The Transformation of the Avant-Garde: The New York Art World, 1940-1985

Diana Crane, Author University of Chicago Press $24.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-226-11789-8
Can a true avant-garde artist redefine the content or techniques of art while creating works devoid of meaning? Most postwar avant-garde artists in the U.S. have done just that by excluding humanistic values and social commentary from their works, according to this quietly devastating survey. Aided by 32 reproductions, Crane, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on seven styles: abstract expressionism, pop, minimalism, late '60s figurative painting, photorealism, pattern painting, neo-expressionism. She finds that nuances of interpersonal relationships are largely absent from modern representational pictures. She also shows how the influx of corporate funds greatly expanded the art market and examines the gatekeeper role of New York galleries and museums in giving credence to synthetic styles. Despite its academic prose, this useful, disturbing study will reward anyone concerned with modern art. (October)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-0-226-11790-4
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