Friday, January 22, 2010
John Sloan: radical free thinker or conservative isolationist?
Our blog name derives from Sloan's 1913 critique of Cubism, when the 1913 exhibition opened in New York City--a date that is characterized often as America's first taste of Modernist art. I'd like you to look at Sloan and think about what Gombrich describes as the curious psychological twist in caricature: 1. the cubic man and cubic cat lose their individuality and become types and 2. caricature is liberated from realism and naturalism as a hierarchical ideal. Are these the issues that Sloan was concerned with? Was he really attacking Cubism as a stylish trend but not really against Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, which caused much commotion and was seen as scandalous? Or was he annoyed at Cubism for its repudiation of realism? Or was he being deeply American by being against Cubism as a French invasion? All things to ponder.