Greenberg believed that the avant-garde arose in order to defend aesthetic standards from the decline of taste involved in consumer society, and seeing kitsch and art as opposites. He outlined this in his essay "Avant-Garde and Kitsch". One of his more controversial claims was that kitsch was equivalent to Academic art: "All kitsch is academic, and conversely, all that is academic is kitsch. He later came to withdraw from his position of equating the two, as it became heavily criticized. All four are on the order of culture , and ostensibly, parts of the same culture and products of the same society.
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Balasz Takac Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice. Art essay as a specific form of exploring certain aesthetic and formal issues appeared with the rise of modernity. Various intellectuals differing in professions started grasping the impact both historical and modern art had on human thought and the society. Some essays were so innovative and radical that they changed to course of the art history, sending it in entirely new directions.
To bring you closer some of the most important essays written during the second half of the twentieth century we selected seven prolific examples which shook the way we understand and interpret art.
Image via Flickr. The following year during a Vassar graduation ceremony, Nochlin spoke with an art dealer Richard Feigen, who expressed his desire to represent women artists and asked her a simple question: Why are there no great women artists? Oil on canvas, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte.
The Artworld by Arthur C. Danto Although the second art essay on our top list deals with the entirely different subject matter, it is as relevant as the previous one. Through his text titled Artworld, the influential American art critic and philosopher Arthur C. Danto explored the notion of interpretation by explaining this particular phrase. Featured image: The Russian edition of Arthur C. Furthermore, Greenberg underlines the distinction between high art and low or popular art by bringing certain historical, social and political arguments; he claims that modern artistic practices inevitably became focused on the medium itself; they do not relate to the social world, and so they became self-sufficient.
Later in his career, Greenberg distanced himself from certain points expressed in this essay, and although it was widely debated and subverted by younger authors, at the time when it was issued it was a radical text with several interesting propositions.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin Walter Benjamin was and still is one of the crucial writers for the art world whose works are still celebrated and referred to today.
In particular, the text The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is cited and explored in regards to the technological paradigm ever changed by the digital. Namely, this essay was issued in and it is based on the exploration of the notion of authenticity original vs. Looking from the critical Leftist Marxist stance, Benjamin argues the development of the artwork under capitalism; mechanical reproduction offers the artist a new way to think and produce artworks in the absence of traditional and ritualistic value and make it a tool for sociopolitical transformation.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction greatly influenced the currents in art history, cultural studies, and media theory. Featured image: Unknown author — Portrait of Walter Benjamin, Image creative commons.
Krauss wrote the pivotal essay The Originality of the Avant-Garde. By articulating the apparent copy, Krauss investigates the aesthetic and formal issues imposed by the electrifying relationship between the original and the copy.
Furthermore, Krauss questions modernity while dissecting practices by artists spanning from Rodin to Sherry Levine and Carle Andre. The author describes the early avant-garde movements as a fierce attack on the institution of art aimed to merge art and life into one.
Written in , it is part of a collection of essays which also includes On Style. With this particular text , Sontag proposed the transcendental power of art which was often taken for granted by the critics prone on constructing their intellectual readings.
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“The Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” 1939 by Clement Greenberg
Balasz Takac Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice. Art essay as a specific form of exploring certain aesthetic and formal issues appeared with the rise of modernity. Various intellectuals differing in professions started grasping the impact both historical and modern art had on human thought and the society. Some essays were so innovative and radical that they changed to course of the art history, sending it in entirely new directions. To bring you closer some of the most important essays written during the second half of the twentieth century we selected seven prolific examples which shook the way we understand and interpret art. Image via Flickr.
7 Important Art Essays
His parents were middle-class Jewish immigrants, and he was the eldest of their three sons. Since childhood, Greenberg sketched compulsively, until becoming a young adult, when he began to focus on literature. During the next few years, Greenberg travelled the U. Greenberg married in , had a son the next year, and was divorced the year after that. It was then that Greenberg began to write seriously, and soon after began getting published in a handful of small magazines and literary journals. Kitsch, on the other hand, was the product of industrialization and the urbanization of the working class, a filler made for the consumption of the working class: a populace hungry for culture, but without the resources and education to enjoy cutting edge avant garde culture.
He came, later, to reject much of the essay -- notably the definition of kitsch which he later believed to be ill thought out as, indeed, it is. Later he came to identify the threat to high art as coming from middlebrow taste, which in any event aligns much more closely with the academic than kitsch ever did or could. But for all that, the essay stakes out new territory. Greenberg was the first to define its social and historical context and cultural import. The essay also carried within it the seeds of his notion of modernism. Despite its faults and sometimes heady prose, it stands as one of the important theoretical documents of 20th century culture.