Zero Squared #42: The Truth About Art

Patrick Doorly is an art historian specializing in Renaissance Italy. He divides his time between writing and teaching art history in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, where he was acting director of studies for art history in 2001–02. Previously he was Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art & Design, Croydon College. Today we’ll discuss his book The Truth About Art which was published by Zero Books in August of 2013.

His book:
Traces the multiple meanings of art back to their historical roots, and equips the reader to choose between them. Art with a capital A turns out to be an invention of German Romantic philosophers, who endowed their creation with the attributes of genius, originality, rule breaking, and self-expression, directed by the spirit of the age. Recovering the problems that these attributes were devised to solve dispels many of the obscurities and contradictions that accompany them. What artists have always sought is excellence, and they become artists in so far as they achieve it. Quality was the supreme value in Renaissance Italy, and in early Greece it offered mortals glimpses of the divine. Today art historians avoid references to beauty or Quality, since neither is objective or definable.

In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Pierre Grimes, Robert Hughes, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and George Plimpton on Good Morning Mister Orwell, a BBC interview with Marcel Duchamp, and the theme from the 1968 film “Je t’aime, je t’aime,” and something called “Phased Floyd.”

What is the Avant Garde? (A 1000 words Rerun)

In anticipation of the next Former People journal I am rereleasing this old episode of 1000 Words:Talking Art. This is the second episode entitled simply: What is the Avant Garde?

This is a podcast I did with my son Benjamin who was 13 at the time. He’s 17 now and I’m sure he’d be pleased as punch to know that people were listening to his adolescent self again.

In any case, listen to this to discover just what the avant garde really is.