Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Metonymy in Contemporary Art

A New Paradigm

2005
Author:

Denise Green

Metonymy in Contemporary Art

A critical look at the contemporary art world from a global perspective

Denise Green develops an original approach to art criticism and modes of creativity inspired by aspects of Australian Aboriginal and Indian thought. Interweaving her own evolution as an artist with critiques of Clement Greenberg and Walter Benjamin as well as commentary on artists such as Mark Rothko and Frank Stella, Green explores the concept of metonymic thinking and its relevance to contemporary painting.

By interweaving personal stories and meditations on the works of other artists and the events of the day in Metonymy in Contemporary Art, Green crafts a fascinating narrative that has something of the character and spontaneity of her paintings. Denise Green’s paintings and her prose are intuitive as well as cerebral; both are imbued with a sense of discovery embedded in process. And both forms present us with intuitive fluid, and very engaging narratives.

World Literature Today

In Metonymy in Contemporary Art, Denise Green develops an original approach to art criticism and modes of creativity inspired by aspects of Australian Aboriginal and Indian thought. Interweaving her own evolution as an artist with critiques of Clement Greenberg and Walter Benjamin as well as commentary on artists such as Joseph Beuys, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and others, Green explores the concept of metonymic thinking as developed by the poet and linguist A. K. Ramanujan and its relevance to contemporary painting and aesthetics.

In Ramanujan's formulation of metonymic thinking, the human and natural worlds are intrinsically related to one another as are the transcendent and mundane. When applied to contemporary art, metonymic thinking implies that one must understand that the creativity of the artist flows from a fusion of an inner state of mind and the outer material world. Pointing out how this alternative aesthetic and cognitive mode is left wanting in art criticism, Green argues for a critical discourse and interpretive mode in contemporary art that is at once global and pluralist in perspective.


Metonymy in Contemporary Art

Denise Green is an Australian American artist and writer in New York City. Since 1972 her work has been the subject of over eighty-five solo exhibitions. She has collaborated as an editor for Semiotext(e) and is a member of the Graduate Faculty at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Her writings have appeared in Arts Magazine, Art Press, Art Monthly Australia, and Art and Australia. Retrospectives of her work have appeared in major museums from the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center/Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, and the Saarland Museum in Saarbrücken, Germany. Examples of her work can be found at www.denisegreen.net.

Metonymy in Contemporary Art

By interweaving personal stories and meditations on the works of other artists and the events of the day in Metonymy in Contemporary Art, Green crafts a fascinating narrative that has something of the character and spontaneity of her paintings. Denise Green’s paintings and her prose are intuitive as well as cerebral; both are imbued with a sense of discovery embedded in process. And both forms present us with intuitive fluid, and very engaging narratives.

World Literature Today

Without forcing the issue, Green is trying to restore to painting a sense of reality that is beyond repression and anxiety to explain how painting can still perform in a way that commerical media and advertising cannot.

Brooklyn Rail

Metonymy in Contemporary Art

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

chapter 1 Some Limitations of Clement Greenberg's Writings: Referencing Aboriginal Vision
chapter 2 A Critique of Walter Benjamin from a Globalist Perspective
chapter 3 The Impact of Joseph Beuys
chapter 4 Away from Australia: My Aesthetic in the 1970s
chapter 5 Robert Motherwell: On Mark Rothko
chapter 6 The 1980s: Asia and its Influence. The Indian Experience
chapter 7 An Alternative Paradigm: Developing an Aesthetic for the 1990s
chapter 8 Painterly Thought and the Unconscious: Interviews with Alex Katz, Frank Stella, Dorothea Rockburne and Barry Le Va
Chapter 9 Seeing the Attack 11 September 2001

Bibliography

Index