Clement Greenberg Essay Avant-Garde And Kitsch

In his writings, he helped to enable Abstractist art to become the dominant movement in American art from 1945 until the 1960s.

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This is critical history rather than biography, and it makes a refreshing change to the Hello! Greenberg’s career was launched with the publication of one of his letters in Partisan Review which he later developed into his famous essay on Avant-Garde and Kitsch.

This letter was written simply to voice his opinion, rather than as a bid to launch a career as a critic, yet, as he continued to write, his criticisms came to influence, if not to dictate, the direction in which art students moved and the taste and choices of collectors.

In the final section of the book Jones raises an interesting analogy between this view and the advertising research in the 1940s into the effectiveness of “eyes versus ears” and uses this to reach a new level of understanding when assessing Greenberg’s importance within his own society. The sub-title of this book is Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses—while the former is discussed in the first half of the book and cleverly off-set later on in the chapter “postmodernism’s Greenberg”, Jones fails to explain what “bureaucratisation” means.

She refers in the introduction to its “distasteful connotations of little offices, little processes…little men condemned to their service”, but never goes on substantially to tie this to Greenberg, his time or his writings.

Caroline Jones’s book follows hot on the heels of Alice Goldfarb Marquis’s Art Czar: the rise and fall of Clement Greenberg, which itself succeeded Florence Rubenfield’s biography.

These books present a multi-faceted Greenberg, one who swings between two poles: the arrogant, awkward, womaniser (Marquis and Rubenfield) and the authentic 20th-century “voice of American art”, the focus of Jones’s investigation.Jones returns periodically to the notion of “eyesight” throughout the book, discussing Greenberg’s “disembodiment of this Eye, its gaze and its I”, and her text is predictably filled with quotations from Rosalind Krauss et al.This investigation into Greenberg’s emphasis on eye: his insistence that “the optical is the only sense that a completely and quintessentially pictorial art can invoke”, is carried out in great depth.Following World War II, he believed the best Modernist artists were emerging out of the United States rather than Europe, specifically identifying the rising artist, Jackson Pollock.Greenberg then began to promote the work of Abstract Expressionists, among them Pollock.This serious academic book will be of little use to newcomers to Greenberg.Although high quality, the illustrations are too few and do little to illuminate or break up the dense text.He ignited debates among his contemporaries and his critics, most notably Harold Rosenberg.The American public’s response to abstract expressionism was cautious, and successful artists, then as now, were those who got the backing of critics as well as the market. 70A CRITIC AT LARGE about art critic Clement Greenberg.When Clement Greenberg was 5 he beat a goose to death with a shovel.


Comments Clement Greenberg Essay Avant-Garde And Kitsch

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