Images To Illustrate Michael Fried’s “Art & Objecthood”

Posted: February 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

On the upper right, we see a vital and dynamic Christ (by Peter Paul Rubens), animated by internal forces. On the upper left, we see an unmistakably dead Christ (by Matthias Grünewald), whose form (or whatever remains of it) is the result of entirely external forces: wood, nails, and the physical force of gravity.

While the sculptures pictured below the paintings are both non-representational, I think it should be possible to see that the one on the lower right (by Sir Anthony Caro) is nevertheless still abstract; its composition, or syntax, suggest an inner spiritual force which virtually lifts the industrial materials into an exalted state, cancelling or suspending the work’s status as mere object. We can feel the I-beams, rebar, and industrial paint springing to life; hence the piece’s name, Early One Morning. Meanwhile, the piece on the lower left (by Robert Morris), nailed to the wall and sagging under its own unstructured mass, Untitled makes no attempt whatsoever to transcend its status brute material.


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