Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts by Ellen LevyCriminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts by Ellen Levy

Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts

byEllen Levy

Hardcover | May 27, 2011

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"Poetry was declining/ Painting advancing/ we were complaining/ it was '50," recalled poet Frank O'Hara in 1957. Ellen Levy's Criminal Ingenuity traces a series of linked moments in the history of this crucial transfer of cultural power from the sphere of the word to that of the image. Levyexplores the New York literary and art worlds in the years that bracket O'Hara's lament through close readings of the works and careers of poets Marianne Moore and John Ashbery and assemblage artist Joseph Cornell. In the course of these readings Levy discusses such topics as the American debatesaround surrealism, the function of the "token woman" in artistic canons, and the role of the New York City Ballet in the development of mid-century modernism, and situates her central figures in relation to such colleagues and contemporaries as O'Hara, T. S. Eliot, Clement Greenberg, WalterBenjamin, and Lincoln Kirstein.Moore, Cornell, and Ashbery are connected by acquaintance and affinity-and above all, by the possession of what Moore calls "criminal ingenuity," a talent for situating themselves on the fault lines that fissure the realms of art, sexuality and politics. As we consider their lives and works, Levyshows, the seemingly specialized question of the source and meaning of the struggle for power between art forms inexorably opens out to broader questions about social and artistic institutions and forces: the academy and the museum, professionalism and the market, and that institution ofinstitutions, marriage.
Ellen Levy is Adjunct Associate Professor of English at the Pratt Institute.
Title:Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the ArtsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 27, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199746354

ISBN - 13:9780199746354


Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsIntroduction1. Borrowing Paints From a Girl: Greenberg, Eliot, Moore and the Struggle Between the Artsi. "Academic feeling" vs. "the museum"ii. Moore between poetry and paintingiii. The professional, the academic, and "the real poetry lover"iv. What's in a name? Museum, market, art worldv. The end of Modernism As We Know It: poetry in the age of Pollockvi. Self-critique and the struggle for dominance2. "No Poet Has Been So Chaste": Moore and the Poetics of Ambivalencei. "Institution" or "enterprise"?ii. The place of the token womaniii. "Unsheathed gesticulation": the attack of the token womaniv. Moore's mirror phase: "Those Various Scalpels"v. The poetics of ambivalencevi. The case for Moore's late "love" lyricsvii. Moore's imperishable wish: "Armor's Undermining Modesty"3. An Inconsequential Past: Joseph Cornell After Marianne Moorei. Elephants and divas: Cornell's position, modernism's impasseii. The materialist and the monster: history according to Moore and Benjaminiii. Collage and class fractionsiv. Amateurs and aristocratsv. The collector and the criminal: Cornell and Moore's imaginary economy4. Surrealism in "The Second, Open Sense": The Poets of the New York Schooli. "A confusion of painting with literature": Greenberg vs. the surrealistsii. "Stupid paintings" and "old-fashioned literature": Ashbery's regressive avant-gardeiii. Institutions of freedom: the coterie and the art worldiv. "Dear New York City Ballet, you are quite like a wedding yourself!": institution as form in the poems of Frank O'Hara5. "A Medium in Which it is Possible to Recognize Oneself": Ashbery Between Poetry and Paintingi. Breathing space: Ashbery in and out of the art worldii. The adventures of "the personality": "Definition of Blue"iii. The case of the fairy decorator: Robert Lowell and the New York Schooliv. Cornell/ Parmigianinov. Facing pages: The Vermont NotebookWorks Cited