Art Since 1945, Journal entry 6 1990 -1999 by Dave Holmander

Journal Entry

 David Holmander  at Thursday, November 10, 2016 2:28:10 PM EST

Journal Entry #6
Dave Holmander

Art since 1900 Volume 2 from 1990 -1999 pp 668-703

The period sees the continual exportation and reinvention of modernist art and expansion of institutionary critiques outside the boundaries traditional museums. Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) is still active at it’s onset but has made a lasting contribution. In his Memoir, Morris Freedman sights of Greenberg.

I can sum up Clement Greenberg’s work only as an amateur, but allow me to quote Robert Hughes, Time’s art critic, who, I think, fairly crystallized the consensus of serious art historians and writers on art. He concluded his NYR essay: “No American art critic has produced a more imposing body of work: arrogant, clear, and forceful, a permanent rebuke to the jargon and obscurantism that bedeviled art criticism in his time and still does now. And it doesn’t just `impose’ — it invites argument, all the way.”  American Scholar, Autumn94, Vol. 63 Issue 4, p583. 8p.

The self-critical Greenberg also modernist painter saw advanced art as a sequence of investigations. This is evidenced in the counterintuitive “opticality”. Originally pioneered by Dada artist Hans Arp but embraced by Duchamp as illustrated in Rotorelief No. 6 1935 and later incorporated into motion picture film during the 1960’s  by the conflagration of lighting. In the 1980’s with a series of stills by Cindy Sherman, Untitled, #110, 1982.

When speak on the subject of opticality Jacinto Godinho mentions Greenberg reference to modernist abstractionism and the invisible structure of opticality in classic painting.  Opticality has long been present but was not defined as such. Godinho suggest it raised painting in particular to Olympic works of art. But required metaphysical support of words.

In Greenberg understanding, he saw this specifically expanded to sculpture but it is not difficult to understand younger generation now on scene going to new depth with this euphoria and using the articulation of Bataille, the concept of “formlessness“. Opticality; however, is intent to blur the form or create a limited focus without providing the specific form thus creating a limited shadowing forcing the visual observant to rely on memory for what the actual image might appear.

In the contemporary setting opticality has then evolved into more profound visual experience and away from visual autonomy. It is noted with the repetition of a rhythmic notion creating neural retention of the physic. As such in our app, drive social culture I would suggest “interactive art” though it may be static reasoning that the visual experience sets off phenomenon and strange bodily emotions due to the way light may be projected.
The experience leads to what is termed the uncanny “gaze”. Lacan wrote, “it becomes a stain”…”it becomes a picture, it is inscribed in the picture”  Thus against the back drop of the classical perspective it is an fragmentation of point of view rendering the unlocatable gaze bearing no meaning, coherency or unity.  The formlessness triggers an intense desire for form making the optics intriguing.
Greenberg influence is not limited to optic but in a continuum of exportation of new medium and expression. Most profoundly is the Canadian anthropologist Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media 1964 who theorization of culture suggesting medium is the message.  By example, the telephone extends the voice, the printing press circulates what is written (Gutenberg galaxy) Herein, McLuhan says, “The medium is the message’ and does not refer to modernism self critical analysis of an aesthetic medium-it’s self reflective “message”…Instead a condition of a given stage.” Simple put, the visual experience release a self imposing energy which itself become the art of the art.
Greenberg contribution to the period incorporates his intense desire to pursue new avenues of creativity and one again challenges the intuitions and conventions so intent to confine art within established boundaries but artist of the period concluded that the expanse of their imagination and the scope of all space is their museum.

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  • Access the profile card for user: Brian Bishop Brian Bishop said…Monday, November 14, 2016 9:28:43 AM ESTThis is a good connection between McLuhan and Greenberg. Yes, this was the period of time when Greenberg was being reconsidered and critiqued heavily in relation to institutional critique. Which I should note was growing due to the political climate in the 90s. Identity politics slowly gained ground in the mainstream artworld in reaction to the culture wars. This reinvigorated the debate about formalism and the anti-modern critique in general.

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