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THE TRIUMPH OF MODERNISM: THE ART WORLD
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Hilton Kramer a renowned cultural conservative has for a long time expressed disapproval over the Marxist concept of interpreting art. Kramer has been labeled as being the most objective yet greatest art critique of his time. Most of his work has been done through brief essays and short texts which however explore a bigger picture. In his notion, art is a somewhat autonomous enterprise which deserves more than the mere judgment that is based on material and social circumstances. Consistent with his stand on this principle, Hilton Kramer strongly denounces middlebrow culture. Instead, he holds onto the traditional principle in trying to explain culture. His book, The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World seeks to highlight this among other themes.
One of Kramer’s most important school of thought is drawn from the notion of insisting that modern culture and bourgeois culture are inseparable. This is due to the fact that modern culture is a very essential part of the latter. Interestingly, in his book, Kramer seems to appreciate modernist art while he has zero tolerance for artwork that potentially developed after the modernism era. In fact, he depicts this kind of art as being sort of degenerated or that which has gone through decline. While highlighting the achievements of Matisse, he complains that “It is hard to believe that we shall ever again witness anything like it, now or in the foreseeable future.” Further, he states that the postmodernism age is engulfed in a lot of scam in the name of art.

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The author of this piece seems to be angered by the dimension modern art has taken. It is this that provokes him to lament about the Tate modern gallery that is located in London. His concern is that the pieces of art in this gallery are barely displayed in respect to their themes rather than their chronology, an important principle in conventional art. However, reading carefully through the book, it is debatable whether Kramer hates modern art that came after Matisse in all aspects. This is drawn from the fact that he celebrates the art of a few new comers though subtly. For instance, Helen Frankenthaler receives credit as being ‘a major artist’ while Jackson Pollock is described as “a triumph of ambition and short-lived inspiration over a severely handicapped and unruly personality”.
Kramer gives special attention to an American Photographer and called Robert and a German painter going by the name Anslem Kiefer. In his opinion, Robert Mapplethorpe, the American photographer has heavily relied on the conventions invented by Edward Weston, making them the vehicle for his form of art. This, Kramer describes as being ‘highly specialized sexual vision.’ Arguably, Robert Mapplethorpe’s work achieves close to what is popularly labelled exceptional art. However, the growing interest in his type of wok tends to be drawn from his themes rather than the sense of style used. But, Kramer’s work does not seem more than basic reviews of the 1988 Whitney retrospective. The retrospective on Kiefer gives the author an opportunity to revise his earlier assessment of Kiefer. This is despite the fact that reviews for Kiefer were made more than two decades ago. Kramer is willing to change his mind on his opinion despite the many years that have passed since the previous review. Kramer hints that Kiefer was sort of an object of hero worshipping, a wave that Kramer admits sort of swept him too.
Kramer’s collection of essays farther offers insight into other forms of artwork. For instance, Kramer seems accurate in the way he has sought to depict the work of R.B Kitaj, a promising contemporary artist. In Kramer’s own words, Kitaj’s drawing are more than just images and is to some extent some form of writing. The essay exploring Gauguin’s work which is considered by many as having highlighted the vulgarization of the other will please and irritate the reader in equal measure.
Disappointingly, however, Kramer’s book contains just too many assumptions that remain argued. For instance, he explores the art of some of the contemporary artists as lacking the primary principle of artwork. In his opinion, Marcel Duchamp’s work appears to be more of a show of publicity rather than an investment in art CITATION Kra13 l 2057 (Kramer 2013). However, the destructive work on such artists seems to be too brief to lay an argument on, making it seem to be more of a provocation.
Kramer is keen to deviate from the norm in the course of his argument. His basis of criticism is not drawn from the three popular genres of art which he highlights as; political mystification, academic twaddle and commercial hype. Perhaps, this author seems too mean to classify contemporary art as being mere mystification, hype and twaddle. However, Kramer gambles in trying to pass a similar possibly harsh judgment on his own work.
In conclusion, The Triumph of Modernism a piece by Hilton Kramer, does not only seek to trace the complex vicissitudes in the scene of artwork, but also carefully explores the concept of modernism in the field of art. Further, this book highlights the important place of modernism in the postmodernism aspect of artwork. Kramer importantly seeks to update and revise his criticism of institutions and artists that are relevant in the field of modern art. In this majorly expanded form of critique essays, there is a new perspective introduced that tends to focus more on modern abstraction, its foundation and future alike. Kramer is intelligent in his attempts to highlight the tired assumptions that have been cast in the concept of modernism. This author argues that, some of these lame assumptions have been motivated by factors such as politics, which have very little to do with art. Kramer is confident that his criticism will importantly isolate institutions such as museums which tend to undermine the methodology of modernism in the field of art however much they pretend to foster it.
Often illuminating and objective, Hilton Kramer’s book, The Triumph of Modernism remains one of the greatest pieces ever written in the past century. Reading the book gives the reader both an exhilarating and intriguing experience. Through his great work, we get to see a new form of art criticism. This is carefully done using various aspects of style that importantly highlight the rapid change in the field of art. With the numerous essays that explore the work of contemporary artists and institutions that advance postmodernism in the field of art, Kramer has carefully yet intelligently dissected the many flaws of this concept as compared to the modernism form of art. His work captures the many important benchmarks of modernism as he attempts to positively criticize contemporary art. CITATION Kra13 l 2057 (Kramer 2013)
Bibliography
BIBLIOGRAPHY Kramer, Hilton. The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1987–2005. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013.

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