Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Milton Glaser's DRAWING IS THINKING: "A Deep Exploration Into the Mind of One of Our Greatest Artistic Minds"
Milton Glaser's provocative new book Drawing is Thinking is reviewed by Creative Contact: "Twenty-five years after the publication of Milton Glaser: Graphic Design, the longest-selling design book in publishing history, Glaser took a stance with Art Is Work, a collection of his design work that shunned the conceptional and steered toward the process; brilliantly displayed in sequences showing the path a design takes from infancy to completion. In Drawing is Thinking, the follow up to Art is Work, the focus is, somewhat, back on the process, linking the physical act of drawing to the unconscious of the artist, akin to the act of automatic drawing the Surrealist artists practiced at their epoch. Glaser sees it, in the introduction stuffed into the beginning of this “meditation,” as an approach to “looking at the world without judgment and allowing what is in front of us to become understandable. Art, in fact, may be the best way we have to experience truth or what is real.” He seeks truth not only through drawing, but narrative as well. While most retrospective works focus on a chronological or stylistic time-line, Glaser would rather organize his work here rather randomly; letting narrative, or rather, multiple narratives, form and branch off in directions toward the unknown. And it works. In his apparent scrap-book method he denies giving us a narrative to follow, because he would be foolish to pretend he knew what said narrative was. Following his theory of meditation through assemblage of work, there is no reason why his narrative needs to be the same as ours. If art can be interpreted in any number of ways, why should the artist bother laying down the official set of blueprints for us to track when we can draft our own? Well, if the last sentence seems a tad bit naive, don’t be nervous. I don’t fully believe it myself. Much of conceptional art is built on this kind of foundation, and I agree that it can be helpful, even essential at times. And in a way, if Glaser did not let us know in the beginning that he wanted us to forge our own path through the terrain that followed, who’s to say we would have gone along and done it ourselves? He gives us a formula to follow, and it so happens to be that the formula is open ended. But these qualms, in hindsight, seem unnecessary: I found the path I followed a rather enjoyable one, unexpectedly. As a fan of Glaser’s design work, I was not ready for what seemed at first sight a glorified sketchbook, and what became, at the finish line, a deep exploration into the mind of one of our greatest artistic minds."