Sunday, October 23, 2005

 

Clement Greenberg

A rather pompous mathematics lecturer I once had often pontificated about life. One of his favourite topics was to criticise art subjects with comments similar to: a second rate engineer is more useful to society than a second rate art critic. For a long time I shared similar views (but never fully embraced the economic rationalist view that production is a measure of the meaning of life), but have I seen the light, and now accept that art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life (Picasso). All of this rambling has been prompted by stumbling across the following webpage on Clement Greenberg, who is reputedly "the greatest art critic in the second half of the 20th century" (i.e. certainly not second rate). I'm certainly going to try and spend some time reading his essays, and spend less time writing software :-)

Comments:
Hi Michael - sounds very interesting. I am reading a book called "Managing for Employee Commitment" and the author makes an interesting point about employment being a social system, not a rational one. There is a dissonance between human need and organisational setup. This struck me as very profound. She says that Protestantism/Calvinism with its work ethic is the backbone to the hard work, hard measurement, hierarchical, rational view of work. All of which is literally "anti social". Meanwhile people's needs are met at work in a social framework: the desire to make new friends, to learn new things, to have a sense of achievement, to believe in the organisation. I think this is why we have art - to express beauty and meaning amidst our drab uninspired structures.
 
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