| The Visual Art "Intertextual" System, c.1950-c.1980
Importance of interpretive contexts:
Abstract Expression-Pop Art-Minimalism
The artworks produced from the post-World War II
era through around 1980 form an inter-referential system based on the accrual of meaning and value, and a knowledge of the positions and relationships within the system.
Each genre, style, medium, and materials was
presupposed in the making of the new work, and the new work was
positioned to have meaning within the system.
It is important to see art works in a system
of meaningful relationships, not as independent styles of
types of visual content.
This means seeing works for what they are not
doing--negating past ways of working--as well as what what new
positive expressions are being made.
The naive concept of "influence" is
inadequate for understanding the density or complexity of interdependent
meaning in a cultural system.
What is always in play is a semiotic matrix,
positions within a system that presuppose and cross-reference
All three art movements of the 1950-1970s attempt
to cancel the older, inherited "grand tradition" of European
art (and prior American art based on European traditions) to clear
the way for something modern, American, and a way of embodying a
new concept or philosophy of art-making and even what art is or
should be in the current moment.
Pop art assumes and negates both the inherited
European system of High Art, the New York Abstract Expressionist
movement and its corollary, Color Field Painting, and the emerging
The grand tradition of European high art and
painterliness was a major "influence" on Pollock because
he worked to cancel it with a new style and new philosophy of
what art should be in America.
Pollock's work thus presupposes the history of
painting to WWII, but it attempts to cancel its properties. So
"influence" is mostly a useless term theoretically.
Pop and post-Pop art continues to intervene in
the visual system, appropriating popular and commercial mass culture
content, and compelling us to see and receive art objects, images,
and materials in different, disruptive, ironic, and humorous ways.
Finding adequate theory: dialogism, intertextuality/intermediality,
New works proceed in a dialogue with prior and
contemporary work. The dialogue presupposes other statements or
expressions, subsumes them, and advances the dialogue by adding
interpretations, commentaries, responses to what has already been
The artworks have no meaning outside the ongoing
system of meaning which is like a matrix of relationships or network.
A work by Judd is neither AbEx, Pop, or the inherited
art system, but presupposes them all by intentionally rejecting
them and reducing art to independent objects.
The relationships across traditions or prior
art positions are not "influences" but grounds or preconditions
for meaning or intelligibility in the new art per se.
System Matrix (review first)
Visual Art Interdependent System, c.1950-c.1980:
Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956
Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow, oil and enamel on canvas, 1953
Pollock at work in studio, 1950 [other
images of AbEx artists]
Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist, 1950
Mark Rothko, (1903-1970)
Mark Rothko, Untitled, No. 9, 1948, oil on canvas
Mark Rothko, No. 3/No. 13, oil, 85 in. x 65 in. 1949
Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1952, oil on canvas
Mark Rothko, White and Black on Wine, oil on canvas, 1958
Concurrent Rise of Pop Art: Hamilton,
Lichtenstein, Warhol, 1956-1980s
Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different,
So Appealing?, 1956
Roy Lichtenstein, Blam, magna on canvas, 1962
Roy Lichtenstein, Vicki, magna on canvas, 1964
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Andy Warhol, Gold Marilyn, oil and acrylic polymer silkscreen on
Andy Warhol, 200 Campbells Soup Cans, acrylic on canvas, 1962
Andy Warhol, "Liz," silscreen ink and synthetic polymer on canvas,
40 x 40 in., 1963
Andy Warhol, Brillo Boxes, acrylic and silkscreen on wood, 20 x 20 x 17
Andy Warhol, "Diamond Dust Shoes," no. 2 in portfolio of screenprints,
silkscreen ink and diamond dust on paper, 40 x 50, 1980
Andy Warhol, Oxidation Painting, Copper metallic paint and urine on canvas,
78 x 218 ins., 1978
inside joke and queering of Pollock and Ab-Ex]
The Challenge of Minimalism, c. 1959-1980
Frank Stella, Tomlinson Court Park (second version) (Black Painting
enamel on canvas, 84 x 109 in., 1959
[$5,060,000 at Sotheby's Nov. 8, 1989]
Frank Stella, Scramble, acrylic on canvas, 1968
Donald Judd, Woodcut in ivory black, 21x30 in., 1961-78
Donald Judd, Untitled, stainless steel and Plexiglas, 1966-68
Donald Judd, Untitled, Copper, Ten Units, 1969
Donald Judd, Six Aquatints, 1980
Donald Judd, Two Aquatints, open left and open right, 1980