Daniel NeofetouApr 9, 2023
Rereading Abstract Expressionism, Clement Greenberg and the Cold War
Daniel Neofetou's Rereading Abstract Expressionism, Clement Greenberg and the Cold War (Bloomsbury, 2021) rereads Clement Greenberg's account of Abstract Expressionism through Adorno and Merleau-Ponty in order to contend that Greenberg's criticism in fact testifies to how the movement opposes the ends to which it was deployed in efforts of U.S. imperialism during the Cold War. With reference not only to the most famous artists of the movement, but also female and non-white figures whom Greenberg himself neglected, such as Joan Mitchell and Norman Lewis, it is argued that, far from reinforcing the capitalist status quo, Abstract Expressionism engages corporeal and affective elements of experience dismissed or delegitimated by capitalism, and promises a world which would do justice to them.
Kaveh Rafie is a PhD candidate specializing in modern and contemporary art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His dissertation charts the course of modern art in the late Pahlavi Iran (1941-1979) and explores the extent to which the 1953 coup marks the recuperation of modern art as a viable blueprint for cultural globalization in Iran.