By Lucian Krukowski
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Additional resources for Art and concept: a philosophical study
Progress, when predicated of art history, implies that late art is ''better" in some important way than is early art. To be effective, this thesis must be ruthless toward "deviant" or ''retrogressive" works. Not all recent works, for example, are betteronly those that "truly" reveal their time. 6 However, if the "best" art is also that which threatens to conclude its own tradition, then it must show the signs of that tradition's approaching obsolescence. In Hegel's complex theory of value, a distinction is made between art as it measures culture and art as it is measured within its own tradition.
1 Both theories and works take the polemical form of identifyingand personifyingadvanced stages in the "inevitable" course of such trends. I do not, however, view the avant-garde as a monolithic phenomenon. Rather, I distinguish two theoretical components, abstraction and nonobjectivity, and I differentiate them through their emphases, respectively, on the formal or experiential interpretation of the concept of progress. My major protagonists in this discussion are the painters Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky, both of whom enjoy dominant positions in the avant-garde.
Photographed by Philadelphia Museum of Art. lated set of essentialist "neoplastic" principles. Their progressive realization in the paintings he made between 1900 and 1944 provides us with perhaps the most austere and consistent example of the process of abstraction in avant-garde art. His choice of a rectilinear format rests upon the thesis that axes and vectors instantiated by diagonals, curves, and so on, must find their "resolutions" in the vertical-horizontal. Similarly, his reduction of color to the primary colors plus black and white is justified by the thesis that the makeup of all other parts of the spectrum is compositethus ''fugitive''and must be resolved into the primaries.