Medieval Modern: Art Out of Time

Hal Foster writes:

‘Whenever I come into contact with contemporary art,’ Nagel writes in Medieval Modern, ‘I find references shooting in all directions, well beyond the framework of modernist histories, and often they go in the direction of medieval and early modern art.’ By ‘modernist histories’ he means, generally, the separation of the arts into spatial and temporal modes, and, specifically, the privileging of painting over all other forms of visual art, especially the easel picture, whether this be a representational tableau of a secular scene, the bourgeois mode of ‘a window on the world’ (which John Berger once associated with a safe on the wall), or a modernist painting of pure abstraction (which, despite the frequent claims of autonomy made on its behalf, is usually a commodity on the wall too).

(LRB 8 November 2012)