Alfred H. Barr, Jr.: Cubism and Abstract Art: Painting, Sculpture, Constructions, Photography, Architecture, Industrial Art, Theatre, Films, Posters, Typography (1936)

16 September 2016, dusan

The catalogue of the first MoMA’s retrospective of modernism, held 2 March-19 April 1936, laid the theoretical foundation of the museum. Its jacket contains a notorious chart of modernist art history, the Diagram of Stylistic Evolution from 1890 until 1935.

“The catalogue remains an important historical document (as does that for Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism). It set abstraction within a formalist framework that—ignoring the intellectual byways of French symbolism, German idealism, and Russian Marxism of the previous thirty years—was shaped by the scientific climate that had started a century before. … The exhibition together with the widespread dissemination of its influential catalogue, established Cubism as the central issue of early modernism, abstraction as the goal.” (Sybil Gordon Kantor, 2003)

The exhibition later traveled to another 7 cities: San Francisco, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Baltimore, Providence, and Grand Rapids.

Publisher Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1936
249 pages
via MoMA

Commentary: Meyer Schapiro (Marxist Quarterly, 1937), Susan Noyes Platt (Art Journal, 1988), Astrit Schmidt Burkhardt (Word & Image, 2000).

Publisher (incl. master checklist and press releases)
WorldCat

PDF (47 MB)

Tomáš Štraus: Umenie dnes: pokus o kritickú esej (1968) [Slovak]

14 January 2014, dusan

A critical review of the arts of the 1960s by the Slovak art theorist and historian Thomas Strauss (1931–2013).

“Je ťažké, ba priam nemožné rozlíšiť, kde končí sféra dejín prekračujúcich prah čerstvej až najčerstvejšej súčasnosti. Nejde tu len o nový, ustavične sa rozmnožujúci a neohraničený materiál, ktorý ešte nestačil vykryštalizovať a primerane spevnieť, aby sa mohol stať predmetom chladnej analytickej vedeckej pozornosti. Ide predovšetkým o stanovisko a metódu. Predkladaná práca sa hlási k dedičstvu — ako sa u nás doposiaľ hnevlivo hovorí — ‘neobjektívnych’ a ‘nehistorických’, to znamená horúcou ihlou bezprostredného zážitku zošívaných prieskumov novej tvorby. Od Herberta Reada po povedzme Jindřicha Chalupeckého (ktorému som navyše zaviazený i za konkrétne pripomienky k rukopisu) je veľký rozptyl autorov, ktorí v posledných desaťročiach uvažujú o umení — dnes. Priznávam sa k tejto tradícii programovo už i vlastným titulom práce.” (from the Foreword)

With Russian and English summaries (pp 159-162 & 163-165)
Publisher Vydavateľstvo politickej literatúry, Bratislava, February 1968
Volume 2 of Monoskop Unlimited Edition series
185 pages

Interview with the author (Daniel Grúň, Kritika & Kontext, 2005, in Slovak)

PDF (70 MB, no OCR)

R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)

18 November 2013, dusan

“R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism.”

Publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 2008
ISBN 1554580285, 9781554580286
480 pages

Review (David Sterritt, Quarterly Review of Film and Video)

Publisher

PDF