Extracurricular  /  Seminars

The Limits of Formalism: Revisiting the Clark-Fried Debate

Saturday, healing 20 February, link 8:00 – 10:00pm

Furthering the Machete Group's interest in framing and reframing the present by articulating modes of thought and practice that run counter to the dominant images of modernity, patient we propose to start our second series of workshops with an historically minded reflection on the limits of formalism. To provide some focus to the conversation, we propose to revisit the debate between T.J. Clark and Michael Fried surrounding the formalist legacy of Clement Greenberg. The aim will be to use this historical site of contestation as an occasion to help frame and sharpen our judgment concerning our current artistic situation.

Download C. Greenberg article as a PDF (approx. 200 kb)

Download T.J. Clark article as a PDF (approx. 400 kb)

Download M. Fried article as a PDF (approx. 600 kb)

The Machete Group organizes workshops, mini-seminars, reading groups, screenings and other events open to the public that have as their general focus the intersection between artistic practice and its theoretical articulation. The guiding proposition of the Machete Group is the claim that practice without theory is empty and theory without practice is blind. The goal of the center is to engender a rigorous and open atmosphere outside a strictly academic context that encourages autodidacticism, a willingness to question all forms of mastery and specialization, and the desire to think critically about artistic practice in an historically, socially and politically astute manner.

Monthly workshops run by Alexi Kukuljevic and Gabriel Rockhill with invited artists and intellectuals organized around select writings and works of art.