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Provisional Painting: Three Hypotheses

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Alan Pocaro offers an indictment of provisional painting.

Pocaro writes: "What we are witnessing with the ascendancy of provisional or DIY abstraction is simply the widespread institutionalization of the 'poseur' mentality as a viable art-making strategy. It’s a mindset that values the idea of being a painter and the sociological approach adopted in the studio far more than the arduous reality of making good paintings, or even of the painting itself. While it may be true that, as Walter Darby Bannard has said 'there is no sweat equity in art' surely there should at least be some sweat? …Today, 'artist' is just another option on a buffet of available lifestyle choices that emphasize style not substance. Not nearly thoughtful enough to be conceptual, nor skillful enough to be aesthetically captivating, provisional painting falls harmlessly and lifelessly in the middle. Easy enough for anyone to make, It’s the ultimate peoples’ art with a decidedly American flavor… The heyday of abstract painting as a cultural force is well and truly over. There are no longer any significant cultural-aesthetic resistances against which to assert an individual stylistic vision and as a result, making bad painting doesn’t look revolutionary, it just looks bad."

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