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Michael M. Fried (born April 12, 1939 in New York City) is a modernist art critic and art historian. He studied at Princeton University and Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford. He is currently the J.R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and Art History at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Fried's contribution to art historical discourse involved the debate over the origins and development of modernism. Along with Fried, this debate's interlocutors include other theorists and critics such as Clement Greenberg, T. J. Clark, and Rosalind Krauss. Since the early 1960s, he has also been close to philosopher Stanley Cavell.

Early career[edit]

Fried describes his early career in the introduction to Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (1998), 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. While at Princeton he met the artist Frank Stella and through him Walter Darby Bannard. In 1958, he wrote a letter to Clement Greenberg expressing his admiration for his writing and first met him in the Spring of that year. In September 1958, he moved to Oxford, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, and then to London in 1961–62, where he studied philosophy part-time at University College, London (UCL), under Stuart Hampshire and Richard Wollheim. In 1961 Hilton Kramer offered him the post of London correspondent for the journal Arts. In the fall of 1961, Fried began his friendship with the sculptor Anthony Caro; Caro had invited him to write the introduction to his Whitechapel Art Gallery exhibition in 1963.

In the late summer of 1962, Fried returned to the U.S, where he combined studying for a Ph.D in art history at Harvard with writing art criticism, initially for Art International, and curating the exhibition Three American painters: Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Frank Stella at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum.

Art and Objecthood[edit]

In his essay, "Art and Objecthood," published in 1967, Fried argued that Minimalism's focus on the viewer's experience, rather than the relational properties of the work of art exemplified by modernism, made the work of art indistinguishable from one's general experience of the world. Minimalism (or "literalism" as Fried called it) offered an experience of "theatricality" or "presence" rather than "presentness" (a condition that required continual renewal). The essay inadvertently opened the door to establishing a theoretical basis for Minimalism as a movement based in a conflicting mode of phenomenological experience than the one offered by Fried.[1]

Absorption and theatricality[edit]

In "Art and Objecthood" Fried criticised the "theatricality" of Minimalist art. He introduced the opposing term "absorption" in his 1980 book, Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot.[2] Drawing on Diderot's criticism,[3] Fried argues that whenever a self-consciousness of viewing exists, absorption is compromised, and theatricality results.[4] As well as applying the distinction to 18th-century painting, Fried employs related categories in his art criticism of post-1945 American painting and sculpture.[4] Fried rejects the effort by some critics to conflate his art-critical and art-historical writing.[5]

Fried revisits some of these concerns in a study of recent photography with Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before (London and New Haven 2008). In a reading of works by prominent art photographers of the last 20 years (Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Demand among others) Fried asserts that concerns of anti-theatricality and absorption are central to the turn by recent photographers towards large-scale works "for the wall.".[6]

Selected Bibliography[edit]

In more recent years, Fried has written several long and complex histories of modern art, most famously on Édouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, Adolph Menzel, and painting in the late 18th century.

  • Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980. Awarded 1980 Gottschalk Prize.
  • Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1987. Awarded 1990 Charles C. Eldredge Prize.
  • Courbet's Realism Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
  • Manet's Modernism Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996. French translation awarded 2000 Prix Littéraire Etats-Unis.
  • Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
  • Menzel's Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth-Century Berlin London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
  • Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.
  • The Moment of Caravaggio Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • Four Outlaws: Sala, Ray, Marioni, Gordon London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
  • Flaubert's "Gueuloir": On Madame Bovary and Salammbô London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.
  • Another Light: Jacques-Louis David to Thomas Demand London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Fried is also a poet, having written The Next Bend in the Road, Powers, and To the Center of the Earth.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hal Foster The Crux of Minimalism, From "The Return of the Real: The Avant-garde at the End of the Century" 1996, Mit Press ISBN 0-262-56107-7
  2. ^ Charles Green, The Third Hand: Collaboration in Art from Conceptualism to Postmodernism, UNSW Press, p140. ISBN 0-86840-588-4
  3. ^ Toril Moi, Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2006, p114. ISBN 0-19-929587-5
  4. ^ a b Tracy C. Davis, Thomas Postlewait, Theatricality, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p20. ISBN 0-521-01207-4
  5. ^ Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews, University of Chicago Press, 1998, p73. ISBN 0-226-26319-3
  6. ^ Michael Fried: Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before: London and New Haven, 2008, p14. ISBN 978-0-300-13684-5

Further reading[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Fried — Please support Wikipedia.
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404 news items

Artforum

Artforum
Sun, 30 Nov 2014 20:52:30 -0800

Michael Fried. A RECENT REVIEW OF SHOWS by Helen Frankenthaler at Gagosian Gallery and Morris Louis at Mnuchin Gallery gave New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl the chance to express his considered views on Color Field painting: Color-field reacted ...
 
Proactive Investors UK
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:07:30 -0700

UK wearable technology expert Fitbug (LON:FITB) has appointed a new chief executive following the departure of previous chief executive Michael Fried in December. Interim product director Anna Gudmundson has been elevated to the role having led the ...

il manifesto (Registrazione)

il manifesto (Registrazione)
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 10:03:45 -0700

Sbaglieremmo tuttavia a circoscriverla al nostro dopoguerra, se pensiamo alle shaped canvas di Frank Stella, su cui Michael Fried ha elaborato la prima riflessione critica compiuta. Malgrado le intenzioni del critico, questi dipinti hanno contribuito ...
 
Proactive Investors UK
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 08:56:15 -0700

Fitbug (LON:FITB) added almost 15% as the UK wearable technology expert appointed a new chief executive following the departure of previous chief executive Michael Fried in December. Interim product director Anna Gudmundson has been elevated to the ...
 
Mainline Today
Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:07:30 -0700

The exhibition's accompanying catalogue includes an interview with Welling by Kaiser, and essays by Michael Fried, Suzanne Hudson and Sharon Lockhart. On the occasion of this exhibition, the Brandywine River Museum of Art has commissioned James ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:00:00 -0700

The figures are in what Michael Fried has called a state of absorption. They are looking at what they are doing in order to lose in themselves. There is no interaction but self absorption and, eventually, isolation. This takes us to the other mistakes ...
 
OctaFinance.com
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:48:57 -0700

The form was filed by Andrew M Tingley Vice President. The company was incorporated in 2015. The filler's address is: 645 Madison Avenue, 5Th Floor, New York, Ny, New York, 10022. J. Michael Fried is the related person in the form and it has address ...

Irish Echo

Irish Echo
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:20:59 -0700

The Daily Beast reported recently that the Internet had been buzzing about how discrimination against the Irish was a myth. “All it took was a high schooler to prove them wrong,” the DB reported. The report stated; “Rebecca Fried had no intention of ...
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