Friday, October 28, 2005

Lowbrow Art

From the LA Weekly, Doug Harvey on the rise of Lowbrow and how "outlaw" art went mainstream.

"Ironically, the Nazi-era influx of Surrealists and other European progressive/modernist exiles into American cultural centers derailed the highly illustrative art traditions of Regionalism and the Ashcan school, and the legitimacy of accomplished figurative masters like Edward Hopper, Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton — whose work disrupted the alienating class elitism of the art establishment by appealing to the sensibilities of the average American.

In this sense, Lowbrow can be said to have a legitimate claim to the true lineage of modern American art. By reconnecting with pictorialist and figurative traditions despised as kitsch by the art-critical school of Clement Greenberg, opening their visual vocabulary to the most unironically inclusive array of pop-cultural iconography, and embracing the marketplace potentials of Generation eBay, Lowbrow has managed to create what the art world never has — a mass consumer base for art."

I feel a certain kinship to anything that is anti-Greenberg so this is a good thing. I may re-read Tom Wolfe's "The painted word" to reinvigorate my contempt.

What do you think?


Anonymous dmarsh451 said...

I remember a time when I was dismissive especially of graffitti and it's ilk until one day, in the continuing corporate take-over of visual space, I started to see the forest for the trees and the wall art, the advertisements for our selfs, became the oases in the jumble. Outsider art is as yet, something I've only seen from a distance but I did enjoy a book recently called __The Colorful Apocalypse__ by Greg Bottoms. You might enjoy it too. So glad I found your blog at the beginning of winter. I'll have time to knuckle down and read it.

3:07 PM  

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