Sunday, April 24, 2011

Reading the Grid in Cosmopolis Through Foucault and Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin Print

On a Clear Day 1, 1973.

Agnes Martin
   Go to the links here for a number of prints including the upper one. Didi Fancher has a grid print on the wall. It may be an Agnes Martin drawing, or a derivative of her work, or one her assistants did it a la Andy Warhol. He pressed her against the wall drawing, a minimalist grid executed over several weeks by two of the artist's adjutants working with measuring instruments and graphite pencils. 

On the right is an Agnes Martin painting. They are usually large, 5 to 6 ft across and almost as long. They are pale and lovely. But they are not dangerous. Or are they?

Eric Packer's Grid
Foucault's Power/Knowledge grid is what Eric Packer is caught in on this last day of his life. H begins it in linear time, historical time, within a dialectical frame. It charts implies time that is linear. Only it doesn't chart because Eric is within a simulated reality. He is trying to go in a straight line from East to West. But he is in global Virtual Reality. Numbers (yen), information, sex all circulate in an orbit.   So are the "rats".

In an interesting article on Richard Serra's minimalist Tilted Arc 1981  and its removal by the courts from its site-specific selected and commissioned place by the GSA at 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan,  the author says
Richard Serra: Tilted Arc from

Minimalist sculpture is a critique of commodification, with its outwardly simplified visual schemas which seem to diminish the uniqueness of these objects.  Their artistic value can be difficult to extract.  In this sense, Minimalism reflects many of the social and political issues addressed by the American counterculture.

The critique continues and of course all this folds in with DeLillo's Cosmopolis in a seamless fashion. An Agnes Martin grid resonates with a Foucauldian grid of power/knowledge/capital and this grid was exactly what got Tilted Arc removed from its site after  an almost 10 year court battle. NOt to mention the GRID of traffic Eric Packer is moving in quarter inches all day.

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