Artists, Public Intellectuals and Social Change: A Comparative Historical Perspective on the Social Construction of Artistic Recognition

Dr. Janet M. C. Burns
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Three art movements: CoBrA, American Abstract Expressionism, and Mexican Muralism emerged in the early and middle parts of the twentieth century. All three were championed by significant public intellectuals: Christian Dotremont, Clement Greenberg, and Jose Vasconcelos; and produced specific internationally acclaimed artists: Asger Jorn, Jackson Pollock, and Diego Rivera. This paper is an interpretative, transdisciplinary and comparative analysis of these movements that draws on social history, art history, and sociology. Adopting a sociological framework informed by the works of Pierre Bourdieu, it is proposed that artistic recognition and canonization require the nourishment of public intellectuals but flourish or wither due to a fortuitous location within changing social, economic and political conditions and by having a discursive compatibility or incompatibility with the agenda of emerging dominant social classes.

Keywords: Visual Artists, Public Intellectuals, Cultural Capital, Pierre Bourdieu, Comparative Analysis, Mexico, The United States of America Western Europe
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Modern Art, the Art Critic and the Disengagement and Re-engagement of Art

Dr. Janet M. C. Burns

Professor, Department of Social Science, University of New Brunswick

Ref: I07P0343