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"Narrative Essay On Parallel Developments In Modern Art"
Narrative Essay On Parallel Developments In Modern Art
Raymon Androckitis
The notion that modern art developed in multiple cultures and nations is one that needs to be further explored. This stands in marked contrast to prevailing art history doctrine- lionized by the art establishment, which rose to fame and power in the last century. Their view of modernism, going back to the early 20th century, credits Western Europe and later New York (post WW II) as the primary influencers in defining the art of today. While many of those historians acknowledged modernist developments elsewhere, they were quick to denounce them as derivatives of the west, and therefore inferior. The primary reason for this position was not racism or cultural ignorance, but rather total absorption with the prevailing art philosophy of the time- that art should ultimately serve a higher or absolute ideal. This view was reinforced by Clement Greenberg, well known critic and advocate of the 1950's New York abstract abstractionist school of art, which swept the art world at the time. A product of their times, these philosophies contributed greatly to the discourse on art, but have become out of date with current art thinking. This essay attempts to delineate some of these values and bring them into our present world.

In socio-cultural terms perhaps it appears the mainstream art world moves slowly, but that is only because it is often so far ahead of our culture and time. As an example, while America was basking in post WWII prosperity, including the rise of suburbs, American family values, Leave it to Beaver, etc. the art world was embracing Jackson Pollock, William de Kooning and other abstract artists way ahead of prevailing cultural norms. Looking at these movements today, we can analyze their philosophies and ideals and put them into a current context. During these times, art was on a philosophical...

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