Art History Final
For many years, and even today, we have depended on the writing of art critics such as Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, and Rosalind Krauss, to name a few, to teach us about art. Their writing has been so influential in the history of art that we have forgotten that they are opinion writers and not of fact; we have many times taken their opinions too literal, taken specifics for granted, when in reality we should be questioning their reflections. They have manipulated our opinion, reactions, and even likeness of art. They defined who the great artists are and through their judgments they have even decided the value of art. But unfortunately for them, post-modern art has dethroned critics with the use of humor, wit, and scale of impact in their art.
Post-modern art rejects the idea of beauty and truth and reveals the value of irony. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp, who created the Fountain, or Mark Tansey, shock, mock, and force the viewers to rethink the meaning of art. “The reader/viewer must create a whole new context in which to hold the art, one which may truly challenge his belief structures, one which may force him, to make sense of what he is seeing, to hold a larger perspective than he currently has in place.”1 And this applies to the critic as well. His opinion can no longer be valued as before because this kind of art no longer has a meaning and its interpretation no longer matters. Its importance lies on the impact and sensation of its viewers. “Art becomes then a participatory experience, one in which the audience receives, and handles as they may, the flows of libidinal energies which the artist set free.”2 The control the words of critics had over art is gone and viewers are able to let their unconscious decide what art is. Nothing can better explain the place of the critic with this new art as Roland Barthes’s essay title does: post-modern art has brought “The Death of the Author.”
In his essay Barthes explains how in