Some Comments on the Claims Made For and Against Painting

Jeff Wall at nonsite:

I am going to try to account for the reasons painters have consistently felt it OK to take note of the critiques aimed at the validity of their art form but almost always dismiss them in practice. A lot of what I have to say here is well-known in the mainly unspoken way things can get well-known. So I am trying to spell out what I think many people already know, and what I believe most painters do think.

The critiques were aimed at all the traditional art forms, not just painting, but the debate has focused on painting more than on sculpture, even though the same claims have been made for both arts.

I’ll reiterate those claims, as briefly as I can (and I apologize in advance if its not brief enough). They’ve been elaborated over a long historical period, beginning probably with Vasari and concluding, or being substantially interrupted, in the 1970s.

more here.