Peter Schjeldahl: I would like to clarify my statement a bit, David. There are kinds and qualities of markets. I think the market for painting, the traditional art market, is quite remarkable. I said the demand and the pressure for discrimination should come from different places. The number of people attending the art market is actually very small. Every other art or cultural form survives through ticket sales, or copies, and now I guess by access. The thing that really has to be emphasized about a painting is so simple and so dumb, but it is in fact important to keep in mind: the painting is a physical object, is a unique hand made object, it is a dirty piece of cloth. It can only hang on one wall, in one room, in one city, in one time. This makes its existence extremely archaic. But painting doesn't get swept aside, so there must be values, there must be things that we want in our life that the persistence of this extremely archaic handmade thing offers. The painting is not going to be a ghost in the machine. The machine is the ghost, the painting is a body.
Joshua Decter : Does the painting have a life beyond its object status?
Peter Schjeldahl : Painting has no life, is a body dead, is a dirty piece of cloth. This is the experience of painting, as painting.
Joshua Decter : Lari, have you thought about how your work extends out into other material or symbolic realms-- how it might exist beyond its bodily, corporeal, condition?
Lari Pittman :
I am not obsessed with its usefulness. If anything, one of the things
that already makes me nervous about this discussion is that it starts immediately
conflating usefulness and uselessness with issues of morality, and this is
always a deterioration of the discussion of painting; it is problematic because
it essentializes the practice too much for my taste. I guess I am interested in
more the idea of the fact that it is physically made, I have no problem with its
complete and utter uselessness, which I think in turn somehow returns to a
precious condition and an immediate relationship that does make it useful, in a
most convoluted way. But I am not immune to all sorts of mannerisms and
artificialities, that's the type of negotiation that I am particularly interested