Staring modernists

Home / Education / ARChives / Foundational Discussions

Staring modernists

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


On March 18, 2004, at 8:30 PM, Melville Holmes wrote:
"I have never seen any modernists that did good work that abandoned it thru some stated search of higher art." - Timothy Tyler

If we can prove this we're onto something. Can we? But then maybe we aren't onto something, because the counter argument would be that this was dedication. There were artists who at one time were starving because they were modernists, weren't there? I don't think we've hit here on the essential spark that ignited the thing in its time, even with the historical background of idea, such as Brian referred to.

Sparks by their nature are small and their direct impact might be rather small even if they tip off a huge fire. If I had to pick one little spark and track it to the big fire, I would say it was the publication of David Hume's An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding in 1748, which was fanned into s flame by Immanuel Kant, turned into something truly ugly by Hegel, transformed into something socio-political by Karl Marx, and turned into the editorial policy of the New York Times through the work of Clement Greenberg.

-- Brian K. Yoder