Jean-Paul RIOPELLE, L'hommage à Rosa Luxemburg

Jean-Paul RIOPELLE, L'hommage à Rosa Luxemburg, 1992 (détail)[ * ]

On the Permanent Immaturity of Art:
Aesthetic Modernism with Apologies to Kant
Eric Dayton

In what follows I offer an interpretation of the puzzle posed by Greenberg’s failure to come to terms with the explosion of postmodernist experimentation in the 1960’s. Greenberg, one of the most influential critics of the immediately preceding period and a strong supporter of New York abstract expressionism and color field painting, is indelibly associated with of modernist schools of painting. His short essay, “Modernist Painting” [1] valorized precisely these movements and was a tour de force catapulting Greenberg into critic superstar status; it is still one of the central documents in debates about modernism. Because Greenberg there makes references to Kant’s aesthetics in identifying the virtues of modernism his account is usually interpreted in terms of the formalism of the period and Kant’s analytic of the beautiful. This offers a reading of Greenberg as a formalist and as identifying modernism with a concern for the formal properties of art, the flatness of the picture frame and the formal relations between the aesthetic properties. Greenberg was also celebrated as having a legendary acuteness of aesthetic appreciation—a critical eye penetrating immediately to a work’s aesthetic depth.

“Modernist Painting” was delivered as a radio lecture in 1960 and was reprinted several times during the 60s. At the very same time artistic movements which would later become identified as post-modernist—in contrast to Greenberg’s modernism—pop art, op art, happenings, performance art, and the like, were contesting the serious, formal focus of Modernist abstraction replacing it with assemblages of pop-cultural items, jokes, playful borrowings and deliberately erasing the boundaries between high and popular art by bringing genres like mysteries, science fiction, popular film into the art world. Famously, Greenberg failed to navigate these currents and sank like a stone. The puzzle is why? Did Greenberg’s commitment to a Kantian style of formalism blind him to the new possibilities for making art? Did his “eye”—acutely trained but aimed at too narrow a target—fail him? Or was it just that, as Greenberg appeared to think, the new postmodern work was worthless crap?

In this paper I take the view that Kant’s contribution to Greenberg’s account of modernism is more complex than is usually appreciated. I argue that Greenberg deploys Kant not so much to define artistic properties—the subject of the Analytic of the Beautiful,the text so closely associated with formalism—as to engage in a legitimation discourse defending the very right of art to exist. This suggests that it is not only Kant’s third critique which informs Greenberg’s modernism, but also Kant’s writing on emancipation and political legitimacy. It also suggests that Greenberg’s modernism is large enough as a theory to encompass the “postmodern” movements which he was unable to appreciate, and so, for his failure, we must blame not his Kantianism but his eye.

Reflection on Greenberg’s deferential employment of Kant in his vastly influential piece “Modernist Painting” reveals a curious doubleness. The piece is widely read as a manifesto of high modernist formalism, but the conception of artistic value we find there appeals to formalist considerations packaged inside an historicist context in a decidedly unstable equilibrium. This double appeal raises the question of whether Greenberg’s explicit invocation of Kant in the piece is compatible with his broader commitments to a more Hegelian critical modernism which locates value in an historical narrative. This, of course, is not a novel thought, indeed the doubleness we can find in Greenberg appears in other modernist writers and even in Kant, and has been subjected to considerable attention. On the other hand, it seems to me to offer us resources for understanding the puzzle which Greenberg’s place in the art world poses for us. Greenberg is often considered America’s most important 20th century critic, someone equipped with an unerring eye and possessing a keen grasp of the historical irruption of Modernity, but he seemed unable to appreciate the exuberant waves of artistic experimentation in the sixties either ocularly or theoretically. If this is a failure, then of what kind is it?

To answer this puzzle in a productive way it will be useful to spend some time attempting to open up this doubleness. Greenberg introduces Modernism as covering “almost the whole of what is truly alive in our culture” [2] and yet as a unique event, the emergence of cultural self-criticism as Kantian critique. He begins by identifying Modernism with the self-critical tendency that he sees as originating with Kant saying, “Because he was the first to criticize the means itself of criticism, I conceive of Kant as, the first real Modernist.” [3] So while Kant is deeply identified with the Enlightenment project, Greenberg identifies in Kant’s use of a discipline’s methods to criticise the discipline itself, a deeper form of criticism and indeed a break from the enlightenment.  So while the self-criticism of Modernism grows out of the criticism of the Enlightenment they are not the same. “The Enlightenment criticized from the outside, the way criticism in its accepted sense does; Modernism criticizes from the inside, through the procedures themselves of that which is being criticized.” [4]

From this apparently simple beginning it is but a step for him to notice the failure of religion to engage in modernist self-criticism and its subsequent collapse into therapy, then to pose the task of self-criticism to Art, and from there to argue that what is essential in art is its medium. “Modernist Painting” was atour de force as an advertisement for abstract expressionism, but here my interest lies in Greenberg’s deceptively simple account of the modern as contrasted with the enlightenment.

To unpack what I have in mind I want to turn briefly to three related texts. I want first to look at Kant’s astonishing (1784) essay, “Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” [5] with which Greenberg’s piece has deep resonances. [6] I then want to turn to Foucault’s explicit commentary on Kant’s text, “What is Enlightenment?” [7], and finally to Lyotard’s implicit commentary, “Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?” [8] Both of these commentaries were published in English in 1984 or approximately midway between “Modernist Painting” and the present, distant enough both from Greenberg’s text and present concerns to provide an informed and suitably distanced conception of both Modernism and the Postmodern. We will see then, I think, an argument that Greenberg is right to claim Kant to be the first modernist (indeed we will see perhaps that Kant—is only retrospectively, of course—the first postmodernist). After this I want to close with some minimal and conservative remarks about the compatibility of Greenberg’s account of Modernism and postmodern art and the relation of his theory and eye.

Kant, of course, does not use the word “modern” in his little essay nor was it available in its present meaning in his time; his overt topic is to answer the question, “What is enlightenment?” Kant does not identify enlightenment with the mere attainment of knowledge. Instead, his answer boldly put is that enlightenment is humanity’s emergence or exit from a self-imposed immaturity, which he in turn characterises as the inability to use reason without obedience to the rule of another, an inability which is self-imposed because it rests not on a failure to understand but the lack of resolve or courage to use reason without the guidance of another. To be enlightened is thus to be internally self-directed, to think for oneself. Enlightenment must also be a social historical process; historically individuals have been subject to external authorities, by paternalistic governments, the learning from antiquity and religious authorities. The social practice of thinking critically requires a level of openness, education and freedom. But this is not enough. This is a simple statement which has clear connections with Kant’s conception of moral autonomy, but one which is subject to a certain internal tension. In particular there is an ambiguity about the possible role of the subject. The subject is humanity, or human kind, but the immaturity specified is the sort which can only be overcome by the agency, and within the life, of the human individual. Suitable external social arrangements, of course, make it easier for individuals to effect an exit from human immaturity and become autonomous—and so Enlightenment ideas aimed at fostering social conditions of human freedom are a prerequisite to the possibility of autonomy. Kant’s focus on the resolute action of the individual however makes it difficult for one to take these arrangements to be his subject. Foucault begins his commentary on Kant’s essay on this note by saying [9]

A minor text, perhaps. But it seems to me that it marks the discreet entrance into the history of thought of a question that modern philosophy has not been capable of answering, but that it has never managed to get rid of, either. And one that has been repeated in various forms for two centuries now. From Hegel through Nietzsche or Max Weber to Horkheimer or Habermas, hardly any philosophy has failed to confront this same question, directly or indirectly. What, then, is this event that is called the Aufklärung and that has determined, at least in part, what we are, what we think, and what we do today? Let us imagine that the Berlinische Monatschrift still exists and that it is asking its readers the question: What is modern philosophy? Perhaps we could respond with an echo: modern philosophy is the philosophy that is attempting to answer the question raised so imprudently two centuries ago: Was ist Aufklärung?

A conventional way of understanding Kant’s text is in terms of a characteristic idea of the Enlightenment, namely that all people have equal dignity by virtue of their (potential) autonomous agency. To be autonomous is to act on reasons which you give yourself, not out of inclination but out of respect for the moral law. As a citizen of a free society one’s freedom is structured and conditioned by laws, social roles and position, which one must obey, but as a self-determining thinker one’s thoughts are determined freely, so a mature citizen of a free society is both bound and free in an harmonious synthesis. Kant’s discussion of the private and public uses of reason addresses the question of which uses of reason hinder or require enlightenment. The public uses of reason must always be free though private uses may often be restricted; he puts the distinction like this: “I mean by the public use of one’s reason the use which a scholar makes of it before the entire reading public. Private use I call the use he may make of this reason in a civic post or office.” [10] Kant follows this distinction with an extended discussion of the ways in which the private use of reason may be rightly subject to regulation. Towards the end of the piece Kant asks whether we presently live in an enlightened age and answers no, but that we do live in anage of enlightenment, indeed the age of Frederick, a prince who rules but also exemplifies in his person the resolve of individual enlightenment. Kant thus concludes his essay on a note of muted optimism (tinged perhaps with irony).

But this optimism is difficult for us to share. As we well know citizens of states having public institutions which make freedom a public right may not act their age. Public institutions which eliminate religious authoritarianism and feudal class distinctions, and give the special sciences over to experts and laws to the lawmakers are not enough to lift the superstition and darkness of the past, which darkness gives the metaphor of enlightenment (as a world era in which everything has been subjected to illuminating critique) its force.

As Foucault notes, Kant does not pose the question of enlightenment in terms of a world era to which one belongs, or an event whose signs are perceived, nor the dawning of a social accomplishment, but negatively as a break, an exit offered to the individual as citizen, a project which must be forged with resolve and courage in the first person in the heart of each agent. It is in light of this fact that Foucault writes: [11]

...that this little text is located in a sense at the crossroads of critical reflection and reflection on history.  It is a reflection by Kant on the contemporary status of his own enterprise. No doubt it is not the first time that a philosopher has given his reasons for undertaking his work at a particular moment.  But it seems to me that it is the first time that a philosopher has connected in this way, closely and from the inside, the significance of his work with respect to knowledge, a reflection on history and a particular analysis of the specific moment at which he is writing and because of which he is writing.  It is in the reflection on ‘today’ as difference in history and as motive for a particular philosophical task that the novelty of this text appears to me to lie.

So said we may recognize a point of departure—the outline of what one might call the attitude of modernity. This returns us to the doubleness of Greenberg’s opening remarks. Modernist painting cannot simply be a technical exercise in aesthetic form or merely the product of an intellectual critique of what is essential to painting as a discipline. It is not enough to be the product of an internal critique; it must also partake in the eventful character of enlightenment—it must break with what has died and is no longer alive in the culture and, with courage and resolve, forge something new. Indeed this break must be performed by each artist in his or her own way freely. This also means that modernist painting does not merely partake in the fleeting moment, the dizzying vertigo of modernism as a simple break with the past, which Foucault attributes to Baudelaire when he defines modernity as “the ephemeral, the fleeting, the contingent.” For this is not all that he means; being modern does not consist only in recognizing and accepting this perpetual movement. On the contrary, to be modern is deliberately to adopt a certain difficult attitude with respect to this movement which: [12]

...consists in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it.  Modernity is distinct from fashion, which does no more than call into question the course of time; modernity is the attitude that makes it possible to grasp the ‘heroic’ aspect of the present moment.  Modernity is not a phenomenon of sensitivity to the fleeting present; it is the will to ‘heroize’ the present.

The problem, as we all know, is that along the way to modernization and external social arrangements which characterize a free society, a space opens up in the culture, an opportunity for the industries of pseudo-art and mass-entertainment, or Kitsch, as Greenberg characterised it, to entice the immature with the pseudo-freedom of mass conformity. In his 1939 article “Avant-garde and Kitsch” [13] Greenberg explained the emergence of Kitsch in terms of the academization of the arts and the routinization of cultural forms, due to the rise of literacy and capitalism—culture as product and consumption rather than as discovery and self-formation. The avant-garde emerges precisely as a consequence to defend aesthetic standards from the decline of taste which is the product of consumer culture. Of course by the time of “Modernist Painting” Greenberg no longer fully subscribed to his earlier account of the connection between Kitsch and the Avant-garde, but not all connection is lost. In his 1971 piece “Necessity of ‘Formalism’” [14], and even later in his “Modern and Postmodern” [15] we see Greenberg forging connections between the emergence of Modernism or the Avant-garde and a cultural crisis of aesthetic standards. In “Necessity of ‘Formalism’” Greenberg represents Modernism as an historical reaction to Romanticism, “Modernism defines itself in the long run not as a “movement,” much less a program, but rather as a kind of bias or tropism: towards esthetic value, esthetic value as such and as an ultimate.” At the same time he concludes the piece with the claim that “Quality, esthetic value originates in inspiration, vision, ‘content,’ not in ‘form.’...Yet ‘form’ not only opens the way to inspiration; it can also act as means to it; and technical preoccupations, when searching enough and compelled enough, can generate or discover ‘content.’” The newness of Modernism is thus a repudiation of sedimented ways of making content in favour of free creation.

In “Modern and Postmodern” he says, “Modernism appeared in answer to a crisis. The surface aspect of that crisis was a certain confusion of standards brought on by academicization of the arts everywhere except in music and prose fiction.” Above all Modernism is the break with all that is routine in the academy and a dedication to a renovation of standards and a reaffirmation of the past not by imitation but by emulation of what is great, but in new ways. It is not hard to see in these quotes a refusal and repudiation of the pseudo-art of mass cultural immaturity, which lives easily with dead forms and sentimental inclinations, an immaturity one can exit only through the door of modernist art.

Before moving on to more general discussion, which can now be given the provisional description of Modernism as the attempt to find aesthetic value “in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it”, I want to turn to the third text I mentioned above: Lyotard’s, “Answering the question: What is Postmodernism?” It may appear odd to treat this piece as an implicit commentary on Kant’s “Was ist Aufklärung?”, especially as it is most readily available to North Americans primarily as an appendix to his study of the condition of knowledge in highly developed societies for the government of Quebec, The Postmodern Condition, [16] which, after all, begins by defining postmodernism as incredulity towards the heroic meta-narratives of the Enlightenment, but the parallels with Kant’s essay are too exact and intentionally structured to be accidental.  For one thing, the incredulity to which Lyotard refers is, in a way, a kind of parallel to the exit from immaturity; here understood as uncritical trust in ‘freeing’ effects of the real.

But in any case, as we have seen, one of the problematic features of Kant’s essay, is that it is often incorrectly taken to imply that life really can be gathered together into a utopian cultural form (AKA, an Enlightened Age) in which the free maturity of the citizen is guaranteed. And it is precisely this problematic implication that forms Lyotard’s starting point, although it is Habermas rather than Kant to whom it is attributed in his essay. Modernism has failed, says Lyotard speaking for Habermas, to the extent the totality of life has splintered into independent specialities which are relegated to the narrow competence of experts. The remedy for the splintering of culture and its separation from concrete life must be sought in art, but art transformed into a unifying vehicle for healing the wounds of the separation of culture from life. It is clear from Lyotard’s sarcasm that he sees Habermas’s nostalgia for a 1960s form of cultural therapy as a utopian pipe-dream which offers no genuine vehicle for leaving immaturity behind.  And what follows this beginning is a discussion of the forms of immaturity characteristic of modernization and mass culture—an analysis of the pornographic degeneration of art into Kitsch which has strong affinities with Greenberg’s analysis 45 years earlier.

While the tone is more pessimistic—and why shouldn’t it be?—the message is similar. The culture industry feeds on and perpetuates the immaturity of the supposedly free citizen by offering endless devices for preserving consciousness from doubt and closing the door to enlightenment. As Lyotard puts it so colourfully: [17]

Industrial photography and cinema will be superior to painting and the novel whenever the objective is to stabilise the referent, to arrange it according to a point of view which endows it with a recognisable meaning, to reproduce the syntax and vocabulary which enable the addressee to decipher images and sequences quickly, so to easily arrive at the consciousness of his own identity as well as the approval he thereby receives from others.

To the artist Lyotard advises that if they do not wish be agents—insignificant agents—of what exists, they must refuse to lend themselves to therapeutic or pornographic uses of mass conformism.

While I do not want to carry this fragile parallel too far, Lyotard like Greenberg offers modern art as an exit from the immaturity of the culture industry, identifying as modern that art which devotes “its little technical expertise... to present the fact that the unpresentable exists.” And what then is the postmodern for Lyotard? It is undoubtedly part of the modern. He writes, “All that has been received, if only yesterday… must be suspected. What space does Cézanne challenge? The Impressionists’. What object do Picasso and Braque attack? Cézanne’s. What presupposition does Duchamp break with in 1912?  That which says one must make a painting, be it cubist.” [18] And so on. “A work”, he continues, “can become modern only if it is first postmodern. Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in its nascent state, and this state is constant.” For Lyotard the postmodern differs from the modern only strategically; the modern presents the unpresentable “only as missing contents; but the form, because of its recognizable consistency, continues to offer the viewer matter for solace and pleasure,” whereas the postmodern puts the unpresentable forward in the presentation itself. If the modern is the avant-garde the postmodern is its shock troops; but this is clearly a moving distinction dependent on the viewer’s location and not a distinction of kind. Because an artwork shelters the event of its making in material form and preserves it for re-appropriation by its audience, for a work to be modern it must be the product of a certain kind of artistic labour. Greenberg and Lyotard are both quite clear about the character of this labour. It is a labour which is the culmination of critical questioning of past works and the rules for making which those works establish. To refuse to re-examine those rules is to produce academic art, or Kitsch, imitations of outer form rather than emulations of what is at stake in art. The postmodern artist simply works with a shorter rope, working “without rules in order to formulate rules of what will have been done.” It is central to the comparison I am making here that the artists championed by Greenberg in “Modernist Painting” like Pollock, Newman, or Barnet were postmodern in just this sense.

Let us now pause to revisit the various accounts of modernism on offer with an eye to connecting the dots. We have seen a series of double definitions. First, internal critique of what is essential to a discipline together with the happening of what is truly alive in a culture. Second, the exit from immaturity by way of courage and resolve to make free use of cognitive powers. Third, the adoption of the difficult attitude which consists in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it. Finally, the struggle to use artistic techniques as devices for presenting the fact that the unpresentable exists. Not all equivalent statements to be sure, but there is enough unity to point in a certain kind of direction.

It is now time to move from the speculative identifications of Modernism and briefly take up the question of the consequences of these accounts for the connection between Modernism Postmodernism and the puzzle about Greenberg’s response to the riotous experimentation of the sixties, by assembling some observations which can give shape to an answer.

First, given what has been said, it seems to me that we could not accept any account of Modernism according to which aesthetic value resides solely in a set of formal or essential properties of a work the perception, or cognition, of which necessitate a positive judgement. Neither could aesthetic value be some quantity or kind of pleasure which someone receives from the work.  Both suggestions locate the work as a thing with no historical location and externalize value in a way which absolves it of the necessity to live, or open a door or to be resolute and courageously free. I take this to be a straight consequence of rejection of academicism. This would to deny that a work is, as Heidegger puts it, a happening in truth. No mere virtuosic technique is enough by itself to breath life into a work. At the same time our authors have as much as told us that it is by the deployment of technique, and the forging of new technique, that the work comes alive and presents the fact of the unpresentable or recaptures something eternal within the present instant.

Secondly, any account of aesthetic value needs to be able to account for the complicated fact that works of the past can continue to shine forth as art although they could not now be duplicated as art.  Mozart made art by composing music in the manner of Mozart, but no one today can make art by composing music in the manner of Mozart.  Pollock made paintings by composing paintings in the manner of Pollock, [19] but one cannot make art by imitating Pollock.  Art works are historical individuals which come alive only under certain conditions and which, presumably, can wither and die under others. This fact makes tradition and cultural literacy a crucial feature of aesthetic appreciation and at the same time necessitates a certain relativity in our understanding of the spaces in which genuine works can live. In a simple imaginary culture with a unified canon, agreement in judgement would be perfect, but the real possibility of this imaginative exercise is precisely what is denied by Kant’s (and the others’) modernist reflection on Aufklärung. A cultural life, in which freedom and the real coincide in the person of the free citizen, is an experiment in the imagination which can at best only be partially realized. That is because the happy citizens must freely and courageously agree in their thinking, which as Lyotard reminds us necessarily entails a certain amount of coercion, social control and hence terror, features which the imaginative experiment explicitly rules out. Fortunately, as Kant has told us, artistic judgement does not necessitate universal agreement but merely the idea of such agreement. The avant-garde is a kind of shock force of an imaginary future which its members experience with great vividness and which contains a wholeness existing only in artistic representation and experimentation; in short, existing in works and labour which come about as critique, by way of a critical response to past works which are losing their revolutionary character and the creation of works and cultural events connected as the happening of a new strand of the cultural life.

How much cultural knowledge does one need to appreciate one of these strands?  Clearly not very much: one of the principal and, I think, undeniable claims of postmodern aesthetics, is that popular cultural forms, in their diversity and localness, create adequate space for aesthetic engagement to happen and that high art has no monopoly on authentic self-transformation. Although explicit canonization, the development of notations and formal structures, can create a platform for artistic experimentation, there is an end to it; such platforms become too cumbersome to support spontaneous appreciation without induction (and indoctrination) in the tradition. One cannot imagine the architectural complexity of Beethoven’s works without explicit traditions of musical form involving composition using notation prior to and independently of performance, but at the same time there is no doubt that listeners do not need explicit training in this tradition or the techniques of composition to be drawn into an understanding of such music.

As sort of a conclusion let me say that I have attempted to place Greenberg’s account of Modernism in “Modernist Painting” in a context which shows it to be richer and more productive—more postmodern in Lyotard’s sense of the term—than it is usually taken to be. If that is true then the puzzle of Greenberg’s lack of sympathy with the riot of experimentation in popular culture which engulfed the art world in the sixties cannot be attributed to a simple inadequacy of his theoretical formulations. Perhaps the depth of his hostility to Kitsch and middle-brow sensibility kept him from appreciating the new experiments more clearly, or perhaps his wonderfully trained eye was too closely attuned to a specific set of formal features. If either hypothesis is correct there is little to criticise; the view that there is a singular place from which all of art is aesthetically available is, after all, just one more version of the fantasy of universal unforced agreement in the enlightened age. It is a great strength of Greenberg’s account of Modernism that it does not indulge in this fantasy.

In conclusion, let me briefly compare it to the tale told by Arthur Danto in his piece, “The End of Art” and elsewhere, that tale of the grand historical arc of Art beginning in the Renaissance, the context of which is explicitly teleological and Hegelian. Art as an historical phenomenon (an historical individual even) has a beginning and natural trajectory of growth and self completion, beginning in a search for its own inner nature and identity and coming to an end when it became fully self conscious of itself as art. By answering the question, what does it take to make something art, postmodern artists brought the history of art to a close and have left us in an ahistorical tedium in which anything goes and technique withers. The postmodern condition for Danto is then not what is most fully alive in the modern, but post-art, that which happens after Art is dead. This seems to me an important misunderstanding of the relation of modernism and postmodernism. The very idea of the end of art, like the idea of an enlightened age, is a fantasy. The fantasy of the end of art results from a refusal to take seriously the irony in Kant’s account of enlightenment and the doubleness at the heart of modernism.

Art, like political culture, is in a permanent state of immaturity, it never grows up or grows old or dies. In this way it is quite unlike the successive movements and individual works which are to art as waves on the great sea of human culture. This is because, like the ideal of a freely mature political culture, it is an ideal which can only be realised in the resolute and courageous exiting of immaturity by individuals who struggle together, and sometimes alone, to make the eternal happen in the present moment.



[1] Greenberg, Clement. “Modernist Painting,” Art and Literature, 1961.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Immanuel Kant. “Beantworten der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?”, in Berlinische Monatsschrift, December 1784, vol. IV, pp. 481-491, “Answer to the question : What is Enlightenment?” (translated Thomas K. Abbot.) in Basic Writings of Kant, edited by Allen W. Wood, The Modern Library, 2001.

[6] As we will see, it is the Kant of “Was ist Aufklärung?” rather than the Kant of the “Analytic of the Beautiful” who light on the present analysis of Greenberg’s position in “Modernist Painting”.

[7] Michael Foucault, "What is Enlightenment?" ("Qu'est-ce que les Lumières?"), in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow, New York, Pantheon Books, 1984, pp. 32-50.

[8] Jean-François Lyotard, "Answering the question: What is Postmodernism?” (translated by Régis Durand), in Ihab Hassan and Sally Hassan, eds., Innovation/Renovation: New Perspectives on the Humanities, pp. 329-341. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.

[9] Foucault, op. cit.

[10] Kant, op. cit.

[11] Foucault, op. cit.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Clement Greenberg, “Avant-garde and Kitsch” Partisan Review, 1939.

[14] Clement Greenberg, “Necessity of ‘Formalism’” New Literary History, Vol. 3, No. 1, Modernism and Postmodernism: Inquiries, Reflections, and Speculations. (Autumn, 1971), pp. 171-175.

[15] Clement Greenberg, “Modern and Postmodern” Arts 54, No.6 (February 1980).

[16] Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Foreword by Fredric Jameson. Theory and History of Literature, 10. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. (Translation into English by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi of La Condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir. Collection “Critique.” Paris: Minuit, 1979.)

[17] Lyotard, op. cit.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Pollock is rather unhelpful in describing what he does in composing a work, as when he says, “When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I am doing. It is only after a sort of “get acquainted” period that I see what I have been about.” [from possibilities, No. 1 (Winter, 1947-48)] Still, there is no question that he can be imitated and that imitating him is not a way to make art.


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