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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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9/25/2008 Faculty lecture melds philosophy and art

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McMINNVILLE – Brian Winkenweder, assistant professor of art history, will discuss the philosophy of art during an upcoming faculty lecture at Linfield College. Winkenweder will present “‘Paragraphs Turned on Their Side Can Function as Pictures’: Robert Morris’s Language Game” on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield College. Winkenweder’s talk will focus on the artwork and influence of two internationally known academics, analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and artist Robert Morris. His presentation is a preview of a talk he will give at the Centre d’Etudes Poétics, Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres & Sciences Humaines in Lyon, France, next month. When abstract expressionism, also known as action painting, became popular in the 1950s, a sea change occurred in the visual arts. In 1950, Jackson Pollock began placing canvas directly onto the floor of his studio and produced paintings by dripping and flinging paint with “sticks” as he moved around (and even onto) his canvases. This revolutionary approach to painting appeared to be an end-game for modern art. “There was this notion that painting had died as a result of abstract expressionism,” said Winkenweder. “But Wittgenstein helped the next generation come to terms with it.” Wittgenstein, one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers, helped artists to find new ways to make art in response to abstract expressionism by extending his concept of language games played within a “form of life” to the art world. By using Wittgenstein’s concepts of “seeing as” and “aspect blindness,” many artists began to explore new approaches for both making and interpreting art. Winkenweder will show how Morris, who first earned recognition as a minimalist in the 1960s and has continued to maintain a high profile as a conceptual artist, responded to Wittgenstein’s philosophy and incorporated it into his work by re-interpreting the rules of modern art. “Morris found a way to combat the accepted belief for what made for modern art,” said Winkenweder, who has come to know Morris while researching the topic for his dissertation. “He will do such things as make a drawing that is a written text. You can read it but you can also see it as a drawing. He finds art succeeds when it elicits a search for another figure that never ends because the hidden figure cannot be named.” Winkenweder’s research focuses on the rise of conceptual art in the late sixties and attempts to articulate why it remains the dominant mode of artistic expression within the art world to this day. He worked closely with Morris, who opened his New York studio and archives to Winkenweder. (More) Page 2 – Faculty lecture melds philosophy and art “He allowed me to go over 50 linear feet of personal papers – the equivalent of five filing cabinets full – with a fine-toothed comb,” he said. Winkenweder, a member of the Linfield faculty since 2005, earned the Allen and Pat Kelley Faculty Scholar Award this year. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in Art History and Comparative Literature from the University of Washington, two master of arts degrees (English and Art History) from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.