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Thomas Merton (1915 1968), Robert Lax (1915 2000) and Ad Reinhardt (1913 1967), who became lifelong friends, met in 1935 at Columbia University while working for the Jester, the schools humor magazine.
My title is a sentence Ad Reinhardt wrote toward the end of one of his writings called The Artist in Search of an Academy, Part Two: Who are the Artists? Its nine oclock on a Sunday.
For many years I have wondered whether an apophatic aesthetics, mirroring apophatic theology, might be the correct way to answer one of the basic questions in philosophy of art, What is the goal aimed at in artistic creativity?
Some 35 years ago, when I became editor of Artforum with a drawer almost bare of manuscripts I jotted down some subjects I thought it might be well to do as part of the history of modernism in These Parts.
In Reinhardt’s black paintings a slow process of realization follows a first, quick impression of blankness: form emerges out of vacancy, mysterious presence from manifest absence.
The convergence of the death of Arthur Danto, the invitation to write something for the Rail on the 100th anniversary of Ad Reinhardts birth, and the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy has set me thinking about Ends.
Ad Reinhardts writings are rife with contradictions and paradoxes. So much so, that he has been described as a master of the aesthetics of negation,