PRINT May 1974

The Authoritarian Personality in Modern Art

TALK BY MODERN ARTISTS IN this century usually puts itself forth in two recognized modes. We are familiar with the backgrounding statement, or the “how it was done” fill-in. Studio lore and specifics about process or ambiance reach a ready public appetite. But when they speak, artists just as eagerly confide what it feels like to be an artist and offer homilies about the justification of art in the world. For practical purposes, the one mode might be said to be descriptive, neutral, informing—it deals with operations. The other is sententious and speculative, out to frame assumptions. In any text, the two modes might coexist cheek by jowl, juggling messages chaotically.

“These paintings were evolved with various techniques, changing frequently, but in almost all of them occurred colors doused in turpentine, and splashed over fresh oily materials. The result was a whole play of spots and

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