Size: 53 Pages Transcript
Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 52 min.
Summary: An interview of Ad Reinhardt conducted circa 1964, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Reinhardt speaks of his time spent working for the easel division of the WPA; his involvement with the American Abstract Artists (AAA); his admiration for Stuart Davis (despite his lack of involvement with the AAA; his time with the New York School in the forties; his desire for an objective Art History; the under-recognition of the abstract artists during their formative period; his feelings towards political cartoons and the social power/potential of art; his role as editor of the Columbia Jester; his unique position in the art world as an alumni of a liberal arts college rather than arts school; his time spent at the Institute of Fine Art studying under Alfred Salmony; the changing image of the artist as an intellectual (Motherwell, Rothko, Holty, Greene); de Kooning and Pollock's attempts to be the romantic artist; his bad feelings toward German and Italian Expressionists; futurists and some of the Fauve painters; his belief in collage as an anti-art; the position of art as the 'non-useful;' the exploration of meaninglessness by Kierkegaard, Kulick, and Sartre; his writing "Twelve Rules for the New Academy", "The Artist in Search of an Academy", "Art is Art Dogma", "Ten Rules for a Code of Ethics;" the importance of an aesthetic Morality; the Student Peace Movement (James Wexler, Thomas Merton); Artists' Union, American Artists' Congress, and the WPA; disapproval for the art market of the fifties and his preference towards artists with a salary making art for museums; the debate on the part of the Artists' Congress as to whether or not to support the Russian invasion of Finland; his dislike for the Bauhaus and the American carry-overs (Brooklyn Art scene); the article "ABC Art" in Art in America which claimed that he belongs to a whole new geometric ethic of imageless painting; his disapproval of Clement Greenberg's exploitation of the artist; his time spent studying with Francis Kriss; his year in the National Academy; his interest in Islamic art; his disconnect with Hofmann; his association with the Club and the Waldorf Cafeteria; his ideological opposition to de Kooning; the problems of treating art as a living; his feelings towards "The Shape of Time"; the recent mistake of art historians documenting the thirties without fulling embracing the abstract artists; the confusion of fine art and cultural pieces; the idea that Abstract Art is not a vase that you pour meaning into; his belief that the three most important artistic statements in recent years have come from Clive Bell, Focillon, Kubler; the relationship between religion and art; the importance of perseverance despite lack of praise; and his speech at the Club "What's Wrong." The interview is conducted in a way that facilitates more of an artistic statement, rather than a historical/ personal question and answer session.