The meaning of "objecthood" then depends on the meaning of the word "object. How is it that some objects can be classified with, or viewed with special significance at the exclusion of all other objects? More specifically, under what conditions are objects declared art objects, and under what conditions do they remain mere objects? The term does work in his essay "Art and Objecthood" by containing the anti-theses of art. Fried is able to set up a system of valuation that valorizes objects in the world, which by nature of their properties defy the condition of being an object We will go on to discuss, the condition of being an object as presenting spatial continuity with the surrounding world.
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His approach to criticism is closely linked with that of his mentor, the late Clement Greenberg, who Fried first encountered while an undergraduate at Princeton. Abstract Expressionism, color field painting, as opposed to a specific painting by Pollock or Rothko. If art becomes nothing more than a cultural event, then it adversely compromises the way in which art can be appreciated; reactions will be conditioned by surrounding socio-historic circumstance, which will avoid consideration of the artwork as an independent entity.
Fried believed that great art is an untangling of historical forces, the result of a Hegelian dialectic or a synthesis of many different points in history all coming together to form something new and original. Fried was highly critical of art critics and historians who asserted themselves as objective observers of art, which is to say, most of them. He defined the duties of the formalist critic in the following manner: "It is.. Fried essentially called their bluff, and argued that all critical judgments are nothing more than subjective.
While attending Forest Hills High School, he drew cartoons for the school newspaper. There he met and befriended Frank Stella and Walter Darby Bannard who later became prominent artists in their own right.
He also said that art criticism as usually practiced was a pitiful activity and went on to warn me against the dangers of studying art history. When he expressed an interest in studying history, he was turned down because he lacked any prior academic training in historical studies. This reasoning puzzled him, and began his occasionally antagonistic relationship with the strict academic constraints of art history.
Middle Years While studying at University College London from , Fried began visiting more galleries and writing art criticism pieces with increasing frequency. He also traveled often to Paris and Rome, familiarizing himself with the many galleries and museums available in Europe. Through these high-profile acquaintances, Fried was able to establish other connections in the art world that eventually earned him the steady job, at age 22, as the London correspondent for the New York based Arts magazine.
In Fried returned to the U. By this time he was also writing regular criticism pieces for the journal Arts International. Later Career Michael Fried abandoned art criticism in , and steered his writing toward pinpointing the trajectory and overall meaning of Modernism in art, from the 19th century to the present day.
Legacy Throughout his career, Fried has been far more preoccupied with concepts of Minimalism and Modernism in art than the idea of Abstract Expressionism. He has described the s as the "last great moment in Modernist art. In justifying his emphasis on formalism, Fried noted that throughout history there have been several specific types of relationships between art and spectator, whereas in the modern era, artists produced works that invited the spectator to actively participate in the viewing experience.
According to Fried, Judd and Morris tried to free art from its flat, rectangular confines, and were opposed to painting and sculpture that was made "part by part, by addition.. The literalists were guilty of creating what Fried called "objecthood.
In "objecthood" - roughly defined as the antithesis of, or objection to, art - the objects worked together to form one large object, but achieved nothing more than emphasizing that the result was, in the end, just an object. Fried acknowledged that Minimalists like Judd and Morris challenged the ways in which the viewer developed a relationship to the object.
Though, he cautioned, just because their objects existed within the same three-dimensional space as the viewer did not make the object art by default; it was still just an object, or rather a compilation of objects. He observed that modern visual arts "have never been more explicitly self-critical than during the past twenty years.
Not even the most advanced modern artists could consistently achieve the same rate of success. Therefore it was the responsibility of art critics to take risks and to strive to make their criticism of equal cultural importance as the artwork they critiqued.
But being wrong is preferable to being irrelevant. THEORY: Fried on Theatricality, Minimalism and Objecthood In his essay "Art and Objecthood", Fried posited that Minimalism what he referred to as "literalism" was compromising the quality of art because such technique was too literal in its meaning, too theatrical, and ultimately an impure practice. In the essay he wrote, ".. This was, according to Fried, a form of mixed media, in which art and theater commingled to the point where the work ceased to be art, and ultimately was revealed to be merely an object.
This "theatricality" in Minimalist sculpture, Fried believed, relegated the work of the literalists to the realm of "anti-art. Caro achieved this by painting his sculptures with a flat, non-reflective coat of monochromatic paint, both uniting the discrete parts of the piece and asserting a self-sufficient autonomy from its surroundings. Unlike the literalists, Fried believed, Caro did not draw attention to the objecthood the materiality of his works.
The chief aspect of abstract painting was its stark two-dimensionality; in these three artists Fried saw the neutralizing effect of flatness and "a new illusionism [that] both subsumes and dissolves the picture-surface. These older artists were crucial practitioners in expanding the two-dimensional surface, resulting in the visual illusion of depth.
The new generation of post-painterly artists took this one step further: "the development of modernist painting during the past six years  can be described as having involved the progressive assumption by literal shape of a greater - that is, more active, more explicit - importance than ever before, and the consequent subordination of depicted shape.
Fried wrote, "One may deplore the fact that critics such as Fry and Greenberg concentrate their attention upon the formal characteristics of the works they discuss; but the painters whose work they most esteem on formal grounds - e. His approach is very much a Hegelian one: he constantly focuses on the dialectic oppositional forces in art, hence his most famous essay, "Art and Objecthood," which attempts to establish the two categorical imperatives of making and viewing art.
He writes in a serious tone without taking himself - or his craft - too seriously. He once wrote that "there is nothing binding in the value judgments of formal criticism.
Early career[ edit ] Fried describes his early career in the introduction to Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews , an anthology of his art criticism in the 60s and 70s. Although he majored in English at Princeton it was there that he became interested in writing art criticism. In , he wrote a letter to Clement Greenberg expressing his admiration for his writing and first met him in the Spring of that year. In Hilton Kramer offered him the post of London correspondent for the journal Arts. In the late summer of , Fried returned to the U. S, where he combined studying for a Ph.
Summary of Michael Fried
His approach to criticism is closely linked with that of his mentor, the late Clement Greenberg, who Fried first encountered while an undergraduate at Princeton. Abstract Expressionism, color field painting, as opposed to a specific painting by Pollock or Rothko. If art becomes nothing more than a cultural event, then it adversely compromises the way in which art can be appreciated; reactions will be conditioned by surrounding socio-historic circumstance, which will avoid consideration of the artwork as an independent entity. Fried believed that great art is an untangling of historical forces, the result of a Hegelian dialectic or a synthesis of many different points in history all coming together to form something new and original.