2011 SECAC: With or Without C. Greenberg: Beyond Anglophone Art History

Post-WWII Anglo-American Modernism has been articulated around Clement Greenberg’s Formalism and the reactions it provoked. However, beyond the Anglophone world, either a postponed reception or a total disregard for his principles caused non-Greenbergian interpretations of post-war art movements such as Abstract Expressionism and brought di erent formulations of Post- Modernism.


Chairs:  Raffaele Bedarida, The Graduate Center, CUNY and Stéphanie Jeanjean, The Graduate Center, CUNY



The Same, Onky Different: (Greenbergian?) Binarism in Post-War Italy
Adrian R. Duran, Memphis College of Art 

This paper investigates the contemporaneous emergence of binarism as a discursive structure in both the writings of Clement Greenberg and the critical debates of post-WWII Italy. Focusing primarily on the late-1940s groups FORMA 1 and Il Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, this study will discuss the art criticism of the time as a reflection of the political climate of the Cold War.


Without Greenberg: The French Reception of abstract Expressionism, 1948-1959
Catherine Dossin, Purdue University

Clement Greenberg’s name is indissociable from Abstract Expressionism’s rise in the Unites States. But in France, where the first examples of American Abstract Expressionism arrived around 1948, his texts were not translated until 1988; his ideas little known before the 1960s. Ultimately I argue that, although Jean-Paul Sartre never wrote on Abstract Expressionism, his ideas on the United States and on art were far more influential than Greenberg’s for the original French reception of American art.


A Transatlantic Smash: Joan Mir. Between Clement Greenberg (1948) and Juan-Eduardo Cirlot (1949)
Davide Lacagnina, Università degli Studi di Siena

The arising interest in Joan Miró’s work in Europe as well as in the US, between the 1940s and the 50s, especially after the solo show held at the MoMA in 1941, is proved by the addition of two different monographs – among the first ones ever dedicated to the Catalan painter –published in English and in Spanish in 1948 and in 1949, the former by Clement Greenberg, the latter by Juan-Eduardo Cirlot. The paper will consider the impressive timeliness of both volumes and will read them comparatively.


The Politics of Italian Kitsch in the 1960s
Raffaele Bedarida, The Graduate Center, CUNY

The term “kitsch” has been used often and in various ways to describe mid-twentieth-century Italian art and design in American scholarship of the last fifteen years. In the United States, the prominence of kitsch as an aesthetic category derives mainly from Clement Greenberg’s 1939 essay, “Avant-garde and Kitsch.” Gillo Dorfles’ 1969 book, Kitsch: Antologia del cattivo gusto included the first Italian translation of Greenberg’s essay. By studying Dorfles’ book in the context of the Italian artistic discourse of the 1960s, I argue that the German term “kitsch” had a different political function: it was used to define what Italian modern culture should not be. Kitsch characterized two negative paradigms: the present Americanization and the Fascist past.


Minimalia as a Threat to Modernism. On the Absence of Greenberg in Italian Post-War Debate
Riccardo Venturi, George Washington University


Time: 11/10/2011, 10:00 AM—11:30 AM

Location: Hilton DeSoto, First Floor, Ossabaw