Pollock and After: The Critical Debate

Pollock and After: The Critical Debate

Pollock and After: The Critical Debate

Pollock and After: The Critical Debate


A selection of texts by T.J. Clark, Michael Fried, Clement Greenberg and others debating the strengths and weaknesses of Modernist history. The book includes a resource for students interested in postwar American and European culture.


This anthology is designed as a resource for those interested in recent debates and controversies in the history and criticism of modern art. As such it provides an historical and theoretical complement to the two other anthologies in this area published by Harper & Row: Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology (1982), edited by Francis Frascina and Charles Harrison; Modernism, Criticism, Realism (1984), edited by Charles Harrison and Fred Orton. Each of these three anthologies covers related but distinct aspects.

The three sections of this book are so organized that recent debate on art history and art criticism, exemplified by that between Clark and Fried from 1982 to 1983 (represented in Section I), can be seen to have considerable origins in those issues which were perceived as central to the discussion of art and culture in the late 1930s and 1940s in the USA. These issues also concern the authors of articles offering a critique of the conventional Modernist explanation and history of Abstract Expressionism and its legacy, which are represented in Section II. The introductions to these two sections should be seen as closely related in terms of theoretical and historical context. The third section contains three essays which deal with the problems of theory and history introduced in earlier texts.

It will be seen that the writings of Clement Greenberg form a substantial subject of study here. This is inevitable if we regard Modernism as the dominant form of explanation and history of modem art in the post-war years. This book does not include texts associated with any continental approaches, such as the structuralism, semiology and nouveau mélange of the 1970s. This is deliberate. Any critique of a dominant form of explanation and history requires that'the dominant form' — the critical theory, the ideology — is adequately characterized and defensibly criticized. Continental theory and American notions of 'post-Modernism' are beyond the aims and scope of this anthology.

Where texts have been edited, excised material is indicated thus [...]. Reference to texts reprinted in this book is made thus [00].

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