The Other Moses and Against Interpretation

Kimberly Brooks
October 18, 2020
Best Brandon Moses GIFs | Gfycat

I was at an Artist Ball at the Greystone Mansion. It was a magical night and I wore an elaborate rhinestone necklace that I had purchased a few years earlier from, of all places, J Crew. I got huge mileage off it because it looked outrageous and people were accosting me about how great it looked all night.

All the LA artists were there and I ran into the late great Ed Moses whom belonged to what I affectionately refer to as “the old white men of Venice” (not Italy, but Venice Beach). Our works had just been shown at an art fair together and he had produced these magnificent large textural paintings. I, who make my works in series, usually with a theme, was showing work with some kind of message.

I sat down next to him and asked him about the inspiration for his latest show.

You have to understand, this was years ago, and I was still a fool (I’m still a fool) but I was still ferociously pedaling up stream, in the giant underwater chase game that is the art world, and that as an artist, a theme or raison d’etre was essential. So I asked him what his recent show was about and he politely informed me that he “doesn’t do that.”

At 90, abstract painter and 'retired playboy' Ed Moses has new ...

Doesn’t do what? I asked him.

He answered, I don’t — I’m not sure I remember what he said but this is what i heard — I don’t make up bull shit about what my work is about.

But of course he said it more eloquently.

Then he advised that go home tonite and read Susan Sontag’s Essay “Against Interpretation.”

I knew he must be onto something because he didn’t say a word about the cheapo necklace.

I did download the free PDF and it a was a giant message to me on so many levels. Just get out of your head and paint. And when I started doing that, really weird and interesting things started to happen in my work. I still work in series but am less attached to this intentional mental picture at the outset.

I hereby give you permission to stop caring so much about the what and just DO.

If you would like to explore these ideas while creating your own body of work, I’m accepting applications to the masterclass this month and would love to hear from you.

Accepting Masterclass Applications

Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag PDF

  • Artists Interviewing Other Artists Since 2008. Founded by Kimberly Brooks.

First Person Artist

Artists Interviewing and Looking at other Artists
since 2008.
Founded by Kimberly Brooks