Clement Greenberg "Modernist Painting"

1062 WordsNov 6, 20125 Pages
Clement Greenberg, “Modernist Painting” In his text entitled “Modernist Painting”, Greenberg focuses on the development of painting between the 14th and 19th century and emphasizes on what distinguishes Modernist painting from previous forms of painting, particularly those of the Old Masters. Greenberg begins by relating Modernist art to Kantian philosophy claiming that, the same way Kant used reason in order to examine the limits of reason, Modernist art is when art became self critical because it uses the technique of art to draw attention to its status as art. Indeed, he explains how without this self-examination similar to that of Kant’s reflection on Philosophy, art would’ve been “assimilated to […] therapy” like religion, because…show more content…
An Old Master’s painting provides for the viewer the possibility of being part of the space created as an illusion of depth by the painters, and this in itself characterizes how these painters found their own different way of challenging painting compared to what it previously used to be, by breaking the limits of painting defined by the medium. And on the contrary, Modernist paintings focusing on the flatness of the pictorial plane give the viewer the possibility to travel through the painting “only with the eye” (experienced by Manet and Impressionist painters). But, Greenberg insists that being self-critical doesn't suggest that leading painting into the extreme abstraction is the answer to Modernist painting (he gives the example of Kandinsky and Mondrian). Taking following extreme cases of abstraction, when speaking of Pollock’s work such as his ”Autumn Rhythm” (1950), we realize how the visual formed is fully based on science and gravity that permits the dripping and pouring of the paint on the horizontal canvas. But, by walking around/on the canvas we can argue Greenberg’s analysis and suppose that the painter possibly connects with it, he gets drowned in the act and merges inside the painting while mechanically pouring paint on the canvas. This means that even though the painter tries to focus on the flatness of the painting rather than the content and is physically detached from the canvas, this focus cannot erase an emotional
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