13 Aug

Reinhardt on Abstraction vs. Illustration

“We don’t have to dwell on what a picture is – it has subject matter, tells some story, is photographic or cinematographic, and sometimes is just plain hand-painted.  The best and most effective pictures can be found in magazines and movies.  If an artist is concerned with communication and a larger public, he should get a job in some mass-publishing or picture industry.

A painting however, is still a relatively private, individual activity, and its freest most abstract form is not concerned with communicating specific information or subject matter.  Because it is universal, unhistorical, and independent of everyday existence doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any meaning.  Some people think that if a painting doesn’t have a subject or isn’t a picture, then it doesn’t have meaning.  This just isn’t true.”