Art about art is nothing new but it's been a part of my work most of my career. I am a post-modern I was born too late to be part of the big shows that make modern art such a vivid style, even later styles such as abstract expressionism were done before I arrived. Pop art was the reigning style and I loved it and dived right in wouldn't you? /// Recently I thought out loud about how much my art was formed by this post-modern age, and I think making art about art is one constant throughout the history of art. Even post-impressionism was a profound rethinking of impressionism in some ways extending it's range and political and emotional content. If you consider how long I was in the art educational system from 3 years of high school art major through 5 and a half years in art schools for my 2 degrees (in fine art) plus teaching in an art school for 17 years a grand total of 25.5 years in transit towards my independence as an artist outside the art school. All this time the focus on fine arts and contemporary art in particular led to a bit of an overdose of art and nothing but art. It was okay but it took a toll on my sense of reality on just what it's all about for people who don't make art.
Even now I think about art in terms of other art in a rather dialectical manner. Mondrian whose work I love has been a subject of many of my works over the years as much as I am influenced by Marcel Duchamp's strange art I am equally (at times) given to the amazing power of Mondrian's art as a subject, even as ridicule as in the works about Forget Duchamp and Forget Mondrian. It's hard to ignore what happened and to not want to play with historical modernism as an element within the mix of what we make are art from and about, I love their work but it's not of my time but rather in a canon I studied and wish to change. Or nudge a bit towards our new world order where the fine arts have grown wildly diverse and come from everywhere not just Paris and New York City.
I remember how much my friend Bernie Van Marm and I loved Andy Warhol in the mid-1960's he was such a prototype of the artists we would be with silk screen at the center of all our work! Pop art was the first style that broke with the hegemony of abstract expressionism Andy Warhol was not Jackson Pollock - His campy ways his queerness marked out a different psychology for artworking the studio the sacred space of AE was now a factory and things were made in editions the single works were a sum sets Lizs, Jackies, Car Crashes, Elvis(s) etc. Choice of colors choice of pop stars. Andy was like us an ethnic white and his mindset was much more shallow in the deep end and vicey versy, he was a new model, a new approach that was much more apropos our young lives in 1964 than Rothko's tense color experiments which were good but even late expressionism took itself too seriously and maybe Rothko most of all a paradigm of seriousness or as Ad Reinhardt would say '"Art is too serious to take seriously."
We bought into Post-modernism before it had a name.