By Christos M. Joachimides, David Anfam, Norman Rosenthal

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Its critical Clement Greenberg, later to champion the Abstract Fxpressionists, took up the theme of mass culture in his essay 'Avant-Garde and Kitsch', published in Paitisan He Revie-d' in 1939. attacks a cosv-^, representationalist art that could all too easily be co-opted by both the Soviet and the American versions of mass culture. Also in the pages of Paitisan Rroim- in the 1930s and the 1940s late we find parallels to Greenberg's argument in essays on literature and cinema by Philip Rahv (one of the editors), Dwight Alacdonald, Lionel are not the ordinar\- people often the most who Trilling, Fred Dupee and others.

Cummings, John Dos Passos and Malcolm Cowley had witnessed as ambulance drivers), and aesthetically numbed by the first real consumer boom and its accompanying middle-brow culture (symbolized by The Saturday Evening Post and The Reader's Digest), intellectuals with a less secure grasp of cultural politics than WTiether in bohemian enclaves New in Bourne preferred to turn their backs. York and Chicago or expatriated on the Left Bank in the centre of culture, Paris, these intellectuals cultivated a distanced sensibility rarely and a rehgion of art.

And beyond first in medium was the subject of the with the work. In Van Doesburg's modern series, the artist, woman question defences of abstract This was not the way Greenberg viewed abstraction. turning away altogether from subject-matter to 'the that the we might until displayed in progressively reduced to a composition of squares and oblongs (a pro- cess parodied a form- surface of the canvas. Abstraction ^-ow e\idently played a certain role in by Theo van Doesburg, the studio is the ine\itable result'.

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American Art in the 20th Century - Painting and Sculpture, 1913-1993 by Christos M. Joachimides, David Anfam, Norman Rosenthal


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