Art and Pluralism: Lawrence Alloway's Cultural Criticism

Art and Pluralism: Lawrence Alloway's Cultural Criticism

Art and Pluralism: Lawrence Alloway's Cultural Criticism

Art and Pluralism: Lawrence Alloway's Cultural Criticism

Synopsis

This book examines the writings of Lawrence Alloway (1926-1990), one of the most influential and widely-respected art writers of the post-War years. Art and Pluralism provides a close and critical reading of Alloway's writings, and sets his work in the cultural and political context of the London and New York art worlds of the 1950s to the early 1980s. A invaluable work for all twentieth-century artists and art historians.

Excerpt

Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990) was one of the most widely respected art writers of the post-War years. His writing, according to the eminent art historian and critic Robert Rosenblum, was “a model of open-mindedness, intelligence, and precision.” Partly by chance and partly through design, he was in the right places at the right times. From his central involvement with both the Independent Group and the Place and Situation painters in London in the 1950s, he moved to New York, the recently established world center of art, at the beginning of the 1960s. There, he was a key interpreter of Pop art, “Systemic” abstraction, the realist revival and, in the 1970s, women’s art. He wrote incisively about the role of art criticism, the art market as a system, exposing its modus operandi, and patterns of exclusion. What makes his more than 800 texts—books, catalogues essays, reviews—so interesting is that they manifest the changing concerns and values of art and criticism away from Modernist formal values toward the complexity of our own times. The crucial battle he waged was with any exclusive set of ideas that restricted the range of options and led to premature judgement. Alloway was wholeheartedly committed to pluralism and diversity in both art and society. He can thus be considered as one of the founders of contemporary cultural ideals, yet he is not as fully appreciated as he deserves.

For Alloway, the key to understanding, and doing justice to, the diversity of the period, was pluralism and it remained his touchstone for four decades. However, its character evolved and changed, reflecting the changing social and cultural circumstances. There were three principal versions of pluralism in his writing and they roughly map onto decades, as well as providing the three main sections of this book.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.