Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hilton Kramer is Gone, Reimagine Modernism

Hilton Kramer, most influential art critic of his day, and of my early adult years, has died. He was a champion of modernism and I read him in most publications in which his articles on many topics appeared, until he began to lean way far to the right. Hilton Kramer Obit

Modernism rejected traditional realism of the past and enlightened thinking of the future as industrialization changed our lives. A more creative divergent expression in art was afoot. Poet Ezra Pound's approach to modernism was summarized as "make it new," but new in a different way: take the obsolete and re-express it. Perhaps we would say re-imagine it. Though I never created in the genre, I appreciate so many of the artists of this movement. This work from my Five Books series is the closest I ever came to modernism.

Hans Hofmann  modernism work
Hofmann work from Cincinnati Art Museum is a true image of modernism as a comparison to my Adom painting. The difference is obvious, but my first home away from home being Chicago, modernism is an influence in my work.
I learned early that only my traditional works would be appreciated. As a high-school art student, I submitted my original work to the Hallmark Competition only to have it rejected. Reason: too stylized to be original. Carried that baggage for years and painted traditional.

Yesterday I learned a new application of the chemistry term hysteresis. As used in a MarketWatch broadcast on employment (unemployment), it meant that the past can affect present, and present can affect future. In other words, something is path-dependent. I don't believe that. We may be on a trajectory, but I believe we can change direction when we choose. 

Hysteresis is now the course of modern art, modernism in general. We seem not to know what to make of our new digitized, monetized, recognized world in the creative realms. Visual artists across the web mislabel their genres of art from modernism movements or go for trendy works. We need to incorporate our modern tools of today, I think, and move beyond the modernism Hilton Kramer knew so well. It's time to re-imagine modernism imagery. And long past time for me to pick up the pace toward my abstract works. Thank you Hilton Kramer.

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All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

Find me or my work at the following addresses:
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