1966

00. [Oneness]

From Oneness, produce the ten thousand things; through the ten thousand things, govern the One.

– Shih-t’ao: ‘Hua-p’u’ chapter 7, ‘Harmonious Atmosphere (Yin Yun)’

No characteristics except its oneness <–

It is not a thing nor a thing in it

Neither white nor black, neither red nor green, of no color whatever

Beingless, becoming not, nameless

Where there is nothing but the one, nothing is seen

Ad Reinhardt: ‘ONE’, Unpublished Notes, 1966-67

…if all images are detached from the soul, and it contemplates only the Simple One, then the soul’s naked being finds the naked, formless being of the divine unity.

– Meister Eckhart: ‘The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense’

So long as something is still the object (vishaya) of our attention we are not yet one with the One. For where there is nothing but the ONE, nothing is seen.

– Rudolf Otto: ‘Mysticism East and West’, 1932 (and Meridian Books Inc. August 1957)

Our thought cannot grasp the One as long as any other image remains active in the soul.

– Plotinus: ‘The Six Enneads’

If he remembers who he became when he merged with the One, he will bear its image in himself. He was himself one, with no diversity in himself or his outward relations; for no movement was in him, no passion, no desire for another, once the ascent was accomplished. Nor indeed was there any reason or though, nor, if we dare say it, any trace of himself.

– Plotinus: ‘The Six Enneads’

It is no less than the Eternal and Infinite Oneness of God, the Certainty of Whose Truth burns up all except Itself.

– Abu Bakr Siraj Ed-Din: ‘The Book of Certainty’, 1952

Enter me, O Lord, into the deep of the Ocean of Thine Infinite Oneness

– Muhyi’d-Din Ibn Arabi

Does Islamic non-figurative art triumphantly proclaim the “Infinite Oneness of God “ or does it triumphantly proclaim again, with all other art, only the same “endless sameness of art.”

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘Art vs. History’, Art News,January 1966

Equality today means ‘sameness,’ rather than oneness.

– Erich Fromm: ‘The Art of Loving’, Harper & Row, New York, 1956

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13. “separation from error”

And to distinguish it from the schism of our Dissenters, he says it is not a separation from the church, but a separation from error.

– The Christian Observer: ‘Review of Pamphlets on Union with the Church of Rome’, 1820

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

– 1 Timothy 5:22 (King James Version)

Though he teaches Oriental art history (at Brooklyn and Hunter colleges), Reinhardt denies any undue Eastern influences on his purist pursuits. “Artists,” he says, “should have a kind of Malrauxian point of view, in which the whole history of art is known to and is part of them. Otherwise, they’re idiots, children” (his lip curls) “or romantics.”

– Grace Glueck: ‘Mr. Pure’,  New York Times, 13 November 1966

In turn, Mr. Reinhardt was called the “black monk” of abstract expressionism, and as he outlined his role as naysayer in numerous articles and manifestos, one art writer started referring to him as “Mr. Pure.”

– New York Times: ‘Ad Reinhardt, Painter, is Dead’, 1 September 1967

44. “Masters of voidness Flaubert, Melville, Mallarme”

Though he teaches Oriental art history (at Brooklyn and Hunter colleges), Reinhardt denies any undue Eastern influences on his purist pursuits. “Artists,” he says, “should have a kind of Malrauxian point of view, in which the whole history of art is known to and is part of them. Otherwise, they’re idiots, children” (his lip curls) “or romantics.”

– Grace Glueck: ‘Mr. Pure’,  New York Times, 13 November 1966

66. “Do nothing but repeat its dead form”

Does Islamic non-figurative art triumphantly proclaim the “Infinite Oneness of God” or does it triumphantly proclaim again, with all other art, only the same “endless sameness of art”?

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘Art Vs. History’, Art News, January 1966

This new part of your ‘art-as-art dogma’ looks like the same old thing. Are you still saying the one thing you say needs to be said over and over again and that this thing is the only thing for an artist to say” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“There’s nothing else to say?” I asked.

“No,” he said.

– Ad Reinhardt: Autointerview, Art News, March 1965

The necessity of doing nothing

(The necessity of) not doing anything

“Striving” for nothing.

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘[Notes on the Black Paintings]’, Unpublished, undated notes

Where there is nothing but the one, nothing is seen

Ad Reinhardt: ‘ONE’, Unpublished Notes, 1966-67

Endless repetition of infinite sameness / Not sameness but oneness?”

– Ad Reinhardt: ‘Art-As-Art’, Unpublished Notes, 1966-67

Because there is nothing to paint and nothing to paint with.

– Samuel Beckett: ‘Proust and Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit’, Calder and Boyars, 1965