Kuspit, Donald B(urton) 1935-

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KUSPIT, Donald B(urton) 1935-

PERSONAL: Born March 26, 1935, in New York, NY; son of Morris (a manager) and Celia Kuspit; married Judith Price (a psychologist), 1962. Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1955; Yale University, M.A., 1958; University of Frankfurt, Ph.D., 1960; Pennsylvania State University, M.A., 1964; University of Michigan, Ph.D., 1971.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Department of Art, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 4212 Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook, NY 11794. E-mail— [email protected]


CAREER: University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, West Germany (now Germany), lecturer in English, 1957-59; Pennsylvania State University, University Park, assistant professor of philosophy, 1960-64; University of Saarland, Saarbruecken, Germany, Fulbright lecturer in philosophy and American studies, 1964-65; University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, associate professor of philosophy, 1966-70; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, professor of art history, 1970-78; State University of New York at Stony Brook, professor of art, 1978—, head of department, 1978-83. Guest lecturer at School for Visual Arts, 1976—; A. D. White Professor at Large, Cornell University, 1991—. Contributing editor to Artforum, Sculpture, and New Art Examiner; editor of Art Criticism.


MEMBER: American Society of Aesthetics, College Art Association of America.


AWARDS, HONORS: Canada Council fellowship, 1968-69; National Endowment for the Humanities younger humanist fellowship, 1973-74; Guggenheim fellowship, 1977-78; Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism, College Art Association, 1983; Citation for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts—Lifetime Achievement Award, National Association of the Schools of Art and Design, 1997. Honorary doctorates from Davidson College, 1993, San Francisco Institute of Art, 1996, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.


WRITINGS:

The Philosophical Life of the Senses, Philosophical Library (New York, NY), 1969.

Clement Greenberg, Art Critic, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1979.

Leon Golub: Existentialist Activist Painter, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1985, 2nd edition published as The Existential Activist Painter: The Example of Leon Golub, 1986.

(With Betty Collings) Thomas Macaulay: SculpturalViews on Perceptual Ambiguity, Dayton Art (Dayton, OH), 1986.

(With Stephen S. High) Aggression, Subversion,Seduction: Young German Painters, Portland School Baxter (Portland, ME), 1986.

Erich Fischl, Random House (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Bruce McWright) Constitution: Group Material, Temple University Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), 1987.

Louis Bourgeois, edited by Elisabeth Avedon, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.

The New Subjectivism: Art in the 1980s, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Stephen de Staebler: The Figure, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1988.

(Author of introduction) Fables and Fantasies: From the Collection of Susan Kasen and Robert D. Summer, Duke, 1988.

The Critic Is Artist: The Intentionality of Art, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Alex Katz: Night Paintings, Abrams (New York, NY), 1991.

Arman: Monochrome Accumulations, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1991.

The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1993.

The Dialect of Decadence, Stux Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Albert Renger-Patazch: Joy before the Object, Aperture (New York, NY), 1993.

Signs of Psyche in Modern and Postmodern Art, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Primordial Presences: The Sculpture of Karel Appel, Abrams (New York, NY), 1994.

Szczesny, DuMont (Cologne, Germany), 1995.

George Chemeche: The Aya Series, Art Resources & Technologies (New York, NY), 1995.

(Contributor) The Mountain Lake Workshop: Artists inLocale, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), 1996.


Health and Happiness in Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Art, Binghamton University Art Museum (Ithaca, NY), 1996.

Idiosyncratic Identities: Artists at the End of the Avant-Garde, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Chihuly, Abrams (New York, NY), 1997.

Sam Francis: Elements and Archetypes, Fundacion Caja Madrid (Madrid, Spain), 1997.

(With others) Daniel Brush: Gold without Boundaries, Abrams (New York, NY), 1998.

Basil Alkazzi, New Horizons, Izumi Art Publications (St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands), 1998.

Reflections of Nature: Paintings by Joseph Raffael, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Apocalypse: With Jewels in the Distance (poetry), Allworth Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Redeeming Art: Critical Reveries, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With others) Jimmy Ernst, Hudson Hills (New York, NY), 2000.

Psychostrategies of Avant-Garde Art, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Marjorie Strider) Marjorie Strider, Hard Press Editions (West Stockbridge, MA), 2001.

Shekhina, photographs by Leonard Nimoy, Umbrage Editions (New York, NY), 2001.

Don Eddy: The Art of Paradox, Hudson Hills Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Hunt Slonem: An Art Rich and Strange, Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.

Steve Tobin's Natural History, Hudson Hills Press (New York, NY), 2003.

The End of Art, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Louis Meisel) Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies:The Complete Paintings, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 2004.

Dramatic Gestures: The Art of Marjorie Strider, Hard Press Editions (West Stockbridge, MA), 2004.


Also the author or contributor to numerous small gallery catalogues on a wide variety of artists, sculptors, and photographers.


EDITOR:

Sandra L. Underwood, Charles H. Caffın: A Voice forModernism, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1983.

Amy C. Simowitz, Theory of Art in the "Encyclopedie," UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1983.

Misook Song, Art Theories of Charles Blanc, 1813-1882, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Lawrence Alloway, Network: Art and the CompletePresent, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Joseph Masheck, Historical Present: Essays of the1970s, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Robert Pincus-Witten, Eye to Eye: Twenty Years of ArtCriticism, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Martin Pops, Vermeer: Consciousness and the Chamber of Being, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Dennis Adrian, Sight out of Mind: Essays and Criticism on Art, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1985.

Nicolas Calas, Transfigurations: Art Critical Essays on the Modern Period, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1985.

Susan N. Platt, Modernism in the 1920s: Interpretations of Modern Art in New York from Expressionism to Constructivism, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1985.

Patricia Mathews, Aurier's Symbolist Art Criticism and Theory, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

Beverly Twitchell, Cezanne and Formalism in Bloomsbury, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

Roger Benjamin, Matisse's "Notes of a Painter":Criticism, Theory, and Context, 1891-1908, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

Miriam K. Levin, Republican Art and Ideology in LateNineteenth-Century France, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

Peter Plagens, Moonlight Blues: An Artist's Art Criticism, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

(And author of foreword) Dore Ashton, Out of theWhirlwind: Three Decades of Arts Commentary, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

Matthew L. Rohn, Visual Dynamics in JacksonPollock's Abstractions, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

Kent Hooper, Ernest Barlach's Literary and VisualArt: The Issue of Multiple Talent, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

Annette Kahn, J. K. Huysmans: Novelist, Poet and ArtCritic, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

Lawrence W. Markert, Arthur Symons: Critic of theSeven Arts, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1987.

Stewart Buettner, American Art Theory, 1945-70, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Bernard Schultz, Art and Anatomy in RenaissanceItaly, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Carol M. Zemel, The Formation of a Legend: VanGogh Criticism, 1890-1920, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Stephen C. Foster, The Critics of Abstract Expressionism, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Peter Selz, Art in a Turbulent Era, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Jeanne Siegel, Artword 2: Discourse on the Early '80s, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Robert Pincus-Witten, Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art, 1966-1986, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Arlene Raven, Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Arlene Raven and others, Crossing Over: Feminism and Art of Social Concern, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Michael D. Hall, Stereoscopic Perspective: Reflections on American Fine and Folk Art, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Jo Anna Isaak, The Ruin of Representation in Modernist Art and Texts, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

Carol A. Mahsun, Pop Art Criticism: An Anthology, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

(Coeditor) Katherine Hoffman, Collage: CriticalViews, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1989.

Barbara B. Lynes, O'Keefe, Steiglitz, and the Critics,1916-1929, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1989.

(With Arlene Raven) Art in the Public Interest, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1989.


Editor of series "American Art and Art Criticism," Cambridge University Press.


WORK IN PROGRESS: On the Gathering Emptiness, a book of poems.


SIDELIGHTS: A professor of art at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Donald B. Kuspit specializes in twentieth-century and northern Renaissance art. A contributing editor to several prominent journals, and holder of degrees in art history and philosophy with a background in psychoanalytic theory, Kuspit is the author and/or editor of scores of books on the arts and art criticism. One of his first titles, the 1979 Clement Greenberg, Art Critic, traces the professional life of the man who for decades charted the course of modernism and abstract expressionism in the visual arts. Kuspit's study was an attempt to discover the Formalist structures of this criticism through a rigorous examination of Greenberg's articles and reviews. For Joyce Brodsky, however, reviewing the book in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Kuspit "does an injustice to Greenberg's best critical insights by making them bear the burden of the philosophy of Kant, Marx, Hegel, and Dewey."


With The New Subjectivism: Art in the 1980s, Kuspit gathers much of his own criticism, influenced by his "reading in psychoanalysis and Frankfurt School of philosophy," as a contributor noted in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. His reviews in the book deal mostly with European painters; in a second section of the book he compares these artists with their American contemporaries, and in a third section lays forth his theories of art criticism, acknowledging that such art "investigates the nature of self," as the same critic commented. This reviewer for the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism went on to comment that because of Kuspit's influence in the art world, the "book deserves serious attention from aestheticians," but also complained of "murky writing." Reviewing the same work in Choice, P. Brauch also found that Kuspit's "style is dense" but further commented that the "best [essays] are toward the end, when [Kuspit] attempts to synthesize his ideas."


Kuspit examines the changing role of the artist and his or her "object" during the shift from modernism to postmodernism with his 1993 The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist. For Kuspit, avant-garde art "has a therapeutic intention," as Will Wadlington noted in his Creative Research Journal review. However, with the shift to postmodernism or neo-avant-garde, this healing power was lost in the rush for fortune and fame. Examining artists from Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Kuspit portrays "postmodernism as a narcissistic style," according to Wadlington, who further noted that "for Kuspit, Warhol is the beginning of the end of the belief in the healing power of art." Wadlington also praised Kuspit's "rich and expressive" writing, observing that he "has successfully integrated aesthetic and psychological perspectives" in a work that "brings together a cultural critique of capitalism and of postmodernism with a penetrating psychological analysis of the cult phenomena that pervade the contemporary art world." Bradley Collins, writing in Art Journal commented that Kuspit's purpose in the book was to "offer a sort of fantasy or meditation on an ideally sympathetic viewer's psychological response to various kinds of twentieth-century art." For Collins, the author's "strengths . . . are his combativeness, his ability to draw with authority on writers as divers as Adorno, Baudelaire, and Spinoza, and his penchant for dialectical excursions," while the book's "great weaknesses, which are endemic to theory-laden criticism, consist of a maddening lack of specificity and a refusal to flesh out abstractions." Reviewing the same title in Choice, S. L. Jenkins was more positive, calling the book a "profoundly intelligent and provocative psychological discussion" and "thought-provoking."

Kuspit gathers more of his criticism in Idiosyncratic Identities, essays on artists from the scrap-metal horse sculptures of Deborah Butterfield to the videos of Bill Viola, as well as an explication of his theory of the power of the idiosyncratic artist in contemporary art. Merlin James, reviewing the book in Burlington Magazine, felt that its "theoretical positions are clear and strong; and, as so often, they appear convincingly 'demonstrated' in compelling negative verdicts on some works." Two books from the year 2000 further investigate painting of the twentieth century from the avant-garde to postmodernist. With Psychostrategies of Avant-Garde Art, he sets out to show, as Keith Miller explained in the Times Literary Supplement, that modern art came about "because artists were repelled by the environment they were expected to document, and retreated into self-referential shadow-play, or 'pure' painting." Miller further observed that for Kuspit this resulted in a "fatal confusion of object and subject . . . a form of madness . . . which has left us all in a muddle." Here Kuspit investigates artists from Edouard Manet to Georges Seurat and Edvard Munch. Richard Kuhns, writing in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, praised the author's "originality in interpretation of individual works." In Kuspit's The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century, the critic explores the work of twenty-six modern painters, including Picasso and Jackson Pollock, but also moving to more recent artists such as Nancy Spero, Lucien Freud, and Archie Rand. He also provides a profile of Jewish art historian Meyer Schapiro. Iain Biggs, writing in the Journal of Visual Practice, felt that "much of what is included here adds little to the position that Kuspit developed in previous collections."


Kuspit has also published numerous books on and with individual artists, adding cogent text to books illustrating their work. In Chihuly, for example, the work of glass sculptor Dave Chihuly is "rewardingly discussed by Mr. Kuspit," according to Phoebe-Lou Adams in the Atlantic Monthly. Reviewing the same work, Booklist's Donna Seaman praised Kuspit's "agile and articulate commentary." In Hunt Slonem: An Art Rich and Strange, Kuspit examines the work of New York painter Slonem and "deftly provides . . . a stimulating discourse on artistic concerns that move beyond the decorative," according to Alice Joyce in a Booklist review. And M. Kren, reviewing the same title in Choice, commented that Kuspit "has prepared this beautifully designed book that well represents the work of artist Slonem."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Art Journal, winter, 1993, Bradley Collins, review of The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist, pp. 91-93.

Booklist, April 15, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of Chihuly, pp. 1409-1410; June 1, 2002, Alice Joyce, review of Hunt Slonem: An Art Rich and Strange, pp. 1663-1664.

Burlington Magazine, June, 1998, Merlin James, review of Idiosyncratic Identities, pp. 402-403.

Choice, February, 1989, P. Brauch, review of The NewSubjectivism: Art in the 1980s; July, 1993, S. L. Jenkins, review of The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist, p. 1762; November, 2002, M. Kren, review of Hunt Slonem.

Creativity Research Journal, 1996, Will Wadlington, review of The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist, pp. 291-294.


Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, autumn, 1980, Joyce Brodsky, review of Clement Greenberg, Art Critic, pp. 107-108; autumn, 1989, review of The New Subjectivism, p. 400; June, 2002, Richard Kuhns, review of Psychostrategies of Avant-Garde Art and The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century, pp. 279-280.

Journal of Visual Art Practice, 2001, Iain Biggs, review of The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century, pp. 59-62.

Library Journal, July, 2002, Nadine Dalton Speidel, review of Hunt Slonem, pp. 75-76.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 26, 1985.

New York Times Book Review, February 17, 1980.

Times Literary Supplement, June 15, 2001, Keith Miller, review of Psychostrategies of Avant-Garde Art.



ONLINE

Allworth Press Web site,http://www.allworth.com/ (February 18, 2004).

Blackbird,http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/ (February 17, 2004).

Cambridge University Press Web site,http://www.cup.org/ (February 18, 2004).


State University of New York Stony Brook Web site, http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/ (August 16, 2002).*