Serge Guilbault: The New Adventures of the Avant- Garde in America
AVANT GARDE: A prominent feature of modernism is the phenomenon called avant-garde that is a small self conscious group of artist and authors who deliberately undertake, in Ezra Pound’s phrase, to “make it new”. By violating the accepted conventions and proprieties forms and styles and to introduce hitherto neglected, and sometimes forbidden subject matter. Frequently avant garde artist represent themselves as “alienated” from the established order, against which they assert their own autonomy.
Paragraph 1 Revitalisation of Avant garde
Avant garde-revitalized-US after II world war Economic boom-strategies familiar to - jaded Parisian-deployed- confronted- in new bourgeois public.
Paragraph 2 Greenberg’s Formalist Theory
Between-1939 and 1948- Clement Greenberg's- formalist theory of modern art o juxtapose- avant garde- to create a structure- Baudelaire or Apollinaire- dominant role in international scene.
Paragraph 3 Development of Greenbergian formalism Greenbergian formalism- flexible as it began during and after was- later solidify into dogma. Its relation ship- (from writings & ideologies) to marxist movement- to the crisis- finally to disintegration of marxism.1940- visible- ideologies and writings Grrenbergian formalism- born- Stalinist- Trotskyite ideological battles- disillusionment of American left and de - marxification of New York.
Paragraph 4 Alliance the stage for revolution
De-marxification began 1937- intellectuals confronted- the political and aesthetic option became Trotskyites. Greenberg- allied- Dwight Mac Donald and Partisan review- in Trotskyite period- located- origin of American Avan-garde. Trotskyite context- some day- till how- anti stalinism- started as Trotskyism- turned into art for arts sake. American communist party’s alliance- liberalism- responsible for- depression- revolution.
Paragraph 5 Work of art historian Meyer Schapiro
Art historian- Meyer Schapiro shift 1937- abandoned- rhetoric- popular Front - revolutionary language- article social basis of Art- emphasized- alliance between artist and the proletariat. His article- " Nature of Abstract art'- important for - refutation- of Alfred's Barr’s formalist- essay- cubism and Abstract art- displacement of Ideology enable left to accept artistic experimentation
Paragraph 6 Schepario’s notion of abstract art
In 1936 - Schepario- guaranteed artist place- 1937-' Nature of Abstract art'- pessimistic. for him - abstract art- Alfred Barr & other- segregated- art from social reality- had roots in production- abstract art- don’t understand- precariousness of position- grasp implications if what he is doing. By attacking the art- destroying illusion of artist independence- insist relationship link art with society- That produces it.
Paragraph 7 How avant garde abstact art helped the artists
Schopiro- too edged sword- destroyed Alfred Barr's illusion of independence- shattered abstract art as an ivory tower- isolated from society. Leftist painters founded- negative ideological formulation- provided by abstract art as a positive force-Easy for communist- reject- the art cut off reality- reached to conflicts- can use- abstract language- express- social consciousness. This opening - developed- avant garde abstract art. His article- allowed - evaluated- abstraction. For American painters- article- deliverance- conferred prestige on author.
Paragraph 8 Avant garde preserver of culture
Partisan review- letter Tortsky- analyzed catastrophic portion of the American artist. Tortsky and Briton's & Greenberg- analysis- blamed- cultural crisis- decadence of aristocracy- bourgeois. Tortsky artist - free of - partisanship- not politics. Greenberg- abandoned- critical position- Tortsky eclectic action- favoured – modernist avant garde. Greenberg -artistic avant garde - preserve- quality of culture- against influence of Kitsch. Death of bourgeois culture- replaced - proletarian- destroyed by- communist alliance with popular front- So formation of avant garde- important. Failure- communist party - incompetence of Troskytes- artists need- realistic , non revolutionary solution. Green berg- allowed – defence of qualiy- avant garde.
paragraph 9 Growth of avant garde
Greenberg- believed- threat culture- academic immobility- that period- Kritsch for propaganda. Avant garde- it was innocent- less absorbed. Seemed unrealistic- attempt- simultaneously both political and cultural front in the back ground- second world war.
Paragraph 10 Formation of intellectual elites
Avant garde and Kitsch- important- demarxification- American intelligentia- Around 1936 Partisan review- emphasized- importance of intellectual of working class- formed - international intellectual elite- became oblivious politics.
Paragraph 11 Greenberg theory of modern elitist
Art and politics- Trotsky, Briton & Schapiro- preserved - in writing - absent in Greeenbergs. Preserving- analytical procedures- Marxist vocabulary- Greenberg established - theoretical basis- elitist modernism
Paragraph 12 Greenberg’s appeal to socialism to save culture
Avant garde and Kitsch- formalized defined- rationalized- intellectual position- failed by many others. Article- new hope . Using Kitsch- target , a symbol- totatilarian authority- to which allied and exploited - Greenberg- made- artists to act . Greenberg position- rooted- Trotskyism- withdrawal- during depression- he appealed - socialism- death of tradition. Today Socialism - presentation - living culture. Greenberg's article- marked beginning- American pictorial renaissance.
Paragraph 13 The alliance made splits
Avant garde and Kitsch- coincided- two events- integrity of soviet union- German- soviet alliance- invasion of Finland by Soviet union- took radial shift- Greenberg’s literary friends and contributors to partisan review. After they- return. The optimism - maintained- evaporated-Soviet. Meyer Schapiro and thirty artist coleagues - liked to- Stalinism- social aesthetic of popular Front
Paragraph 14 Changing of the positions of the artists
Federation -American painters and was born - non political association- played important role- creation of avant garde after was. Many first generation painters Gottlieb, Rothko, Pousette -Dart) Disillusion in 1939- rise in fortunes of Popular Front- after German attack Russia- no central concern for articles as in past. Private sectors re- emerged - long years of depression- artists un happy- public convinced & valued their work after 1940- artist employed - idiom- roots - embedded in social appearance. The artist - central for public - but object changed. Instead of social programmes - They elite through universal.
Paragraph 15 Internationalism of America boon to the Artist
1943- from isolationism to - internationalism- the years best seller-one world by Wendel Wickie. Internationalism- bought- optimism. Artists of avant garde - organized exhibition- rejected work.Rejection of politics- had re assimilated by propagandistic art- realization of modernism. Internationalism aligned new man -preserve image of avant garde.
Paragraph 16 Rising postion of avant garde
Rejection of politics-had reassimilated –by prpagandic art-realization of modernism. Internationalism aaligned new man –preserve image of avant garde.
Paragraph 17 Need for art gallery
US from war- victorious, confident - Public infatuation- increased- influence of media- Need- new national art & network of galleries - promote & profit new awareness. 1943 Marh mortomes Bran_ Gallery - opened a wing - experimental art by Betty Parsons- Satisfy market's demand for modernity. Sam Koots- Charles Egan opened galleries for modern art.
Paragraph 18 Effect of war
The optimism art- Contrasted- Left identifying itself emerged from the war. Middle class worked- safe guard privileges it had won economic boom. Dissidence-fade-among communist party left. Demarxification of extreme left- during war- turned into de politicization - when America and Soviet union became clear.
Paragraph 19 New academicism threat
De politicization - drifted intellectuals into isolation, powerless, refused to speak. Between 1946-48 - political discussions- Marshal plan , soviet threat & presidential election - Henry Wallace & Communists played important part to humanist - abstract art- art of Paris - all galleries Greenberg considered - academism- serious threats.
Paragraph 20 Differentiation of American art
American society needed - infusion of new life- not pessimism and academism. Greenberg formulated- a critical system based on characteristic in defined American in his weekly articles the Nation- differentiated between American and French art. This system - modern American art- infused new life- could not apply- pale imitation of school of Paris- turned out by American Abstract artist. Greenberg’s – first differentiation - In article Pollock and Dabuffet.
Paragraph 21 Quality of American art
Greenberg emphasized- vitality , virility and brutality- American artists. His idea - transfer American art- from provincialism to internationalism- replacing the Parisian standards - grace craft, finish- to American as violence , spontaneity , in completeness , brutality , vulgarity life demanded- American art trustee of it.
Paragraph 22 Greenberg's opinion on American art
Greenberg stated - American art- ought to be urban , casual and detached - to have control and composure . Fault of American art - restrain form articulating - message describing, speaking , telling story etc.
Paragraph 23 Detachment of modern art from ivory towers
Greenberg's - painting important - return to ivory tower. Which previous decade- destroyed . The position of detachment - from critical works- artists fear participating - in virulent political propaganda. The interpretation he gave- for modernist detachment . The Rokho and Still - concern - save pictorial message
paragraph24 Rotkho's fear of critics
Rotkho - tried to purge art - convey precise image - fear of assimilate by society . He afraid - critics - obliterate - is abstract forms. Wrote- letter- to Betty Persons - Not to show - his painting to critics .
Partagraph 25 Problems in expression of art
Work of many avant garde artists- became a kind of unwriting , art of effacement , discourse- articulation - negate itself be re absorbed. Dwight Mc Donald - impossibility of expressions- Modern age silence of avant garde .
Paragraph 26 Difficulties of modern artist after nuclear destruction
Nuclear destruction - obscene- modern artists- had two- dangers - 1. assimilation of message by political propaganda .2.Representation of world beyond reach .Abstraction , individualism and originality - best weapons - against society.
Paragraph 27 Greenberg fight against removal of parisan cubism
In 1948- no work shown- Greenberg announced - in article. The decline of cubism in partisan renew - American art- broken- with Paris- vital of western culture. This declined Parisian cubism.
Paragraph 28 Protection of western art
The third world war threat- discussed - in press -idea that Europe- France and Italy- Topple into Soviet camp. Question of what - Become - of western civilization . Greenberg's article rescued - the cultural future of west.
Paragraph 29 How the art came to the Americans side
Many struggles -success the Parisian avant gard- survived. Virility -of an art - like Pullock revitalize modern culture- represented by Paris . Dealing- abstract expressionist art - brought international to America.
Paragraph 30 Placement of US as supreme in all fields
Critic- been aggressive devoted – defy supremacy of parisian art- replace it - on international scale - with a rt of Pollock and New York school. Greenberg - dispensed parisan avant gard- place New York school at the centre of world culture. US- winning all cards - atomic bomb a powerful economy, strong army - least cultural superiority missing .
Paragraph 31 Individualism basis of American art
Victorious liberalism- refashioned but Schleisgner -barricaded - anti communism centered - notion of freedom ,. Individualism - basis of all American art - represent new era - confident and un easy at that time. Artisitic freedom - central to abstract - expressionist art.
Paragraph 32 Honocourts paper on Individuality
Rene de Harnocourt- presented- paper explored - notion of individuality . Freedom of individual expression - basis of their culture - deserved protection - encouragement - confronted with cultures.
Paragraph 33 Ideology of avant garde aligned with liberalism
The ideology of avant garde - aligned - post war liberalism . New liberalism- identified - because values represented - cherished - during cold war. In modern work - brutality- stifles individual- artist become a rampart example of will- against - uniformity of totalitarian society .Juxtaposition - political and artistic images - possible - both consciously or unconsciously - repressed aspects- of ideology.
Paragraph 34 Avant Garde unique position
Society -height centre position as united states- intellectual repression was strong. Abastract expression - freedom to create controversial works- freedom of action and gesture. Liberty defended - by moderns - the conservatives . Present internal struggle - to those outside -proof - inherent liberty of the American system . Freedom - symbol promoted- cold war.
Paragraph 35 Expressionism aspect of liberal society
Expressionism -difference between a free society and totalitatrianism . Represent essential aspects - of liberal society- aggressiveness and ability -generate controversy in final analysis.
Paragraph 36 Pollocks paintings
Pollock drip painting- both left, right and middle - revitalized - new liberalism. Pollock - had a school developed - became catalyst - as Kooning says broke the ice.
wanted Paragraph 37 Modern American artists to avoid Modern - the image statement . Wanted to express - attempt to erase - void the readable - censure himself . He rejected two thing s- aesthetic of popular front and the traditional American aesthetics - reflected isolation of an earlier Greenberg - elevated - art of avant garde- international importance - but integrated into imperialist machine - museum of modern art.
Paragraph 38 Avant garde- theoretically - opposition to Truman administration - aligned - with majority . Geenberg - followed - with others and was its catalyst . analysing political aspects of american art- defined ideological , formal vantage point - avant garde- would have to intend to survive - ascending of new american middle class. To do so - first generation artists - defended against sterirlity of american abstract act- emotional contents , social commentary. Discourse the avant garde artists in - intend in their works -Meyer Schapiro articulated .
39. Rebellion against - political exploitation - stubborn determination - to save western culture - americanizing - killing father Paris- topple into disgrade aims of mother country.
Guilbault, Serge. The New Adventures of the Avant- garde in America.
Abrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms.