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Peter Grayson

So true, Dan. So goddamn true.

Jim H.

It's an interesting argument, Dan, provocative though lacking in data. The Poundian maxim "Make it new" refers to the tradition, and you rightly highlight Bloom's Freudian/Oedipal argument re poetry. This is the concept of a "living tradition". However, there are revolutions in art: ones that overturn the tradition (formulated precisely in response or reaction or rejection to the tradition), ones that are ignorant of the tradition and simply light out for the untutored territories as a matter of unmediated expression (one thinks immediately of Howard Finster and the other outsider artists). Of the first, they are brought into the tradition only as a matter of cultural assimilation (imperialism)—think 'radical chic', dadaism, abstract expressionism, found art, pop art, etc. as now being integral parts of the tradition; to quote F. Zappa: "America eats its young." Of the latter, they are, indeed, the eccentrics. And of the eccentrics it is not entirely fair or realistic to exclude them from "greatness" or "originality". Who knows where the next new thing will come from?

Amateur Reader

Maybe dadaism, abstract expressonism (!), and pop art(!!) were easy to assimilate because they were not that "revolutionary" in the first place.

Nigel Beale

In light of the past, this is one damned fine post.

Finn Harvor

"Maybe dadaism, abstract expressonism (!), and pop art(!!) were easy to assimilate because they were not that "revolutionary" in the first place."

While the above may be true (though I personally have a special place in my heart for abstract expressionism, despite lifelong representationalist leanings (and *only* leanings! -- but I digress)), it's also true that given when Art as Experience was published, only a critique modelled on Dewey's analysis can rightfully be applied to dadaism. Da rest don't count.

Which begs a question: who *did* Dewey have in mind when he drew a parallel between visual art and writing? The mid-war period was a particularly fecund period for Impressionism/Dadaism/Fauvism-inspired forms of painting, and a lot of artists from the period have been blasted out of the collective consciousness but yet another mindless reference to Andy Warhol or Robert Rauschenberg or Roy Lichtenstein (actually, Warhol is probably the only one who genuinely has worked his way into the popular imagination; natch, worst of the lot).

The mid-war period of the twentieth century is a period that the current age tends to not recognize as culturally discrete. That's both a pity and an irony; a pity because a lot of good work gets overlooked (don't ask me by the way; I forget a lot of the names, too), and an irony because ... well, because maybe we're living in our own mid-war period ourselves.

Finn Harvor

"by yet"

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