By Ashbery, John; Brainard, Joe; Cornell, Joseph; Moore, Marianne; Ashbery, John; Cornell, Joseph; Levy, Ellen Sue; Moore, Marianne; Brainard, Joe
Poetry was once declining/ portray advancing/ we have been complaining/ it was once '50, recalled poet Frank O'Hara in 1957. Criminal Ingenuity traces a chain of associated moments within the historical past of this move of cultural energy from the sector of the notice to that of the picture. Ellen Levy explores the hot York literary and artwork worlds within the years that bracket O'Hara's lament via shut readings of the works and careers of poets Marianne Moore and John Ashbery and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. during those readings, Levy discusses such issues because the American debates round surrealism, the functionality of the "token girl" in creative canons, and the position of the hot York urban Ballet within the improvement of mid-century modernism, and situates her imperative figures relating to such colleagues and contemporaries as O'Hara, T. S. Eliot, Clement Greenberg, Walter Benjamin, and Lincoln Kirstein.
Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery are hooked up by way of acquaintance and affinity-and in particular, by way of the ownership of what Moore calls "criminal ingenuity," a expertise for situating themselves at the fault strains that fissure the nation-states of artwork, sexuality, and politics. As we think about their lives and works, Levy exhibits, the possible really good query of the resource and which means of the fight for strength among artwork varieties inexorably opens out to broader questions on social and inventive associations and forces: the academy and the museum, professionalism and the marketplace, and that establishment of associations, marriage
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Additional resources for Criminal ingenuity : Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the struggle between the arts
Yet that volume includes neither “Modernist Painting” nor “Towards a Newer Laocoon,” both of which were crucial to the development of Greenberg’s theory of art, and which remain, together with “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” perhaps his best-known essays. It seems that in order for “the Greenberg effect” to take hold, the critic had to efface 14 CRIMINAL INGENUITY the traces of the struggle through which he secured his authority. Only then, could he affect a properly Eliotic hauteur. Moore is no purist, as her defense of the mongrel forms she calls “miscellanies” or “anthologies” shows.
39 In other words, much as the university served as the practical guarantee of the professions’ autonomy, so the humanities might serve as the ideological guarantee of the university’s autonomy. In the real institution built on Eliot’s imaginary one, poetry became the privileged exemplum of the humanities’ purity. As the well-known story goes, the appointed guardians of this purity were the New Critics, through whose reading practices the poem, or at least a certain type of lyric poem, was recast as an inwardturning, tightly bounded object.
20 The exorcism of “literature” as a threat to art’s autonomy makes sense, then, in the context of the Eliotic Trotskyist’s career-long struggle to frame art criticism as a self-justifying enterprise. The Eliotic acolyte’s choice to forego literature’s established prestige for a riskier investment in a rising art form is conflated with the Trotskyist apostate’s choice to forego political subversion for an aesthetic entrenchment that is part alienated withdrawal, part strategic retreat. The consequences of these choices were not merely personal: for the field of art history as a whole, a relative latecomer to the fold of the humanistic disciplines, Greenberg’s equation of painting with artistic autonomy tout court offered much-needed legitimacy.