Art and Objecthood BY Michael Fried

I borrowed this book by Michael Fried from library after a lecture, the essay Art and Objecthood is very inspiring for me, Judd’s claim of having definite whole view of a work and discarding visual, pictorial element; or Greenburg’s claim of non-art materials to be art; or the concept of value and quality…though this essay was written 60 years ago, the world of art has already been changed, some ideas are still interesting to see.

Here are my notes on the essay:

-Literalist art belongs rather to the natural history, it is an expression of general and pervasive condition

-Literalist case against painting

①ubiquitousness, relational character of almost all paintings

②virtual inescapability of pictorial illusion

-Donald Judd thinks you should have a definite whole and maybe not parts, not a vague whole with definite parts on a canvas

-elements inside the rectangle correspond closely to the rectangle, which is a definite form but no longer a neutral limit

-actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface

-Judd’s term of anthropomorphism: sculptures with specific elements separate from the whole, thus sets relationship within the work.

-the gestalt simply is the constant, known shape

-Greenburg claims that the borderline between art and non-art sought to be 3D, like sculpture, and where everything material that was not art also was.

-the literalist espousal of objecthood is a plea for a new genre of theatre, and theatre is now the negation of art

–the awareness of scale is a function of the comparison made between that constant, one’s body size, and the object. Physical participation becomes necessary

-Tony Smith’s conviction that painting were finished, “there is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it.”→no way to make sense of it in terms of art, to make art of it; but as its happens, as it merely is

-War between theatrical and pictorial, is not a matter of program and ideology but of experience, conviction and sensibility

-Anthony Caro→an emphasis on abstractness, on radical unlikeness to nature

-Use of colour in sculpture:Jules Olitski→simply to translate his paintings into sculpture, to use painting as a medium of sculpture

-Claim of war between modernist and theatricality:

①the success of arts has come increasingly to depend on their ability to defeat theatre

②art degenerates as it approaches the condition of theatre

③the concept of quality and value

-materials do not represent, signify, or allude to anything, they are just what they are

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