Other Criteria Confrontations with Twentieth Century Art Review ´ eBook PDF or Kindle ePUB

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Called “a tour de force of critical method” is widely regarded as the most eye opening analysis Other Criteria Kindle of the Johns’s work ever written This edition includes a new preface and a handful of additional illustrations“The art book of the year if not of the decade and possibly of the century The significance of thi. Confrontations With Twentieth‐Century Art By Leo Steinberg Illustrated 436 p New York Oxford University PressI gladly share with you the New York Times review from April 8 1973 by Hilton Kramer about this wonderful read The distinguishing characteristic of the art scene at the present moment is the collapse of modernist orthodoxy Though we lack neither artists nor critics who persist in upholding one or another version of the modernist faith these votaries of an absolutist view of what is and what is not permissible for art to accomplish at a given historical moment tend to look and sectarian Chastened by history and weary of doctrinaire imperatives a new generation of artists — and indeed the art public itself — no longer give an easy credence to exclusionary theories of the aesthetic enterprise The immediate result of this recoil from the absolute has been an increase in our consciousness of the sheer variety and multiplicity of artistic statement that the history of modern art—contrary to the myths of modernism—has actually harbouredThis consciousness takes two forms Among artists it is evident in the freedom they feel to pursue any course no matter how reactionary and “unhistorical” it may be judged by the narrow tenets of the modernist faith which their own tastes and sensibilities deem artistically viable And among critics and historians it is beginning to express itself in a open attempt to come to terms with precisely those elements of the art endeavour — especially representation and other hitherto despised expressions of “content” — which the formalist criticism of the modernists had succeeded in relegating to the limbo of philistine gratificationWe have in other words entered upon a period when the history of modern art is undergoing a drastic revision — in the studio no less than in the seminar room — and it is to this revisionist effort that Leo Steinberg's volume of essays belongs Toward the end of the essay from which Mr Steinberg has drawn the title of his book he speaks of Robert Rauschenberg as an artist who “invented above all a pictorial surface that let the world in again” However we may feel about this statement as an account of Rauschenberg's importance — I think myself that it borders on the absurd — it nonetheless gives us an essential clue to the way Mr Steinberg conceives his own task as a writer on modern art For he comes before us in “Other Criteria” as a critic determined to “let the world in again” so far as the discussion and appreciation of modern art is concerned and he correctly perceives that this task cannot be effectively accomplished without first confronting those powerful theories responsible for keeping “the world” — literally and figuratively — out of the pictureHis first attempt to demolish these theories goes back 20 years In an essay called “The Eye Is a Part of the Mind” originally published in Partisan Review in 1953 and here reprinted in revised form Mr Steinberg argued that “modern art has not after all abandoned the imitation of nature and that in its most powerful expressions representation is still an essential condition not an expendable freight” His overriding concern was “to show that representation is a central aesthetic function in all art; and that the formalist aesthetic designed to champion the new abstract trend was largely based on a misunderstanding and an underestimation of the art it set out to defend”Twenty years ago the theories under fire were Roger Fry's and Andre Malraux's and no contemporary artist's work was invoked to support the case In the recent and ambitious essay called “Other Criteria” based on a lecture given at the Museum of Modern Art in 1968 and first published in part last year the principal target is Clement Greenberg and the artist whose work is invoked as an exemplary case is alas RauschenbergAs Mr Steinberg puts it Fry's position was to assert “that representation has always been an adventitious element in art — a concession to state populace or church Modern art then differs from historic art not in essence but in degree of purity” In Mr Greenberg's subseuent refinement of the formalist position according to Mr Steinberg “The one thing which painting can call its own is colour coincident with the flat ground and its drive toward independence demands withdrawal from anything outside itself and single minded insistence of its uniue property”Although Mr Steinberg has scarcely been alone in this effort to expose the limitations of the formalist ideology which is based on a radical and disfiguring simplification of both art and experience he nonetheless marshals a good deal of evidence to support his argument and he is especially persuasive in calling our attention to a Whole range of experience in the art of the past which formalist criticism is helpless to account forBut if Mr Steinberg succeeds as I think he does in reminding us of how much richer art really is — both in its actuality and in its potentiality —than formalist criticism can ever permit itself to recognize he uite fails to establish his “other criteria” as anything but an exercise in sensibility The sensibility in uestion—his own — is a wonder to behold marvellously alert informed and wide ranging at once patient and aggressive in Its uest for the revelatory nuance and eager to make discriminations where others have been content to settle for received judgment Yet it is in the end an academic sensibility which for all its beguiling sensitivity and intelligence only prospers in safe harboursAbout the really difficult uestions in the art of this century these “confrontations” take a cautious wait‐and see attitude Although condescending toward critics who write in the heat of a first encounter with a new work of art Mr Steinberg nonetheless manages to swallow his distaste for the vulgarities of journalism long enough to tuck in a few of his old review columns from the 1950's The bulk of his book is devoted to three artists Rodin Picasso and Jasper Johns uite the best thing he has written is his long causerie on the sculpture of Rodin This is a literary tour de force that carries the reader into the inner recesses of a vast and powerful oeuvre with extraordinary skill and authority focusing on its myriad details of representation with an almost cinematic clarity and a very moving elouence Our perceptions are sharpened and our knowledge augmented occasionally even our pulse beat may uicken yet the effect of this brilliant essay is to deepen our sense of Rodin's fecundity without altering in any fundamental way our understanding of his artThe Picasso studies are problematical Concerned for the most part with the artist's later work and mainly occupied with problems of iconography they are attempts to elucidate what the author calls “the symbolic content of Picasso's imagination” Yet what are most illuminating in these essays are the discussions of form — especially the discussion of Cubist form in the essay called “The Algerian Women and Picasso at Large” — rather than the explications of content The trouble with Mr Steinberg's forays into “symbolic content” is that they tend to be most persuasive where the paintings under discussion are least compelling Thus his protracted analysis of Picasso's series of variations on Delacroix's “Women of Algiers” painted in 1954–55 is marvellous for its incidental observations but preposterous fore the implied claims it makes for a kind of painting that is as academic in its way — which is to say academic Cubism — as Mr Steinberg is in hisThe essay on Johns which has already appeared as a separate monograph is than problematical—it is a waste of time Out of this mountain of solemn commentary and second‐rate poetry we are left with an observation the size of a mouse “And then I saw that all of Johns's early pictures in the passivity of their subjects and their slow lasting through time imply a perpetual wafting Only man's chattels remain overgrown by paint as by indifferent vegetation” Etc This is bad fifties style art writing and unworthy of a serious criticAs the essays on Rodin Picasso and Johns suggest Mr Steinberg is naturally drawn to works of art that satisfy his conviction that “representation is a central aesthetic function in all art” This leaves him or less silent on the crucial uestion of abstract art where if “representation is still an essential condition not an expendable freight” it remains to be explained precisely how this condition is met in a form of art that is intended to depict nothing but itselfThis failure to confront the problem of abstract art — an oddity surely in a sizable volume subtitled “Confrontations With Twentieth‐Century Art” — results in a certain forfeiture of the author's authority Having asserted some 20 years ago in “The Eye Is a Part of the Mind” that the formalist defence of abstract art was based on “a misunderstanding and an underestimation” Mr Steinberg has been content to leave this large subject in the hands of the very critics he disbelieves and he seems oblivious to what this implies about the cogency of his own position His own taste in any case seems to run in the direction of Rauschenberg Johns and their Pop followers and this is not perhaps very firm ground from which to examine the vicissitudes of abstraction All of which is a pity for Mr Steinberg has already made an important contribution — in theory if not in practice — to the revision of history that is now upon us

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Other Criteria Confrontations with Twentieth Century ArtS volume lies not so much in the uality of its insights although the uality is very high and the insights are important as in the richness precision and Criteria Confrontations with MOBI #239 elegance of its style A meeting with the mind of Leo Steinberg is one of the most enlightening experiences that contemporary criticism affords”. A mixed bag of art history essays Whenever Steinberg writes about art in general he is fascinating His account of how he had to learn to appreciate Jasper Johns who displayed none of the aesthetic ualitites that Steinberg had learned to look out for and appreciate in art is superb It is also a great argument against formalism recognising that some art has the power to shift our perception about what art can be rather than expecting it to fit into a pre existing criteria Apart from anything else his writing shifts some power and authority from the hands of the critics to the hands of the artists He also writes a pretty devestating critiue of Clement Greenberg's formalism whilst acknowledging that Abstract Expressionism needed the advocacy of Greenberg to achieve the level of acclaim and recognition it eventually received When Steinberg writes about a particular artist I found it a bit less interesting and a bit dry I expect these sections to be of greater interest to art historians than the general reader The exception is the essay on Rodin which makes a pretty convincing case for his greatness

Leo Steinberg ☆ 7 Read

Other Criteria Confrontations with Twentieth Century Art Review ´ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ä ❰PDF / Epub❯ ★ Other Criteria Confrontations with Twentieth Century Art Author Leo Steinberg – Johns-cycling-diary.co.uk Leo Steinberg’s classic Other Criteria comprisesLeo Steinberg’s classic Other Criteria Confrontations with PDF #8608 comprises eighteen essays on topics ranging from “Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public” and the “flatbed picture plane” to reflections on Picasso Rauschenberg Rodin de Kooning Pollock Guston and Jasper Johns The latter which Francine du Plessix Gray. This is a startlingly good book a book as much of good writing as good criticism Leo Steinberg may not have practiced any of the artistic disciplines he criticizes but his criticism endures a half century after he wrote it because he practiced criticism as an artThis is a book that asks uestions of its subjects makes demands on them too and does so with a confidence that goes It is not important to ask the same uestion of a work of art that its artist asked; it is important what uestions a work of art makes you ask as its viewerThere are so very many instances of fine writing in this book that one must uote some at length The artist's dream is to intend something else and still come up with art p 57At this task Steinberg himself succeeds In the realistic figure drawings now shown at the Modern the forms even when coaxed with elaborate shading remain unachieved Outlines are traced but with no lateral span and the paper won't rise in response The indicated solids lack the expanding pressure Somehow the wind has died in the sail and the sheet is becalmed What was common possession when it was part of a vigorous style seems now beyond reach p 256And For the capacity to love only the prettiest chorus girl in the line bespeaks a finical emotion one so narrow and so niggardly there is in it as much of lacklove as of love It takes a manly heart like that of Rubens if you like to stake the bounds of lovability wide and to love Helen for all her silly puckered knees p 260And Like all works connected with discoveries of representation his pictures lack the sweet ease of accomplishment His pictures are ever aborning swelling into space and taking life like frozen fingers tingling as they warm It is not facts they purvey; it is the thrill and wonder of cognition p 295That passage right there is what separates an artist from a model or merchant You can as an artist try to say something big about life; or be content to make the stuff in your hands come to life And this humbler task is the greater for all else merely follows p 331If one wishes to consider Picasso's genius for line drawing or make sense of Johns or celebrate alongside another lover of Rodin's sculptures Leo Steinberg is there for him or her But even if one hasn't any particular interest in any of it but does love fantastic writing Other Criteria is well worth the time of its 400 page investment