Art and Discontent: Theory at the Millennium

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9780929701134: Art and Discontent: Theory at the Millennium
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In the wake of a disappearing “Modernism” and with an unpredictable “post-Modernism” confounding the art establishment, a world-renowned critic proposes a new vision for the critical enterprise. Thomas McEvilley confronts, in these six straightforward essays, the ideas and philosophies which have exalted art above constructive involvement in the world for two centuries. The formalist aesthetics of Clive Bell, Roger Fry, Clement Greenberg, and Susan Sontag are specifically criticized, revealing their buried assumptions and agenda. The persistence of the Romantic idea of Self is discovered at the heart of Modernism along with ideas of Spirit secretly enshrined in the distinction between abstraction and representation. Mr. McEvilley goes on to shed new light on the roots of Modernism, the collapse of the idea of history, and the subsequent development of a global discourse. He brings to Art & Discontent a commanding knowledge of Greek and Egyptian art, Western and non-Western philosophies, and the most avant garde of contemporary art and artists. In explaining why our Modernism was not unique and why it is being superseded, McEvilley suggests the functions that art can perform in a post-Modern culture and offers compelling reasons why the history of art needs to be rewritten from a thoroughly renewed perspective.

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About the Author:

Thomas McEvilley received a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Cincinnati and taught at Rice University from 1969 to 2005. He has written hundreds of articles, catalogue essays, and reviews in the field of contemporary art, as well as important monographs on Yves Klein, Jannis Kounellis, Anish Kapoor, among others. A contributing editor to Artforum since 1982, he has also served as editor-in-chief of Contemoranea. Author of three published novels, most recently the controversial North of Yesterday (also with McPherson & Company), he has published a book of poems and made various contributions to literary magazines. In addition to a fourth novel in progress, Dr. McEvilley recently published The Shape of Ancient Thought: A Comparative Study of Greek and Indian Philosophies, and The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance Art in the Formation of Post-Modernism.

Review:

McEvilley is opting for a new metaphysics in which content rises above the banality of empty eilitism. -- MEANING

This is not a collection of past articles but a carefully assembled volume... In the last essay, “Father the Void,” McEvilley offers what could well become a credo for '90s art criticism: “The critic will come to see art as culture and culture as anthropology. Anthropology in turn will increasingly become a means of critiquing one's own inherited cultural stances rather than firing value judgments in all directions.” --Arts

Each of the six essays offered here... represents the author's ambitious attempt to demonstrate that contemporary criticism maintains a place in the continuum of the history of ideas.--Journal of Art

Illuminating and insightful rather than analytic and argumentative. --Small Press Book Review

The sort of wide-angle view of contemporary art that can help bring some of the barking and bickering [about post-Modernism] into perspective.-- New York Press

A thoroughly useful lantern in the bramble, a clear call for attention to meaning in art. --Cover

Each of the six essays offered here... represents the author's ambitious attempt to demonstrate that contemporary criticism maintains a place in the continuum of the history of ideas.--Journal of Art

Illuminating and insightful rather than analytic and argumentative. --Small Press Book Review

The sort of wide-angle view of contemporary art that can help bring some of the barking and bickering [about post-Modernism] into perspective.-- New York Press

A thoroughly useful lantern in the bramble, a clear call for attention to meaning in art. --Cover

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9780929701318: Art and Discontent: Theory at the Millennium (Documentext)

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ISBN 10:  0929701313 ISBN 13:  9780929701318
Publisher: McPherson, 1993
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