color Beyond Kandinsky: Closing Remarks

The year 2011 marks the centennial of the publication of Wassily Kandinsky's classic text, On the Spiritual in Art. Inspired by this anniversary, this project set out to explore the place of the spiritual in contemporary art and to propose a challenge to the current devaluation of the inner life that prevails within the art world in our market-driven era.

Beginning on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, a ten-day virtual symposium moderated by Taney Roniger and Eric Zechman was held in this forum. The symposium closed on the evening of Friday, April 8th. Below is the full record of the proceedings.

Panelists invited to participate were: Suzanne Anker, Laura Battle, Connie Beckley, Anney Bonney, Deirdre Boyle, Nathaniel Dorsky, Jeff Edwards, James Elkins, Max Gimblett, Tom Huhn, Atta Kim, Roger Lipsey, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Joseph Nechvatal, Daniel Siedell, Charlene Spretnak, David Levi Strauss, Alan Wanzenberg, and Pawel Wojtasik. For participant biographies and other project details, please visit our site:


March 30th–April 1st: Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now

April 2nd–April 3rd: Session II: The Changing Shape of Art

April 4th-5th: Session III: Art and Its Audience

April 6th–April 7th: Session IV: The Artist in Society

April 8th: Conclusions


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Closing Remarks

First, I want to thank everyone who attended last night’s screening of Grahame Weinbren’s wonderful film Kandinsky: A Close Look, hosted by the filmmaker for the occasion of the closing of our symposium. Even more, I want to thank Grahame himself, whose generous contribution to our project could not have been surpassed as a way of bringing things to a close. Not only were many of us given the opportunity to meet in person for the first time, but, by way of Grahame’s piece, the man whose work and life inspired this symposium was made a living presence among us for the entire evening. Sitting in the darkness of the theater with Kandinsky, I felt the desire to thank him for all he’s given us and inspired in me, but I also wanted him to understand that in many ways it is indeed time for us to move beyond him. I think I heard him say that he understood.

The last ten days have been exciting for me, and I find myself emerging from them with a renewed sense of the vitality and vigor of the spiritual, of the strength of its pulse that is far from fading. I’ve learned about new perspectives on and approaches to it that I did not know existed, and I feel positively infused with a whole new set of questions to begin pursuing. I’ve no doubt that for all of us similarly infused, the dialogue will continue.

None of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic and generous contributions of everyone who participated—panelists and readers alike. I’m deeply grateful to all of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to give us so much of yourselves.

I also want to thank my project partner, Eric Zechman, whose commitment to our subject is deep and abiding. Eric’s longstanding involvement with the film work of Nathaniel Dorsky has brought new dimensions to my understanding of the spiritual—and indeed to our project as well. I want to especially thank Eric for his heroic efforts in the coordination of our hugely successful film screening of Nathaniel’s work on April 5th.

And I want to reiterate my thanks to Suzanne Anker, Chair of BFA Fine Arts at SVA, for her continued support of our project. We’re very grateful to have had her sponsorship.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my husband, Colin Selleck, for his tireless work on our web site over the course of the last year. Colin has been the invisible force behind the scenes without whom there would have been no scenes. If I didn’t know it before, I certainly know it now: he truly has the patience of Job. Thank you, Laz!

1 comment:

  1. Pure of heart and mind on a subject that is purely subjective...otherwise lost in translation.