Features January 1989
Miró’s paradox: what happened after the “death of painting”
On Miró’s artistic development.
Every challenge to painting is a paradox—from the moment that challenge is expressed in a work.
—Joan Miró, in 1962
It has long been known to observers of the modern movement in art that the central pattern of its aesthetic development has been that of a dialectic in which every heretical impulse has served as the prologue to a new orthodoxy. Ideas that were regarded upon their first appearance as outrageous and revolutionary—and regarded as such not only by the public but by the artists themselves—are now seen to have initiated, more often than not, a process that led sooner or later, after varying degrees of opposition and resistance and debate, to their absorption into the mainstream of artistic endeavor. Such ideas were transformed, in other words, into a tradition—a tradition in which the iconoclasm of yesteryear came to be regarded as the cherished...
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