Robert Lax, Photo by Hartmut Geerken
During the early 1950s there was a big debate going on about whether or not art had anything to do with life. Ad Reinhardt, artist and friend of Merton and Lax, claimed that "art is art is art", and that if people wanted nature, they should take a walk.
Lax admired Reinhardt and the clarity and purity that Rienhardt tried to achieve in his art. He considered Ad's paintings as objects for meditation. But he had his doubts about the idea that art should have nothing to do with life.
I'm beginning to thinkr[einhardt] was wrongnot r[einhardt], but an idea i hadof him that i practicallyworshipped
that said life was theopposite of art
& art was the oppositeof life
& proud of it
but i think lifehas somethingto do with art
& it's just a matterof finding
the special point
at which the two of themget together.
- Robert Lax, Timeless Painting, Ad Reinhardt (Stuttgart: Staatsgalerie) 1985, p.85
See also Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) - "Art is art. Everything else is everything else."