Tolstoy and Ann Hamilton

November 15th, 2004 · No Comments · Education

Tonight, I’m trying to write a paper using Tolstoy’s ideas about art to talk about an artist of my choice. I vacillated between Matthew Barney and Ann Hamilton, and decided to go with Hamilton. Why didn’t I just choose to write about Guernica? Did I mention that I wrote my first paper for my Theory class in the various personas of four different 19th century art critics? That’s what they get for letting someone with a BA in English and Creative Writing into their Art History graduate program.

“Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious Idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetic physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress towards well-being of individuals and of humanity.” – Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), from What is Art?

“You have to trust the things you can’t name. You feel through your body, you take in the world through your skin.” – Ann Hamilton (b. 1956), from Ann Hamilton, tropos, essay by Lynne Cooke.

Category: Education

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