In 1962, Clement Greenberg-arguably the most influential art critic of the late 20th century-became the first art critic to lead the Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop. Greenberg’s visit proved to be a watershed in the history of Canadian art and art criticism, helping to forge a unique connection between a generation of Western Canadian artists and the New York art scene and helping also to establish Greenberg’s views as a dominant paradigm in Canadian art criticism in 1960s and 70s.
This exhibition explores the relationships-from positive to negative-that this renowned critic has on 5 of our gallery artists. As an influential art mind, Greenberg impacted the Canadian art scene with his visits, and his brief or lifelong connection with each artist had an impact on their art career, in one way or another.
Famously, Greenberg’s views on art are largely based on somewhat idiosyncratic (and, for some, controversial) interpretation on Kant’s Critique of Judgement. Like Kantian critical philosophy, Greenberg argued, distinctively modern art explored the conditions under which we experience and understand the world. Kant, says Greenberg, was the first modernist.
In a 1963 survey article on prairie art, the renowned New York art critic observed that; ‘The vitality of art in Regina does constitute an unusual phenomenon. It may involve, immediately, only a small group of artists, but five such fired-up artists would amount to a lot in New York, let alone a city of 125,000.’
Artists included in this exhibition; Harold TOWN, Dorothy KNOWLES, Ted GODWIN, Ronald BLOORE, Kenneth LOCHHEAD.