Fairfield Porter

1960s: Days of Rage

The Table On the Porch (1971)

Respect For Things As They Are by John Ashbery: “In his introduction to Fairfield Porter‘s posthumous collection of art criticism, Art in Its Own Terms, Rackstraw Downes quotes a remark Fairfield Porter made during what must have been one of the more Byzantine discussions at the Artists’ Club on Eighth Street, around 1952. The members were arguing about whether or not it was vain to sign your paintings. With the flustered lucidity of Alice in the courtroom, Porter sliced this particular Gordian knot once and for all: ‘If you are vain it is vain to sign your pictures and vain not to sign them. If you are not vain it is not vain to sign them and not vain not to sign them.’  We do not know the reaction of his colleagues; quite possibly this mise au net fell on the…

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