The Aesthete in the City: The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s

Pennsylvania State University Press (1994)


In the 1980s, when the American art market flourished, critics were heavily concerned with theory. In T_he Aesthete in the City_ David Carrier offers a personal view on the artistic activity of that decade. He begins with a theoretical perspective on the relationship between two very different forms of artwriting: art criticism and art history writing. Carrier surveys the developments within theory during the 1980s, focusing on constructive critical analysis of the then fashionable work of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, T. J. Clark, and Jacques Derrida. He provides detailed accounts of a number of painters, among them Thomas Nozkowski, David Reed, and Sean Scully, whose development he followed closely. Carrier argues that the greatest American artistic tradition,Expressionism, provides the basis for an ongoing tradition of abstract painting, a rich system whose potential has not yet been exhausted. Carrier's earlier work was concerned with a philosophical study of the methods of art criticism. This book turns to the theory and practice of art criticism, concentrating on a concrete discussion of individual theorists and artists

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