Excerpt from Nature of Representation: A Phenomenological Inquiry
Since then, we have witnessed the ascendancy of a still more radical development, variously termed Ab stract Expressionism, Action Painting, or tachisme. Whatever our ultimate assessment of its significance and the time is hardly ripe yet for such a task - we must credit it with one notable effect: it has given us a new perspective on the avant-garde of yesterday. Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Klee, Ernst suddenly look like old masters in comparison, and we realize far more clearly than before that they are'still linked to tradi tional values which the Action Painters seem determined to reject. Perhaps this impression is somewhat decep tive; to future eyes, the Abstract expressiomsts and their kin will probably appear less antitraditional than they do at present. Be that as it may, they resist analysis in terms of the critical vocabulary developed for their predecessors. They have thus had an important catalytic effect in making us aware of the need to re-examine our conceptual tools. AS Dr. Bernheimer acknowledges in the opening sentences of this book, his inquiry into the nature of representation is a symptom of our time. We can go further and assert that his subject is the central problem posed by the state of painting and sculpture today.
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