Hey George, Michael, and Katdaddy,
Your good hearted responses are welcomed! BTW, the exhibition is the 7th! In Chattanooga that weekend there is all kinds of arts stuff going on, a huge party on Friday night and all weekend an arts festival…and my exhibition on Saturday night.
You wrote: “… I am honestly interested in how folks who subscribe to Rand's philosophy propose to remove all the evils of post-modernism from their art. Note that I view post-modernism not as a phenomenon of our time, but relative to any time in history. Clearly, the artistic license involved in tilting a tree is more limited than Ad Reinhart's creation of black squares to encompass all expression, but where do you draw the line?
And: “In Malevich or Coltrane's case, that next step was to create a work that encompassed the history of art to their time, with further innovation and expression of their zeitgest. I think objectivists may be frightened that there exist expressions so wide in scope that they can contain an entire history.”
I will try to answer your questions. Let me observe that many postmodern works, such as with Duchamp’s Fountain, the social aspect of the work, i.e. how it plays off history, plays with cultural/political ideas, etc, is of primary importance while the art object is of little or no aesthetic value in itself. I noticed that you comment on the importance of art history and I do think that art history is important but from my standpoint and from Rand’s, the primary aesthetic value is the artwork itself. You mentioned Reinhart’s abstractions as if they “encompass all expression”, http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_work_md_133A_1.html , but if you were to approach it from the perspective that the artwork as an artwork, there would be nothing to say about Reinhart’s black painting other than it is an nihilistic expression, in fact, quite the opposite of “encompass[ing] all expression”. I do think Reinhart’s work is significant from an art historical and philosophical context: it shows what happens when aspects of art are minimalized.
From another perspective as a representational painter I love to study, work with, integrate, and play with the following aspects of painting:
It’s a gigantic mass of integrated stuff from introspective awareness of my emotional/psychological life to being aware of how my eyes sense vibrations of light and color and movement. Pile on that the study of how people express their inner worlds by their observable body language and, yes, that means if I meet you in real life I study your body language! And pile on all the above concepts which take a tremendous amount of focus and study to master; but the truly difficult part and the most rewarding is integrating the whole fucking caboodle.
I think if you, for a moment quietly think about it, it is someone like me, www.romanticrealism.net, who encompasses a huge range of expressions while Reinhart rigorously limits himself by cutting himself off from all the expressions possible to a painter.
BTW, I and many, many other painters were habitually told that painting was dead in our 70’s education; “it has all been done.” But there are millions and millions of combinations possible in the above aspects of painting, there is still yet a whole universe of new possibilities ahead for those that have the interest and talent to do so.