Greenbergx_Clement - Clement Greenberg (1909-1994)...

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Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) "Modernist Painting" 1961 Clement Greenberg outside Jackson Pollock's studio, by Hans Namuth (1915-1990) Gelatin silver print, 1951 "Clement Greenberg was born in the Bronx to Russian immigrants in 1909. He burst onto the art scene as an unknown critic in 1939 with his landmark essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” In the years that followed he presided over New York’s ascendancy over Paris as the world’s art capital. He was the first art critic to recognize the importance of Jackson Pollock, calling him “the most powerful painter in America,” and championed his career, as well as those of David Smith and other artists of the period." %20greenburg.html to learn more about Greenberg, go to 1) Modernism: almost all that is truly alive in our culture a) it is Western civilization's questioning of its own foundations b) the West has gone the furthest in this c) Modernism is the intensification of this self-critical tendency d) it starts with Kant who was the first to criticize the means of criticism e) Modernism's essence: use of the characteristic methods of a discipline to criticize the discipline itself - to enrich it in its area of competence (as Kant used logic to establish the limits of logic, leaving it more secure) f) The Enlightenment criticized from the outside, Modernism from the inside. g) this criticism appeared first in philosophy, and in other fields in the 19 th century h) a more rational justification for every formal social activity i) religion could not do this [and would hence be assimilated to therapy] 2) at first [in the 19 th century?] it seemed art would be assimilated to entertainment [and entertainment to therapy] a) there was a need for the arts to demonstrate that the kind of experience they provided was valuable in its own right and not to be had elsewhere b) to find what is unique to art in general, and what is unique to the particular art c) need for each art to determine through operations peculiar to itself the effects peculiar to itself d) this would narrow its area of competence, but make the area more secure e) the unique area of competence of each art coincides with all that is unique to its medium f) self-criticism involved eliminating the effects that might be borrowed from another medium
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g) each art needed to be rendered "pure" [see addendum]: this would guarantee quality, independence and self-definition h) realistic, illusionistic art, had lied about the medium: the Old Masters saw flat surface, shape of support, properties of pigment as negative factors i)
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Greenbergx_Clement - Clement Greenberg (1909-1994)...

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