Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Abstractions and Tangibilities

A few years before Mel Bochner linked the best art with the clarity and rigor of mathematical thinking, he had something else to say about math and art. In his article, "Serial Art Systems:Solipsism", from Arts Magazine, Summer 1967, [reprinted in Bochner, Solar System & Rest Rooms, Writings and Interviews, 1965-2007, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-262-02631-4, page 39-43], Bochner wrote about a Sol LeWitt structure, in which a square within a larger cube (ratio 1:9) becomes a small cube within the larger cube, then a box the height of the larger cube:

"There are no mathematics involved in operations such as these. Happily there seems to be little or no connection between art and mathematics (math deals with abstractions, art deals with tangibilities)."

Contrast that last quote with this one from G. H. Hardy:

"A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas." G. H. Hardy (1877 – 1947)

This quote is from Hardy's essay, A Mathematician's Apology. The full text of that essay is here.

Here's my latest digital tangibility and animation.

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