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Metonymy in Contemporary Art

Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New Paradigm

Denise Green
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Metonymy in Contemporary Art
    Book Description:

    Denise Green develops an original approach to art criticism and modes of creativity inspired by aspects of Australian Aboriginal and Indian thought. Interweaving her own evolution as an artist with critiques of Clement Greenberg and Walter Benjamin as well as commentary on artists such as Mark Rothko and Frank Stella, Green explores the concept of metonymic thinking and its relevance to contemporary painting.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9878-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 6-7)
    Denise Green
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 8-15)

    While completing the chapters and preparing to write an Introduction for this book I realized that one of the factors that motivated me to embark on this project was the discovery of Ramanujan’s writings. Ramanujan was a folklorist and linguist on the faculty of the University of Chicago, a MacArthur Fellow, a leading poet in English in India and an important translator of medieval Indian poetry. He wrote a rich and profound analysis of what he saw as the difference between Western and Indian thought.

    His key essay,Is there an Indian way of thinking?‚was the result of a...

  5. Chapter 1 Some Limitations of Clement Greenberg’s Writings: Referencing Aboriginal Vision
    (pp. 16-31)

    Clement Greenberg was one of the major art critics of the twentieth century and his ideas have great influence to this day. He wrote his most important essays for thePartisan Review inthe 1940s. Focusing on developments within Western culture from the nineteenth century onwards, he articulated a theory that defended Modernism and avant-garde culture. One of his key arguments was that art should be intrinsic to itself, purged of social and political intentions. He favored painting as pure form and colour that remained true to its medium. In the late 1930s his contact with Hans Hofmann led him...

  6. Chapter 2 A Critique of Walter Benjamin from a Globalist Perspective
    (pp. 32-43)

    In the 1970s the legacy of Walter Benjamin in the art world left myself and other painters struggling to overcome a sense of invisibility. I am compelled to address Benjamin’s ideas because his legacy adds to the crush of Western thought that shuts down the alternative patterns of aesthetic thinking that I am involved in. The barriers and prejudices that are in place, and that limit the understanding of painting, are in large part due to his enduring impact.¹

    Benjamin was an independent Marxist, a leading intellectual and literary critic writing in Germany in the 1930s, who was concerned with...

  7. Chapter 3 The Impact of Joseph Beuys
    (pp. 44-49)

    In the late 1960s, when I started painting in New York City, artists for the most part made no reference in their work to objects. For two decades the work seen in galleries and museums was non-representational. It was at this period that I discovered Joseph Beuys’s works on paper and attended his performances. His performance actions incorporated everyday objects with which he felt a strong personal connection. This was also true of his use of such mundane materials as fat and felt. I was especially struck by the fact that his drawings contained references to objects and I still...

  8. Chapter 4 Away from Australia: My Aesthetic in the 1970s
    (pp. 50-63)

    Artistic identity is formed as much by what you admire as what you reject. After four years in Paris, I arrived in New York in 1969. Artists from all parts of the world were drawn to New York, then the center of the art world. It was such a large city, but once they arrived they found that the art world was a small community. What was helpful for me was the opportunity of re-inventing myself through the encounter with different ideas, some of which I greatly admired and others that I shunned. In this way I was forced to...

  9. Chapter 5 Robert Motherwell: On Mark Rothko
    (pp. 64-73)

    DG: Was Rothko involved in ‘dialogue’ with other artists, or did he work in isolation?

    RM: On one side he was a very alienated person but then on the other, he saw more artists on a casual basis than any artist I’ve known. He was always deeply involved with a few intimate friendships. One was with Clyfford Still, which broke up quite early. Another was with Barnett Newman which broke up several years later and one was with me - which lasted with fervor until at least the last two years of his life, when he was half out of...

  10. Chapter 6 The 1980s: Asia and its Influence. The Indian Experience
    (pp. 74-91)

    My experience in India proved to be a counterweight to many of the artistic and intellectual trends dominant in the New York art world at the end of the 1970s. Unlike the art world in the West, which is concerned with the avant-garde and ultimately values the new, what I found in India was an honouring of ancient traditions. There are three important experiences through which I realised my encounter with India differed from my immersion in American and European culture. The Kathakali dance, the social spectacle of colour and the geometry of the stepwells in the state of Gujarat...

  11. Chapter 7 An Alternative Paradigm: Developing an Aesthetic for the 1990s
    (pp. 92-99)

    The early 1990s was a turning point in both my work and my career. Since there was a severe economic recession in New York City at that time, it seemed pointless to expect major galleries to actively shape an artist’s career. I therefore took the deliberate and strategic decision to attempt to have my work recognized in Europe. This meant learning to function as a painter in a European context and to write and speak reflectively about my art and my experience as an artist. My long-term goal was to ensure that my work would become the subject of museum...

  12. Chapter 8 Painterly Thought and the Unconscious: Interviews with Alex Katz, Frank Stella, Dorothea Rockburne and Barry Le Va
    (pp. 100-125)

    Artists can be inspired in many ways. Sometimes it is the spectacle of a foreign place, for instance the effect Morocco had on Matisse, or it can be the interaction with other works of art or past traditions such as Brice Marden’s empathy with Tung Chi’i Ch’ang, the sixteenth-century Chinese painter and theorist. Sometimes it is through dialogue with other artists. Robert Wilson, for instance, finds collaboration with artists like David Byrne, Lucinda Childs, Heiner Muller and Isabelle Huppert to be inspiring.

    There are also times when an artist’s work changes suddenly, or radically, or subtly - and a radical...

  13. Chapter 9 Seeing the Attack: 11 September 2001
    (pp. 126-132)

    I was in the studio the day of the attack. I got there early, having just returned from a vacation in Venice. A large two-panel canvas was leaning against the wall waiting to be started. My studio looks both north and west. The windows that face west have views to the south. About 8.45 am I heard police sirens and saw fire trucks heading down Varick Street. On Canal Street everyone had stopped walking. They were looking south toward Wall Street, gazing up at the sky. They looked shocked. I moved immediately to the windows at the back of the...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 133-133)
  15. Index
    (pp. 134-136)