Not once did I ever bore an art historian in grad school in spite of my failure to comply with MLA standards! Revisiting old writings and laughing at Greenberg’s great Pea-ness.
what was I thinking? Bahahaa.

I contemplate developing time to start writing about art again. I need to direct my writing more purposefully. Why? Besides because I need it for myself my writing is highly accessible, funny, and educated. I am not always funny, but I always take a stand, and that is funny cause frankly it is just art. Ha!

excerpt from The Formal | Cunt Positive | Bad Painting essays by Kathryn Kelley, 2007. Written in response to three questions proposed by Dana Padgett on Greenberg, Feminism, and Bad Painting in an Art History Post Modern course.

Clement Greenberg’s views on Modern art can be
summed up in his eating habits. Imagine the round
white disc of the dinner plate sitting in front of Greenberg—
gravyless mashed potatoes neatly stacked to
the left, tightly corralled green peas on the right, low
and central on the plate a bland pork chop (oops, not
pork) filet of fish. Most assuredly, Greenberg carefully
compartmentalized this meal, breaking it down
into the most elemental groupings, never allowing his
food to become co-mingled or touch. Each item would
remain independent of the others; each basking in its
own uniqueness and being most palatable in its pure
form. For instance, a pea would lose value if it became
embedded in the potatoes or mixed with the fish. The
pea should be valued for its innate structure of being a
pea. This formal structure was to be fully explored—the
surface, the shape, and the properties of its pigment.
The pea should justify itself; render itself pure by making
explicit that which was irreducible about it. The pea
should avoid anything that called up associations with
potatoes or fish. Then Greenberg, with great authority,
could speak and write to the power of the pea. He
would stand tall and firm and promote his formal view
of the modern pea. The pea would justify the pea in
the same way that logic established logic or paint, the
painting. All other foods would fall by the way side and
he would proudly tout this pea-ness. It would simply
be the pea-ness for pea-ness’ sake.
Simply substituting the pea for painting reveals truths
and fallacies in Greenberg’s theories of Modern Art. As
far as I am concerned the story of the pea sums it up,
but, since you need to know that I know what you expect
me to know, I shall set silliness aside and connect
some of the peas…
read the rest [pdf]


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