Rosalind Krauss and American Philosophical Art Criticism: From Formalism to beyond Postmodernism

By David Carrier | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Structuralist
Adventure

The semiotic square usually imposed an initial structure on a narra-
tive … anything could be put in the four corners of the square without
any verification whatsoever Within the semiotic square, the empiri-
cal world and the referent could be kept at bay.

François Dosse

The key figure in the revolt against Greenberg was Leo Steinberg, for he provided the best argument against formalism and linked that argument to the best artists coming after Abstract Expressionism. His lecture [Other Criteria,] Krauss rightly wrote in 1988, [announced the advent of 'post-modernism.']1 Krauss is a follower of Steinberg—she often acknowledges his influence. Speaking of Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, and Warhol, Steinberg asserts, [the all-purpose picture plane underlying this post-Modernist painting has made the course of art once again non-linear and unpredictable.]2 The relationship of artwork and spectator had changed. Greenberg said, [Nothing could be further from the authentic art of our time than the idea of a rupture of continuity. Art is … continuity, and unthinkable without it.]3 Steinberg disagreed, and his way of thinking soon was generally accepted.

Greenberg argues that the history of modernist painting is inaugurated by Manet's preserving-and-breaking-with old master tradi

-33-

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