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Title: Baroque Postminimalism : the problem of style in the work of Robert Smithson, Robert Morris and Gordon Matta-Clark (1965-1980)
Author: Govan , Hugh
ISNI:       0000 0004 6058 9929
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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In this thesis, I look at the reception of the Baroque in U.S. art of the late 20th Century, with a particular focus on the expanded sculptural situations of Postminimal art in the mid-late Sixties and Seventies. The Baroque is a surprising, though productive, theme in this area, for how it reveals the transformations in attitudes to style in art, art history and art criticism during this time. I first of all look at what is at stake in differentiating between Mannerism and the Baroque in the late 60s, through a close reading of the art historical sources in the work and writing of the artist Robert Smiths on. I follow this changed attitude to the Baroque through the development of Smithson's sculptural work, which I will argue is a response to the problems generated by Heinrich Wolfflin's Principles of Art History, an early and influential study of the Baroque. Secondly, I discuss" the role of anachronism in understanding the shared" concerns between the Baroque and the present, through a close reading of Robert Morris's exploratory art criticism. Last of all, I provide an original reading of a single work; Office Baroque (1977) by the architect turned sculptor Gordon Matta-Clark. In doing so, I show the ways in which the image of the Baroque is re-figured in Postminimal art and how this impacts upon two theoretical terms elicited by such work; the semiotic concept of the index, and Gilles Deleuze's study of the Fold. Rather than commenting upon or appropriating some aspect of Baroque art or culture, I argue that the work of these three Postminimalists actively shapes and redefines its meaning. In this sense, I propose to study the Postminimal contribution to the Baroque. This, in turn holds potential for an alternative reading of Postminimalism, one which negotiates between its rejection of modernist criticism and anticipation of a Postmodern sensibility"
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available