Aesthetics Over Everything
I have a note on my phone from April 27, 2019. It’s an introduction by Carl Andre to one of Frank Stella’s shows. I don’t remember which. I go back to it whenever I need to remind myself that the only meaning making tools in art are aesthetic (and this should be obvious, though at times [these days] it doesn’t seem to be).
Aesthetic as opposed to biographical. Aesthetic as opposed to having to do with morality and who the artist was (or is).
We live in a time interested in eroding nuance, independent thought, and criticality that departs from cultural prescriptions. In some ways, I think we have always lived here. In fact, history tells us so.
Nevertheless, art is an aesthetic practice. One arrives at their goals through aesthetic means solely. Otherwise, there are plenty of worthy pursuits like social work, philanthropy, medicine, religion, etc.
With that, happy new year. Here is a photo from ten years ago in Miami, where I am now. Back then I’d just published my first anything—a chapbook called American Boys. Aesthetics over everything, the name of this substack, was how I used to sign my emails to friends.
And here, also, is Carl Andre.
Aesthetics over everything,