T.J. Clark





T.J. Clark

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born
Bristol, The United Kingdom
gender
male

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About this author

Timothy James Clark often known as T.J. Clark, is an art historian and writer, born in 1943 in Bristol, England.

Clark attended Bristol Grammar School. He completed his undergraduate studies at St. John's College, Cambridge University, he obtained a first-class honours degree in 1964. He received his Ph.D. in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London in 1973. He lectured at the University of Essex 1967-1969 and then at Camberwell College of Arts as a senior lecturer, 1970-1974. During this time he was also a member of the British Section of the Situationist International, from which he was expelled along with the other members of the English section. He was also involved in the group King Mob.

In 1973 he published...more


Average rating: 3.96 · 530 ratings · 54 reviews · 20 distinct works · Similar authors
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Image of the People: Gustav...
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“Modernism had two great wishes. It wanted its audience to be led toward a recognition of the social reality of the sign (away from the comforts of narrative and illusionism, was the claim); but equally it dreamed of turning the sign back to a bedrock of World/Nature/Sensation/Subjectivity which the to and fro of capitalism had all but destroyed.”
T.J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism

“The value of a work of art cannot ultimately turn on the more or less of its subservience to ideology; for painting can be grandly subservient to the half-truths of the moment, doggedly servile, and yet be no less intense.”
T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers

“What do I think was modernism’s subject, then? What was it about? No doubt you can guess my starting point. It was about steam—in both the Malevich and the de Chirico a train still rushes across the landscape. It was about change and power and contingency, in other words, but also control, compression, and captivity—an absurd or oppressive orderliness is haunting the bright new fields and the sunlit squares with their eternally flapping flags. Modernism presents us with a world becoming a realm of appearances—fragments, patchwork quilts of color, dream-tableaux made out of disconnected phantasms. But all of this is still happening in modernism, and still resisted as it is described. The two paintings remain shot through, it seems to me, with the effort to answer back to the flattening and derealizing-the will to put the fragments back into some sort of order. Modernism is agonized, but its agony is not separable from weird levity or whimsy. Pleasure and horror go together in it. Malevich may be desperate, or euphoric. He may be pouring scorn on the idea of collective man, or spelling the idea out with utter childish optimism. We shall never know his real opinions. His picture entertains both.

Modernism was certainly about the pathos of dream and desire in twentieth- century circumstances, but, again, the desires were unstoppable, ineradicable. The upright man will not let go of the future. The infinite still exists at the top of the tower. Even in the Picasso the monster flashing up outside the window is my monster, my phantasm, the figure of my unnegotiable desire. The monster is me—the terrible desiring and fearing subject inside me that eludes all form of conditioning, all the barrage of instructions about what it should want and who it should be. This is Picasso’s vestigial utopianism. You think that modernity is a realm of appetite and immediacy! I’ll show you appetite! I’ll show you immediacy! I shall, as a modernist, make the dreams of modernity come true.

Modernism was testing, as I said before. It was a kind of internal exile, a retreat into the territory of form; but form was ultimately a crucible, an act of aggression, an abyss into which all the comfortable “givens” of the culture were sucked and then spat out.”
T.J. Clark



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