By Ellen Levy
Poetry was once declining/ portray advancing/ we have been complaining/ it used to be '50, recalled poet Frank O'Hara in 1957. legal Ingenuity lines a sequence of associated moments within the heritage of this move of cultural energy from the field of the notice to that of the picture. Ellen Levy explores the hot York literary and artwork worlds within the years that bracket O'Hara's lament via shut readings of the works and careers of poets Marianne Moore and John Ashbery and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. during those readings, Levy discusses such subject matters because the American debates round surrealism, the functionality of the "token lady" in inventive canons, and the function of the recent York urban Ballet within the improvement of mid-century modernism, and situates her relevant figures with regards to such colleagues and contemporaries as O'Hara, T. S. Eliot, Clement Greenberg, Walter Benjamin, and Lincoln Kirstein.Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery are attached by means of acquaintance and affinity-and especially, by means of the ownership of what Moore calls "criminal ingenuity," a expertise for situating themselves at the fault traces that fissure the geographical regions of artwork, sexuality, and politics. As we contemplate their lives and works, Levy indicates, the probably really expert query of the resource and that means of the fight for strength among artwork varieties inexorably opens out to broader questions about social and inventive associations and forces: the academy and the museum, professionalism and the marketplace, and that establishment of associations, marriage.
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Extra resources for Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts (Modernist Literature and Culture)
Harvard University Press, 1991. Selected Prose. Ed. Eugene Richie. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. WORKS BY CLEMENT GREENBERG CE 1 CE 2 CE 3 CE 4 The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 1, Perceptions and Judgments, 1939–1944. Ed. John O’Brian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 2, Arrogant Purpose, 1945– 1949. The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 3, Affirmations and Refusals, 1950–1956. The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol.
But I have also lingered over Greenberg’s effort to make “art” mean simply, visual art, because, as I will 8 CRIMINAL INGENUITY show later in this chapter, this effort has proven so successful among later proponents of the visual arts, who read literature out of the history of modernism altogether. While Greenberg had to struggle to turn literature into “literature,” his successors may take its demotion for granted. My aim here, by contrast, is to keep the struggle to establish the dominance of one art over another present in the mind, as I inquire into the stakes of this enterprise.
Each, in his or her own way, repeatedly alternates between the perspectives represented by poetry and painting, and so keeps alive the conflict between them that Greenberg had hoped to settle once and for all. The figure who I introduce here as a counterweight to both Eliot and Greenberg is also the one among these artists whose perspective I come closest to adopting as my own over the course of the book: the “miraculous poet,” as Greenberg called her, Marianne Moore (CE 2:269). Moore had many virtues, but for the purposes of this argument, her usefulness lies first and foremost in her talent for placing herself neither in a determinate position of weakness or one of strength, but at the point where power can be seen to shift from one side to another.