In Memorian: Dore Ashton, 1928–2017
Art Business

In Memorian: Dore Ashton, 1928–2017

Ashton. “I am a proud philistine,” Dore wrote on a small piece of paper she gave me at her home in New York. It was one of those evenings we used to spend together discussing literature, poetry, and art. Of course, she was provocative—there are very few art critics I know, or read, who have had such a rich and idiosyncratic knowledge of world cultures and arts. In fact, I should have just written “culture,” for Dore perceived all cultures as equally important—those associated with “art centers” and those with “art peripheries.” She constructed a different, non–geo-cultural, hierarchy for herself, one based on what she considered universal excellence in art, not as a newly invented, or reinvented, set of formal rules or style, but as something belonging to the long tradition of art making. She simply stood for a commitment to everyday hard work, erudition, and remaining true to her own sensibility. “Tinkering” (as a form of “bricolage ” ) was her methodology. Of course, as a deep thinker, she was never totally certain of the results of her arguments, of how successful or convincing they were, but she used to repeat a famous phrase in French: “Quand je […]

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