Other Criteria

Other Criteria : Confrontations with Twentieth Century Art

4.34 (55 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Hardback | 446 pages
  • 166.9 x 231.9 x 28.2mm | 1,309.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 278ill.
  • 0195015770
  • 9780195015775

Review Text

"Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public" is the title of the first essay in this collection but it is the underlying theme of all that follows. Steinberg's concern for the public and its betrayal by the critics and academicians animates his scholarship with a rare sympathy, making him analogous to Randall Jarrell, the poet-critic who waged holy war against the "New Critics" of literature and their formalist obsessions. But where Steinberg differs with Jarrell is in his continued commitment to the theoretical assumptions of his opponents. In the end Steinberg too is another apologist for the art his critical foes have ranked as important. His subjective appraisal of Jasper Johns, written in 1962 when the issue was still hot, is as dated as the neo-dada exuberance of the "happenings" era. He is more successful with Picasso, Matisse or De Kooning because no defense is necessary and his exegesis of individual works like Picasso's The Women of Algiers, O or Rodin's Adam, a blend of traditional art history, subjective involvement and mild revisionism, is literate and informative. His extended exploration of Picasso's themes and his refutation of Clement Greenburg's theory of dimensionality as the essence of modern art are the creative spine of the book. But this is a "big" book and such a slender conceptual reed can hardly sustain it. To Steinberg every issue is an "open question" - admirably tolerant, he fails to exclude any possibility, leaving readers with the same "plight" he began with, a chaos of random criteria. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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55 ratings
4.34 out of 5 stars
5 49% (27)
4 38% (21)
3 11% (6)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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