Towards a Newer Abstraction:  Formalism made Formal

class 2 (sept.11)

Modern art:  art that investigates the fundamental characteristics of its medium.

 Modern painting:  painting that is abstract, flat, and recognizes the shape of the canvas.


  • What does it mean to call a painting “abstract”?
  • Is all abstract painting the same?
  • Is there a logical necessity that painting should be abstract?
  • How do we interpret abstract paintings?
  • What is the relationship between abstract painting and decoration?
  • Does formalist criticism correspond to the way paintings are actually made?


Note:  We will be considering reactions against Greenberg’s theories in a number of other classes, but for this meeting I’d like to deal with issues surrounding the definitions of abstraction and formalism.


Class 2