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156 pages, Hardcover
First published February 1, 1997
Painting is special, separate, a matter for meditation and contemplation, for me, no physical action or sport. As much consciousness as possible. Clarity, completeness, quintessence, quiet. No nose, no schmutz, no schmertz, no fauve schvärmerei. Perfection, passiveness, consonance, consummateness. No palpitations, no gesticulation, no grotesquerie. Spirituality, serenity, absoluteness, coherence. No automatism, no accident, no anxiety, no catharsis, no chance. Detachment, disinterestedness, thoughtfulness, transcendence. No humbugging, no button-holing, no exploitation, no mixing things up.Ad Reinhardt, statement for the catalog of an exhibition, 1955. Reinhardt put more definition into his description than in his blue locks on blue canvases. Tufte said, “Ad Reinhardt’s paintings, rely on such vaporous distinctions [two adjacent colors appearing almost exactly alike], with some gradations revealing themselves only after many minutes of focused viewing. This is fine for art, but not for data.” Over the years, with coaching and reading, I have learned much that has shifted me from “that’s not art” to an understanding that some things are art, but Reinhardt’s work is a stretch for me. So I agree with Tufte that rather “that operating at such an exquisite threshold of perceptual acuity, data display must be clear, assured, reliable sturdy.”