greenberg avant garde and kitsch essay

of a choice between merely the old and merely the new, as London seems to think - but of a choice between the bad, up-to-date old and the genuinely new. To quarrel with necessity by throwing about terms like "formalism "purism "ivory tower" and so forth is either dull or dishonest. Each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism they are all now substantial industriesand as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art. There has always been on one side the minority of the powerful - and therefore the cultivated - and on the other the great mass of the exploited and poor - and therefore the ignorant. It was necessary to promote on a much more grandiose style than in the democracies the illusion that the masses actually rule. Under these circumstances people like Gottfried Benn, no matter how ardently they support Hitler, become a liability; and we hear no more of them in Nazi Germany. In Repin, on the other hand, the "reflected" effect has already been included in the picture, ready for the spectator's unreflective enjoyment. The Avant-garde in Russia, 19101930: New Perspectives: Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,. Today we look to socialism simply for the preservation of whatever living culture we have right now.

Greenberg: Avant-Gardde and Kitsch



greenberg avant garde and kitsch essay

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In a stable society that functions well enough to hold in solution the contradictions between its classes, the cultural dichotomy becomes somewhat blurred. The methods of industrialism displace the handicrafts. The title of the essay suggests Greenberg's discomfort with the term 'Abstract Expressionism which he believed was "inaccurate." However, although he borrowed the essay's title from a phrase that British critics had used to speak of recent American painting, he was generally happy to refer. We must not be deceived by superficial phenomena and local successes. Where state educational systems take the trouble to mention art, we are told to respect the old masters, not kitsch; and yet we go and hang Maxfield Parrish or his equivalent on thesis awards stanford our walls, instead of Rembrandt and Michelangelo. In public - or on the page - they were more circumspect, though Greenberg made no secret of his contempt for Rosenberg's writing. Historical phenomenon stance ON modernism THE avant-garde Greenberg began to evolve a historical understanding of the origins and development of Modernism as early as the 1930s, and elaborated it - and at times significantly altered it - in the following decades.