“If you’re going to do art history,” Steinberg declared, “you’d better know what your artists were looking at. And that has to include prints.”
What comes after postmodernism is less interesting than the changed nature of the art system and art writing.
Leo Steinberg’s compelling essays pull you into the interpretative process, asking you to see the drama he unpacks.
Leo Steinberg (1920–2011) was the rare scholar with the ability to alter the way we think about art, history and culture, and, inferentially, the things we create.
“The Eye Is a Part of the Mind” is the title of an essay first published in 1953 in Partisan Review and later in Steinberg’s landmark collection, Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art (Oxford, 1972).
In the essay, Steinberg seeks to “show that representation is a central esthetic function in all art; and that the formalist esthetic, designed to champion the new abstract trend, was largely based on a misunderstanding and an underestimation of the art it set out to defend.”
After last week’s post on Phyllida Barlow’s solo turn on the fourth floor of the New Museum, it seemed apropos to mention the exhibition one flight down, which is devoted to one of her better-known students from London’s Slade School, Tacita Dean: Five Americans.
Renowned art historian Leo Steinberg died on March 13. The iconic academic, lecturer and critic left behind a legacy of books, papers and comments that have been memorialized in recent days. Here are a collection of reactions to Steinberg’s passing, as well as archives of articles and talks.