into account how many active, clear, vocal repudiations of European painting these fellows expressed, and the timing of the beginning of the movement, it makes perfect sense that this is what they were doing. Aside from all that, I think the fact that not just they, but also their critics, describe this explicitly as a clean break from the European tradition is pretty clear evidence. It may be ignorant and nationalistic (Personally, I think they have a point, however), but it was definitely what they set out to do. Sigma-6 (talk) 22:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

It's a bit late, after one has been exposed to and inspired by the early 20th C European painters soso mentioned, to later go on and say your style "owes nothing" to them! The more you "repudiate" it, the less this will be convincing. I don't think it makes any sense at all. Seems self-deluded, if that's really what they claimed. Even if they were doing something entirely different to or opposed to the European guys - "To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite." - Lichtenberg Yesenadam (talk) 05:42, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

So.. I don't get it. Couldn't anybody have painted those? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Well let's look at this way - perhaps you could have painted these youself, but you didn't and Newman did. But think beyond "who painted it" and just stand in front of a Newman and see if you experience any emotional or intellectual response. If you do them this would be a genuine reading of the work. Newman may well have had a purpose in expressing himself in the way he did but it does not mean his is the only "narrative". Peter McKay London —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:20, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I look at a garbage dump, and I sense more emotion and intellectual response than staring at a canvas with brown paint and a yellow line going down the middle. In fact, I get more intellectual response and more emotion looking inside the toilet (with similar colors) after I've taken a poop. --Zybez (talk) 05:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

That's kind of looking at an amputated leg and saying "I could have done that," by virtue of the fact that you own a chainsaw. ven if you exclude the fact that painting with oils is a difficult technical feat, Newman being in a place in the history of art where he was one of the first to experiment with abstract expressionism means that no, not "anybody could have painted these." Andrew Riddles (talk) 11:25, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Zybez: You people always say that as though nobody has thought of it before. Show a little originality; be the first philistine to read a book. Has it occurred to you that even art critics are capable of looking at a Barnett Newman painting and saying 'it's just a couple of stripes'? Guess what? You're not some genius who can see the simple truth nobody else can. The critics all do, because that's exactly what it is. Then they grow up and find out what's behind it instead of patting themselves on the back for being the first person to discover the Statue of Liberty. Anyway, I invite you, since you're so convinced that it's easy, to go ahead and paint a Barnett Newman painting. Here are the basic technical requirements: a set of large, pristine 144 square foot planes of carefully selected and mixed Magna colour laid down painstakingly in several coats with a four-inch brush, executed in 1960 (doing it in New York between 1946 and 1970 is important), on a wooden canvas stretcher you designed and built yourself, on cotton duck canvas you imported on 15 foot wide rolls, all done as a result of decades of specific cultural and technical context. First you have to establish the context though, since that's the most important thing. Good luck with the Magna (they don't make it anymore), and the canvas (fifteen foot rolls are hard to come by). The biggest problem you're going to have, though, aside from the huge technical limitations Not Having The Slightest Idea What You're Doing is going to present, is the fact that since you're not doing it in 1960 in New York, when this kind of painting actually mattered, when you do it nobody will give any more of a damn about your work than they do about your opinion. Sigma-6 (talk) 22:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Pedantic, silly, insulting and mean. You sound totally brainwashed, and proud of it. It seems there are more critics lauding this stuff than calling it for what it is. That's why painters like this are famous, and the many artists doing inspirational stuff that really adds something significant and wonderful to the human scene are unknown. Painting with oils a difficult technical feat? uh.. well, painting like Rembrandt perhaps, like Newman, well no. The way you go on about the difficulty of ordering the paint and canvas kind of destroys your case. I agree the "I could have painted that" is a bad argument, but "Uh this is empty bs, why are the critics saying it's wonderful?!" seems a sane and human response. Emperor's new clothes and all that. Your prose, however, seems designed mainly to intimidate, and insult. "You people"?! Shameful. Have you learnt nothing from books, that you can talk like this? As if your shit don't, er, look like a Barnett Newman. Yesenadam (talk) 05:42, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


I am requesting a picture of the artist himself.Zigzig20s (talk) 07:32, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

List of galleries[edit]

Any objection if I remove the list of galleries from the legacy section. Ceoil 20:28, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

pseudo-intellectual bilge[edit]

This page suffers from what seems to me vacuous nonsense, perhaps someone disagrees? These sentences at least should be rewritten into plain, sane English, or deleted. Although maybe writing/thinking in that style is necessary to an enthusiasm for Newman's art. Is it not possible to rewrite in understandable, concrete, feasible prose? Or is it "all bathwater"?

"His paintings are existential in tone and content, explicitly composed with the intention of communicating a sense of locality, presence, and contingency." "Existential in tone and content?" What on earth does that mean? Well, there's not much content there is there, and like a pile of bricks, sure, when a person looks at it, he will have thoughts related to being a person, if there's nothing specific coming from the art. "Explicitly composed".. uh opposed to what? Throwing paint on a canvas randomly? "A sense of.."etc oh please. I say this is shameful nonsense. Sure, the art world is full of such empty pseudo-intellectual hogwash nowadays, meant to intimidate, not communicate. But that makes it more shameful, not less nonsensical.

"The zips define the spatial structure of the painting, while simultaneously dividing and uniting the composition." What? All there is to the pictures are "zips"! Sheer mountebankery. Yesenadam (talk) 05:13, 3 May 2014 (UTC)