Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the by Ellen Levy

By Ellen Levy

''Poetry used to be declining/ portray advancing/ we have been complaining/ it was once '50,'' recalled poet Frank O'Hara in 1957. Criminal Ingenuity traces a chain of associated moments within the heritage of this move of cultural energy from the sector of the notice to that of the picture. Ellen Levy explores the recent York literary and paintings worlds within the years that bracket O'Hara's lament via shut readings of the works and careers of poets Marianne Moore and John Ashbery and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. during those readings, Levy discusses such subject matters because the American debates round surrealism, the functionality of the ''token woman'' in inventive canons, and the position of the recent York urban Ballet within the improvement of mid-century modernism, and situates her vital figures when it comes to such colleagues and contemporaries as O'Hara, T. S. Eliot, Clement Greenberg, Walter Benjamin, and Lincoln Kirstein.

Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery are hooked up through acquaintance and affinity-and peculiarly, by means of the ownership of what Moore calls ''criminal ingenuity,'' a expertise for situating themselves at the fault traces that fissure the nation-states of artwork, sexuality, and politics. As we give some thought to their lives and works, Levy exhibits, the likely really expert query of the resource and that means of the fight for strength among paintings varieties inexorably opens out to broader questions about social and inventive associations and forces: the academy and the museum, professionalism and the industry, and that establishment of associations, marriage

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Extra resources for Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts

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Jones brings out the paradoxical twists of the process by which Greenberg, the erstwhile literary amateur, contributed to his new field’s professionalization. 22 12 CRIMINAL INGENUITY As “the Greenberg effect” has waned, politics have made their way back into arthistorical discourse, but “the literary” remains there an unexamined category. For the victors in the struggle between the arts, this omission may seem natural, yet it only takes a slight shift of perspective to make it strange. For anyone outside the field of the visual arts, then, the question remains: what are the stakes of the conflict between “literature” and “painting”?

37 As Lodge’s phrase suggests, the “small world” of the postwar university is at once an autonomous enclave and a significant microcosm. It is significant insofar as the university, as an establisher of standards and provider of credentials, may be said to be the key institution in the culture of professionalism, “the hinge of the professional project” as Sarfatti Larson calls it;38 and it is autonomous insofar as it maintains its claim to be what I have called an imaginary institution par excellence, a last bastion of genuine disinterestedness.

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Complete Poems. New York: Macmillan, 1981. The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore. Ed. Patricia C. Willis. New York: Viking, 1987. WORKS BY FRANK O’HARA FOHCP SS The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. Ed. Donald Allen. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. Standing Still and Walking in New York. Ed. Donald Allen. Bolinas: Grey Fox Press, 1975. 1. Borrowing Paints from a Girl: Greenberg, Eliot, Moore, and the Struggle Between the Arts “There can be, I believe, such a thing as a dominant art form,” Clement Greenberg declares, in his 1940 manifesto, “Towards a Newer Laocoon,” and “this,” he adds, “was what literature had become in Europe by the 17th century” (CE 1:24).

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