Clement greenbergs theory of art

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clement greenbergs theory of art

Homemade Esthetics: Observations on Art and Taste by Clement Greenberg

A giant of 20th century art criticism, Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) set the terms of critical discourse from the moment he burst onto the scene with his seminal essays Avant-Garde and Kitsch (1939) and Towards a Newer Laocoon (1940). In this work, which gathers previously uncollected essays and a series of seminars delivered at Bennington College in 1971, Greenberg provides his most expansive statement of his views on taste and quality in art. He insists that despite the attempts of modern artists to escape the jurisdiction of taste by producing an art so disjunctive that it cannot be judged, taste is inexorable. He maintains that standards of quality in art, ohe artists responsibility to seek out the hardest demands of a medium, and the critics responsibility to discriminate, are essential conditions for great art. He discusses the interplay of expectation and surprise in aesthetic experience, and the exalted consciousness produced by great art. Homemade Esthetics allows us to watch the critics mind at work, defending (and at times reconsidering) his controversial and influential theories. Charles Harrisons introduction to this volume places Homemade Esthetics in the context of Greenbergs work and the evolution of 20th century criticism.
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The Animated Theories of Clement Greenberg

Clement Greenberg

Art Critic Clement Greenberg. One of the most famous art critics in America, Clement Greenberg was a commentator and curator, who was closely associated with abstract art of the midth century. In fact, he ranks with Harold Rosenberg and John Canaday as the most influential writer on modern art , just as the United States was overtaking Paris as the centre of world art. In particular, he championed the abstract expressionism of the New York School and, along with the wealthy collector Peggy Guggenheim , was one of the first to promote the work of Jackson Pollock He also praised the 20th century sculptors David Smith and Anthony Caro A believer in formalism in painting, Greenberg not only divorced art from its emotional or narrative content, but also detached it from all social and ethical considerations: an approach that made it difficult for him to appreciate contemporary art from the late s onwards.

Summary of Clement Greenberg

Clement Greenberg b. His writings in defense of contemporary abstract art, first of abstract expressionism and then of post painterly abstraction or color-field painting, were accompanied by a theory of modernism developed in the late s in response to the spread of mass culture and the rise of fascism in Europe. These mordant theoretical essays predicted the direction of his subsequent critical practice. The task of the avant-garde was to maintain cultural standards in the face of commodity relations and the vicariousness of everyday life under capitalism. In order to succeed, each artistic medium should exemplify what was most essential to itself, which is to say, most particular to its own material conditions. In his criticism of the s, Greenberg attempted to measure his response to contemporary art, including the paintings of Jackson Pollock, whom he championed, against the political and aesthetic assumptions of the essays. Eliot, as he struggled to establish relative values for the art confronting him.

Clement Greenberg , born Jan. He is best known as an early champion of Abstract Expressionism. Greenberg was born to parents of Lithuanian Jewish descent. By the late s, while working during the day for the United States Customs Service, he had begun to contribute art criticism to leading art publications. In the early s Greenberg took a job as the regular art critic for The Nation —49 , where he became the first writer to champion the work of the Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock. In his writing he became increasingly interested in purely formal concerns, and he began to develop a discernible critical sympathy for work that created a pure, immediate visual sensation, often at the expense of descriptive or pictorial reference. This understanding of a progression toward pure abstraction left no room for influential conceptual movements such as Dada and Pop art , both of which he dismissed.

Not many critics write anything that outlives their time. The exceptions deserve to be regarded as rare geniuses — the greatest example being that eminent Victorian John Ruskin , whose criticism is unrivalled as both writing and thought. The American art critic Clement Greenberg was no Ruskin. His clipped, effective prose did not rise to those heights, nor did his ideas about art have the generous scope and grandeur of Ruskin's cultural vision. Yet Greenberg has achieved immortality of a kind.


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