Modernism: Cure or disease?

Critical Review 11 (2):169-180 (1997)
Abstract
Abstract Donald Kuspit's The Cult of the Avant?Garde Artist traces the therapeutic mission of modern art through its rise and decline into postmodern decadence. The problems Kuspit rightly finds in such artists as Warhol and Koons, however, are endemic to modernism itself: its diagnosis of bourgeois society as sick and in need of cure is fundamentally unsound. The modernist cure is, moreover, worse than the purported disease. What modernists call kitsch is, in many cases, a healthy, tragic view of life. And while modernist metaphysics teaches the need for unmediated sensory experience and the inauthenticity of reproduction and representation, contemporary science shows these ideas to be without foundation.
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