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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Theories of Art after Minimalism and Pop: Michael Fried

Anu James

Thesis statement: When I was asked to participate in the discussion, it was suggested that I begin with a few words about my essay “Art and Objecthood”, which I wrote almost exactly twenty years ago.

Paragraph 1:

Topic Statement: “Art and Objecthood” has been the focus of a great deal of discussion,
most of it hostile, which in view of the dominant trends of the art world during the past two decades makes perfect sense, but more than a little of it uncomprehending.

Supporting statement: Michael Fried want to make a few remarks about the original motivation of “Art and Objecthood”.

Keyword: Art and Objecthood.

Paragraph 2:

Topic statement: When I wrote it in early 1967, it was the culmination of a series of essays on recent developments in what has come to be called color-field painting, plus the sculpture of Anthony Caro- a body of work that seemed to me then, and continues to do so today, the most important and distinguished painting and sculpture of our time.

Supporting ideas: Observations- minimalist pieces- the art of the painters and sculptures- the radically abstract and antitheatrical art.

Keyword: Literalist art- theatrical.

Paragraph 3:

Topic sentence: These were part of the series of opposition that the essay attempts to set in place- between “presentness” and “presence”, instantaneous and duration, abstraction and objecthood.

Supporting sentence: The extent to which hostile responses- “Art and Objecthood”- tend not to be deconstructive in approach- but rather to attack the “positive” terms in the interests of “negative” terms.

Keyword: Deconstruction.

Paragraph 4:

Topic sentence: Another reason for writing “Art and objecthood” as well as “Shape as Form”, the essay on Frank Stella that proceeded it, might be characterized as at once historical and theoretical.

Supporting Sentence: “Modernist Painting” in particular by its notion- that modernism in the arts involved- a process of reduction according to which dispensable conventions were progressively discarded until in the end one arrived at a kind of timeless and irreducible core.

Keyword: Modernist Painting.

Paragraph 5:

Topic sentence: “Art and Objecthood”’s claim is that what it calls theatre is now the enemy of art; and what I want to insist is that while that may be wrong, the word “now” can’t be overlooked.

Supporting sentence: Earlier art- considered overtly theatrical- but rather proposing that contemporary work that didn’t understand itself.

Keyword: Theatrical.

Paragraph 6:

Topic sentence: The whole question is further complicated by the fact the issue of theatricality defined as a pejorative term implying the wrong sort of consciousness of an audience originally arouse around the middle of the 18th century in France.

Supporting statement: The antitheatrical arguments of “Art and Objecthood” belong to a larger historical field than that of abstraction versus minimalist art in 1967.

Keyword: Antitheatrical arguments.

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