Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 02:01:10 -0500 From: ostrow-AT-is2.nyu.edu (Ostrow/Kaneda) Subject: Re: new thread Eric Wrote > >As to the reasons you are on this list - let us hear about them and >perhaps we could start a fresh thread. > I was seeking some thoughtful criticism of the following statement: By assigning the task of keeping Culture from becoming anything more than an assemblage of effects, conventions and simulations to the Avant-Garde Greenberg hopes to keep it from turning into kitsch or becoming a palpable form of entertainment. Hadn't the innovations of the previous generations of Avant-Garde artists already been turned into novel effects and banal devices for a growing audience of "middle-class" intellectuals with middle brow tastes and views? This revision necessitates that he represent the Avant Garde (regardless of the personal beliefs of individual artists) as de-classed, non-political. Their work stands in opposition to those whose desire of acceptance or advocacy of politics would demean culture. This transformation of the Avant Garde from rebels to standard bearers, makes their abandonment of craft and traditional means into something positive. Rather than attacking the authority of tradition, they are portrayed as only discarding the non-essential or the banal, thus recuperating and redeeming tradition and therefor the maintainers of bourgeois Ideals. Modernism in turn is no longer defined as an anarchistic process of negation, but as an on going practice by which the quality of Art and Culture is maintaimed by means of an "essentialist" and seemingly "deterministic" process. Things did not end here, Greenberg stops making any overt references to "Marxism" and its pre-requisite class analysis. In its place he inserts a materialist interpretation of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment . It is from the methodologically (self- criticism), teleogically (the realization of the thing in its self) as well as content wise (the aesthetic experience), perspective that Kant affords him, that he views Modernism's idealist striving for autonomy as a form of dissent and a means of consciousness raising. In Greenberg's transcendental schema, the consciousness Art induces is produced by and in turn produces a desire for the authentic. Like Adorno, Greenberg believed that this consciousness because it is capable of grasping the authentic within its changing forms, will contribute to overcoming the alienation and abjectification induced by Capital.
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