11 Responses to “Mecca”

  • must be pointing to the outer banks…
    more people beginning to show up again.

  • This is reminiscent of Leo Steinberg’s “flatbed picture plane” idea of converting the vertical image to the horizontal. I’m unsure if the white space is a ceiling, or the brilliant sun-lit top of some sort of large cube that we are looking downwardish at. Perspective has been obliterated, the image has been flattened, so it also goes along with Clement Greenberg’s notion of compressing three dimensions into two as a condition of modernist art. Finally, the way colour pushes and pulls the planes is something Hans Hofmann was concerned with.

    It’s interesting that in such a simple composition, the notions of three of the top critics of modern art are supported. It’s the difference between viewing a photograph of something, versus viewing a photograph as something. The mind vibrates!

  • Jeff Hladun,

    But who has the “real” saying in the end? The photographer or the critic/observer?
    Who in the end completes the image?

  • Interesting case of “too much information ruins a picture”. Having stared at some version of this arrow on my hotel ceiling for too many nights to count, I can’t unsee it as what it is, the pointer to Mecca (the Qibla).
    But Jeff’s comment has made me look at it with a fresh eye. (and now I need to go read about these three people)

  • Carlo, what a great question! I can’t give an answer, but maybe a response…

    The clue for me lies not too far from this website. David produced Living Proof some years ago ( ) which explores the world of Hip Hop. About a third of the way through the video he quick-steps through the history and origins of the music, which starts in Senegal as “call and response”.

    The way David mapped out how call and response came to America, only to return to Africa and then spread out again around the world, was fascinating to me. It seemed the perfect metaphor for the relationships existing around a work of art. There are plenty of relationships – plenty! – and the more you think of them, the more they appear. For me it’s as if the associative nature of the call and response cascades into more and more associations and relationships.

    Start at the call and response between the artist and the viewer via the work, then consider the relationship between the artist and the artist’s Self, the observer and the observer’s Self. For the maker of the work, there is their life-experiences, their connection to the history of Art, their mentors, peers, the subject matter of the work, etc., etc., etc., all of which elicit their own C&R. For the viewer, there’s the question that the viewer makes, and the work that answers. Or maybe the opposite; the work calls and the observer responds.

    It’s an organic dynamic, which I think has no end-point if the work is strong. It’s something that continues to grow. It’s even cyclical, if the critic’s intermediary relationship between the artist and the viewer echoes back and forth another plane of dialogue.

    For some images, there is no completion.

  • Nope. That’s showing the kibbutz/ WILLIAMSBURG

  • Here’s a nice interview with “our” Sam….. Great to see the recognition he’s (deservedly) receiving!

  • Jeff, your observations here are phenomenal and cause me to look at this image differently than I otherwise would have. At first glance, it is just someone having fun with shapes, angles and design, but your words cause me to see it as a mysterious, profound rendition of the existential questions of creation and eternity we all wonder about. You also cause me to see myself as a bit of an uneducated dolt. Not in all the rest of my days would I have ever made such connections.

  • Welcome to the club, Bill.

    Jeff’s commentaries more often than not give me that feeling – but it’s an annoyingly positive experience…


  • Jeff Hladun,

    Thank you for that illuminating reply.
    I still have reservations as to the role of critics and how it seems their views morphs “artworks” in general.
    When I have more time I will try to elaborate.

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