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By Tom Wolfe

"America's nerviest journalist" (Newsweek) trains his satirical eye on sleek paintings during this "masterpiece" (The Washington Post)

Wolfe's variety hasn't ever been extra stunning, his wit by no means extra prepared. He addresses the scope of contemporary paintings, from its founding days as summary Expressionism via its changes to Pop, Op, minimum, and Conceptual. The Painted observe is Tom Wolfe "at his such a lot smart, fun, and irreverent" (San Francisco Chronicle).

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Fifty opposed to one hundred forty million! attractive; he had outHartleyed Marsden Hartley; Hartley's scouting document at the enemy again in 1921 indexed purely ninety million. It was once all sheer rhetoric, after all, the antibourgeois singalong of bohemia, general because the 1840s, as usual as respiring through now and really marvelously with out any rational content-and but Greenberg pulled it off with-well, not only with authority yet with ethical authority. whilst Greenberg spoke, it was once as though no longer in simple terms the way forward for artwork have been at stake however the very caliber, the very danger, of civilization in the USA. His fury appeared to pop out of an implacable insistence on purity. He observed Modernism as heading towards a undeniable inevitable end, via its personal inner good judgment, simply as Marxists observed Western society as heading irrevocably towards the dictatorship of the proletariat and an resulting nirvana. In Greenberg's eyes, the Freight teach of artwork heritage had a particular vacation spot. He known as for "self-criticism" and "self-definition"-" self-definition with a vengeance," he acknowledged. It was once time to transparent the tracks eventually of all of the final rubble of the pre- 40 The Painted observe glossy approach of portray. And simply what used to be this vacation spot? in this element Greenberg could not were clearer: Flatness. the overall concept went as follows: because the Cubists and different early Modernists had competently learned, a portray used to be now not a window by which you can peer into the gap. The 3-dimensional results have been sheer phantasm (et ergo ersatz). A portray was once a flat floor with paint on it. previous summary artists had understood the significance of flatness within the basic experience of portray in dimensions, yet they hadn't identified the way to transcend that. They nonetheless used paint in this type of approach that it divided smartly into traces, kinds, contours, and colours, simply because it had in pre-Modern days. What was once wanted used to be purity-a sort within which traces, types, contours, colours all turned unified at the flat floor. This company of flatness grew to become fairly a subject matter; an © 1973 Arnold Newman Clement Greenberg Greenberg, Rosenberg & Flat forty-one obsession, one may well say. The query of what an artist might or couldn't do with no violating the primary of Flatness-"the integrity of the image plane," because it turned known-inspired such sophisticated differences, such exquisitely miniaturized hypotheses, such stereotactic microelectrode needle-implant hostilities, such superb if ever-decreasing tighter-turning spirals of good judgment . .. that it compares admirably with the main recognized of all questions that stay from the debates of the Scholastics: "How many angels can dance at the head of a . .? " pm many of the thought as much as 1950 used to be GREENBERGIAN in beginning. input Rosenberg. Rosenberg got here up with the next synthesis, a thought that mixed Greenberg's formal purity with anything that were missing in summary artwork from the early artificial Cubist days and ever in view that: specifically, the emotional wallop of the previous sensible pre-Modern images. This used to be a question that Harold Rosenberg 42 The Painted observe had Picasso during the Nineteen Thirties.

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