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Thursday, July 28, 2011

WESTERN ASTHETICS Barbara M. Reise Greenberg and the Group: A Retrospective View

Shrutika Ghorpade

Thesis statement: Greenberg's involvement with Marxism gave him a historical sense which committed him to the avant-garde, converted him to 'abstract' art as a revolution against the established American taste for nationalistic narrative paintings and gave him an evolutionary concept of history allowing him to see the 1940's immigration of European artist as historically establishing new York as the artistic centre of the future.



Topic sentence: "mr. clement Greenberg has been a controversial figures most of his life, a guru to some and a Satan to others.


Supporting sentence: his art criticism- especially on American painting and sculpture after the second world war- has been so intelligent, perspective, biased and influential that everyone concerned with contemporary art seems to take some sort of stand in relation to it.


Idea: introduction to Greenberg-his work- and the reactions to it.


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Topic sentence: "his previous experiences as editor of partisan review, involvement with Marxist thought, and acquaintance with students of Hohmann prepared him to be a champion of avant-garde painting in journalism which would reach a broad public.


Idea: qualifications and associatiation with important people. Influence of Marxism.


Key word: avant-garde



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Topic sentence: " …corroborative reference for his championing of young American artists against the dominance of the 'school of paris' in the eyes of artists and taste of the world.


Supporting sentence: it brought together grahams friends and presented Jackson Pollock's work to the public for the first time, with de Kooning's and Krasner's in juxtaposition with paintings of acknowledged French masters like Braque and Picasso


Key word: juxtaposition- to place beside another for comparison.


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Topic sentence: their work dominated his writing at that time and he seemed only peripherally aware of concurrent activity of other young artists like Rothko, still, merman, baziotes, gottlieb who were more closely involved with the French surrealists than with graham Hofmann circle.


Idea: Pollock and the rest- Greenberg exposed their work to the larger public and made them famous


Key word: championed


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Topic sentence: when the work of the artist known as the first generation abstract expressionism began to receive international acclaim in the 1950s, the quality and courage of greenberg's insight was recognized as well.


Supporting sentence: his role easily shifted from the alienated critic writing art columns for intellectual magazines to an impresario in the New York art world judged by his commitment to a specific kind of art and respected for his ultimate success.


Idea: growing success of Greenberg


Key phrase: prophet in the New York art world


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Topic sentence: by mid 1950s greenberg's critical style was clearly different from that of Harold Rosenberg, his chief rival as an interpreter of abstract expressionism.


Idea: Rosenberg-rival of Greenberg-style metaphoric-writing of shared experience- not so much for the public.


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Topic sentence: the fact that his rival's 1952 label of 'action painting' caught on quickly and misleadingly infuriated Greenberg and the two men began quarreling.


Supporting sentence: greenberg's didactic prose, references to the history of modern art and analysis of the formal properties of exhibited art made his ideas more accessible to critics and the countless art-history and painting students who discovered abstract expressionism in the late 1950s.


Key word: accessible ideas


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Topic sentence: during the 1960s, the tone of greenberg's criticism changed.


Supporting sentence: in the 1960s it has become more didactic, concerned with philosophy and history, removed from concrete aesthetics encounters, and seemingly sure of its own objectivity.


Supporting sentence: in the 1960s, these penchants rigidified into dogmas: allowing only art which confirmed to greenberg's philosophy of art history to be considered as 'authentic', 'serious'; high' art in his discussions.


Ides: his style changed from passionate to didactic- more philosophical and historically oriented.


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Topic sentence: this increasingly defensive and academic stance of Greenberg against the subjective nature of aesthetic judgment was begun under the influence of two historical phenomena around 1962: mthe threat to his taste and critical assumption in the success of pop art in the new York art world; and the aesthetic respect for his approach and experience from the American art historical academy establishment.


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Topic sentence: green berg's failure to predict and inability to discuss or even see this type of art seriously threatened his established position as prophet of future trends.


Supporting sentence: but Greenberg was naturally alienated by its use of representation conceptual with, and source of "low" commercial popular imagery.


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The irony of hearing a pronouncement on "safe" taste by a man once renowned for the courage of his conviction that Pollock was a master is somewhat lessened by the realization that this taste was "safe" to Greenberg because it was objective as part of the inevitable evolution of history of art.


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Topic sentence: Bernard Berenson's historiographical vision plans greenberg's art historical form firmly in the 19th century.


Supporting sentence: since the content of his art history is 20th century art, some interesting disparities between form and content occur.


Keyword: historiographical vision


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Topic sentence: the scope of modern art is reduced in greenberg's later writings to a narrow line between impressionism, cubism, late cubism, abstract expressionism and post painterly abstraction.


Supporting sentence: reading only Greenberg one would never know the existence of symbolism, futurism, pop art and mixed media happenings.


Keyword: distorted history.


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Topic sentence: this greenbergian distortion of art and history ensures that subjectivity of his evaluations of art no matter how objective he believes his arguments to be.


Supporting sentence: it is no more an objective compliment to be included in his history of modern masters than exclusion is an objective damnation to the realm of Kitch.


Keyword: objectivity




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Topic sentence: the sad thing is that this fact has not been apparent to greenberg's followers, some of whose writings show blind adherence to his philosophy as if it were a true criterion for qualitative evaluation.


Supporting sentence: the qualitative excellence of being in the forefront of greenberg's progressive modernism is so pervasive an assumption among them that they plot artists' positions like sportscasters describing a horse race.


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Topic sentence: …respectfully reports Greenberg as saying 'that Lichtenstein has proved that abstraction painting is fashionable again', and forecasts (hopefully) 'the eng of pop art as we know it'.


Supporting sentence: Lichtenstein's change of pictorial references from popular comic and advertising imagery of the 1940s to popular architectural design of the 1930s is interpreted by tillim as a fashionable nostalgia inferior to bonnie and clied


Key word: pop art


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Topic sentence: Kraus and tillim toll the death knell on artistic styles on the objective basis that the art changed from their own labelled concept of it.


Supporting sentence: their concern with the death of art by art shows an antagonism naturally arising from the conflict between their concept and the lively irreverence of art to it.


Key word: death of art


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Topic sentence: 'art and object hood' of fried presenting objects in a basically theatrical dialogue with the viewer; his analysis of the work of these 'minimalists' is taken from Greenberg with changed labels.


Key phrase: rigid understanding of art


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Topic sentence: Greenberg's pronouncements constantly embody insights which, if thought about critically, can provide a structure against which to build one's own artistic vision.


Supporting sentence: the obvious danger of swallowing greenberg's philosophy without criticism of it has done much to render irrelevant the determination of these Greenberg followers to write significantly, originally, and influentially.



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Topic sentence: Barbara rose and William Rubin have been influenced by greenberg's criticism, both approach art in terms of history, visual form, and style-epochs, but neither limits himself/herself to greenberg's vision of modern art.


Key phrase: critical stand against 'formalists criticism'



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Topic sentence: critics try to abstract themselves from the hustle of contemporary history to spend more time thinking and feeling about what a particular artistic experience is all about before they begin relating it to anything


Key phrase: we are all critics.






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