Friday, January 7, 2011

Digging deeper

For years now name Clement Greenberg keeps cropping up in my reading - he was that notable American art critic who was so influential promoting Jackson Pollock and others of that period.

In order to get to the bottom of his take on Modern art and his criteria for judging art I began reading this book by Jonathan Harris. There seems a real collusion between the art critic and the contemporary artist to add value and credibility to modern art. Or certainly the art critic seeks it to be so, by weaving complex webs of thought and counter thought around the mystery that is art.

 The role of the viewer is increasingly important in the life of art in what they do or do not bring to the art by the very act of looking it.  The old Hegelian idea of some a priori knowledge is long abandoned but an infinite amount of personal 'experience' brought to art by the viewer is still unavoidable.

Greenberg championed Caro for the transparent, industrial simplicity of his work that allowed, even demanded an uncomplicated evaluation. This may be so - but then he goes on to suggest a notion that the 'experience of experience' is crucial in personal evaluation of works by the individual that contradicts the earlier statement.

I will continue to read and perhaps learn more about this interwoven thinking, fascinating  material that widens the horizons of art.