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Clement Greenberg (1909 94) dominated the American art scene, and is still considered the most influential American art critic of the twentieth century. He was a major champion of Abstract Expressionism, discovering and promoting Jackson Pollock, was central to the establishment of New York as the hub of the western art world in the post war period, and set the tone for art criticism for half a century to come. Drawing on previously unpublished documents, interviews and archives, historian and journalist Alice Goldfarb Marquis tells the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the Art Czar: his development from a small voice published in periodicals of marginal circulation, to a towering figure whose views influenced artists and their dealers, museums and their public, worldwide; and his fall from his lofty perch as he failed to adjust his views on abstract art of the 1940s and 1950s to contemporary taste of the 1960s and beyond. Greenberg continues to be relevant in the world of art because he offers a thoughtful alternative to the ironic culture of Postmodernism. His essays are still frequently reprinted as exemplifying a certain type of modernist criticism, and his seminal essay 'Avant Garde and Kitsch' (1939) continues to be widely quoted and analysed. This book is the first to place his achievements and failings in the context of the social and cultural history of 20th century America.
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