In the wake of Abstract Expressionism, neo-Dada and Pop played up art’s potential kinship with advertising for all it was worth. Varnedoe is fascinated by the way Pop artists and many others had such an easy time making fun of abstraction: Lichenstein reproducing the pattern on the cover of a child’s composition book and thereby making a visual pun on the look of a Pollock painting, for instance; or making a comic-book-graphic rendering of a big splashy brushstroke, of the sort one might see in a work by de Kooning; or painting the sole of a sneaker in a way that recalls the geometrical patterning in a Vasarely painting. Varnedoe seems to believe that such gags successfully puncture the pretentions of abstract artists — wheather to the ‘ineffable’ and ‘soulful,’ in the case of the American Abstract Expressionists, or to a ‘radically democratic’ visual Esperanto with European geometrical abstraction. Maybe, but more to the point is Lichenstein’s thinking about the relation between representation and abstraction: that abstraction is always representable because representation is always based on an abstract code. In a sense, for Lichenstein, the early abstractionists were right to believe they had discovered the distilled essence of art — and for that very reason had to be wrong in believing that abstraction could mark a radically new beginning or offer any hope for transcendence. It was only ever going to be able to repeat the gist of what art and design had always already been.
Once we’ve reached this point it’s necessary, out of courtesy, to ask ourselves an increasingly rhetorical question: Is the book we have before us a novel, a collection of literary or anti-literary offerings, a miscellaneous volume that doesn’t fit any set category, a diary of the life of the writer, an interweaving of newspaper pieces? The answer, the only answer that occurs to me just now, is that it’s something else, something that might be a blend of all the preceding options, and we might have before us a twenty-first century novel, by which I mean a hybrid novel, a gathering toegether of the best of fiction and journalism and history and memoir.
—Bolaño, ‘Vila-Matas’s Latest Book,’ Between Parentheses
genuinely though I haven’t read any of philosophical investigations but
does he even go into the way that if you look at it long enough you can reach a point where you’re seeing the abstract form underpinning both representations without either being offered to you, as it were
“Historians have ignored the politics of women in the Surrealist Movement, especially in its early years, but we have good reason to think that at least some women in the group did much to hasten surrealism’s fruitful encounter with Marxism. It is true that no women took part in the 1925-1926 formal group discussions on the question of political action or the discussions later in 1926 on whether the surrealists should join the Communist Party. The fact remains that four of the first women involved in surrealism — Beznos, Kahn, Levy, and Penrose — distinguished themselves as revolutionary militants in working-class organizations, and a fifth, Cunard, became a celebrated publicist for far Left elements of the African diaspora. Beznos was a Communist activist when most male surrealists were still neophytes. According to one contemporary’s account, Kahn was the only person in the surrealist milieu in those years who had actually read all of Marx’s Capital. Before the decade’s end, Levy enjoyed the esteem and friendship of Leon Trotsky and eventually translated some of his writings as well as works by Marx and Bukharin. Penrose went to Spain to join the workers’ militia during the 1936 revolution. Cunard, who lived for a time at the surrealist phalanstery at 54 Rue du Chateau, is described by one of her roommates there, Andre Thirion, as “always ready for serious discussion” and was known to have been deeply interested in all forms of social radicalism. It is impossible to believe that such women did not take part in the political debates that engaged the whole group during the late twenties.”