Cover image for The Aesthete in the City: The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s By David Carrier

The Aesthete in the City

The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s

David Carrier

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$93.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-00943-8

304 pages
6" × 9"
26 b&w illustrations
1994

The Aesthete in the City

The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s

David Carrier

“With Carrier, American abstraction finds its philosophical interpreter.”

 

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In the 1980s, when the American art market flourished, critics were heavily concerned with theory. In The Aesthete in the City David Carrier offers a personal view on the artistic activity of that decade. He begins with a theoretical perspective on the relationship between two very different forms of artwriting: art criticism and art history writing. Carrier surveys the developments within theory during the 1980s, focusing on constructive critical analysis of the then fashionable work of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, T. J. Clark, and Jacques Derrida. He provides detailed accounts of a number of painters, among them Thomas Nozkowski, David Reed, and Sean Scully, whose development he followed closely. Carrier argues that the greatest American artistic tradition, Abstract Expressionism, provides the basis for an ongoing tradition of abstract painting, a rich system whose potential has not yet been exhausted.

Carrier's earlier work was concerned with a philosophical study of the methods of art criticism. This book turns to the theory and practice of art criticism, concentrating on a concrete discussion of individual theorists and artists.

“With Carrier, American abstraction finds its philosophical interpreter.”
“Carrier now emerges as a philosopher-critic with a presence that is very much an expression of an independent and unique mind, with an eye for continuities between past and present that no one else has seen, and a charming autobiographical way of telling the story of art. Many of the critical disputes of our time find wise and often surprising resolution in his essays. We the readers of his writing therefore see afresh, and are enabled to position ourselves towards our tradition and our contemporary creativity in a way that gives both understanding and comfort in a time that has been marked by cultural unease.”

David Carrier is Professor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University and author of Artwriting (987), Principles of Art History Writing (Penn State, 1991), and Poussin's Paintings (Penn State, 1993).

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