Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why I don't like recordings

From a statement by artist Robert Irwin, Artforum 3, no. 9 (June 1965):

QUESTION: Why do you object to your paintings being reproduced?

ANSWER: I am concerned with specifics and reject the generalities of photographs. Every element in a painting has had both an identity and a physical existence — identity has always lent itself to being transferred in both photographic and literary terms.

The physical existence never has.

Nonobjective painting has come a long way to become a language of the physical. The duality of reproductions is a complete contradiction to this premise.


Troy said...

What are your thoughts as far as composing specifically for a recording - - maybe something akin to how popular music is often written for the studio? In classical tradition, it seems that this genre is considered to be within the "electronic music." But what about acoustic music that is composed with the studio's strengths in mind? This interests me and I wonder if you might even have examples of composers who have written music under the assumption that most listeners will experience the music through speakers.

Daniel Wolf said...

I have no problem with music composed expressly for recorded media. The first item on my landmarks list was, in fact, a piece by Richard Maxfield (whose ideas about recording and live performance remain profoundly useful.) My difficulty is with the casual assumption that anything can be usefully recorded and that any recording can be used casually.