The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005

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9781566637084: The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005

Widely acknowledged as the most authoritative art critic of his generation, Hilton Kramer advanced his comments and judgments largely in the form of essays and short pieces. Thus this first collection of his work to appear in twenty years is a signal event for the art world and for criticism generally.

The Triumph of Modernism not only traces the vicissitudes of the art scene but diagnoses the state of modernism and its vital legacy in the postmodern world. Mr. Kramer bracingly updates his incisive critique of the artists, critics, institutions, and movements that have formed the basis for modern art. Appearing for the first time in greatly expanded form is his consideration of the foundations of modern abstract painting and the future of abstraction.

The aesthetic intelligence that Mr. Kramer brings to bear on certain tired assumptions about modernism—many of them derived from methodologies and politics that have little to do with art—helps rescue the artwork itself and its appreciation from the very institutions, such as the art museum and the academy, that purport to foster it.

Always clear-eyed and vastly illuminating, Hilton Kramer’s art criticism remains among the very finest written in the past hundred years. Readers of The Triumph of Modernism will be treated to an exhilarating experience.

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About the Author:

Hilton Kramer was co-editor and co-publisher of The New Criterion, which he founded in 1982. He had also been editor of Arts Magazine, art critic for The Nation, chief art critic for the New York Times, and art critic for the New York Observer. His other books include The Twilight of the Intellectuals, The Age of the Avant-Garde, and The Revenge of the Philistines. He died in 2012.

Review:

Bracing art criticism. . . . In his enlightening, stimulating, and uncompromising essays, Kramer accords art the serious and critical attention it deserves. (Donna Seaman Booklist)

Delicious jeremiads attacking the meretricious, fad-obsessed art world of today. . . . Mr. Kramer packs his reviews and essays with telling anecdotes. (Stephen Goode The Washington Times)

An event: The first collection of Hilton Kramer's art criticism to appear in twenty years displays his great command of subject and historical undergirding. Here is an incisive critique of the artists, critics, institutions, and movements that have formed the basis for modern art. (The New York Review Of Books)

Splendid collection . . . Kramer is luminously intelligent when he discusses the great modernists. (Jeffrey Hart The American Conservative)

Arresting and perceptive judgments displaying Kramer's Modernist tastes. (The New York Times)

Kramer's book is erudite, principled, and well written. . . . This book would be especially valuable for anyone conducting a course in either aesthetics or art criticism . . . it should be on the 'must read' list for every museum director. (Marie L. Meegan Naea News)

Everything Hilton Kramer writes is marked by his bracing intelligence and penetrating judgment. No one could doubt his distinction as an art critic—but he raises broad social and cultural issues too, and fearlessly confronts. (John Gross)

A principled and discriminating champion of modern art. His hallmark as a critic is a scrupulous, often exquisite, concern for the aesthetic primacy of the object itself—that is, for the formal properties of a work of art—and secondarily for its place within the art of its time. (Michael J. Lewis)

Consistently a pleasure to read . . . faithful to the tradition of high intellectuality which flourished in mid-century America. (Kenneth Minogue Times Literary Supplement)

A vigorous intellect . . . broad taste and erudition. (Academic Questions)

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