Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Sculptor's statement

"Tragedy of Man"

Malvin Marr Albright (Zsissly)
was the son of Adam Emory Albright ,
a well known Chicago painter ,
and the twin brother of Ivan Albright
an even better known painter
who is on permanent display
at the A.I.C.

But poor Malvin,
who remembers him ?

The above statue was featured in the 1933
survey of modern art in Chicago
entitled "Art of Today"

...and here's the artist's statement
that accompanied the above photo:

I am a sculptor. I have been raised on art, have always been surrounded with it, good or bad, and naturally might be supposed to take a lot of it for granted. When I think of art seriously which I do, occasionally, it broadens out into what might be called a philosophy of life. What little kick I get out of sculpture -not much - I get out of my study of things and nature rather than out of what I make in clay or stone. What one is able to make is so insignificant that it doesn't much matter whether it is good or bad, because relatively it is always very bad. Technique in sculpture means nothing to me. It is a result and of no importance as a thing to be striven for. I think the greatest thing in art is nothing; therefore if you can make something look like nothing and still be something you will have done what no one has succeeded in doing as yet. It resolves itself into a matter of thought. A sculptor's work can never be greater than his thoughts, no matter how well his hands and eyes may be trained. The great trouble today is that the sculptors do not think. And the very few exceptions among them who do do a little thinking are so unskilled as workmen with their hands that their thinking doesn't do them much good. In other words, the sculptors of today have nothing to say and they say it poorly.

I do not consider my art an expression of the age. The age has nothing to do with it. As to whether my art is American or Chicagoan: what pray tell me, have those terms to do with the muscles in a man's stomach ? A man may be a Jew from Jerusalem or a Negro from Africa or a Frenchman from Paris, but if his work is Jewish in spirit or Negro or French it is nothing -it is small and narrow and very limited. The only spirit worth striving towards is the spirit of God, the spirit of the universe, the spirit of truth. And this is to be found by observing nature in her infinite yet harmonious forms,not by aping your incoherent human beings.

When I get tired of sculpture and need a rest I paint. I think sculptors when they have nothing of importance to do should paint.

If the "the spirit of truth --- is to be found by observing nature"
... then why look at sculpture ?

and how can "Technique in sculpture means nothing to me."
... if there are sculptors who are "so unskilled.. their
thinking doesn't do them much good"

Malvin's art theory seems to have been quite advanced
for his time
.. or maybe he's just symptomatic of his own diagnosis:

"The great trouble today is that sculptors do not think"

But I like his above sculpture,

(much more than the paintings of his father or famous brother)

though I would rename this piece:

"Oy Vey iz Mir"

(though he didn't want to be known as a Jewish sculptor)


Blogger epeius said...

Smooth contour!

April 06, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

This is going to take some "thought"! He has tried to say something I suppose, but it is difficult to establish the essence.

What is his truth?

I am sure Sir Gwaine would enjoy commenting on this one.

The work is amazing; do you have any more photos of it from different angles Chris?

April 08, 2008  
Blogger chris miller said...

Alas - I fear that this single photo in this single book is the only appearance that poor Malvin ever made upon the stage of art history - and if you scour the internet, all you can find are a few paintings he did
"when he had nothing of importance to do"

But I don't think he had such a bad life -- and just like his twin brother, he eventually married a wealthy woman.

April 08, 2008  

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