Clement Greenberg was a prominent art critic and theorist who played a significant role in the development and promotion of modernism in the mid-20th century. Born in 1909 in New York City, Greenberg began his career as a writer and editor, working for various publications and eventually becoming a leading voice in the art world.
As an art critic, Greenberg is perhaps best known for his theory of modernism, which he articulated in a series of influential essays written in the 1940s and 1950s. According to Greenberg, modernism was a movement that sought to reject traditional forms and styles in favor of a new, abstract aesthetic that was grounded in the principles of form and purity.
In his view, modernism was a reaction to the excesses of 19th-century Romanticism and the decorative excesses of the Art Nouveau movement, which he believed had lost touch with the fundamental principles of art. In contrast, modernism, he argued, was focused on the essential qualities of art, such as form, color, and composition, and sought to create works that were stripped down and simplified, with a focus on purity and clarity.
Greenberg argued that modernism was the natural evolution of art and that it represented a break with the past, a rejection of traditional forms and styles in favor of a new, abstract aesthetic. He believed that modernism was a necessary and important development in the history of art, and that it represented a departure from the sentimental and decorative styles of the past.
In addition to his theory of modernism, Greenberg is also known for his criticism of kitsch, which he defined as a cheap, mass-produced form of art that appealed to the lowest common denominator. In his view, kitsch was a perversion of true art, and he argued that it represented a threat to the integrity and purity of modernism.
Overall, Clement Greenberg was a key figure in the development and promotion of modernism, and his ideas and theories continue to influence the art world to this day. His focus on form, purity, and simplicity helped to shape the direction of modern art and to establish it as a significant force in the world of contemporary culture.
The Collected Essays and Criticism, Volume 4: Modernism with a Vengeance, 1957
Introduction to an Exhibition of Hans Hofmann 17· The Case for Abstract Art 1960 18. The heightened sensitivity of the picture plane may no longer permit sculptural illusion, or trompe-l'oeil, but it does and must permit optical illusion. A reaction then took place which was quickly identified as post-modernism. What is avant-garde Greenberg? I want to take this chance to correct an error, one of interpretation an not of fact. Nothing could be further from the authentic art of our time than the idea of a rupture of continuity. Matisse in 1966 46. The apparent contradiction involved was essential to the success of their art, as it is indeed to the success of all pictorial art.
What did art critic Clement Greenberg have to say about Modernism?
Richard Kostelanetz, 1978 Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology. Greenberg speculates on the Modernist art but does not show any appraisal or valuation. World War II and the atrocities of Nazi Germany had forced many artists, writers, and intellectuals to immigrate to New York, and many gravitated to Greenwich Village. Writing two centuries after the German philosopher, Greenberg looked backwards in time and implied another favorite Enlightenment idea, that of progress. By being exhibited, they are tested for their indispensability. Number 1 is a work of art that is profoundly original, with no clear historical reference point, but still has faint traces of the Western tradition, founded in the works of Cézanne and Picasso, among others. Throughout his work, the author demonstrates profound knowledge of art, which makes the text reliable and convincing.
Accidental Specificity: Modernism from Clement Greenberg to Frank Tashlin
Poetry of Vision 59. . High art should transcend popular appeal. Each detail painted or formed by the artist represents a conscious effort to communicate beyond words. What is a Imitationalism theory? The task of self-criticism became to eliminate from the specific effects of each art any and every effect that might conceivably be borrowed from or by the medium of any other art. How much it extended to other art media, let alone other disciplines, is debatable. GREENBERG TASTES IN ART ROSENBERG Les Demoiselles d'Avignon The Gate Number 1 Mountains and Sea Shoot The Liver is the Cock's Comb Woman I Elegy to the Spanish Republic No.
Art Critics Comparison: Clement Greenberg vs. Interview Conducted by Lily Leino. Tashlin and Greenberg form two sides of the same square, that of culture in its widest sense. While many of his ideas have been abandoned in contemporary criticism no longer does popular art criticism make such a harsh distinctions between high art and kitsch , his objectivity and literary breadth have unquestionably influenced criticism. Indeed, it was also increasingly a necessary facet of modern painting, since art was being threatened by the intrusion of kitsch, ideology, and commerce. Greenberg writes, Kitsch, using for raw material the debased and academicized simulacra of genuine culture, welcomes and cultivates this insensibility. This is, of course, the best way of seeing any kind of picture, Old Master or Modernist, but Modernism imposes it as the only and necessary way, and Modernism's success in doing so is a success of self-criticism.
Analysis of Modernist Painting by Clement Greenberg
Introduction to a Group Exhibition in Saskatchewan 44. Retrieved 8 April 2018. It quickly emerged that the unique and proper area of competence of each art coincided with all that was unique in the nature of its medium. For flatness alone was unique and exclusive to pictorial art. With the inclusion of critical exchanges between Greenberg and F. Letter to the Editor of Evergreen Review 10.
No artist was, or yet is, aware of it, nor could any artist ever work freely in awareness of it. What is Greenberg formalism? A Newer Laocoon Just one year later, Clement Greenberg published the second of his instrumentally important essays: 1940. Hans Hofmann: Grand Old Rebel 16. The making of pictures has been controlled, since it first began, by all the norms I have mentioned. What does Greenberg say about Modernism? Introduction to Jules Olitski at the Venice Biennale 48.
When David, in the 18th century, tried to revive sculptural painting, it was, in part, to save pictorial art from the decorative flattening-out that the emphasis on color seemed to induce. Western painting, in so far as it is naturalistic, owes a great debt to sculpture, which taught it in the beginning how to shade and model for the illusion of relief, and even how to dispose that illusion in a complementary illusion of deep space. Let us return, finally, to the larger cultural issue at stake: the pas de deux of high modernist artworks and their mass, or vernacular, counterparts. University of Wisconsin, 1979. Letter to the Editor of The New York Times 2 I. It will investigate and introduce possible paths for the reconstitution of art criticism, suggesting possibilities existing in the overlooked history of art criticism. To experience great art is to experience the greatness of civilization.
Clement Greenberg “Modernist Painting” Short Summary Essay Example
Greenberg also tackles the development of Harold Rosenberg's essay "The American Action Painters" first appeared in Art News in 1952 and was republished in his 1959 collection of essays The Tradition of the New. According to Greenberg, something like Composition in Brown and Gray is daring and esoteric avant-garde , not mechanical or formulaic kitsch. Judging from the critiqued text, I do not think that Greenberg divided works of art into the categories of acceptable and non-acceptable. Neither extreme is a matter of caprice or arbitrariness. Much is heard about programs in connection with Modernist art, but there has actually been far less of the programmatic in Modernist than in Renaissance or Academic painting.
He also attacked the roles Greenberg had increasingly come to fill in the 1960s as an advisor to prominent galleries, suggesting that his criticality was compromised by commercial gain. Having been denied by the Enlightenment all tasks they could take seriously, they looked as though they were going to be assimilated to entertainment pure and simple, and entertainment itself looked as though it were going to be assimilated, like religion, to therapy. Indeed, they are, in this sense similar, to automatic writing: they divulge an automatism that had previously been embedded or hidden within a human being. It belongs to journalism -- and to the millennial complex from which so many journalists and journalist intellectuals suffer in our day -- that each new phase of Modernist art should be hailed as the start of a whole new epoch in art, marking a decisive break with all the customs and conventions of the past. Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg. Rosenberg regarded Greenberg's attention to the historical character of Modernism as academic.