By Greg Taylor
Gone with the Wind an thought for the yankee avant-garde? Mickey Mouse a vital resource for the improvement of state of the art highbrow and aesthetic principles? As Greg Taylor exhibits during this witty and provocative publication, the assumption isn't really so far-fetched. one of many first-ever experiences of yankee movie feedback, Artists within the Audience exhibits that movie critics, starting within the Nineteen Forties, grew to become to the flicks as uncooked fabric to be molded right into a extra radical modernism than that provided by way of the other modern artists or thinkers. In doing so, they provided readers a forefront replacement that reshaped postwar American tradition: nonaesthetic mass tradition reconceived and refashioned into wealthy, in my view suitable paintings by way of the attuned, inventive spectator.
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Additional resources for Artists in the Audience: Cults, Camp, and American Film Criticism.
Lynes ( 1980) and Gans (1974) both found that American culture’s class mobility also opened it to a marked fluidity in taste cultures—though as liberals they both hoped that most “cultural straddling” (Gans, 109) would be upward, with the socially disadvantaged gaining access to a rich high culture of which they had been deprived. In retrospect, however, the last fifty years have been marked with as much downward as upward straddling, with the former emerging as something of a marginal highbrow response to the latter (then spreading beyond the highbrow arena altogether).
Today, we associate the former with journalism, the latter with highbrow or academic writing. Yet if academics must start with at least an implicit value judgment (the film is worth examining more closely), so journalistic reviewers must also analyze. Still, for the journalist, analysis remains a means to an end. Like most movies, movie reviewing highlights function and craft, analyzing only to evaluate those craft elements most directly relevant to the consumer (usually acting and scriptwriting, but often editing, special effects, and set design as well) in relation to desired effects, such as realism, suspense, even eroticism.
If such a radical vision of criticism was not adopted by the hybrid mainstream of abstract expressionism, it may have been because modern artists themselves had not yet become established as a viable force in American culture; it was radical enough that they were daring to assert their own expressive liberty and involvement in the vibrant psychomythic depths of the collective unconscious. Pollock’s psychologically expressive, vibrant drip method is an obvious example here, but these notions pervade the movement.