August 12, 2020
Post-historical connoisseurs of art have criticized art as a theatrical reviewer would critique a stage play, and in so doing, granted no right to historical indebtedness, drawing attention to fear factors, claiming it was for the kids, a typical ploy for sympathy practiced as entertainment and even as popular culture that pull at the heartstrings. Had it really been Greenberg’s influence that was diametrically opposed to the external deep structure, then it is certain that any work of art, however marginalized, would still be seen as tragic. Perhaps this is the fate of the critic, not the art. Greenberg may oppose everything external to the art itself, a most difficult tension, but his opponents expanded on the refusal to receive the artist-as-himself, rather than just the productive power of art. Abstract Expressionism always was an act of heroism. The abstract artist’s program of reinterpreting the gallery, fascinating by a beam of strong, direct sunlight reflected off the plainness of the white wall, was considered regret over the loss of innocence, but not the experience, of an as yet unnatural phenomenon.