Pick a PeriodJohn Haber
in New York City
Haber's Reviews . . . by Art's Histories
Surprise! Postmodernism means not just the cutting edge, but the past. Pick a moment in art's histories and find out why.
Divisions in history never exist, only individuals. Yet my perceptions make my moment in time real, and criticism has a different relevance to each moment. Within each moment below—each period in art's history—I offer a very loose chronological arrangement, despite some long careers full of change. In fact, I hope to puzzle out the changes.
The Renaissance and before: defining European art
Modernism starts here—and why not? It is about art's self-questioning, and this, the Renaissance, is the age of the self-aware genius. It is about what it means to be modern, and this is the age of rebirth and tragedy. If Postmodernism is forging a new art history, can it start here, too?
The Baroque: art's empire
Like today, the Baroque looked at the past and wrote the book. In grand palaces and private chambers, it created a timeless empire for art. It held the first great collectors, plus genius as market failure. Rembrandt exemplifies it all single-handed. Is that why modern tastes made their first rediscoveries here?
Romanticism: thinking about the future
If the Renaissance invented Europe's past, Romanticism is the discovery of the future. Does its heritage still haunt Modernism?
Impressionism and realism: the birth of modernity
Postmodernism is a fight over modernity, and it drew its first battle lines around Impressionism. Then, for the first time, artists worried about whether their world was modern enough. Were they right to worry?