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

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Abstract
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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