Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg's Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses
By: Caroline Jones (author)Paperback
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One of the most influential and provocative art critics of the twentieth century, Clement Greenberg propelled abstract expressionist painting - in particular the monumental work of Jackson Pollock - to a leading position in an international postwar art world. Caroline A. Jones' magisterial study widens Greenberg's fundamental tenet of opticality - the idea that modernist art is apprehended through "eyesight alone" - to a broader arena, examining how the critic's emphasis on the specular resonated with a society increasingly invested in positivist approaches to the world.Jones argues that Greenberg's modernist discourse developed in relation to the rationalized procedures that gained wide currency in the United States at midcentury, in fields ranging from the sense-data protocols theorized by scientific philosophy to the development of cultural forms, such as hi-fi, that targeted specific senses, one by one. Greenberg's attempt to isolate and celebrate the visual was one manifestation of a large-scale segmentation or bureaucratization of the body's senses.
"Eyesight Alone" offers artists, art historians, and twentieth-century art lovers a critical history of this essential thinker that brings his work into dialogue with contemporary critical discourse, illuminating the contested history of modernism itself.
Caroline A. Jones is professor of art history and director of the History, Theory, and Criticism section in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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- ID: 9780226409535
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