The whole article is very interesting, but, for me, it boils down to this:
For artists who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s, painting had not only been knocked from its centuries old pedestal but had become a very nearly leprous form, replaced by conceptual and -- particularly in Vancouver -- photo-based art. To be a young painter in a university program at the time was to be bludgeoned with critical texts such as Douglas Crimp’s famous 1981 essay “The End of Painting,” a defi nitive attack on the medium that today might be considered as infl uential -- and as wrong-headed -- as Francis Fukuyama’s essay “The End of History?”
“The conceptual practice was very good for Vancouver in that it established an example of success -- that local artists can be respected internationally and have signifi cant careers,” he says. The unfortunate side effect was that other possibilities were all but foreclosed.
“Painting was incorrect and the correct thinkers scorned it,” he continues. “Under conceptualism, human empathy was replaced with correct thought and intellection and self-pride in intellection. Spirit was taken off the agenda. Rhythm was taken off the agenda. Soul was taken off the agenda. The only thing left was the narrow spectrum of the intellectual.” -- (Neil Campbell, a sessional instructor at Emily Carr whose abstract geometric paintings opened the fall 2008 season at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York.)
Which makes one think. Could it be that a lopsided emphasis on intellect -- methodical, analytic, scholarly, bloodless -- is losing traction? It may be that the failure of intellect, of technology, to contend with the troubles confronting the planet -- troubles too often brought about by technological innovation and its Edward Burtynsky-esque consequences -- has engendered a backlash. Or that, at a time when it’s often said that anyone can make a movie on a laptop, we want to see something anyone can’t do -- like make really interesting stuff with their hands. Or maybe people have just gotten bored.
I am completely in favour of this boom for the tactile arts. As Peter Darbyshire said on his blog, we should support "anything that’s about craft rather than just being a gimmick." The reason I think this bodes well for lyrical poetry is pretty simple. Movements in literary circles tend to trail movements in the art world, and this might mean that people are also getting bored with poetry that is methodical, analytic, scholarly, and bloodless. I, for one, grow every day more and more tired of poetry that seems to exist for no other purpose than to illustrate some tautological tidbit of critical theory, which is a creative impulse I really can't reconcile with a love of poetry. It isn't difficult to plug some words into a formula and watch the intellectualized gibberish spill forth. But where is the craft? Where is the love? Wanting to become a poet because you love critical theory is like wanting to become a chef because you love cutlery. The result is something no one should have to stomach.