Description/Abstract

Modernist art critics tend to focus solely on formal elements. Clement Greenberg’s descriptive approach on the medium and Jerry Saltz’s off-the-cuff judgements fail to utilize the relevant insight that can be collected through cognizant interpretation. Susan Sontag attempts to justify the medium-specific approach by arguing that the merit of a work of art is independent of any interpretation. However, an interpretation based on historical and cultural connections can produce valuable insights about the form itself. A research-based analysis of Kristina Type 3 (1976) by the late-modernist painter Jules Olitski will show that criticism can serve viewers best through knowledgeable interpretation. This approach supplements an exclusive focus on either description or judgement of form without disregarding their mutual importance. An understanding of the political events in Olitski’s past allows the viewer to better understand the implication of freedom used in his unorthodox pictorial construction.

Presenting Author Name/s

Brooke E Benham

Faculty Advisor

Vittorio Colaizzi

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Contemporary Art | Fine Arts | Theory and Criticism

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters 3

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Start Date

2-8-2020 10:15 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 11:15 AM

Full Text of Presentation

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Feb 8th, 10:15 AM Feb 8th, 11:15 AM

Criticism Through Interpretation: Jules Olitski

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Modernist art critics tend to focus solely on formal elements. Clement Greenberg’s descriptive approach on the medium and Jerry Saltz’s off-the-cuff judgements fail to utilize the relevant insight that can be collected through cognizant interpretation. Susan Sontag attempts to justify the medium-specific approach by arguing that the merit of a work of art is independent of any interpretation. However, an interpretation based on historical and cultural connections can produce valuable insights about the form itself. A research-based analysis of Kristina Type 3 (1976) by the late-modernist painter Jules Olitski will show that criticism can serve viewers best through knowledgeable interpretation. This approach supplements an exclusive focus on either description or judgement of form without disregarding their mutual importance. An understanding of the political events in Olitski’s past allows the viewer to better understand the implication of freedom used in his unorthodox pictorial construction.