New York report

So, New York was amazing. Despite the cold, the snow, the blizzard, the College Art Association conference was full to the brim and our paper went very well. I judge the outcome of papers by the questions asked at the end: there were tricky ones, there were engaging ones and there were ones which showed that what Naren and I wanted to talked about was very new indeed.

It was also a fruitful trip for my research. I attended an Art and Psychoanalysis panel with a mixed outcome. I am weary of the “let’s look at this artist in the context of this psychoanalytic concept”. The shoehorn approach, as I call it, a real problem in my field. One of the papers, discussing trauma and Pollock, was very dubious. It claimed that the event that marked Pollock’s life and art was the fact that he was born with he umbilical cord around his neck. That, apparently explained his self-destructive behaviour. Although I am conscious that I am simplifying matters by just writing a quick run through, this kind of approach to interpretation is sign of a general malaise in the field of Art History. I am a practitioner and a reasonably practical person, so I went to test it. The Museum of Modern Art is probably one of the best-designed spaces to show art I have ever seen. It is full of people, but the building’s crowd management through architecture is remarkably successful. It’s most interesting feature for me, though, is the fact that one is allowed to take flash-less photographs. What fun I had! Even Pollock seamed positive to me.

Pity I couldn’t test the comic guy’s paper, which was very good, even though it also followed the approach of object+concept, in this case the “gutter” in comics and Lacan’s phallic jouissance. It may have been my sense of brotherhood everytime I hear Lacan mentioned but I found him more reasonable, at least.

My research did not stop there, though. On my last day, I found that, all along, I had been living near this:

Guess what it is? The answer, together with a few more pictures of the trip (including some amazing displays of Faberg?© eggs), is here. Lucky me, I am returning in June for more. I was totally seduced by it. Encore, encore, encore. That was what New York was, for me.