Writing Back to Modern Art: The Critical Complexities of Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and T.J. Clark

Writing Back to Modern Art: The Critical Complexities of Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and T.J. Clark

by Jonathan Harris
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
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Writing Back to Modern Art: The Critical Complexities of Clement Greenberg, Michael Fried and T.J. Clark

Here for the first time is a full-length study of the 'critical modernisms' of the three leading art writers of the second half of the twentieth century, which helps us build a better understanding of the development of modern art writing and its relation to the 'post-modern' in art and society since the 1970s.

Focusing on canonical modern artists such as Manet, Cezanne, Picasso and Pollock, this book provides an important understanding of writing and criticism in modern art for all students and scholars of art theory and art history. Mainstay issues discussed include aesthetic evaluation, subjectivity and meaning in art and art writing. Jonathan Harris examines key discourses and identifies points of significant overlap as well as sharp disjunction between the critics.

Developing the notions of 'good' and 'bad' complexity in modernist criticism, Writing Back to Modern Art creates ways for us to think outside of these discourses of value and meaning and helps us to look at the place that art writing holds in the latter twentieth century and beyond.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415324281
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/28/2005
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsvii
Looking and writing back1
Composition and self-composition8
Class, glass, and opacity12
Modernism, the decay of collective style, and the past of art17
'... Not just interpreters, collaborators'?24
The subject object29
'Narcissus looking interminably into the unclean mirror...'34
1Modernism's modern art41
Figures of subjectivity and meaning in modern art41
Conviction, consciousness, and convention53
'Modernism' versus 'avant-garde'56
2Pure formality: 1960s abstract painting63
Re: form64
Value and vision70
Re: 'composition' and 'decomposition'76
Subjectivity, inter-subjectivity, and 'the society of the spectacle'81
Theatricality, being, and temporality87
3Pollock, or 'abstraction'91
'Annihilation and totality'?92
'Addressed to eyesight alone'?: modernism's contested meanings98
Criticism's subjectivities103
Dreamings and disasters110
4Cubism's complexities117
Theatricality, vulgarity, kitsch118
'Classic Cubism'/'cool hedonism'124
Complexity, mind, and modernism129
Clark's critical subject135
5The materials of seeing: Cezanne and Van Gogh141
Courting indescribability142
Dreaming, doubting, doubling149
'Thinglyness' and peasant leisure154
Vision, value, and the diseased eye159
6Modernism's Manet165
'True? Beautiful? Attractive? No! - what is it, then?'166
Morceau and tableau, or alienation and totality172
Subjectivity and surface179
Modernism, criticism, and self-criticism184
Conclusion: 'post' script191
Medium as mediation191
Modern to postmodern196
Postmodernity: when the modern finally arrives203

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