Here is a quote from the Matthew Collings book This is Modern Art. I found it quite interesting. It’s some stuff that’s made me wonder how or does it apply to writing? (Mostly I’m thinking of the modernists and post-modernists— how our own writing reflects/addresses/responds (rejects?) them).
[Jasper] Johns was influential on the development of both Pop art and Conceptual art in the 1960’s and even, partly, on Minimal art—the three big movements of the 60’s from which all subsequent movements stem and which stand at the junction of Modernism and Post-Modernism. He was sensitive to the beauty and loveliness of Modern art but emotionally detached from it. Instead of faking a feeling of identification with it, he created a form that expressed his detachment. And it was a form that seemed to sum up and crystallize a whole state of mind. An exquisitely aesthetic surface like a system of communicating points—like electrical points—only with all the points short-circuited.
Of course Picasso could never do that because he couldn’t be Post-Modern. He couldn’t be Post-himself. He could only express himself. That’s why Picasso and Matisse are considered part of the past and not part of the present. They express themselves and their sensations. They express the world through their sensation of it. But we can’t take that kind of thing for granted any more.
Even with them, we can’t totally take it for granted that that’s what they were doing because it’s us thinking about them and we think in a different way to them. But we can certainly believe it a lot more with them than we can with us. In fact we have to believe it because it’s one of the beliefs that define us—that they were self-expressive and we are not. Or not in the same way. We are ironic. They were not (123-24).