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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 S U B M I T T E D 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 IN 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 O F 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  degree at the  this  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  the  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  for  an advanced  Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of  this thesis for  department  or  publication  by  his  or  scholarly purposes may be granted her  It  of this thesis for financial gain shall not  permission.  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  representatives.  is  by the head of  understood  that  copying  my or  be allowed without my written  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  image  of p l e n i t u d e , if a b e a r e r of the  Utopian impulse,  is  always paradoxically inscribed by the trace of a material history that precedes it, that renders it utterly contingent.  iii  Table of  Contents  Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iv  List of Figures  v  Acknowledgment  xiv  Epigraph  1  Preface  2  Introduction  4  Chapter O n e  " A Fabulous  Invalid":  "American Capitalism"  at  M i d  Century  (Not a Great M o m e n t A t All) Chapter T w o  Shedding H o w  N e w L i g h t o n the D o g - D a y - A f t e r n o o n d a y of Life: O r  Clement Greenberg Built a "Fence Against  the S u b u r b a n Chapter  Three  Four  T o w a r d a Physics of R e a d i n g  Hangdoggin'  History" Out  N i g h t of M e r e Reflection  E n t r o p y as D i s s i p a t i o n i n Chapter  22  Greenberg Reading  Sober-Type  in Suburbia,  88 Pollock  Five  151  or Plane D r u n k i n the T i m e of  L o v e A m e r i c a n Style, o r H o w to D r i v e a [Square] Wild  Bibliography  (By K e n n e t h N o l a n d )  Relaxing  Painting  Great Flood Chapter  of  the 239  Cat 329 407  iv  List of Figures  Chapter 1 Figure 1 "The G o o d Life ... O r is it? Opinions differ. "Life, v. 47, n. 26, Dec. 28 1959, cover page.  76  Figure 2  77  Many sports shirts, for the many moods of Pop. Inset C shows 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 symbol manipulator. A . C . Spectorsky, The Exurbanites. Drawing by Robert Osborn. N e w York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1955, title page.  78  Figure 4 "You know ... We think very highly of your husband M r s . Rath. "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. M G M , 1956.  79  Figure 5  80  A teaser: Morris Louis wearing suit in question. Diane Upright.Morns Louis: The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w York: Harry N . Abrams, 1985, p. 59.  Figure 6 Its a dream come true ... ranch style. Life, v. 43, n. 17, Oct. 21,1957.  81  Figure 7 "World Struggle as seen by James Burnham". Life, v. 22, n. 13, Mar. 31,1947.  82  Figure 8 "The story of Jackson Pollett(sic), the boy wonder of 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. N e w York: Doubleday and Company, 1958, dust cover.  83  Figure 9 "The Universal Card" for Personality Testing. William H . Whyte, Jr. The Organization Man. London: Jonathan Cape, 1957, p. 177.  84  Figure 10 White Collar Worker. C . Wright Mills. The White Collar: The American Middle Classes. N e w York: Oxford University  85  v  Press, 1951, d u s t  Figure  York Times  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  Magazine, Figure  "5  cover.  Drawing by Bertrand Zadig, April  12 T h e a n x i e t y American  sensing  "radar  sensing  Character?"..."Social  Time Magazine.  device".  Scientist  86  14,1948.  " W h a t is t h e  D a v i d  87  Riesman".  D r a w i n g b y Errol Baker, October  19,1954.  Chapter 2 Figure  1  "It m a k e s a c o n t i n u o u s s u p p l y  of ice cubes,  S E R V E L - A u t o m a t i c ice-maker  refrigerator  v.34, n.25, J u n e 22,1953, p.  Figure 2  "It d o u b l e s  refrigerator  "Believe me. A D M I R A L  can make  ad.  138  88.  y o u r 'front-row' space! A n d n o other refrigerator  manufacturer  Figure 3  without trays". a d . Life Magazine,  this c l a i m " . C R O S L E Y  Life Magazine,  S H E L V A D O R  v . 34, n . 22, J u n e 1 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  Y o u c a n tell w h i c h peas w e r e  D u a l - T e m p refrigerator  66.  kept in an Admiral".  Life Magazine,  ad.  139  v.  140  34,  n . 23, J u n e 8 , 1 9 5 3 , p . 5.  Figure 4  "It c o m e s  with Moisture-Seal  M o d e l K P C refrigerator 1953, p .  Figure 5  ad.  Crispers".  D r e a m or nightmare?.  refrigerator  .."Free forever  f r o m the m e s s y  "It's  "Just l o o k ~ coup ad.  Figure 9  Life Magazine,  ad.  Life Magazine,  3 great appliances  refrigerator  Figure 8  ad.  C R O S L E Y  ad.  w e w o n ' t say  Life Magazine,  "Say g o o d b y e  toaster ad.  54.  143 74.  Automatic ice-maker  M E R C U R Y  144 109.  Convertible  v . 34, n . 24, J u n e 1 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  G E N E R A L  E L E C T R I C  Dextrose  the First T i m e i n a n y Refrigerator:  146  Automatic  v . 3 4 , n . 2 3 , J u n e 8, 1 9 5 3 , p .  J u n e 22, v.34, n . 2 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  145  24.  f o r e v e r to d i g g i n g for toast o r b u r n i n g fingers  F i g u r e 10 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 .  ll'Tor  142  FRIGIDA I R E  v . 3 5 , n . 4, J u n e 2 7 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  a word."  Life Magazine,  Life Magazine,  chore  v . 34, n . 24, J u n e 1 5 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  i n 1". S E R V E L  Life Magazine,  t r y i n g to r e s c u e a m u f f i n . "  Figure  1,  S H E L V A D O R  v . 3 5 , n . 2, J u n e 2 2 , 1 9 5 3 , p .  "Even Kafka w o u l d b u y one!" C Y C L A M A T I C refrigerator  Figure 7  141  v . 34, n . 22, J u n e  1.  of getting r i d of frost a n d frost-water".  Figure 6  K E L V I N A T O R  Life Magazine,  126.  ad.  147  11.  It t h i n k s f o r i t s e l f " .  148  vi  P H I L C O A u t o m a t i c freezer ad. J u n e 1, 1 9 5 3 ,  Figure  Life Magazine,  p.9.  12 " H a r r i e t f i n d s its n e w  design puts everything more  conveniently i n reach than ever before".  Life Magazine,  Super-Star ad.  F i g u r e 13 A  v . 34, n . 22,  149  H O T P O I N T  v . 34, n . 25, J u n e 22,  1953.  D o g Day Afternoon  150  Chapter 3 Figure 1  Jackson Pollock. Installation  at B e t t y P a r s o n ' s G a l l e r y , 1951.  216  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 . Thaw.  Figure 2  N e w Haven:  Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, p.  Jackson Pollock. Installation  266  o f B e t t y P a r s o n ' s G a l l e r y , 1951;  217  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  Figure 3  Haven:  Yale University Press, p.  Number Fourteen , 1 9 5 1 . E n a m e l o n c a n v a s , Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 , e d . F r a n c i s  Jackson Pollock. 57 5 / 8  Valentine O'Connor University Press,  Jackson Pollock. on Art,  Figure 5  and E. V . Thaw.  Los  N e w  Haven:  Yale  p.155.  Number  1,  c a n v a s , 63 x 102 i n c h e s .  1949.  E n a m e l a n d metallic paint  T h e M u s e u m of  219  Contemporary  Angeles.  H e n r i Matisse. Mosee  218  x 106 inches.  of Paintings,  Figure 4  265.  Interieur  a Nice, la siesta,  1922. 6 6 x 54.5 i n c h e s .  National d'Art M o d e r n e / Centre Georges  220  Pompidou.  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 , 1916-1930, p.167.  Figure 6  Barnett  N e w m a n ,  The  Way  I,  1951.  O i l o n canvas,  40 x 30 inches. N a t i o n a l G a l l e r y of C a n a d a ,  Figure 7  221  Ottawa.  Shooting Star, 1947. O i l o n c a n v a s , Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Drawings, and Other Works, v . 2 , e d . F r a n c i s  Jackson Pollock.  222  39 x 24 i n c h e s .  Paintings,  Figure 8  Valentine O'Connor  and E. V . Thaw.  University Press, p.  181.  Jackson Pollock.  inches,Jackson  N e w  Haven:  Comet, 1 9 4 7 . O i l o n c a n v a s . 3 7 1 / Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of  Yale  8 x 1 7 7 / 8  223  Paintings,  vii  Drawings,  and Other  O'Connor  and  Works,  E. V . Thaw.  Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, p.  Figure 9  Jackson Pollock, gravel, 43 1/2  Raisonne  10  N e w  canvas,  paint,  small  E. V . Thaw.  N e w  Haven:  Jackson Pollock: Drawings, and Other  of Paintings,  Valentine O'Connor and  Phosphorescence.  44 x 26 inches.  Number  The M u s e u m  E. V .  225  Thaw.  253.  O i l and  aluminum  paint  A d d i s o n Gallery of A m e r i c a n  inches.  and  National  1,  1948.  226  Art,  O i l o n c a n v a s , 68 x 104  of M o d e r n A r t , N e w  Detail  of Number  M u s e u m  14 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . enamel,  224  Academy.  13 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . 68 x 104  Figure  aluminum  Yale University Press, p.  12 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . inches.  Figure  O i l and  Press,  4, e d . F r a n c i s  Haven:  Phillips  Figure  1947.  Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Drawings, and Other Works, v . 2 ,  Raisonne  11 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k . on  Figure  Galaxy,  Jackson Pollock. H o l o g r a p h statement  A Catalogue Works, v.  Figure  Haven:  167.  Valentine O ' C o n n o r and  Yale University  Figure  N e w  Valentine  x 31 i n c h e s ,  of Paintings,  ed. Francis  v . 2, e d . F r a n c i s  (Lavender  1,1950. paint  Gallery of A r t , W a s h i n g t o n ,  15 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k .  118  Oil,  229  inches.  D . C .  U n t i t l e d , c.1951. I n k o n rice p a p e r d r a w i n g s  soaked in Rivet glue over  228  York.  Mist).  o n canvas, 87 x  227  City.  O i l o n canvas,  of M o d e r n A r t , N e w  Number  aluminum  1,1948.  York  chicken wire  mounted  on  230  wooden  Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Drawings, and Other Works, v . 4 ,  d o o r . L e n g t h a b o u t 60 i n c h e s .  Raisonne  of Paintings,  ed. Francis  Valentine O'Connor and  Yale University Press, p.  Figure  16  Pollock i n studio,  (Number 3,1951) Number 32, 1 9 5 0 Gregory N e w  Figure  17 T h e n e w  N e w  Haven:  130.  Number 22, 1 9 5 1 . L e f t : Image of Man Number 15, 1 9 5 1 , a t r i g h t :  231  and  o n floor.  White Smith:  York:  E. V . Thaw.  Stephen Naifeh  Jackson Pollock:  H a r p e r P e r e n n i a l , 1989,  paintings from  1951  and  An American  Saga.  p.666.  i n Pollock's  studio.  Tryptich  232  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 hanging  at l o w e r left, (left t o r i g h t )  O'Connor  and  E. V . Thaw.  N e w  Haven:  viii  Yale University Press, p.  Figure  Number 4, 1 9 5 1 . i n 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  18 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k .  E. V . T h a w .  Figure  19 " . . . w a y  of  Personality";  The Fusion  and  3".  and  Social Sciences. pp.  Figure  1964), p p . 239,  Over  Life", i n  (New  O'Connor Press, p.  2,  235  Anxiety  and the  Company,  1964),  a n d J a c k s o n P o l l o c k at T h e S p r i n g s (1950). i n  and  E. V . Thaw.  C a n v a s , 91 7 / 8  York.  Raisonne  of  v . 4, e d . F r a n c i s  N e w  236  Paintings,  Haven:  Yale  Twenty  Five,  Valentine University  244.  22 J a c k s o n P o l l o c k .  F i g u r e 23  York:  243,245-6.  21 L e e K r a s n e r  on  of  of Psychiatry  W . W . Norton and  Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Drawings, and Other Works,  Figure  (New  1, F i g u r e  "The Meaning  The Fusion  York:  Stack  Life",  241.  Time: Figure  H a r r y Stack Sullivan:  in Psychiatry  and  and the Social Sciences.  Company,  234  Schematic  Harry  of A n x i e t y i n Psychiatry  Episode  entity  fields."  " K e y to the V i s u a l A n a l o g y " .  233  129.  the hypothetical  for interpersonal  of Psychiatry  " A Schizophrenic Figure  Yale University Press, p.  a 'personality',  "The Meaning  W . W . Norton and  20  Haven:  posit to a c c o u n t  Sullivan: in  N e w  of depicting  which we  Figure  261.  Echo:  (Echo)  x 86 inches.  No.  Jackson Pollock.  Number  M u s e u m  1951.  Enamel  of M o d e r n Art,  237  N e w  p.345.  Number  20,  1951.  64 x 57 1 / 8 inches. L o s A n g e l e s  E n a m e l o n canvas,  County  238  Museum.  Chapter 4 Figure  1  Morris Louis.  Salient.  1954.  74 5 / 8  inches.  Diane Upright,  x 99 1/4  The Complete  Paintings:  Acrylic o n canvas,  A Catalogue  H a r r y N . A b r a m s . Inc., 1985, p .  Figure  303  Morris Louis Raisonne. N e  w  York:  66.  2  Figure 3  Morris Louis.  Louis  N e w York:  Figure 4  Harry N . Abrams.  Morris Louis.  Morris N e w  Louis York:  Salient. Paintings:  Detail of  - The Complete  Diane  Inc., 1985,  Intrigue. 1 9 5 4 . 7 5 x 1 0 5 - The Complete Paintings:  Harry N . Abrams.  Upright,  A Catalogue p.  304  52.  inches.  Inc., 1985,  Morris Raisonne.  Diane Upright,  A Catalogue  305  Raisonne.  p.65.  ix  Figure 5  Figure 6  Atomic  Morris Louis. 79 x  106  inches.  Crest.  Pendulum.  Morris Louis.  1954.  The Lannan  Acrylic on  1954.  Morris Raisonne. N e  A Catalogue  Abrams. 1985, p .  Figure  7  Louis - The Complete  houswives  over  are  working  Post,  M a r c h 13,  curated by Morris Louis.  N e w  1953.  Firewritten 1979, p i .  L o u i s . T r a n q u i l i t i e s III.  1953. 1/2  Louis - The Complete York:  1951.  Acrylic  Diane  Paintings:  1953  310  Louis.  311  Upright,  A Catalogue  Raisonne.  136.  show  at t h e W o t k s h o p  312  Center Gallery, Washington, D . C . Morris Louis Papers, A A A .  12 M o r r i s L o u i s .  Collection  Geometry of a Fish. 1 9 5 3 . The Drawings of Morris  Ink o n paper. Diane  Louis.  of F i n e A r t s , W a s h i n g t o n , D . C : p.  of F i n e A r t s , W a s h i n g t o n ,  I n s t i t u t i o n P r e s s , 1979,  14 M o r r i s L o u i s . inches.  p.  Spreading,  Diane Upright,  A Catalogue 1985, p .  Smithsonian  Untitled photo collage. 1 9 5 0 . 1 2 H e a d l e y , The Drawings of Morris Louis.  Collection  Raisonne.  313  National  54.  13 M o r r i s L o u i s . Upright  Figure  process".  Tissue paper, a n d acrylic  H a r r y N . A b r a m s . Inc., 1985, p .  I n s t i t u t i o n Press, 1979,  Figure  309  14.  inches.  Upright Headley,  Figure  II,  Michael Fried, Morris  Exhibition catalogue for Louis' Art  Figure  Journal.  U p s o m b o a r d , 37 1 / 2 x 5 8  Morris  11  Louis.  Arts.  "Stages i n the creative  York: Harry N . Abrams,  10 M o r r i s on  Charred  c a n v a s , 35 x 30 inches.  N e w  Figure  a n easel." M o r r i s  of the  1958.  Morris Louis. on  Figure  over  308  E x h i b i t i o n of T h e Psychiatric Institute, U n i v e r s i t y of M a r y l a n d ,  Baltimore,  Figure 9  Harry N .  that proverbial hot stove, these  at t h e W o r k s h o p C e n t e r  The Washington 8  w York:  Inc.,  Teaching  Figure  307  139.  "Instead of slaving young  306  Acrylic o n canvas,  79 x 105 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t :  Paintings:  canvas,  Foundation.  D . C :  x 9 in.  Diane  314  National  Smithsonian  55.  1954.  A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s , 79 1/8  Morris  Louis - The Complete  N e w York:  Harry N . Abrams.  x 97  315  Paintings: Inc.,  67.  15 M o r r i s L o u i s .  Terrain  of Joy,  1954.  79 x 105 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t ,  Acrylic o n canvas,  Morris  Louis  316  - The Complete  x  Paintings:  A Catalogue Raisonne.  A b r a m s . Inc., 1985, p.  Figure  N e w York:  Harry N .  68.  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 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 . ,  16 M o r r i s L o u i s . inches.  Diane  1985, p .  139.  317  Upright:  Figure  17 R o r s c h a c h  card  Figure  18 R o r s c h a c h  Figure  19 R o r s c h a c h  number  VIII.  318  card number  IX.  319  card number  X.  320  Terrain of Joy, D i a n e U p r i g h t , Morris Louis The Complete Paintings: A Catalogue Raisonne. N  F i g u r e 20 D e t a i l  H a r r y N . A b r a m s . Inc., 1985, p .  F i g u r e 21 M o r r i s L o u i s . 96 1/2  Longitude,  1954.  Acrylic o n canvas,  322  x 66 inches. 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  22 M o r r i s L o u i s .  Breaking Hue,  York:  52.  M u s e u m o f M o d e r n A r t , 1986,  Figure  321 e w  p.  York:  90.  1954.  Acrylic o n canvas,  323  Morris Louis - The Complete A Catalogue Raisonne. N e w Y o r k : H a r r y N .  104 x 78 i n c h e s . D i a n e U p r i g h t ,  Paintings:  A b r a m s . Inc., 1985, p .  64.  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 . 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 ,  F i g u r e 23 M o r r i s L o u i s . Diane  F i g u r e 24 M o r r i s L o u i s .  Longitudes,  1954.  M u s e u m  o f M o d e r n A r t , 1986,  p.  F i g u r e 27 A l b r e c h t D u r e r .  Mountains  Melencolia I.  14.  325 York:  90.  F i g u r e 25 M o r r i s Louis.TreZZis, C o l l e c t i o n of M a r c e l l a L o u i s  26 H e l e n F r a n k e n t h a l e r ,  p.  Acrylic o n canvas,  96 1 / 2 x 66 inches. 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  Figure  324  Upright,  and Sea,  1514.  Brenner.  The National  Gallery  Engraving.  326  327  328  Chapter 5 Figure  1  Kenneth  Noland.  This,  84 x 84 i n c h e s . W i l l i a m  Paintings 1956-1963. 1993, p .  1958-59. A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s . C. Agee,  385  Kenneth Noland: The Circle  Houston: The M u s e u m  of Fine  Arts,  69.  xi  Figure  2  84 x 84 i n c h e s .  Paintings  3  Inc.,  1977,  Sunshine. Kenneth  Kenneth Noland.  Kenneth  7  Plate  Figure  8  York:  Kenneth inches.  9  Untitled,  on  Globe.  1957.  Figure  1993,  p.  R i z z o l i , 1990,  Figure  Figure  Luster.  p.  391  Noland.. 26.  O i l o n c a n v a s , 60 x 54  Noland.  N e w  392  York:  26.  Oil on Canvas.  Noland..  60  N e w  x 60  393  York:  48.  The M u s e u m  394 Acrylic  of Fine A r t s  Houston,  1958.  Acrylic o n canvas,  Kenneth  Noland.  395  N e w  York:  1.  12 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . 63 x 65 i n c h e s .  York:  O i l o n canvas,  Kenneth  Karen Wilkin,  pi.  N e w  65.  11 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . 59 x 59 inches.  389 Garden,  390  Noland..  Circle. 1 9 5 8 - 5 9 . W i l l i a m C . A g e e , The Circle Paintings, 1956-1963.  c a n v a s , 96 x 96 i n c h e s .  Houston,  o n canvas, Sculpture  Kenneth  Kenneth  1956.  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  Noland:  N .  O i l o n canvas,  c.1957.  Untitled.  Noland.  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  Kenneth  and  H a r r y N . A b r a m s , Inc., 1977,  10 K e n n e t h N o l a n d .  388  26.  H a r r y N . A b r a m s , Inc., 1977. p .  Figure  Magna  Kenneth  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  Kenneth Noland. inches.  N e w York: Harry  c.1956.  H a r r y N . A b r a n s , Inc., 1977, p .  Figure  N .  4.  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  Kenneth Noland.  N e w  387  O i l o n c a n v a s , 84 x 84 i n c h e s .  1958.  Untitled,  Noland.  16 x 14" i n c h e s .  N e w York: Harry  Noland.  H a r r y N . A b r a m s , Inc., 1977, p .  Figure  Arts,  Acrylic o n canvas,  Hirshhorn M u s e u m  Institution,  18 x 18 i n c h e s .  1961.  Beginning.  inches.  Smithsonian  6  of Fine  Circle  p.53.  Kenneth Noland. 90 x 95 7 / 8  Figure  386  The  frontispeice.  A b r a m s , Inc., 1977,  5  Noland:  The M u s e u m  Virginia Site. 1 9 5 9 . M o f f e t t , Kenneth Noland.  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  Figure  Houston:  Kenneth Noland.  Abrams,  4  Kenneth  70.  Kenworth  Figure  1958-59. A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s .  William C. Agee,  1956-1963.  1993, p .  Figure  That,  Kenneth Noland.  Heat.  1958.  Acrylic o n canvas,  Collection Lannan Foundation,  13 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . 94 x 95 1 / 4 inches.  Split.  1959.  National  Los  396 Angeles.  Acrylic o n canvas,  M u s e u m  of  American  397 Art,  xii  Smithsonian  Figure  Institution.  Tondo.  14 K e n n e t h N o l a n d 50 x 50 i n c h e s .  1958-59.  15 N i c o l a s  Poussin.  Figure  16 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . inches.  Blue Veil,  Figure  17 K e n n e t h inches.  Noland.  William  1956-1963. Figure  1963,  C. Agee,  1956-1963. Figure  20  Kenneth Noland,  21  22  Kenneth Noland.  of Fine Arts, Houston,  of Fine Arts, Houston,  Untitled,  of Fine Arts, H o u s t o n ,  York:  1993,  p.  401  59.  1993,  p.  402  74.  1993,  p.  403  63.  1958-59. A c r y l i c o n c a n v a s ,  404  Kenneth Noland: The Circle  M u s e u m  of Fine Arts,  Magic Box, 1 9 5 9 .  Houston,  Acrylic o n canvas,  The Metropolitan M u s e u m  Kenneth Noland. 69.5  400  N e w  73.  96 x 96 i n c h e s .  Figure  Acrylic o n canvas,  Kenneth Noland,  399  130.  William C. Agee,  Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n :  Figure  L o u v r e , Paris.  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 . Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings  Houston: M u s e u m  84 x 84 i n c h e s .  1993, p .  1650.  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 . Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings  Houston: M u s e u m  19 K e n n e t h N o l a n d . William  York:  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 Kenneth Noland: The Circle Paintings  Houston: M u s e u m  William C. Agee,  Figure  N e w  C. Agee,  18 K e n n e t h N o l a n d .  1956-1963.  Noland..  Shepherds.  K e n w o r t h Moffet,  H a r r y N . A b r a m s , Inc., 1977, p .  398  55.  The Arcadian  Figure  72 x72  Kenneth  K e n w o r t h Moffett,  H a r r y N . A b r a m s , Inc., 1977, p .  O i l o n canvas,  x 70 i n c h e s .  Wilhelm  Reich,  William C. Agee,  1959.  1993, p .  York.  Acrylic o n canvas,  Kenneth  The Circle Paintings 1956-1963. H o u s t o n : Houston,  of Arts, N e w  405  406  Noland:  M u s e u m  of Fine  Arts,  32.  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 selfabsorption, 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 of this dissertation perhaps most  investigations  late 1940s a n d painful, where  1950s.  direct, a n d  injuries  convalescence injuries shaping  a study  o n a n u m b e r of levels.  i m p o r t a n t , a series of reflections  t h e b r i n k o f its h i s t o r i c a l r u i n . unrelated  as  into modernist  and/or  correlation w i t h the former;  accumulated  a kind  life c l i m b i n g , h a v e  sustained immobility.  object, b u t r a t h e r as a d e f e r r e d  a n d t h i n k o f e a c h c h a p t e r as  or displaced  it d e s c r i b e s .  as  never surfacing  than setting  tweak  J u n e of 1989, first draft  through  the  as  a fall,  the preface  " W h e r e t h e y e l l o w s p o t is, t o to the s p l e e n — the s o u r c e o f  injuries  o w n brief catalogue sustained  while  W h e r e a s , I like to t h i n k o f the first d r a f t Invalid': ' A m e r i c a n Capitalism' reading  of the m i d d l e a n d i n d e x finger tendons  the s u m m e r  mineral  o n a d a m a g e d life. T h e r o l e o f a  a Great m o m e n t A t All)", i n terms of a reductive bowstring  the  such a stage-work i n motion.  chronologically listing significant  '"Fabulous  the  a sort of  T h i n k of this dissertation  m e l a n c h o l y disease — w h i c h D u r e r p o i n t e d , I offer m y  e x a m p l e s s h o u l d suffice:  a  of  as  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 to g r a s p  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 . " If i t w a s  entitled a  the  relation,  In this sense, I like to t h i n k of  In 1512 D u r e r i n s c r i b e d o n a self-portrait:  chapter,  not  necessitated periods  s i g n o f that w r i t i n g — as  of historical reflections  should be nothing other  T w o  on  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 its w r i t i n g ,  anteriority, a n d wholeness  ruination,  of  of inverse  i n s c r i p t i o n left b y a w r i t i n g o n the b o d y , a h y p o g r a m that d e t e r m i n e s  i m a g e of a succession  ... a b o d y  p a i n t i n g i n the U n i t e d States d u r i n g  its 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  necessity,  and  I l i k e to t h i n k o f t h e latter as a c o n t i n g e n c y felt i n t e r m s o f  naive  and  ... m y b o d y  S e c o n d l y , a n d i n as m u c h , a s u c c e s s i o n  sustained i n a n active  accrued  o n the b o d y  T h e first,  p r i o r to b e g i n n i n g this project,  the of  climbing. of the  at M i d - C e n t u r y  that circumscribes o f m y left h a n d i n  (Not a  early  I w o u l d circumscribe  G r e e n b e r g " , to a  first  it to  of 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 "In a F o r c e f u l A t t e m p t to fix the  o n the 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  which  the Eye  long-term  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 i n the right knee in November and December of the same year, that a third draft was precipitated by a reflaming on the biceps tendon i n the left shoulder i n 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 a n d / o r extended health care, including hospital stays and extensive physiotherapy; and finally those injuries that required dosages of antiinflammatories a n d / 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 ( M a y 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 The immediate. provides  O n e m i g h t w e l l recruit the n a r r o w w i n d o w o n the w o r l d  for a defense of m o d e r n i s t painting a n d criticism i n the U n i t e d  d u r i n g the late 1940s a n d 1950s.  This dissertation  States  is 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 , it is a n a t t e m p t out-manoeuver  a n d u n r a v e l the i m m e d i a t e  the shift t o w a r d a b s t r a c t i o n Kenneth Noland; a  i n the paintings  reappraisal  of Jackson  the i m m e d i a t e  of C l e m e n t Greenberg's  dissertation  position i n the context  unpacks  Pollock, Morris Louis,  the i m a g e  contradiction; that  the  which  describes.  the material history o f the s u r r o u n d i n g  not  forged  galvanized  A m e r i c a n culture. provides  i n terms  precisely this p a r a d o x  American moment.  B y resituating  history, I a m  an  bound up  in  symbolic  T h e great irony of the loose  being  grouping  w h y Greenberg w o u l d  have  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 first p l a c e — is t h a t as t h e d e f i n i n g f e a t u r e o f t h e  the g r o u p i n g i n the context  the post-war  the  this  of  complicit i n a redefinition of the m o d e r n subject  reluctantly accepted  discourses w h i c h m a d e  a  In sum,  is itself p a r a d o x i c a l l y  u n d e r consideration — the principle reason these painters  a  culture.  i n t h e s u r r o u n d i n g c u l t u r e as a w h o l e .  of positions  and  diminish  of the aesthetic;  I a r g u e that the i m m e d i a t e , if c e n t r a l to the c i r c u m s c r i b i n g of a m o m e n t , is s i m u l t a n e o u s l y  of  what Greenberg considered  of totality the i m m e d i a t e  Utopian i m p u l s e  does  M o r e o v e r , it is  understanding  of post-war  to  It i s a h i s t o r i c a l r e r e a d i n g  of a cool, b l a n d , A p o l l o n i a n detachment,  only defensible  essential  well.  culturally oriented reinterpretation  the centrality of f o r m a l questions historical rereading  as  it  politics.  part this m e l a n c h o l i c p o s t u r i n g has b e e n o b s c u r e d b y the extant subject w h i c h has  traditionally been polarized in two camps:  criticism focusing  o n purely formal conceits, a n d  of  in American  F o r the  literature o n  most the  that of a n intrinsic  that of a n extrinsic  concentrating o n social, historical, a n d political concerns.  modern  of the w i d e r field  p e r i o d one of the h i g h m o m e n t s  able to r e c o v e r the subtleties of this d e s p a i r i n g  each  In o r d e r to  criticism understand  4  fully  the complexities  of the position, 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  inclusive of b o t h tendencies. problematics became  F o r the essential  aspect^of  surface,  connected w i t h the social. pessimistic  account  acknowledges the n o t i o n of  that  political negotiations.  what  A  to the i m m e d i a t e  of the i n d i v i d u a l u n d e r  t h e self as o n l y a f i c t i o n .  bildung,  T h e instantaneous  G r e e n b e r g calls the decorative, w a s  recourse  intimately  the conditions of m o d e r n i t y ; one  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  as  which  repast i n  the tenets of a therapeutic  an  Especially  i n history w h e n the illusion of the centered a n d  f i r m a s h i b b o l e t h as  "veils  It is, I t h i n k ,  account of the m o d e r n p r e d i c a m e n t w h i c h deserves special attention.  subject remains  supremely  it is w o r t h n o t i n g n o w t h a t it r e s t s f i n a l l y , o n l y , o n t h e  during a moment  a  or  is b o u n d u p i n a  of i l l u s i o n " w h i c h the i m p o v e r i s h e d n o t i o n of the self p r o v i d e s .  today  is  formal  a n i s s u e f o r p a i n t i n g i n the first p l a c e p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e of  long history of highly charged immediate  fact r e m a i n s ,  that  stable  culture i n  the  Academy. M y  research  focuses o n linking u p  the g r o u p i n g to a constellation  of  discourses i n A m e r i c a n psychiatry a n d social psychology, all acutely a w a r e of odds  stacked  against the i n d i v i d u a l , all h i g h l y c o g n i z a n t of the threat p o s e d  "totalitarianism",  all f o u n d e d  i n the principles of structuralism,  general milieu increasingly defined by d y n a m i c psychiatry. become  the c o n c e r n of a n u m b e r of trends  psychology s h o u l d be of n o surprise.  and  transformative  revolutionary contemplative history.  a  T h a t the i m m e d i a t e  in A m e r i c a n psychiatry and  social  as  a  m o m e n t h a d been n a r r o w e d d o w n a n d isolated  the i m m e d i a t e  a n d therapeutic  had  In the context of b r o a d e r historical processes  all that r e m a i n e d of the r e v o l u t i o n a r y project possibility however,  by  finally,  c o n t r i b u t i n g to the d e r a d i c a l i z a t i o n of the A m e r i c a n Left, the i m m e d i a t e dynamic and  the  was  failure.  feel of h i g h m o d e r n i s t  itself.  If a m o m e n t  rich  out  with  also the crucial m e c h a n i s m for  both  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 painting was  T h e c u l t o f a c t i o n w i l l h a u n t it.  b o r n of this active  Guilt drives  as  and  and  engaged  this p a i n t i n g to c o n t i n u a l l y  5  transform  the imaginative into all m a n n e r of i n d i v i d u a l acts of notability.  one were  to d e s c r i b e  mankind  at m i d - c e n t u r y , it w o u l d h a v e  in the physical: A  Greenberg's project i n terms of a n aesthetic  to b e c o n c e i v e d o f i r o n i c a l l y as  an  education  k i n d of phys. ed. degree w i t h a specialization i n Schiller.  the question of materialism — Greenberg's  by  this  materialism, a n d the k i n d  materialism one confronts i n the specific cases of Pollock, L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d . simply an  put  the i m m e d i a t e  impossible  is a m e t a p h o r  m o m e n t w h e n matter  what Sullivanian Interpersonal psychiatry — h a d isolated  as  of the transformative  Psychiatry ~  the most  significant  m e d i u m ' s surface  analogically corresponded  precipitating consciousness, i m m e d i a t e o p e r a t e s as  of the subject.  potential of  w i t h i n the aesthetic. emotion, what  G r e e n b e r g calls  "sensations, the irreducible elements  It i s , o f c o u r s e , e a s y t o d i s m i s s extrinsic criticism has  is a m e t a p h o r  processes  h e r e t o y i e l d t o its t e m p t a t i o n , e x p u r g a t i n g seek recompense  w i n d o w  o n the w o r l d  formal  content  It i s m y  the social i n the process,  provides.  and only  F o r u p o n careful  ( A n  attempt  b y reconfiguring the social w i t h i n a n d t h r o u g h the  the i m m e d i a c y of surface  or  experience".2  the temptation of the i m m e d i a t e outright.  d o n e this for l o n g e n o u g h a n d to n o avail).  t h e fact,  The  of feeling of  a  otherwise  T h e i m m e d i a t e stands i n for a physical or material surface-matter  For  because constitutive.  a m e t a p h o r of a n u n k n o w a b l e totality or u n i t y  T h e i m m e d i a t e as  is  the  b l i n d e d to the subject, y e t c r y s t a l l i z e d o u t as a f u n c t i o n o f the d e c o r a t i v e o r possibility of surface.  It  transformations"1  to the p h y s i c a l a n d m a t e r i a l  b u t b l i n d e d to c o n s c i o u s n e s s  Most  trend in dynamic  the "relatively fixed pattern of energy  like G r e e n b e r g , the i m m e d i a c y or instantaneous  of  moment; a nothing;  is 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 .  that d e t e r m i n e d the character, personality, a n d consciousness materialist  if  education of  I n v a r i a b l y , all this l e a d s to the 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 dissertation,  I n fact,  after narrow analysis,  1 Harry Stack Sullivan, 'The Meaning of Anxiety in Psychiatry and in Life", (Psychiatry, v. 11, n. 1, Feb. 1948), p. 5. Clement 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. 2  6  w h a t o n e finds, is that the necessity  a n d totalizing n a t u r e of m e t a p h o r , as  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 is itself c o m p l e m e n t a r y signifying system. repetitious fact, as  to a n o t h e r k i n d  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 it is a s y s t e m  a n d consistent  the crucial  process of m e t o n y m i c association  of  founded o n  a  and contingency.  P a u l d e M a n writes, " T h e relationship b e t w e e n the literal a n d figural  o f a m e t a p h o r is a l w a y s pretend  the  the single  most  important entrance  precisely this p o i n t .  is m o r e t h a n as  i n the literature  suffered  a b r o m i d e I s u b m i t this thesis.  obeisance  familiar a n d n u m e r o u s  in painting.  title  f o r m that studies o n L o u i s as  suggests, table  and  a fundamental corrective  t h a t l i t e r a t u r e , b e c a u s e I b e l i e v e it to b e a f r e s h a n d o r i g i n a l c o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h e of A m e r i c a n Why?  social  Principally because not o n e of the i n d i v i d u a l s u n d e r consideration — Pollock, Morris Louis, Kenneth N o l a n d  fully or i n any complexity w i t h o u t a sustained  interrelations a n d tensions  existing b e t w e e n all four.  — can  consideration of  For example,  be  the  any attempts  c o m e to terms w i t h G r e e n b e r g alone, i n isolation f r o m these o t h e r orbits — w h i c h b y far the m o s t understand  to  art.  Clement Greenberg, Jackson grasped  It  literature  to the g e n r e of the coffee  Rather, I c o n c e i v e this dissertation  the  its  o n l y to s u r v e y the  to realize, that u n l i k e w h a t m y  it s t a n d s as m o r e t h a n s i m p l y a g e n e r o u s b o o k — b y far the m o s t  O n e has  can  spanning  as g r e a t a loss f r o m  of Greenberg's insight into a theory of expression  on Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland  assume.  modernist  F o r if a n i n t r i n s i c c r i t i c i s m has b e e n u n w i l l i n g to b r o a c h  question of the social, a n extrinsic criticism has dismissal  into high  U n d o u b t e d l y the original m o t i v a t i o n s b e h i n d this thesis  b e t r a c e d b a c k to 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 as a g a p  history  to  opposite".3  painting a n d criticism.  Noland  senses  metonymic, t h o u g h motivated b y a constitutive tendency  T h i s insight offers  wholesale  In  c o m m o n tactic t a k e n i n the extant  literature ~  the c o m p l e x of p r o b l e m s a n d m u l t i p l e perspectives  w i l l ultimately fail required in  to is to  grasping  ^Paul de Man, "Reading(Proust)" in Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rosseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), p. 71.  7  the d e p t h a n d b r e a d t h of his o w n account. was  S e c o n d l y , f r o m its i n c e p t i o n , m y  less c o n c e r n e d w i t h p a r t i s a n p o l i t i c s (say  paintings  for instance  understanding  of Pollock, L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d s i m p l y against the b a c k g r o u n d  culture, o r the i d e o l o g i c a l debates a n d pitfalls  painting.  A n d conversely using those paintings  a c c o u n t i n g of Greenberg's A n d  negotiations  with  a n especially  the s u r r o u n d i n g  too, because the tension b e t w e e n m e t a p h o r  particularly penetrating  one  f o r m of a serious,  m a t e r i a l i s m at m i d - c e n t u r y w a s intra-textual a n d  extra-textual  based.  painting and  reading permits  is o p e r a t i v e  wide-ranging critique of consciousness,  What  one needs  that  achievement  light-hearted melancholic  of the  as  metaphor  character  primacy  is a l w a y s  as  E v e n as p a r t o f  and  in high modernist  w h i c h constitute history: a w e b  is that a m e t o n y m i c c h a i n o f a s s o c i a t i o n s  p a i n t i n g rests entirely o n the  repetitive  or structure  makes up  of intention f o u n d e d  a kind  entirely u p o n  and chance encounter or proximity.  w h i c h carries  is  a  the b u r d e n of a n otherwise  T h e fact  is  and  procedures,  of veiled  personal  concomitance,  It i s t h i s  occluded  is  repetitious,  a n d mechanical technical  a n y o n e p a r t i c u l a r stylistics,  contingent association, movement  These  of  instrumental  t o m e t a p h o r i c i t y , b u t t h a t it is c o n s t i t u t i v e o f it.  technique.  a  intentionality  prosaic, a n d b a n a l w a y one builds a surface out of a v e r y particular, concrete, self-conscious  of  T h a t is, t h e m e t a p h o r  only insofar  structure,  an  one.  to r e m e m b e r  not only complementary  and  a  I n t e n t i o n a l i t y is t h e c a r d i n a l s i n  of a n unintentional w o r k i n g w i t h surface-matter.  this p a r a d i g m is a d e l u d e d  culture.  the re-establishment  e x c l u d e d f r o m those processes constitutive of m a k i n g surface.  reason,  privileged  high-minded, and  criticism. T h e immediate  totality, s y m b o l i c u n i t y , o r w h o l e n e s s  former's  Ultimately, because, the tension b e t w e e n  of intention w i t h i n the interpretive process. high modernist  modernist  and m e t o n y m y sheds  light o n the often ironic, far-reaching,  associations u p o n w h i c h  function  as  into the  the  of A m e r i c a n  surrounding Greenberg's  criticism), t h a n w i t h u s i n g G r e e n b e r g for a historical entrance  account  extra-textual  subject-matter.  8  In terms of a practice V e i l series, o r N o l a n d ' s i n t e n t i o n , it s e e m s  Target  to  association.  serious study  a b o w  interpreter  in  the i n d i v i d u a l life l i v e d , a n d  described  The s u c h as  acts a n d  kind  of w o r k  this, s u c h as  found  expurgate  l y i n g just u n d e r  f u n c t i o n i n g o n the level painting must  a  "mortification  of the w o r k " .  begin  t h e w o r k i n t o a w h o l e (as  T h e task of  4  is G r e e n b e r g ' s  the  of  necessarily  concomitant,  contiguous,  with  what the  case),  but  o n to the p h y s i c s  t h a t is i n v o l v e d i n u n c o v e r i n g a n  of the instantaneous, J u n g i a n  of light, entropy, dissipation,  decorum  A n d r i g h t l y so!  or academic  of life" w h e n r e a s o n " d r o w n s  g r o v e of imagination,  one's o w n  stifling w o r l d " .  association, a n d  to a surface,  complementarity,  sobriety,  Greenberg  called the  strictures a n d  ideas  history to  Quantum  the necessity of a  black  O n t h e c o n t r a r y , it is a l l o v e r  a closed  wooded  undervalued  is n o t y o u r r u n o f the m i l l k i n d  restraint.  F o r it accesses w h a t and  1951  "a w i d e o p e n inside "noonday  that  faculties.  white palette, i n Pollock's w o r k f r o m  criticism exuding  thick w i t h the association of  the c h a i n of association that links the b o d y  theory, the atomicity  map.  and purposes  first  it d o w n i n t o f r a g m e n t s , r u i n e d p i e c e s , m e c h a n i c a l p a r t s — a s u b j e c t - m a t t e r  a n d things a n d  and  as  is n o t t o s y n t h e s i z e  t h e e n d is a l l e g o r i c a l ,  depth,  of h i g h modernist  can be  Louis'  to the unity a n d seamlessness that m a k e s surface, o n l y to p r o c e e d b y  Walter Benjamin  break  series, w h i c h for all intents  that a n intentional structure  surface, b o u n d A  like Pollock's black a n d white paintings,  5  valued  most i n Kafka's  A n in-between.  What  i n its o w n a b y s s " . 6  fantastic m o v e m e n t ,  constraints of one's o w n predicament,  A  of the  fiction,  Hegel thickly  apart from  because finally a reflection  the on  predicament.  Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. J. Osborne, (New York: Verso, 1977), p. 111. ^Clement Greenberg, "The Jewishness of Franz Kafka: Some Sources of his Particular Vision", in Clement Greenberg, The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol 3: Affirmations and Refusals, 1950-1956, ed. John O'Brian, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 208. Hegel, Difference: The Difference Between Fichte's and Schelling's System of Philosophy, trans., ed. W. Cerf and H. S. Harris, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1977), pp. 102-103. 4  6  9  It i s i n k e e p i n g w i t h t h e i r o n i e s , o p p o s i t i o n s , inversions would  of materialism,  that  a strict  paradoxes, a n d often  concentration o n the m e d i u m of  finally involve a denigration of vision a n d  the s u b l i m a t i o n of  absurd painting  sound.  Because w e are d e a l i n g w i t h a k i n d of practice w h i c h privileges a principle of articulation between formulated  as  discursivity.  a kind  of w o o d e d  of blows  m a t e r i a l entities,  of a stream  i n one of Louis' Veils,  at t h e a t o m i c l e v e l i n a P o l l o c k , o r t h e c o o l s o u n d s  i n the ring, a n d  the h u s h e d  love i n one of Noland's Circle paintings,  a l l exist as  a kind of phonic  c o m p l e m e n t a r i t y the literal appearance of a surface m a d e  up  of  the  potentiality  of factual b y this  or  making  A s a figure  v e r i f i a b l e q u i d d i t i e s is c o n s t a n t l y i n t e n s i o n w i t h a n d a b s o r b e d  of  and totalizing  possibility. E v e n color sounds.  F o r if o n e  takes this m o s t  essential  feature of the  p a i n t i n g o f L o u i s a n d N o l a n d , r e d u c i n g it d o w n to t h e e s s e n t i a l  mature  frequencies  which  e m i t s , o u t o f t h e w h i t e l i g h t that a b s o r b s e a c h d i s t i n c t h u e i n t o the u n i t y that is surface,  one hears a gentle  a line f r o m the poet  nichts  is  the  of jazz,  and murmuring sounds  that is a m e t a p h o r o f t h e s y m b o l i c p l e n i t u d e that is e x p e r i e n c e .  figural  the aesthetic  h i n t e r l a n d b e y o n d the h o r i z o n of representation  T h e gurgling trickling s o u n d  vibration of particles exchange  c o m p o n e n t parts or discrete  als Rauschen"  potential.  w o r l d : "dissipate".  ("I  that  have  nothing but  struck between  murmuring").  favorite  It i s a r e m i n d e r o f a c e r t a i n p e n s i v e accompanying  the i m m e d i a t e  resonant 7  here:  It i s a r e s t a t e m e n t o f  w o r d i n the w h o l e m o o d  that  o r less as  for  "Ich habe that  its  wide  surrounds  the i n t o x i c a t i o n o f the aesthetic state.  "which started out m o r e  the  Adorno's admiration  the sensuous aspect of language a n d  It i s a n e c h o o f G r e e n b e r g ' s  materialism, one always wonder  that is a l l s o u n d .  R u d o l p h Borchardt seems especially  metaphoric equivalence acoustic  rustling music  it  "Trotskyism",  i n t o art f o r art's sake, a n d t h e r e b y c l e a r e d the w a y , h e r o i c a l l y , f o r w h a t w a s  Little turned  to  Theodore W. Adorno, "Skoteinos, or How to Read Hegel", trans. S. W. Nicolsen, Hegel: Three Studies, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994), p. 89.  7  10  come".  Little w o n d e r that  8  tempting  v i s i o n for that  the i m m e d i a t e  theoretically  and  still r e m a i n s  today  the o n l y h o p e f u l  socially oriented few,  of a  and  melancholic  disposition!  Before I b e g i n to sketch o u t the m o r e specific a r g u m e n t s i n e a c h chapter, is w o r t h m e n t i o n i n g that traceable i n Greenberg's  the  development  of this project  c r i t i c i s m , as w e l l as  over  time  mirrors a  o n e i m p l i c i t to the processes  formalization i n the w o r k of Pollock, L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d .  encountered  o n the level of local interpretation,  F o r if this project  began  indeed because  of  as  representation  that G r e e n b e r g , Pollock, L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d all h a d c o n t i n u a l l y  confront. account  Greenberg's of the  p o s i t i o n is a h i g h l y c o m p l e x  conditions  should, I think, recognize nature  would  this c o m p l e x  precipitate  it, first a n d f o r e m o s t ,  of  as  art historical p r o b l e m s toward  debates in A m e r i c a n psychiatry  a critique of the  to  constitutive  a n d social psychology,  o w n entrance  a function of  a n d lastly, v i a all focused  o f t h e self.  to  more terms  contemporary  o n the illusion of U n d e r l y i n g these  the readings p r o p o s e d ,  to the w o r k of P a u l d e M a n ; a n d specifically, a n entrance  to  that  Pollock, Louis, and N o l a n d i n  abstract expressionism;  and  its  Romanticism  cultural context  a n d K a f k a ; t h i r d l y , as  w h i c h faced  the m e t h o d o l o g i c a l schema,  and  In the chapters w h i c h follow, I attempt  t h e i n d i v i d u a l , i.e., t h e c o n t i n g e n t o r f i c t i o n a l n a t u r e  recourse  of  s u c h a concern; secondly, i n terms of Greenberg's  a mutual antagonism  concerns,  experience  philosophical  T h e student  p r o b l e m ; first, i n t e r m s o f a g e n e r a l  s u c h issues t h r o u g h the w o r k of N i e t z s c h e specifically  and deeply  of h u m a n consciousness.  of consciousness or metaphoricity.  unravel  the tension b e t w e e n  as  the  interpretation,  a n a t t e m p t to p r o b l e m a t i z e  shift  of  a c o n v e n t i o n a l l y c o n c e i v e d w o r k o f s o c i a l art h i s t o r y it e n d e d u p , b e c a u s e o f problems  it  lies a  continual  to that w o r k  q u e s t i o n s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e d i s u n i t y o f t h e self, t h e t e n s i o n b e t w e e n  experience  (the and  Clement Greenberg, "The Late Thirties in New York", Art and Culture, (New York, The Beacon Press, 1961), p. 230. 8  11  representation,  the s y m b o l i c a n d  the allegorical)  gained  t h r o u g h the perspective  of  T . J. C l a r k . T h e p o i n t is, that as  a result  of this p r o l o n g e d  w e a k n e s s e s a n d faults i m p l i c i t to m y readjustment, reading,  misreading,  intellectual development,  o w n process of methodological  and  rereading,  unfortunately,  the skeletal  layout of the ensuing  awkwardly  f r o m the political a n d cultural circumstances  isolated  and  particular  specific  five chapters.  are,  formal concerns  painting.  It i s i m p o r t a n t  political history of the early C o l d  one  A s a whole  confronts  adjustment, retained  they m o v e  in  rather  o f the p e r i o d to the  more  i n the i n d i v i d u a l artist a n d  to realize, h o w e v e r ,  W a r was  the  that if the c u l t u r a l  the  and  initially to p r o v i d e a b a c k g r o u n d  for  r e a d i n g s of G r e e n b e r g , P o l l o c k , L o u i s , a n d N o l a n d , this simplistic gestalt relation entirely complexified thematic  i n the pertinent  chapters through what  centering of the dissertation  T h u s , for instance,  as  a  i n the chapter  I consider  a kind  on Noland's  Circle paintings  the  argument  o n the relatively banal, t h o u g h suggestive o p p o s i t i o n existing b e t w e e n  formal  qualities  noted in m y between  reading  "falleness"  "uprightness".  "squareness" or "uprightness" p r e c e d i n g as  personal stylistics;  What I have  perspectives something  isolate w h a t  o n the simple  Maurice Blanchot points  to d o is r e c o n s t r u c t  American moment, a n entirely prosaic,  of syntactical  w h i c h ties h i m to a p r i v i l e g e d  w h i c h hinges  T h a t the issue of middle-class  attempted  w h i c h e m e r g e s as set  similar strategy s h o u l d  the  "writers  repetitious,  solitude":  chapters as  "The  a  whole  very  founded  strategies for representation.  to as  be  polarity  the  a series of  wholly  the  conformity —  a n d recurrent trope of the dissertation  o n the m o d e r n  mechanically consistent  A  — s h o u l d e m e r g e i n these chapters a n d  the privileged t h e m e  is n o c o i n c i d e n c e .  "circularity".  of Louis' Veil paintings  and  of  whole.  hinges  of "squareness" a n d  is  on  and M y a i m is  to  obsession  theme,  ...which obliges him to say over again what he has already said — sometimes with the strength of an enriched talent, but sometimes with the prolixity of an extraordinarily impoverishing repetitiveness, with ever less force, more monotony — illustrates the 12  necessity, which apparently determines his efforts, that he always come back to the same point, pass again over the same paths, persevere in starting over what for him never starts, and that he belong to the shadow of events, not the reality, to the image, not the object, to what allows words themselves to become images, appearances — not signs, values, the power of truth. 9  F o r B l a n c h o t t h e " w r i t e r s s o l i t u d e " is a b l i n d s p o t . experience f r o m representation,  imperious".  1 0  A  m o r e central, m o r e  center.  The chiasm.  or interface b e t w e e n the aesthetic  whose  A  M y  The immediate.  A n unbridgeable gap  electro-magnetically  of a n u n s e e m l y leap  to m a p  (Not a Great M o m e n t  to  thus  and  Invalid':  driving political a n d cultural  o n the all-inclusive parameters  field,  of intention.  It p r o v i d e s a g e n e r a l i n t r o d u c t i o n t o A m e r i c a i n t h e l a t e  to place G r e e n b e r g w i t h i n a n u m b e r of progressively  consensus,  charged  at A l l ) " lays a k i n d  culture w h i c h high modernist painting a n d criticism will pick u p  War  reconstitutes  such a blind spot a n d  i n t e n t i o n h e r e is first to g i v e a s e n s e o f t h e k i n d o f d i a l o g u e s  I focus  same  between  of v e r y specific approaches  1950s b y b r o a c h i n g the c e n t r a l q u e s t i o n s  frames.  A  of metaphoricity, Chapter O n e , entitled ' " A Fabulous  ' A m e r i c a n C a p i t a l i s m ' at M i d - C e n t u r y  and  w h i l e r e m a i n i n g the  demarcation  i n terms  "a center w h i c h attracts" i n terms  "it is  crossing.  A n inexplicable, instantaneous,  initial g r o u n d w o r k .  attracts".  more  If C h a p t e r s T w o t h r o u g h F i v e a t t e m p t  understandings  itself,  a n d m o r a l realm, w h e r e the aesthetic  wiring or circuitry I formulate  relocate  " A center w h i c h  a  hidden, more uncertain, and  a n d c h e m i c a l l y b l e n d s to f o r m the i d e o l o g i c a l . opposing realms.  It i s  deferred b y the pressures of representation,  a l s o a f i x e d c e n t e r w h i c h , i f it is g e n u i n e , d i s p l a c e s and becoming always  separates  t h e "I" o f b e c o m i n g f r o m a n "I" o f d e s i r e .  m i d d l e , a r o u n d w h i c h t h e rest o f t h e text o r i e n t s itself. Floating, dislocated, a n d always  It is t h a t w h i c h  1940s  dialogue.  circulating in on, and  the  secondly,  refined a n d distinct contexts  of w h a t has b e e n called the  a n d secondly, a constellation of discourses  which most  of  ably  or  Cold describe  ^Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), p. 24, Blanchot, The Space of Literature, prefratory note, ibid. 10  13  the landscape Surveying  i n spite of the h e g e m o n i c nature  of the former: the " n e w liberalism".  the s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n o f its v a r i e d d i s c o u r s e s  i n political economy,  c u l t u r a l t h e o r y , a n t h r o p o l o g y , a n d p s y c h i a t r y , I o u t l i n e w h a t is a l o o s e p r o j e c t the g r o u p i n g as balances  a w h o l e : the n o t i o n of "the vital center".  which was  assuring  A  system  Using both published and  of Left a n d  Right.  u n p u b l i s h e d a r c h i v a l material I argue that  G r e e n b e r g is n e e d f u l l y p o s i t i o n e d i n this g e n e r a l o r b i t , c e r t a i n k e y which  perspective  to the fact  r e a l m were ideological ones. the terms the  rise  for a k i n d  of loose  of interests,  the other.  E q u a l l y r e v e a l i n g is t h e  approached  i n distinct  " n e w liberalism's" various  will become  a recurrent theme i n the dissertation  especially r e v e a l i n g i n this r e g a r d Interpersonal Psychiatry.  are  Greenberg's  the insights  attempts  close  as  a w h o l e is  post-war What  with  F o r the irony  S u l l i v a n ' s s o c i a l p s y c h o l o g i c a l m a p p i n g o f t h e s u b j e c t is that a n x i e t y w a s root of conformity.  In s u m , i n t r o d u c i n g a n u m b e r of the key perspectives  p r o b l e m of m i d d l e class c o n f o r m i t y u n d e r the c o n d i t i o n s of p o s t w a r the c r u x of this chapter, w h i l e d e f i n i n g the role assigned  first  proves  Sullivanian  a n d life-long association  o f t h e W a s h i n g t o n S c h o o l o f P s y c h i a t r y is i m p o r t a n t h e r e .  to  sphere.  a critical practice. provided by  of  of conformity  i n t r o d u c e d h e r e as G r e e n b e r g ' s p a r a d o x i c a l c l a i m t h a t i n t h e c o n t e x t o f " A m e r i c a n capitalism" only conformity can sustain  and  manners.  defense  paradoxical embrace  sustain f r e e d o m t h r o u g h a defense of anxiety a n d the corporate What  provided  the threat of c o n s u m e r i s m  clearly illustrated b y the " n e w liberalism's" consistent  i n d i v i d u a l i s m o n the o n e h a n d a n d Greenberg's on  moral  E v e n if the threat of "totalitarianism" a b r o a d  of a m i d d l e class o n the d o m e s t i c front w a s  T h i s is m o s t  Greenberg's  that a n y a n d all intrusions into the  association  while  distinctions  i s o l a t e h i m f r o m its p o l i t i c a l s o l u t i o n s : d i s t i n c t i o n s f r o m  which amount  and  a non-aligned non-ideological politics, b y p i n p o i n t i n g  f r e e d o m i n b e t w e e n the extremes  emerge  of checks  for  to anxiety  members of itself at o n  the  the  c a p i t a l i s m is  at  and  14  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g b e t w e e n v a r i o u s n o t i o n s a n d d e g r e e s o f f r e e d o m is t h e k e y to  the  operation. C h a p t e r T w o (the title o f w h i c h is t o o l o n g to list h e r e i n a n i n t r o d u c t i o n as b r i e f a n d c o n c i s e as  this one), u s e s G r e e n b e r g ' s r i c h r e a d i n g o f K a f k a as a n  into a b r o o d i n g , m i d - c e n t u r y version of the symbolic. t h e b u r e a u c r a t i c state is a p o w e r f u l o n e . of b e c o m i n g , despite consciousness negotiate  perpetuate,  separation,  individual in terms civilization".  the m o n s t r o u s  prosaic  H i s attempts to f o u n d a literature o n a  a l i e n a t i o n , i.e., t h e p r o b l e m f a c i n g  o f t h e " s c h i z o p h r e n i a (that) is p a r t  t h r o u g h a n allegorizing of the i m m e d i a t e . c o n c e p t i o n of the constitutive m o m e n t  immediate  in  of b e c o m i n g was  the  o f t h e self, a m a t e r i a l i s t  version of  that G r e e n b e r g ' s politics i n the 1950s w e r e  a  the of  the  mistaken  aligned w i t h the directives  O n the contrary, I a r g u e that G r e e n b e r g ' s attempts to isolate  cooptation, i n the culture.  astute attempt  It i s a c o n c e p t i o n o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s  as  c o m m o d i f i e d f o r m of experience.  at  of the  avoiding  a post-exilic  to b r o a c h the q u e s t i o n o f the i m m e d i a t e as a n " e x p e c t e d " ,  always-already  only  painting.  Pax Americana.  attempt  both  o n , is  f r a m e w o r k for a discussion  m e t a p h o r i c m o m e n t o f c o m i n g i n t o b e i n g is t h e m o s t  an  and  achievable  In other words, what I focus  w h i c h will p r o v i d e the essential  an  1 2  Evidently, for  In a n i m p o r t a n t sense this c h a p t e r rose o u t of w h a t I c o n s i d e r the assumption  our  notion of "expulsion f r o m paradise",  this s y m b o l i c m o d e  to  the  " u n a v o i d a b l e " , y e t b e c a u s e e t e r n a l is a r e p e t i t i o u s  Greenberg a n d Kafka, accessing  transformative  of h o w  of the discomfort of  a c t i o n w h i c h is i n t h e m a i n d e l i r i o u s a n d i n t o x i c a t i n g .  state  or  s e r v e G r e e n b e r g as a d e c i s i v e l i t e r a r y e x a m p l e  isolation, a n d  e v e n t w h i c h is "final" a n d  post-exilic vision of  inversions that truth, language,  I key in u p o n Kafka's  1 1  Kafka's  entrance  event,  predicted  and  In relation to liberal cultural  m o d e l s , w h i c h h i n g e o n a d e f e n s e o f c h o i c e , G r e e n b e r g ' s is a k i n d  of despairing  and  Clemertt Greenberg, "Religion and the Intellectuals: A Symposium", (Partisan Review, May-Tune 1950), in C.G. 3, p. 40. Franz Kafka, Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, (New York: Schocken Books, 1954), p. 41. 11  12  15  R o m a n t i c politics that c o n c e d e s is a self-reflexive  m i r r o r i n g of that necessity  life i n the p r e s e n t . paradigm,  the o n l y possibility  In a w o r l d i n the w a k e  it is a p o s i t i o n w h i c h m a r k s  corruption's  out  orderliness,  the desiring subject.13  that the expectations of the critic or student call — l o n g considered  A m e r i c a n s c e n e — is a c a l l to e m b r a c e the pessimal counter-act S u c h are  l i m i t s o f one's o w n taste.  Greenberg's  "tasteful" of critics o n limits of a culture, a n d  of a n  life b y  (American)  Entitled "Towards  a Physics of Reading  and  a  terrain between  " m o d e r n " atomistic  v i s i o n o f t h e a e s t h e t i c as  the therein  a n d anxiety  of  o n the  formal black  critic  Greenberg's  Chapter  philosophically transformative, attempt  privileged entrance  d e v e l o p i n g g r a s p of the  into  unconscious;  the role of the b o d y ; a n d his general the atomic  what  Greenberg  p s y c h i a t r y . B u t a l s o it is a n  at a m o m e n t i n h i s t o r y k n o w n as  to  capitalism.  Painting",  conception of the  a n especially  the subtleties of Pollock's w o r l d : his constantly his notions of the expressive problematic;  Sober-Type  For in  Dog.  o n the other h a n d a focus  within Sullivanian interpersonal  Greenberg's  security  point,  it a l s o s k e w s the r e a d i n g i n o r d e r to p l u m b  T h r e e is a n a t t e m p t t o t r a c e t h e s l i p p e r y materialism,  these  alternative  O n t h e o n e h a n d it is a r e a d i n 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 as D i s s i p a t i o n i n  of  the o n l y stop-gap to  If t h e c l o s e r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n a r t i s t a n d  a m o t o r for the analysis,  articulated  sedentary  It i s u n d o u b t e d l y o n t h i s  the m o s t  little i n v e s t i g a t i o n s  f r o m 1951.  is a fertile c o m m o n g r o u n d .  to use  routine, prudence,  of P o l l o c k ' s p a i n t i n g f r o m his a b s t r a c t i o n s of 1947-1950 to his  a n d white paintings  as  avant-garde  It i s , i t s e e m s , t h e o n l y v i a b l e  c o n c e p t i o n of the d e c o r a t i v e ;  development  predetermines  possibilities.  the incessant colonization of the r e a l m of e v e r y d a y  the indispensable  grounded  of  critique  of Greenberg will be confounded.  the pessimal  C h a p t e r T h r e e is d i v i d e d i n t w o .  provides  the slimmest  " w o r l d all m i d d l e " , w h i c h s t a n d s as  of history a n d  essence Greenberg's  w h i c h predestines a n d  of the collapse of the  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , it is t h e " m i d d l e - c l a s s stability" of Kafka's  left f o r a n o p p o s i t i o n a l  sense  age.  ^Clement Greenberg, The Jewishness of Franz Kafka: Some Sources of His Particular Vision', (Commentary, April, 1955), in C G . 3, p. 205. 1  16  T o d o so, I focus  specifically o n Greenberg's  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the shift  in  Pollock's w o r k i n g w i t h surface f r o m "a tautness of feeling" or anxiety, t o w a r d  "a  kind  o w n  of relaxation"  progressively  O v e r top of this trajectory  complexifying understanding  f r o m a n exclusive psychology  or "sobriety".14  and  interest i n the J u n g i a n  finally a c o m p l e x i f i c a t i o n of this i n t e r m s complementarity  which founds  of the unconscious:  archetype  " s y n c h r o n i c i t y " (a J u n g i a n  I trace Pollock's  toward  a movement  away  a n interest i n gestalt  c o n c e p t i o n of the transformative),  of a physical a n d atomistic  Sullivanian psychotherapy.  model  I argue that  e x p r e s s i v e p o t e n t i a l of P o l l o c k ' s surfaces are i n fact s u s t a i n e d  by a web  and  of  the  of  a s s o c i a t i o n s w h i c h this s h i f t i n g set o f p h y s i c a l a n d p s y c h o l o g i c a l m o d e l s  carry.  P h y s i c s — as a k i n d of v e i l e d b a c k g r o u n d to the p s y c h o l o g i c a l insights p r o v i d e d Jungian was  theory, gestalt p s y c h o l o g y , a n d S u l l i v a n i a n p s y c h o t h e r a p y  operating  as  a kind  of locus for Pollock's investigations  W h a t is i m p o r t a n t to r e c o g n i z e the psyche, Gestalt consciousness,  psychology's  — quite  into the  simply,  immediate.  i n a l l o f this, is that J u n g ' s d y n a m i c t h e o r y  insight into the constitutive nature  a n d Sullivan's account  More  all b a s e d  of the physical exchanges of energy  i n the c o m p l e m e n t a r i t y  simply, the visual was  individual a n d universe. p s y c h o l o g y are m o s t  p h e n o m e n o n of A t o m i c  a n insufficient account  of wholeness  In this respect, the p e r c e p t u a l  i m p o r t a n t to m y  argument.  insights  at  the field  physics.  o r totality i n  of  the  Gestalt  A s a surface psychology  which  p r o v i d e d t h e f o u n d a t i o n f o r a n y r e s p e c t a b l e d e p t h p s y c h o l o g y , b e c a u s e it z e r o e d o n the constitutive focused  m o m e n t o f subjectivity as  o n the c o m p l e m e n t a r y  between experience  a perceptual  relation between  a n d its r e p r e s e n t a t i o n .  process, Gestalt  the universal a n d  W h i c h is to say,  A p o l l o n i a n surface g i v i n g off light o r e m i t t i n g electrons  of  of  a t o m i c level, o t h e r w i s e b l i n d e d to the subject b y the anxiety precipitated b y the relation, are  by  the  theory  particular,  that a decorative  (i.e., v i b r a t i o n ,  in  and  frequency,  See especially Clement Greenberg, "Feeling is All ", (Partisan Review, Jan.-Feb. 1952), in Clement Greenberg: The Selected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 3, Affirmations and Refusals, 1950-1956, ed. John O'Brian, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 102, 105. 14  17  or sound  of m o v e m e n t o n the atomic level) w a s  possessed a phonic  a n entropic dissipatory  process  potentiality.  Chapter Four, entitled " H a n g d o g g i n ' i n Suburbia,  or Plane D r u n k  in  the  T i m e of the G r e a t F l o o d " , traces the practice of M o r r i s L o u i s f r o m 1947-1954; a leading u p  to a n d i n c l u d i n g h i s first V e i l series.  shift to a b s t r a c t i o n consciousness. interest  is a n e g o t i a t i o n o f t h e s t r u c t u r a l c o n s t r a i n t s  i n the perceptual  Sullivanian psychiatry.  theories  entrance  posed  of H e r m a n n Rorschach a n d  "phantasy",  technique, disclosing  "imaginative"  and  "associative"  w o r k is g a i n e d .  b y w h a t L o u i s called the "muscular  f u n c t i o n o f the a l l e g o r i c a l g e s t u r e o r act. activity, a