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Tom Wolfe, Painted Word




Clement Greenberg
is looking at a
Noland Target


...berg, ...berg and ...berg! Greenberg, Rosenberg and Steinberg, Tom Wolfe
...berg, ...berg and ...berg!
(Greenberg, Rosenberg and Steinberg)
23,6" x 31,5"
om Wolfe, born 1931, was a journalist for "The Washington Post", "Esquire" und "Harper's". In the sixties he was a founder of New Journalism (a synthesis of journalism and literature) along with Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and Gay Talese.
He is the well known and awarded author of dozens of books including the bestseller "The Bonfire of the Vanities".

Here I want to point out and highly recommend his book
Worte in Farbe - The painted word.


... came together after the war as the cénacle des cénacles, the New York School, creators of Abstract Expressionism. Most of these people had slogged their way through the Depression with great difficulty, and their mood tended toward bohemianism of the High Seriousness vein. The great theorists to come out of this cénacle des cénacles were Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg.
Both had been friends of various abstract artists even during the Freeze. One secret of Greenberg's and Rosenberg's astounding success, then, was that they were not mere critics: they spoke as the voice of bohemia ... and naturally le monde listened.
Most of the theory up to 1950 was Greenbergian in origin. Enter Rosenberg. Any return to realism was out, of course, but Rosenberg had a solution: "Action Painting". What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event. But to say that Abstract Expressionism was a baby that only its parents could love is not to downgrade its theorists in the slightest. For a good fifteen years, they projected this style, this unloved brat of theirs, until it filled up the screen of art history.
Steinberg Steinberg was certainly one of the authorities who made it okay to like Pop Art. Jasper Johns and his friend Robert Rauschenberg were the major figures in a cénacle of younger artists who in the 1950s began to react against the bynow sainted Abstract Expressionists. Realism and three-dimensional illusion are still forbidden. Flatness is still God. Steinberg simply adds: "I've found a new world that's flatter." ...

Furthermore Tom Wolfe writes: ... Twenty-five years from now, that will not seem like such facettious idea. I am willing to predict that in the year 2000, when the Metropolitan or the Museum of Modern Art puts on the great retrospective exhibition of American Art 1945 - 75, the three artists who will be featured, will be not Pollock, de Kooning, and Johns - but
Greenberg, Rosenberg and Steinberg.

"What happy hours await them all! With snigers, laughter, and good-humored amazement they will look back upon the era of the Painted Word!"

personal letter from Tom Wolfe