Review of Art and Form: From Roger Fry to Global Modernism by Sam Rose [Book Review]

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In view of the current progress of what has been named the ‘visual turn’ or the ‘pictorial turn’,1 it is exciting to witness Sam Rose’s return to early aesthetic formalist-modernism, which was so passionate about the medium, its appearance, and visuality. Rose’s project shares a recent inclination to think anew the advent of aesthetic modernism.2 It is founded on the presumption that visual art ought to be – and actually has always been – theoretically subsumed under one meta-project. This meta-project does not necessarily have a clear telos, but it does have a history. In support of this view, Rose appeals to Stanley Cavell’s claim that ‘only masters of a game, perfect slaves to that project, are in a position to establish conventions which better serve its essence. This is why deep revolutionary changes can result from attempts to conserve a project, to take it back to its idea, keep it in touch with its history’ (p. 155). According to Rose’s post-formalist view, the idea of art’s meta-project is the idea of form.
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Archival date: 2020-09-18
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