Most Famous Essays
(As the writer Mary Mc Carthy said, “You can’t hang an event on your wall.”) In fact, the dominance of the term “abstract expressionism” over “action painting,” which seemed more applicable to Pollock and Willem de Kooning than any other members of the New York School, is emblematic of the influence of formalist discourse.Notable Quote The justification for the term, “abstract expressionist,” lies in the fact that most of the painters covered by it took their lead from German, Russian, or Jewish expressionism in breaking away from late Cubist abstract art.By 1965, however, Rose recognized a limitation of the theory as outlined by Greenberg—that it was reductionist and only capable of account for a certain where Rose was a contributing editor, Rose opens up formalism to encompass sculpture, which Greenberg was largely unable to account for.The simple idea that art moves toward flatness and abstraction leads, for Rose, into Minimalism, and “ABC Art” is often considered the first landmark essay on Minimalist art.(Pollock’s paintings exhibited in 1954, with which he returned to semi-representational form, were regarded by Greenberg as a regression.This lead him to adopt Barnett Newman as his new poster-boy, despite the artist’s possessing vastly different ideas on the nature of painting.
His gesture completes itself without arousing either an opposing movement within itself nor the desire in the artist to make the act more fully his own.
Like many critics in the 1950s and 60s, Barbara Rose had clearly staked her allegiance to one camp or the other.
She was, firmly, a formalist, and along with Fried and Rosalind Krauss is largely credited with expanding the theory beyond abstract expressionist painting.
As part of the larger “culture wars” of the mid-century, art critics began to take on greater influence than they’d ever held before.
For a time, two critics in particular—who began as friends, and remained in the same social circles for much of their lives—set the stakes of the debates surrounding the maturation of American art that would continue for decades.