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Great moments in American painting : dogged looks from the other side of the fence Steiner, Shep 1997

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GREAT MOMENTS IN AMERICAN PAINTING: DOGGED LOOKS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE by Shepherd Francis Steiner B.A., The University of Alberta, 1988 M . A . The University of British Columbia, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T FOR T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R OF PHILOSOPHY I N T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E STUDIES D E P A R T M E N T OF FINE A R T We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E UNIVERSITY O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A October 1997 S>Shepherd Francis Steiner, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This thesis studies a unique development in modernist painting in the United States of America during the 1950s; the shift away from abstract expressionism, most vividly distilled in the work of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. In the context of the early Cold War, the appearance of Louis' first Veil series and Noland's Circle Paintings is no coincidence. They mark the onset of a new mood taking hold of the country in the years following World War II. Yet, if these colorful and deeply sensuous images seem to speak to a new optimism, to possibilities opened up, and to freedoms renewed, we would be missing the point. In fact, they are founded on a theory of expression that is not only critical of the surrounding culture, but stakes out the most pessimistic of positions possible in that culture. This thesis is an attempt to develop a series of hermeneutic frames for reading modernist abstraction in this negative light. In order to unpack these images I take recourse in the art criticism of Clement Greenberg; specifically his notion of the decorative, a kind of unity and immediacy of surface, which I implicate in a number of wide-ranging dialogues emerging around the modern subject. It is especially toward structuralist trends in American psychiatry and social psychology, that I turn my attention. For in effect, my interpretative operation hinges on a dismantling Of the decorative as a metaphor of the transformative or constitutive moment of the subject. That is, I break down the seamlessness of the decorative into a set of semantic components or fragments significant in the individual biography, yet silenced by the totalizing, intra-textual imperative of expressivity. What one finds in these paintings is that despite all attempts at expurgating intention in order to distill the aesthetic, an intentional structure can be found lying just under the surface, bound to the individual life lived, and functioning on a metonymic or associative level. It is toward the sobering question of materialism that I continually return. For if Greenberg's interest in Sullivanian Interpersonal Psychiatry provides an ii initial framework for addressing the problems of painting after abstract expressionism, it also provides an entrance to more specific questions about the transformative which Pollock entertained in terms of Jungian therapy and Gestalt psychology, which Louis' fascination with Rorschach Psychodiagnostics summoned, arid that Noland's stake in Reichian therapy amounted to. Undoubtedly the point is, that the aesthetic, if a n i m a g e of p l e n i t u d e , if a b e a r e r of the U t o p i a n i m p u l s e , is always paradoxically inscribed by the trace of a material history that precedes it, that renders it utterly contingent. i i i T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s A b s t r a c t i i T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s i v L i s t o f F i g u r e s v A c k n o w l e d g m e n t x i v E p i g r a p h 1 P r e f a c e 2 I n t r o d u c t i o n 4 C h a p t e r O n e " A F a b u l o u s I n v a l i d " : " A m e r i c a n C a p i t a l i s m " a t M i d C e n t u r y ( N o t a G r e a t M o m e n t A t A l l ) 2 2 C h a p t e r T w o S h e d d i n g N e w L i g h t o n t h e D o g - D a y - A f t e r n o o n d a y o f L i f e : O r H o w C l e m e n t G r e e n b e r g B u i l t a " F e n c e A g a i n s t H i s t o r y " O u t o f t h e S u b u r b a n N i g h t o f M e r e R e f l e c t i o n 8 8 C h a p t e r T h r e e T o w a r d a P h y s i c s o f R e a d i n g G r e e n b e r g R e a d i n g P o l l o c k R e l a x i n g E n t r o p y a s D i s s i p a t i o n i n Sober-Type P a i n t i n g 1 5 1 C h a p t e r F o u r H a n g d o g g i n ' i n S u b u r b i a , o r P l a n e D r u n k i n t h e T i m e o f t h e G r e a t F l o o d 2 3 9 C h a p t e r F i v e L o v e A m e r i c a n S t y l e , o r H o w t o D r i v e a [ S q u a r e ] C a t W i l d ( B y K e n n e t h N o l a n d ) 3 2 9 B i b l i o g r a p h y 4 0 7 iv List of Figures Chapter 1 Figure 1 "The Good Life ... Or is it? Opinions differ. "Life, v. 47, n. 26, 76 Dec. 28 1959, cover page. Figure 2 Many sports shirts, for the many moods of Pop. Inset C shows 77 Pop wearing "snappy M u M u ... south Sea print". "Picture Pop in McGregor Sportswear". Life, v. 34, n. 23, June 8,1954, p. 19. Figure 3 Martini sipping ... gray flannel suit wearing ... up-and-coming 78 symbol manipulator. A . C. Spectorsky, The Exurbanites. Drawing by Robert Osborn. New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1955, title page. Figure 4 "You know ... We think very highly of your husband Mrs. 79 Rath. "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. M G M , 1956. Figure 5 A teaser: Morris Louis wearing suit in question. Diane 80 Upright.Morns Louis: The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. New York: Harry N . Abrams, 1985, p. 59. Figure 6 Its a dream come true ... ranch style. 81 Life, v. 43, n. 17, Oct. 21,1957. Figure 7 "World Struggle as seen by James Burnham". Life, v. 22, n. 13, 82 Mar. 31,1947. Figure 8 "The story of Jackson Pollett(sic), the boy wonder of 83 merchandising, whose obsession with getting ahead changed him from a likable young man into a tyrant who climbed to power over people he had knocked down. Jackson put business before all else — friends, marriage, and integrity — until the day when crashing drive wasn't enough to get him what he wanted". J. Harvey Howells: The Big Company Look. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1958, dust cover. Figure 9 "The Universal Card" for Personality Testing. William H . 84 Whyte, Jr. The Organization Man. London: Jonathan Cape, 1957, p. 177. Figure 10 White Collar Worker. C. Wright Mills. The White Collar: 85 The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford University v P r e s s , 1 9 5 1 , d u s t c o v e r . "5 F i g u r e 11 " N o t L e f t , N o t R i g h t , B u t a V i t a l C e n t e r . ' W e w York Times 8 6 Magazine, D r a w i n g b y B e r t r a n d Z a d i g , A p r i l 1 4 , 1 9 4 8 . F i g u r e 1 2 T h e a n x i e t y s e n s i n g " r a d a r s e n s i n g d e v i c e " . " W h a t i s t h e 8 7 A m e r i c a n C h a r a c t e r ? " . . . " S o c i a l S c i e n t i s t D a v i d R i e s m a n " . Time Magazine. D r a w i n g b y E r r o l B a k e r , O c t o b e r 1 9 , 1 9 5 4 . Chapter 2 F i g u r e 1 "It m a k e s a c o n t i n u o u s s u p p l y o f i c e c u b e s , without trays". 1 3 8 S E R V E L - A u t o m a t i c i c e - m a k e r r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 5 , J u n e 2 2 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 8 8 . F i g u r e 2 "It d o u b l e s y o u r ' f r o n t - r o w ' s p a c e ! A n d n o o t h e r r e f r i g e r a t o r 1 3 9 m a n u f a c t u r e r c a n m a k e t h i s c l a i m " . C R O S L E Y S H E L V A D O R r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 2 , J u n e 1 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 6 6 . F i g u r e 3 " B e l i e v e m e . Y o u c a n t e l l w h i c h p e a s w e r e k e p t i n a n A d m i r a l " . 1 4 0 A D M I R A L D u a l - T e m p r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 3 , J u n e 8 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 5 . F i g u r e 4 "It c o m e s w i t h M o i s t u r e - S e a l C r i s p e r s " . K E L V I N A T O R 1 4 1 M o d e l K P C r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 2 , J u n e 1, 1 9 5 3 , p . 1. F i g u r e 5 D r e a m o r n i g h t m a r e ? . . . " F r e e f o r e v e r f r o m t h e m e s s y c h o r e 1 4 2 o f g e t t i n g r i d o f f r o s t a n d f r o s t - w a t e r " . C R O S L E Y S H E L V A D O R r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 5 , n . 2 , J u n e 2 2 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 5 4 . F i g u r e 6 " E v e n K a f k a w o u l d b u y o n e ! " C Y C L A M A T I C F R I G I D A I R E 1 4 3 r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 4 , J u n e 1 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 7 4 . F i g u r e 7 "It 's 3 g r e a t a p p l i a n c e s i n 1". S E R V E L A u t o m a t i c i c e - m a k e r 1 4 4 r e f r i g e r a t o r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 5 , n . 4 , J u n e 2 7 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 1 0 9 . F i g u r e 8 " J u s t l o o k ~ w e w o n ' t s a y a w o r d . " M E R C U R Y C o n v e r t i b l e 1 4 5 c o u p a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 4 , J u n e 1 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 2 4 . F i g u r e 9 " S a y g o o d b y e f o r e v e r t o d i g g i n g f o r t o a s t o r b u r n i n g f i n g e r s 1 4 6 t r y i n g t o r e s c u e a m u f f i n . " G E N E R A L E L E C T R I C A u t o m a t i c t o a s t e r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 3 , J u n e 8, 1 9 5 3 , p . 1 2 6 . F i g u r e 1 0 F i v e e a s y s t e p s t o m o d e r n b r e a d m a k i n g . D e x t r o s e a d . 1 4 7 Life Magazine, J u n e 2 2 , v . 3 4 , n . 2 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 1 1 . F i g u r e l l ' T o r t h e F i r s t T i m e i n a n y R e f r i g e r a t o r : It t h i n k s f o r i t s e l f " . 1 4 8 vi P H I L C O A u t o m a t i c f r e e z e r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 2 , J u n e 1, 1 9 5 3 , p . 9 . F i g u r e 1 2 " H a r r i e t f i n d s i t s n e w d e s i g n p u t s e v e r y t h i n g m o r e 1 4 9 c o n v e n i e n t l y i n r e a c h t h a n e v e r b e f o r e " . H O T P O I N T S u p e r - S t a r a d . Life Magazine, v . 3 4 , n . 2 5 , J u n e 2 2 , 1 9 5 3 . F i g u r e 1 3 A D o g D a y A f t e r n o o n 1 5 0 Chapter 3 F i g u r e 1 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . I n s t a l l a t i o n a t B e t t y P a r s o n ' s G a l l e r y , 1 9 5 1 . 2 1 6 Number 7, 1 9 5 1 ; a n d Frogman Number 23, 1 9 5 1 . Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 2 6 6 F i g u r e 2 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . I n s t a l l a t i o n o f B e t t y P a r s o n ' s G a l l e r y , 1 9 5 1 ; 2 1 7 Number 2 3 , 1 9 5 1 a n d Number 11,1951. Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 2 6 5 . F i g u r e 3 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number Fourteen , 1 9 5 1 . E n a m e l o n c a n v a s , 2 1 8 5 7 5 / 8 x 1 0 6 i n c h e s . Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 1 5 5 . F i g u r e 4 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number 1, 1 9 4 9 . E n a m e l a n d m e t a l l i c p a i n t 2 1 9 o n c a n v a s , 6 3 x 1 0 2 i n c h e s . T h e M u s e u m o f C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t , L o s A n g e l e s . F i g u r e 5 H e n r i M a t i s s e . Interieur a Nice, la siesta, 1 9 2 2 . 6 6 x 5 4 . 5 i n c h e s . 2 2 0 M o s e e N a t i o n a l d ' A r t M o d e r n e / C e n t r e G e o r g e s P o m p i d o u . H e n r i M a t i s s e ; T h e E a r l y Y e a r s i n N i c e , 1 9 1 6 - 1 9 3 0 , p . 1 6 7 . F i g u r e 6 B a r n e t t N e w m a n , The Way I, 1 9 5 1 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 2 2 1 4 0 x 3 0 i n c h e s . N a t i o n a l G a l l e r y o f C a n a d a , O t t a w a . F i g u r e 7 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Shooting Star, 1947. O i l o n c a n v a s , 2 2 2 3 9 x 2 4 i n c h e s . Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 2 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 1 8 1 . F i g u r e 8 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Comet, 1 9 4 7 . O i l o n c a n v a s . 3 7 1 / 8 x 1 7 7 / 8 2 2 3 inches,Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, vii Drawings, and Other Works, v . 2 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 1 6 7 . F i g u r e 9 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k , Galaxy, 1 9 4 7 . O i l a n d a l u m i n u m p a i n t , s m a l l 2 2 4 g r a v e l , 4 3 1 / 2 x 3 1 i n c h e s , Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 2 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , F i g u r e 1 0 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . H o l o g r a p h s t a t e m e n t Jackson Pollock: 2 2 5 A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 2 5 3 . F i g u r e 11 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Phosphorescence. O i l a n d a l u m i n u m p a i n t 2 2 6 o n c a n v a s , 4 4 x 2 6 i n c h e s . A d d i s o n G a l l e r y o f A m e r i c a n A r t , P h i l l i p s A c a d e m y . F i g u r e 1 2 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number 1, 1 9 4 8 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 6 8 x 1 0 4 2 2 7 i n c h e s . T h e M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , N e w Y o r k C i t y . F i g u r e 1 3 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Detail of Number 1,1948. O i l o n c a n v a s , 2 2 8 6 8 x 1 0 4 i n c h e s . M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , N e w Y o r k . F i g u r e 1 4 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number 1,1950. (Lavender Mist). O i l , 2 2 9 e n a m e l , a n d a l u m i n u m p a i n t o n c a n v a s , 8 7 x 1 1 8 i n c h e s . N a t i o n a l G a l l e r y o f A r t , W a s h i n g t o n , D . C . F i g u r e 15 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . U n t i t l e d , c . 1 9 5 1 . I n k o n r i c e p a p e r d r a w i n g s 2 3 0 s o a k e d i n R i v e t g l u e o v e r c h i c k e n w i r e m o u n t e d o n w o o d e n d o o r . L e n g t h a b o u t 6 0 i n c h e s . Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 1 3 0 . F i g u r e 1 6 P o l l o c k i n s t u d i o , Number 22, 1 9 5 1 . L e f t : Image of Man 2 3 1 (Number 3 , 1 9 5 1 ) a n d Number 15, 1 9 5 1 , a t r i g h t : Number 32, 1 9 5 0 o n f l o o r . S t e p h e n N a i f e h a n d G r e g o r y W h i t e S m i t h : Jackson Pollock: An American Saga. N e w Y o r k : H a r p e r P e r e n n i a l , 1 9 8 9 , p . 6 6 6 . F i g u r e 1 7 T h e n e w p a i n t i n g s f r o m 1 9 5 1 i n P o l l o c k ' s s t u d i o . T r y p t i c h 2 3 2 h a n g i n g a t l o w e r l e f t , ( l e f t t o r i g h t ) Number 6, 1 9 5 1 , Brown and Silver 1,1951; Brown and Silver II, 1 9 5 1 . i n Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : viii Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 2 6 1 . F i g u r e 1 8 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number 4, 1 9 5 1 . i n Jackson Pollock: A 2 3 3 Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v. 2, e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 1 2 9 . F i g u r e 1 9 " . . . w a y o f d e p i c t i n g a ' p e r s o n a l i t y ' , t h e h y p o t h e t i c a l e n t i t y 2 3 4 w h i c h w e p o s i t t o a c c o u n t f o r i n t e r p e r s o n a l f i e l d s . " S c h e m a t i c o f P e r s o n a l i t y " ; a n d " K e y t o t h e V i s u a l A n a l o g y " . H a r r y S t a c k S u l l i v a n : " T h e M e a n i n g o f A n x i e t y i n P s y c h i a t r y a n d L i f e " , i n The Fusion of Psychiatry and the Social Sciences. ( N e w Y o r k : W . W . N o r t o n a n d C o m p a n y , 1 9 6 4 ) , p p . 2 3 9 , 2 4 1 . F i g u r e 2 0 " A S c h i z o p h r e n i c E p i s o d e O v e r T i m e : F i g u r e 1, F i g u r e 2 , 2 3 5 F i g u r e 3 " . H a r r y S t a c k S u l l i v a n : " T h e M e a n i n g o f A n x i e t y i n P s y c h i a t r y a n d L i f e " , i n The Fusion of Psychiatry and the Social Sciences. ( N e w Y o r k : W . W . N o r t o n a n d C o m p a n y , 1 9 6 4 ) , p p . 2 4 3 , 2 4 5 - 6 . F i g u r e 21 L e e K r a s n e r a n d J a c k s o n P o l l o c k a t T h e S p r i n g s ( 1 9 5 0 ) . i n 2 3 6 Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s V a l e n t i n e O ' C o n n o r a n d E . V . T h a w . N e w H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , p . 2 4 4 . F i g u r e 2 2 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . (Echo) Number Twenty Five, 1 9 5 1 . E n a m e l 2 3 7 o n C a n v a s , 91 7 / 8 x 8 6 i n c h e s . M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , N e w Y o r k . E c h o : N o . p . 3 4 5 . F i g u r e 2 3 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . Number 20, 1 9 5 1 . E n a m e l o n c a n v a s , 2 3 8 6 4 x 5 7 1 / 8 i n c h e s . L o s A n g e l e s C o u n t y M u s e u m . Chapter 4 F i g u r e 1 M o r r i s L o u i s . Salient. 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 0 3 7 4 5 / 8 x 9 9 1 / 4 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 6 6 . F i g u r e 2 F i g u r e 3 M o r r i s L o u i s . D e t a i l o f Salient. D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris 3 0 4 Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 5 2 . F i g u r e 4 M o r r i s L o u i s . Intrigue. 1 9 5 4 . 7 5 x 1 0 5 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , 3 0 5 Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 6 5 . ix F i g u r e 5 M o r r i s L o u i s . Atomic Crest. 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 7 9 x 1 0 6 i n c h e s . T h e L a n n a n F o u n d a t i o n . 3 0 6 F i g u r e 6 M o r r i s L o u i s . Pendulum. 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 0 7 7 9 x 1 0 5 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t : Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 1 3 9 . F i g u r e 7 " I n s t e a d o f s l a v i n g o v e r t h a t p r o v e r b i a l h o t s t o v e , t h e s e 3 0 8 y o u n g h o u s w i v e s a r e w o r k i n g o v e r a n e a s e l . " M o r r i s L o u i s . T e a c h i n g a t t h e W o r k s h o p C e n t e r o f t h e A r t s . The Washington Post, M a r c h 1 3 , 1 9 5 3 . F i g u r e 8 E x h i b i t i o n o f T h e P s y c h i a t r i c I n s t i t u t e , U n i v e r s i t y o f M a r y l a n d , 3 0 9 c u r a t e d b y M o r r i s L o u i s . " S t a g e s i n t h e c r e a t i v e p r o c e s s " . B a l t i m o r e , 1 9 5 8 . F i g u r e 9 M o r r i s L o u i s . Charred Journal. Firewritten II, 1 9 5 1 . A c r y l i c 3 1 0 o n c a n v a s , 3 5 x 3 0 i n c h e s . M i c h a e l F r i e d , M o r r i s L o u i s . N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , 1 9 7 9 , p i . 1 4 . F i g u r e 1 0 M o r r i s Lou i s .Tranqu i l i t ies III. 1 9 5 3 . T i s s u e p a p e r , a n d a c r y l i c 3 1 1 o n U p s o m b o a r d , 3 7 1 / 2 x 5 8 1 / 2 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 1 3 6 . F i g u r e 11 E x h i b i t i o n c a t a l o g u e f o r L o u i s ' 1 9 5 3 s h o w a t t h e W o t k s h o p 3 1 2 A r t C e n t e r G a l l e r y , W a s h i n g t o n , D . C . M o r r i s L o u i s P a p e r s , A A A . F i g u r e 12 M o r r i s L o u i s . Geometry of a Fish. 1 9 5 3 . I n k o n p a p e r . D i a n e 3 1 3 U p r i g h t H e a d l e y , The Drawings of Morris Louis. N a t i o n a l C o l l e c t i o n o f F i n e A r t s , W a s h i n g t o n , D . C : S m i t h s o n i a n I n s t i t u t i o n P r e s s , 1 9 7 9 , p . 5 4 . F i g u r e 1 3 M o r r i s L o u i s . Untitled photo collage. 1 9 5 0 . 1 2 x 9 i n . D i a n e 3 1 4 U p r i g h t H e a d l e y , The Drawings of Morris Louis. N a t i o n a l C o l l e c t i o n o f F i n e A r t s , W a s h i n g t o n , D . C : S m i t h s o n i a n I n s t i t u t i o n P r e s s , 1 9 7 9 , p . 5 5 . F i g u r e 1 4 M o r r i s L o u i s . Spreading, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 7 9 1 / 8 x 9 7 3 1 5 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 6 7 . F i g u r e 1 5 M o r r i s L o u i s . Terrain of Joy, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 1 6 7 9 x 1 0 5 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis - The Complete x Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 6 8 . F i g u r e 1 6 M o r r i s L o u i s . Untitled B, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 1 0 3 x 9 0 3 1 7 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t : Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 1 3 9 . F i g u r e 1 7 R o r s c h a c h c a r d n u m b e r V I I I . 3 1 8 F i g u r e 1 8 R o r s c h a c h c a r d n u m b e r I X . 3 1 9 F i g u r e 1 9 R o r s c h a c h c a r d n u m b e r X . 3 2 0 F i g u r e 2 0 D e t a i l Terrain of Joy, D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis 3 2 1 The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 5 2 . F i g u r e 2 1 M o r r i s L o u i s . Longitude, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 2 2 9 6 1 / 2 x 6 6 i n c h e s . J o h n E l d e r f i e l d , M o r r i s L o u i s , N e w Y o r k : M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , 1 9 8 6 , p . 9 0 . F i g u r e 2 2 M o r r i s L o u i s . Breaking Hue, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 2 3 1 0 4 x 7 8 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 6 4 . F i g u r e 2 3 M o r r i s L o u i s . Iris, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 8 0 x 1 0 6 i n c h e s . 3 2 4 D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis - The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s . I n c . , 1 9 8 5 , p . 1 4 . F i g u r e 2 4 M o r r i s L o u i s . Longitudes, 1 9 5 4 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 2 5 9 6 1 / 2 x 6 6 i n c h e s . J o h n E l d e r f i e l d , M o r r i s L o u i s , N e w Y o r k : M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , 1 9 8 6 , p . 9 0 . F i g u r e 2 5 M o r r i s L o u i s . T r e Z Z i s , C o l l e c t i o n o f M a r c e l l a L o u i s B r e n n e r . 3 2 6 F i g u r e 2 6 H e l e n F r a n k e n t h a l e r , Mountains and Sea, T h e N a t i o n a l G a l l e r y 3 2 7 F i g u r e 2 7 A l b r e c h t D u r e r . Melencolia I. 1 5 1 4 . E n g r a v i n g . 3 2 8 Chapter 5 F i g u r e 1 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . This, 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s . 3 8 5 8 4 x 8 4 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : T h e M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , 1 9 9 3 , p . 6 9 . xi F i g u r e 2 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . That, 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s . 3 8 6 8 4 x 8 4 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : T h e M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , 1 9 9 3 , p . 7 0 . F i g u r e 3 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Virginia Site. 1 9 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 8 7 K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , f r o n t i s p e i c e . F i g u r e 4 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Sunshine. 1 9 6 1 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 8 4 x 8 4 i n c h e s . 3 8 8 K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 5 3 . F i g u r e 5 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Beginning. 1 9 5 8 . M a g n a o n c a n v a s , 3 8 9 9 0 x 9 5 7 / 8 i n c h e s . H i r s h h o r n M u s e u m a n d S c u l p t u r e G a r d e n , S m i t h s o n i a n I n s t i t u t i o n , P l a t e 4 . F i g u r e 6 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Untitled, c . 1 9 5 6 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 3 9 0 1 8 x 1 8 i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland.. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 2 6 . F i g u r e 7 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Untitled, c . 1 9 5 7 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 3 9 1 1 6 x 1 4 " i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland.. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 2 6 . F i g u r e 8 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Untitled. 1 9 5 7 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 6 0 x 5 4 3 9 2 i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a n s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 2 6 . F i g u r e 9 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Globe. 1 9 5 6 . O i l o n C a n v a s . 6 0 x 6 0 3 9 3 i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland.. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 . p . 4 8 . F i g u r e 1 0 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Circle. 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , 3 9 4 Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings, 1 9 5 6 - 1 9 6 3 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 9 6 x 9 6 i n c h e s . T h e M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s H o u s t o n , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 6 5 . F i g u r e 11 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Luster. 1 9 5 8 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 9 5 5 9 x 5 9 i n c h e s . K a r e n W i l k i n , Kenneth Noland. N e w Y o r k : R i z z o l i , 1 9 9 0 , p i . 1. F i g u r e 1 2 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Heat. 1 9 5 8 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 9 6 6 3 x 6 5 i n c h e s . C o l l e c t i o n L a n n a n F o u n d a t i o n , L o s A n g e l e s . F i g u r e 1 3 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Split. 1 9 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 3 9 7 9 4 x 9 5 1 / 4 i n c h e s . N a t i o n a l M u s e u m o f A m e r i c a n A r t , xii S m i t h s o n i a n I n s t i t u t i o n . F i g u r e 1 4 K e n n e t h N o l a n d Tondo. 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 3 9 8 5 0 x 5 0 i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland.. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 5 5 . F i g u r e 1 5 N i c o l a s P o u s s i n . The Arcadian Shepherds. 1 6 5 0 . L o u v r e , P a r i s . 3 9 9 F i g u r e 1 6 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Blue Veil, 1 9 6 3 , A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 4 0 0 7 2 x 7 2 i n c h e s . K e n w o r t h M o f f e t , Kenneth Noland, N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N . A b r a m s , I n c . , 1 9 7 7 , p . 1 3 0 . F i g u r e 1 7 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Tide, 1 9 5 8 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 6 7 x 6 3 4 0 1 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 5 9 . F i g u r e 1 8 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Fete, 1 9 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 7 2 x 7 2 i n c h e s . 4 0 2 W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 7 4 . F i g u r e 1 9 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Spread, 1 9 5 8 . O i l o n c a n v a s , 1 1 7 x 1 1 7 i n c h e s . 4 0 3 W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 6 3 . F i g u r e 2 0 K e n n e t h N o l a n d , Untitled, 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 4 0 4 8 4 x 8 4 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 7 3 . F i g u r e 2 1 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Magic Box, 1 9 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 4 0 5 9 6 x 9 6 i n c h e s . T h e M e t r o p o l i t a n M u s e u m o f A r t s , N e w Y o r k . F i g u r e 2 2 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . Wilhelm Reich, 1 9 5 9 . A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 4 0 6 6 9 . 5 x 7 0 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : M u s e u m o f F i n e A r t s , H o u s t o n , 1 9 9 3 , p . 3 2 . xiii Acknowledgment The people I owe thanks to are innumerable. Those friends that I learned so much from in arguments, discussions, and from reading their own work: Sandra Gillespie, Lora Rempel, Marnin Young, Joseph Monteyne, Bill Wood, Marcia Crosby, Robert Ballantyne, Denise Alexichuk, Victor Semerjian, and Andrew Macintosh. Those who early on influenced my own directions and thinking: David Howard, Alex Alberro, Gwen Claughton. Thanks also to the ironic Judith Steedman and the permanent parabasis of Shannon Oksanen. Those happy few who never did have to deal with me on a strictly academic basis but who have provided easily as much insight into the despairing conditions of modernity: Rachel Hayward, Todd Gynn, Joe Buzowski, Dale Robotham, J.D. LeBlanc. Those happy two, Marc Dube and Ted Thompson, who bestowed upon me the honor of my first Ph.D., from The University of My Own Private Idaho. And, of course, many many thanks to Patsy Longmire, Jennifer Cullen, and Michael Mao. I owe a debt to those individuals who I have had the privilege to know (some more from their work), learn from, try to formulate argument against (whether they not it or not): Roy Arden, Daniel Congdon, Arni Haraldsson, Jeff Wall, Ken Lum, Jim Caswell, Scott Watson, Fred Orton, Bridgett Elliot, Victor Chan, and especially Rodney Graham. Special gratitude also to Graham Chalmers, Peter Sexias, and Rose Marie San Juan who provided excellent criticism of this thesis at a late stage indeed. My sincerest debt to Colin Zacharias who permitted me access to his rare archival material on the Jena Circle; Bruce Howatt, who opened up to me, his tremendous collection of New York School Painting before its untimely bequeath to a public institution; and those members of the Science Round Table, especially Ken Muldrew, whose capacity for cheap whiskey has always surpassed that unquenchable thirst for the unknown. Deep deep thanks to C. Grant Arnold (known to a few intimates as simply Grant), that magnificent Swede Patrik Andersson, Steven Wadell (not a Swede), and Jean MacRae (actually Scottish), all of whom read sections of this thesis, rescued it from some very crusty ways of thinking about painting, and introduced me to the problems of contemporary practice. Most importantly thanks to those people who read this thesis at a number of stages in its development, whose own writing and thinking represents the kind of criticism I continually strive for: Robert Linsley, Carolyn Johnston, and Steve Harris. Very special thanks, indeed, to Tim Clark who made possible an incredibly productive year of study at The University of California, Berkeley, whose insight into the problems of modernist painting and literature so pervade this dissertation in my own watered down version that its kind of embarrassing. Also thanks to Anne Wagner who let me attend a very exciting class in post war art. And finally thanks to Charles Altieri who allowed me to participate in an especially rich seminar in the English department. The thanks I owe to Clement Greenberg, Kenneth Noland, and Marcella Louis Brenner, Keiko Saito, Eva Meier, Dr. Zeborah Schachtel all of whom discussed freely and openly, very difficult art with someone without the slightest clue, is inestimable. I owe the same debt to Daniel Bell, who willingly engaged in dialogue with me at a very early stage in my research. Finally the most special thanks to my thesis cornmittee. Special thanks to Maureen Ryan who has always provided the most astute criticism and the most enthusiastic support. The debt I owe to John O'Brian is immense. His rich, careful, and balanced perspective on Clement Greeenberg's criticism has been absolutely invaluable to me throughout the course of writing this thesis: he has made it what it is. And lastly to Serge Guilbaut who is still the only man I call coach. He has always steered me in ways I didn't want to go. Usually toward that awkward moment of engaging the art work, where theory always fails and insight usually begins. What a debt I owe him. Mind you, I probably owe more to my own father, Hans Steiner, and his identical twin, Pe Steiner. Then there is my dog, Tuzo, who should have been called Shep, but was named after a mountain, and whom I killed only a few months before this thesis was completed. And of course there is the thanks I owe to Dorothy Steiner who scrupulously proof read this entire thesis; always found its arguments baffling, but who nevertheless helped fund a couple of surfing trips and as many climbing trips in order to insure the bafflingness only continue and intensify. This thesis and the other surfing and chmbing trips that no one else would fund, were generously funded by a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, and a University Graduate Fellowship from the University of British Columbia. xiv Mourning is the state of mind in which feeling revives the empty world in the form of a mask, and derives an enigmatic satisfaction in contemplating it. Every feeling is bound to an a priori object, and the representation of this object is its phenomenology. Accordingly the theory of mourning, which emerged unmistakably as a pendant to the theory of tragedy, can only be developed in the description of that world which is revealed under the gaze of the melancholy man. For feelings, however vague they may seem when perceived by the self, respond like a motorial reaction to a concretely structured world. If the laws that govern the Trauerspiel are to be found, partly explicit, partly implicit, at the heart of mourning, the representation of these laws does not concern itself with the emotional condition of the poet or his public, but with a feeling which is released from any empirical subject and is intimately bound to the fullness of an object. This is a motorial attitude which has its appointed place in the hierarchy of intentions and is only called a feeling because it does not occupy the highest place. It is determined by an astounding tenacity of intention, which, among the feelings is matched perhaps only by love — and that not playfully. For whereas in the realm of the emotions it is not unusual for the relation between an intention and its object to alternate between attraction and repulsion, mourning is capable of a special intensification, a progressive deepening of its intention. Pensiveness is characteristic above all of the mournful. On the road to the object — no: within the object itself — this intention progresses as slowly and solemnly as the processions of the rulers advance. The passionate interest in the pomp of the Haupt- und Staatsaktionen, in part an escape from the restrictions of pious domesticity, was also a response to the natural affinity of pensiveness for gravity. In the latter it recognizes its own rhythm. The relationship between mourning and ostentation, which is so brilliantly displayed in the language of the Baroque, has one of its sources here; so to the self-absorption, to which these great constellations of the wordly chronicle seem but a game, which may, it is true, be worthy of attention for the meaning which can be reliably deciphered from it, but whose never-ending repetition secures the bleak rule of a melancholic distaste for life. Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. J. Osborne, (New York: Verso, 1977), pp. 139-140. Preface T r u n k o f t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n a s a s t u d y o n a n u m b e r o f l e v e l s . T h e f i r s t , a n d p e r h a p s m o s t i m p o r t a n t , a s e r i e s o f r e f l e c t i o n s o n t h e b o d y . . . m y b o d y . . . a b o d y o n t h e b r i n k o f i t s h i s t o r i c a l r u i n . S e c o n d l y , a n d i n a s m u c h , a s u c c e s s i o n o f n o t u n r e l a t e d i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o m o d e r n i s t p a i n t i n g i n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s d u r i n g t h e l a t e 1 9 4 0 s a n d 1 9 5 0 s . I l i k e t o t h i n k o f t h e l a t t e r a s a c o n t i n g e n c y f e l t i n t e r m s o f a p a i n f u l , d i r e c t , a n d n a i v e c o r r e l a t i o n w i t h t h e f o r m e r ; a k i n d o f i n v e r s e r e l a t i o n , w h e r e i n j u r i e s s u s t a i n e d i n a n a c t i v e l i f e c l i m b i n g , h a v e n e c e s s i t a t e d p e r i o d s o f c o n v a l e s c e n c e a n d / o r s u s t a i n e d i m m o b i l i t y . I n t h i s s e n s e , I l i k e t o t h i n k o f t h e i n j u r i e s a c c r u e d a n d a c c u m u l a t e d d u r i n g t h e c o u r s e o f w r i t i n g — f o r c i n g i t s w r i t i n g , s h a p i n g i t s w r i t i n g , b u t a l s o f a i l i n g t h a t w r i t i n g , i n s o f a r a s n e v e r s u r f a c i n g a s t h e o b j e c t , b u t r a t h e r a s a d e f e r r e d o r d i s p l a c e d s i g n o f t h a t w r i t i n g — a s a s o r t o f m i n e r a l i n s c r i p t i o n l e f t b y a w r i t i n g o n t h e b o d y , a h y p o g r a m t h a t d e t e r m i n e s t h r o u g h t h e n e c e s s i t y , a n t e r i o r i t y , a n d w h o l e n e s s i t d e s c r i b e s . T h i n k o f t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n a s a f a l l , a n d t h i n k o f e a c h c h a p t e r a s t h e r e - s t a g i n g o f a f a l l , i . e . , a n a t t e m p t t o g r a s p t h e i m a g e o f a s u c c e s s i o n o f h i s t o r i c a l r e f l e c t i o n s o n a d a m a g e d l i f e . T h e r o l e o f a p r e f a c e s h o u l d b e n o t h i n g o t h e r t h a n s e t t i n g s u c h a s t a g e - w o r k i n m o t i o n . I n 1 5 1 2 D u r e r i n s c r i b e d o n a s e l f - p o r t r a i t : " W h e r e t h e y e l l o w s p o t i s , t o w h i c h I p o i n t w i t h m y f i n g e r , t h e r e i t h u r t s . " I f i t w a s t o t h e s p l e e n — t h e s o u r c e o f t h e m e l a n c h o l y d i s e a s e — w h i c h D u r e r p o i n t e d , I o f f e r m y o w n b r i e f c a t a l o g u e o f r u i n a t i o n , c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y l i s t i n g s i g n i f i c a n t i n j u r i e s s u s t a i n e d w h i l e c l i m b i n g . T w o e x a m p l e s s h o u l d s u f f i c e : W h e r e a s , I l i k e t o t h i n k o f t h e f i r s t d r a f t o f t h e f i r s t c h a p t e r , e n t i t l e d a ' " F a b u l o u s I n v a l i d ' : ' A m e r i c a n C a p i t a l i s m ' a t M i d - C e n t u r y ( N o t a G r e a t m o m e n t A t A l l ) " , i n t e r m s o f a r e d u c t i v e r e a d i n g t h a t c i r c u m s c r i b e s i t t o a b o w s t r i n g t w e a k o f t h e m i d d l e a n d i n d e x f i n g e r t e n d o n s o f m y l e f t h a n d i n e a r l y J u n e o f 1 9 8 9 , t h e s u m m e r p r i o r t o b e g i n n i n g t h i s p r o j e c t , I w o u l d c i r c u m s c r i b e t h e f i r s t d r a f t o f C h a p t e r T h r e e , f o r m e r l y e n t i t l e d " I n a F o r c e f u l A t t e m p t t o f i x t h e E y e o n t h e S u n : G r e e n b e r g R e a d i n g P o l l o c k R e a d i n g G r e e n b e r g " , t o a l o n g - t e r m 2 muscular imbalance contributing to a degenerative condition in the lower vertebrae, which left me supine for five months of 1995 in the Boreas. That a second draft of Chapter Three was contingent on a torn meniscus in the right knee in November and December of the same year, that a third draft was precipitated by a reflaming on the biceps tendon in the left shoulder in August of 1996, or that a fourth draft was contingent on a separation of the A C L joint in the right shoulder, in the autumn (i.e., the fall) of the present year in no way alters this framework of causality. I list those injuries that have left permanent scar tissue and have led to some kind of arthritic condition or weakening; those injuries that required institutional attention and/or extended health care, including hospital stays and extensive physiotherapy; and finally those injuries that required dosages of anti-inflammatories and/ or pain killers larger than normally prescribed. I take the liberty of also listing those injuries sustained prior to the period of writing whose genealogy can be tracked as ontologically significant in repetitive instances of injury occurring during the period of writing: Torn medial cartilage, right knee, surgery ( Mar. 1976). Dislocations both left and right knee (1976-1996). Broken heel plate, right foot (Aug. 1979). Dislocation left shoulder (Sept. 1986). Shattered wrist and forearm, right hand (Apr. 1987). Dislocation and floating bone chip middle joint, middle finger ( May 1988). Bowstring tweak of both middle and little finger tendons, left hand (Jun. 1989). Nerve damage index and first finger, left hand, renervation surgery (Jul. 1990). Crack and splinter of wrist joint and capsule, right hand (Jun. 1992). Bowstring tweak: middle and index finger tendons, right hand (Mar, 1993). Lower vertebral damage at L4 -L5 (Feb. 1994). Upper vertebral damage at C5 - C6 (Aug. 1995). Torn meniscus right knee, 40% surgically removed (Nov. 1995). Flamed biceps tendon connector, left shoulder (Apr. 1995). A C L separation, right shoulder (Aug. 1997). 3 Introduction T h e i m m e d i a t e . O n e m i g h t w e l l r e c r u i t t h e n a r r o w w i n d o w o n t h e w o r l d i t p r o v i d e s f o r a d e f e n s e o f m o d e r n i s t p a i n t i n g a n d c r i t i c i s m i n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s d u r i n g t h e l a t e 1 9 4 0 s a n d 1 9 5 0 s . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n i s i n l a r g e p a r t a n e x e r c i s e i n c o u r t i n g j u s t t h i s k i n d o f t e m p t a t i o n , b u t a l s o , a n d i m p o r t a n t l y , i t i s a n a t t e m p t t o o u t - m a n o e u v e r a n d u n r a v e l t h e i m m e d i a t e a s w e l l . It i s a h i s t o r i c a l r e r e a d i n g o f t h e s h i f t t o w a r d a b s t r a c t i o n i n t h e p a i n t i n g s o f J a c k s o n P o l l o c k , M o r r i s L o u i s , a n d K e n n e t h N o l a n d ; a c u l t u r a l l y o r i e n t e d r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w h i c h d o e s n o t d i m i n i s h t h e c e n t r a l i t y o f f o r m a l q u e s t i o n s t h e i m m e d i a t e d e s c r i b e s . M o r e o v e r , i t i s a h i s t o r i c a l r e r e a d i n g o f C l e m e n t G r e e n b e r g ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e a e s t h e t i c ; a r e a p p r a i s a l o f a c o o l , b l a n d , A p o l l o n i a n d e t a c h m e n t , w h a t G r e e n b e r g c o n s i d e r e d t h e o n l y d e f e n s i b l e p o s i t i o n i n t h e c o n t e x t o f p o s t - w a r A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e . I n s u m , t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n u n p a c k s t h e i m a g e o f t o t a l i t y t h e i m m e d i a t e p r o v i d e s i n t e r m s o f a n e s s e n t i a l c o n t r a d i c t i o n ; t h a t t h e Utopian i m p u l s e i s i t s e l f p a r a d o x i c a l l y b o u n d u p i n t h e m a t e r i a l h i s t o r y o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g c u l t u r e . I a r g u e t h a t t h e i m m e d i a t e , i f c e n t r a l t o t h e c i r c u m s c r i b i n g o f a s y m b o l i c m o m e n t , i s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y c o m p l i c i t i n a r e d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e m o d e r n s u b j e c t b e i n g f o r g e d i n t h e s u r r o u n d i n g c u l t u r e a s a w h o l e . T h e g r e a t i r o n y o f t h e l o o s e g r o u p i n g o f p o s i t i o n s u n d e r c o n s i d e r a t i o n — t h e p r i n c i p l e r e a s o n w h y G r e e n b e r g w o u l d h a v e g a l v a n i z e d t h e s e p a i n t e r s i n t o a l o o s e s o r t o f g r o u p i n g i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e — i s t h a t e a c h r e l u c t a n t l y a c c e p t e d p r e c i s e l y t h i s p a r a d o x a s t h e d e f i n i n g f e a t u r e o f t h e m o d e r n A m e r i c a n m o m e n t . B y r e s i t u a t i n g t h e g r o u p i n g i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e w i d e r f i e l d o f d i s c o u r s e s w h i c h m a d e t h e p o s t - w a r p e r i o d o n e o f t h e h i g h m o m e n t s i n A m e r i c a n h i s t o r y , I a m a b l e t o r e c o v e r t h e s u b t l e t i e s o f t h i s d e s p a i r i n g p o l i t i c s . F o r t h e m o s t p a r t t h i s m e l a n c h o l i c p o s t u r i n g h a s b e e n o b s c u r e d b y t h e e x t a n t l i t e r a t u r e o n t h e s u b j e c t w h i c h h a s t r a d i t i o n a l l y b e e n p o l a r i z e d i n t w o c a m p s : t h a t o f a n i n t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m f o c u s i n g o n p u r e l y f o r m a l c o n c e i t s , a n d t h a t o f a n e x t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m c o n c e n t r a t i n g o n s o c i a l , h i s t o r i c a l , a n d p o l i t i c a l c o n c e r n s . I n o r d e r t o u n d e r s t a n d 4 f u l l y t h e c o m p l e x i t i e s o f t h e p o s i t i o n , I e m p l o y a m e t h o d o l o g i c a l f r a m e w o r k t h a t i s i n c l u s i v e o f b o t h t e n d e n c i e s . F o r t h e e s s e n t i a l f a c t r e m a i n s , t h a t f o r m a l p r o b l e m a t i c s b e c a m e a n i s s u e f o r p a i n t i n g i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e o f a l o n g h i s t o r y o f h i g h l y c h a r g e d p o l i t i c a l n e g o t i a t i o n s . T h e i n s t a n t a n e o u s o r i m m e d i a t e a s p e c t ^ o f s u r f a c e , w h a t G r e e n b e r g c a l l s t h e d e c o r a t i v e , w a s i n t i m a t e l y c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e s o c i a l . A r e c o u r s e t o t h e i m m e d i a t e i s b o u n d u p i n a s u p r e m e l y p e s s i m i s t i c a c c o u n t o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l u n d e r t h e c o n d i t i o n s o f m o d e r n i t y ; o n e w h i c h a c k n o w l e d g e s t h e s e l f a s o n l y a f i c t i o n . If i t a p p e a r s t o f i n d s o m e m e a g e r r e p a s t i n t h e n o t i o n o f bildung, i t i s w o r t h n o t i n g n o w t h a t i t r e s t s f i n a l l y , o n l y , o n t h e " v e i l s o f i l l u s i o n " w h i c h t h e i m p o v e r i s h e d n o t i o n o f t h e s e l f p r o v i d e s . I t i s , I t h i n k , a n a c c o u n t o f t h e m o d e r n p r e d i c a m e n t w h i c h d e s e r v e s s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n . E s p e c i a l l y t o d a y d u r i n g a m o m e n t i n h i s t o r y w h e n t h e i l l u s i o n o f t h e c e n t e r e d a n d s t a b l e s u b j e c t r e m a i n s a s f i r m a s h i b b o l e t h a s t h e t e n e t s o f a t h e r a p e u t i c c u l t u r e i n t h e A c a d e m y . M y r e s e a r c h f o c u s e s o n l i n k i n g u p t h e g r o u p i n g t o a c o n s t e l l a t i o n o f d i s c o u r s e s i n A m e r i c a n p s y c h i a t r y a n d s o c i a l p s y c h o l o g y , a l l a c u t e l y a w a r e o f t h e o d d s s t a c k e d a g a i n s t t h e i n d i v i d u a l , a l l h i g h l y c o g n i z a n t o f t h e t h r e a t p o s e d b y " t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m " , a l l f o u n d e d i n t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f s t r u c t u r a l i s m , a n d f i n a l l y , a g e n e r a l m i l i e u i n c r e a s i n g l y d e f i n e d b y d y n a m i c p s y c h i a t r y . T h a t t h e i m m e d i a t e h a d b e c o m e t h e c o n c e r n o f a n u m b e r o f t r e n d s i n A m e r i c a n p s y c h i a t r y a n d s o c i a l p s y c h o l o g y s h o u l d b e o f n o s u r p r i s e . I n t h e c o n t e x t o f b r o a d e r h i s t o r i c a l p r o c e s s e s c o n t r i b u t i n g t o t h e d e r a d i c a l i z a t i o n o f t h e A m e r i c a n L e f t , t h e i m m e d i a t e a s a d y n a m i c a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i v e m o m e n t h a d b e e n n a r r o w e d d o w n a n d i s o l a t e d o u t a s a l l t h a t r e m a i n e d o f t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y p r o j e c t i t s e l f . I f a m o m e n t r i c h w i t h p o s s i b i l i t y h o w e v e r , t h e i m m e d i a t e w a s a l s o t h e c r u c i a l m e c h a n i s m f o r b o t h r e v o l u t i o n a r y a n d t h e r a p e u t i c f a i l u r e . It i s n o t u n i m p o r t a n t t h a t t h e d e t a c h e d a n d c o n t e m p l a t i v e f e e l o f h i g h m o d e r n i s t p a i n t i n g w a s b o r n o f t h i s a c t i v e a n d e n g a g e d h i s t o r y . T h e c u l t o f a c t i o n w i l l h a u n t i t . G u i l t d r i v e s t h i s p a i n t i n g t o c o n t i n u a l l y 5 t r a n s f o r m t h e i m a g i n a t i v e i n t o a l l m a n n e r o f i n d i v i d u a l a c t s o f n o t a b i l i t y . I n f a c t , i f o n e w e r e t o d e s c r i b e G r e e n b e r g ' s p r o j e c t i n t e r m s o f a n a e s t h e t i c e d u c a t i o n o f m a n k i n d a t m i d - c e n t u r y , i t w o u l d h a v e t o b e c o n c e i v e d o f i r o n i c a l l y a s a n e d u c a t i o n i n t h e p h y s i c a l : A k i n d o f p h y s . e d . d e g r e e w i t h a s p e c i a l i z a t i o n i n S c h i l l e r . I n v a r i a b l y , a l l t h i s l e a d s t o t h e c e n t r a l p r o b l e m a t i c a d d r e s s e d b y t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , t h e q u e s t i o n o f m a t e r i a l i s m — G r e e n b e r g ' s m a t e r i a l i s m , a n d t h e k i n d o f m a t e r i a l i s m o n e c o n f r o n t s i n t h e s p e c i f i c c a s e s o f P o l l o c k , L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d . M o s t s i m p l y p u t t h e i m m e d i a t e i s a m e t a p h o r o f t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i v e m o m e n t ; a n o t h i n g ; a n i m p o s s i b l e m o m e n t w h e n m a t t e r i s i n t h e p r o c e s s o f b e c o m i n g m e a n i n g . It i s w h a t S u l l i v a n i a n I n t e r p e r s o n a l P s y c h i a t r y ~ t h e m o s t s i g n i f i c a n t t r e n d i n d y n a m i c p s y c h i a t r y — h a d i s o l a t e d a s t h e " r e l a t i v e l y f i x e d p a t t e r n o f e n e r g y t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s " 1 t h a t d e t e r m i n e d t h e c h a r a c t e r , p e r s o n a l i t y , a n d c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f t h e s u b j e c t . F o r a m a t e r i a l i s t l i k e G r e e n b e r g , t h e i m m e d i a c y o r i n s t a n t a n e o u s p o t e n t i a l o f t h e m e d i u m ' s s u r f a c e a n a l o g i c a l l y c o r r e s p o n d e d t o t h e p h y s i c a l a n d m a t e r i a l p r o c e s s e s p r e c i p i t a t i n g c o n s c i o u s n e s s , b u t b l i n d e d t o c o n s c i o u s n e s s b e c a u s e c o n s t i t u t i v e . T h e i m m e d i a t e o p e r a t e s a s a m e t a p h o r o f a n u n k n o w a b l e t o t a l i t y o r u n i t y o t h e r w i s e b l i n d e d t o t h e s u b j e c t , y e t c r y s t a l l i z e d o u t a s a f u n c t i o n o f t h e d e c o r a t i v e o r f o r m a l p o s s i b i l i t y o f s u r f a c e . T h e i m m e d i a t e s t a n d s i n f o r a p h y s i c a l o r m a t e r i a l c o n t e n t w i t h i n t h e a e s t h e t i c . T h e i m m e d i a t e a s s u r f a c e - m a t t e r i s a m e t a p h o r o f f e e l i n g o r e m o t i o n , w h a t G r e e n b e r g c a l l s " s e n s a t i o n s , t h e i r r e d u c i b l e e l e m e n t s o f e x p e r i e n c e " . 2 It i s , o f c o u r s e , e a s y t o d i s m i s s t h e t e m p t a t i o n o f t h e i m m e d i a t e o u t r i g h t . ( A n e x t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m h a s d o n e t h i s f o r l o n g e n o u g h a n d t o n o a v a i l ) . It i s m y a t t e m p t h e r e t o y i e l d t o i t s t e m p t a t i o n , e x p u r g a t i n g t h e s o c i a l i n t h e p r o c e s s , a n d o n l y a f t e r t h e f a c t , s e e k r e c o m p e n s e b y r e c o n f i g u r i n g t h e s o c i a l w i t h i n a n d t h r o u g h t h e n a r r o w w i n d o w o n t h e w o r l d t h e i m m e d i a c y o f s u r f a c e p r o v i d e s . F o r u p o n c a r e f u l a n a l y s i s , 1 Harry Stack Sullivan, 'The Meaning of Anxiety in Psychiatry and in Life", (Psychiatry, v. 11, n. 1, Feb. 1948), p. 5. 2Clement Greenberg, "Towards a Newer Laocoon", Partisan Review (July-Aug. 1940), in Clement Greenberg. The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 1: Perceptions and judgements, 1939-1944, ed, Tohn O'Brian (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 30. 6 w h a t o n e f i n d s , i s t h a t t h e n e c e s s i t y a n d t o t a l i z i n g n a t u r e o f m e t a p h o r , a s t h e c r u c i a l t r o p e i n h i g h m o d e r n i s t p a i n t i n g i s i t s e l f c o m p l e m e n t a r y t o a n o t h e r k i n d o f s i g n i f y i n g s y s t e m . F o c u s e d i n t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l i t i s a s y s t e m f o u n d e d o n a r e p e t i t i o u s a n d c o n s i s t e n t p r o c e s s o f m e t o n y m i c a s s o c i a t i o n a n d c o n t i n g e n c y . I n f a c t , a s P a u l d e M a n w r i t e s , " T h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e l i t e r a l a n d f i g u r a l s e n s e s o f a m e t a p h o r i s a l w a y s m e t o n y m i c , t h o u g h m o t i v a t e d b y a c o n s t i t u t i v e t e n d e n c y t o p r e t e n d t h e o p p o s i t e " . 3 T h i s i n s i g h t o f f e r s t h e s i n g l e m o s t i m p o r t a n t e n t r a n c e i n t o h i g h m o d e r n i s t p a i n t i n g a n d c r i t i c i s m . U n d o u b t e d l y t h e o r i g i n a l m o t i v a t i o n s b e h i n d t h i s t h e s i s c a n b e t r a c e d b a c k t o w h a t I d i m l y p e r c e i v e d o f t h e n a s a g a p i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e s p a n n i n g p r e c i s e l y t h i s p o i n t . F o r i f a n i n t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m h a s b e e n u n w i l l i n g t