The End of the Art World

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Overview

The most significant change in the art world over the past two decades has not been the evolution of a new style or movement but in how art is promoted and marketed. After prices accelerated in the 1980s, today's art world is beginning to look more like a multi-national corporation than a cultural institution.

Acclaimed critic, poet, and historian Robert C. Morgan argues for a new qualitative standard in art, not only in painting and sculpture, but also in literature, music, ...

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Overview

The most significant change in the art world over the past two decades has not been the evolution of a new style or movement but in how art is promoted and marketed. After prices accelerated in the 1980s, today's art world is beginning to look more like a multi-national corporation than a cultural institution.

Acclaimed critic, poet, and historian Robert C. Morgan argues for a new qualitative standard in art, not only in painting and sculpture, but also in literature, music, video, photography, conceptual art, and installations. Poignantly and powerfully written, he calls for an end to the art world as we know it, a world governed by the trends of fashion, media, and popular entertainment, and proposes a return to aesthetics and a new inner-directedness in art.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Early on, Morgan (Between Modernism and Conceptual Art) contends that the "experience of the work of art is the fundamental ingredient in one's critical response, the foundation for any authentic interpretation." The experience of reading these essays, then, is one of initial bewilderment, increasing frustration and eventual resignation to vague, obscure language passing itself off as bracing straight talk. While Morgan's call for direct observation and his attack on the incursion of theory into criticism and into the studio may elicit sympathy, his writing itself is saturated with the very terminology and syntax he purports to disdain. Moreover, he deploys the all-too-familiar semiotic and poststructuralist jargon with a marked lack of dexterity (although he is professor of the history and theory of art at the Rochester Institute of Technology). Has he failed to digest his sources? A more charitable explanation would be that his heart is not in critical theory, but rather in the search for quality and an inner-directed tendency in contemporary art. Yet when he discusses specific works, the reader is often left high and dry, for instance, trying to unravel exactly why Morgan experienced "a reverberation of thought and mystery elevated to the level of profound feeling" in viewing Vija Celmins's paintings. Though some of his positions could be taken as "conservative," he does not appear motivated by ideology. In the end, what he can offer the patient reader is a highly subjective window on the American art scene of the past four decades. B&w illustrations. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581150100
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/9/2008
  • Series: Aesthetics Today Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,219,755
  • Product dimensions: 0.53 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert C. Morgan, an international critic, artist, curator, and lecturer, lives and works in New York City.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Foreword: The Beginning of the Art World
Introduction
The End of the Art World 3
The Delta of Modernism 11
The Status of Kitsch 19
Signs in Flotation 27
The Plight of Art Criticism 35
A Sign of Beauty 41
The Boredom of Cezanne 51
The Enduring Art of the Sixties 55
Antiformalist Art of the Seventies 67
Eccentric Abstraction and Postminimalism 79
American Sculpture and the Search for a Referent 91
Art Outside the Museum 99
Nancy Grossman: Opus Volcanus 111
Sang Nam Lee: Minus and Plus 119
The Fundamental Theology of Gilbert and George 123
Carolee Schneemann: The Politics of Eroticism 127
Bruce Conner: Engraving Collages and Films 133
Rauschenberg: Supply Side Art and Canoeing 137
Nancy Graves: Translucency 139
Bill Viola's Simulated Transfiguration 149
Kevin Clarke: Signs of Loss and Intimacy 153
Michael Bramwell's "Conceptual" Sweeps 157
Philip Glass: The Photographer 161
After the Deluge: The Return of the Inner-Directed Artist 167
The Spectrum of Object Representation 179
Where Spectacle Meets Art: Klein's Magnificent Anthropometries 183
The 1997 Whitney Biennial 187
West Chelsea: An Experiment in Attitudes and Architecture 191
The Hugo Boss Prize 1996 195
Does the Trace Remain? The Situation of the "International" Artist Today 199
The Anti-Aesthetic, Careerism, and Art Schools 203
Notes 207
Index 217
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