Clement Greenberg was born on January 16, 1909, in
the Bronx, New
York. Greenberg was an influential art critic, who was
closely associated with the institutionalization of abstract art in
the United States.
Following his graduation from Syracuse University,
Greenberg first made a name for himself as an art critic with the publication
of the essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch (1939). In the essay, Greenberg
argued that Modernist art was a channel to resist the repression of
the culture created by consumerism. Greenberg framed the essay in a
political manner as a response to Nazi Germany and its supression of
society. Greenberg believed Modernism provided a critical commentary
Following World War II, he believed the best Modernist
artists were emerging out of the United States rather than Europe, specifically
identifying the rising artist, Jackson Pollock. Greenberg then began
to promote the work of Abstract Expressionists, among them Pollock.
In his writings, he helped to enable Abstractist art to become the dominant
movement in American art from 1945 until the 1960s. It was these views
which led Greenberg, during the 1960s, to reject the movement of Pop
Art, which was ultimately initiated by consumerism. Frustrated by the
emerging art movements, Greenberg retired in 1968.
Greenberg died on May 7, 1968.
Sources: “Clement Greenberg (1909
- 1968).” American Jewish Historical
Jewish Desk Reference, (NY: Random
House, 1999) pg. 313, Autobiographical