\ Joshua Decter \ Lari Pittman \ David A. Ross \ Peter Schjeldahl \ Benjamin Weil \ Q&A \

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David A. Ross : It is also the problem of creating a fake contest here between painting and its future, or painting and other media, or painting and its past. The reality was well stated by Peter when he talked about why painting is still being made. Painting is in fact a complex technology, painting is not any more or less natural than working with any other medium. It has a longer set of histories and a deeply encoded set of readings, and so we have this built-in problem of trying to understand why we are still attracted to paintings.

Hundreds of millions of people sit up for three and a half hours to watch people talk about which movies were the best movies of the year; I doubt you could get 10,000 people around the world to do the same thing in regard to what was the best painting made last year-- even if you had Whoopie Goldberg and David Letterman as the host.

The reality is that we are creating a false set of premises here for the sake of having a lively discussion. Seems to me that it is the idea of why one makes art, rather than in what medium one works, that is more the heart of the matter. From that perspective, for quite some time now, a variety of sculptural practices which emerged from the dead-ends that paintings have found itself in over the last 50 years. Artists have been pushed into using other means; some of them have returned to painting gloriously, while others done extraordinary things is other areas. I resist the kind of discussion in which we are forced to try and defend painting, or somehow attack painting, or defend some new technology. I have been involved in that game for over 25 years now...

Joshua Decter : I don't think this is what our discussion has been about tonight, at all.

David A. Ross : But I'm just saying that the notion of new technologies need it to be legitimized themselves. Anything that an artist does in an attempt to create a work of art, using anything at his or her disposal, seems to me completely legitimate. Then we will have to judge the work based on the best we can bring to the situation, the impact of that work and how it resides in our consciousness after we encountered one way or another. And whether or not it means anything to us the next day and the day after that.

It is the extension of meaning, and how it stays with us as we try to come to grips with what an artist has done, that finally is interesting at the end of the day. And not how she or he goes about bringing that idea, those images, those texts, to our consciousness in the first place.

Joshua Decter : Well, I would just say that it's rather obvious that you can't talk about one without the other. Meaning, and the delivery system for meaning can only be understood reciprocally. Thanks, and now we can open up the discussion to the Web.

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