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He had written them over a period of 40 years for periodicals journals, or his own teaching purposes; occasionally they overlapped; there was no sequence of development.In the original volume of Search for the Real, published in 1948, it was felt desirable to edit his writing as little as possible, nevertheless to present the essays in the most lucid English true to his meaning, printed only with his approval.Kitsch is the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our times.
Yet he was scarcely recognized in Europe or America as an artist of significance and had never had a full-scale retrospective exhibition of his work.
Beginning with a group exhibition in Germany in 1909, he had been given 12 one-man shows and had been included in four group exhibitions before the exhibit at Andover.
He left the Old World, Germany, for the New, at the age of 50.
In 1948, when the retrospective exhibition was held at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Hofmann was 68; he had been in the United States for 18 years, a citizen for seven years.
Kitsch, on the other hand, was the product of industrialization and the urbanization of the working class, a filler made for the consumption of the working class: a populace hungry for culture, but without the resources and education to enjoy cutting edge avant garde culture. Kitsch is vicarious experience and faked sensations.
Greenberg writes, Kitsch, using for raw material the debased and academicized simulacra of genuine culture, welcomes and cultivates this insensibility. Kitsch changes according to style, but remains always the same.His parents were middle-class Jewish immigrants, and he was the eldest of their three sons.Since childhood, Greenberg sketched compulsively, until becoming a young adult, when he began to focus on literature. After college, already as fluent in Yiddish as English since childhood, Greenberg taught himself Italian and German in addition to French and Latin.Greenberg believed Modernism provided a critical commentary on experience.It was constantly changing to adapt to kitsch pseudo-culture, which was itself always developing.MIT Press Journals The writings of the "dean of the New York School of Abstract-Expressionist Painting." "The creative process lies not in imitating, but in paralleling nature; translating the impulse received from nature into the medium of expression, thus vitalizing this medium.The picture should be alive, the statue should be alive and every work of art should be alive." Thus Hans Hofmann wrote nearly half a century ago.In 1936, Greenberg took a series of jobs with the federal government, from Civil Service Administration, to the Veterans' Administration, and finally to the Appraisers' Division of the Customs Service in 1937.It was then that Greenberg began to write seriously, and soon after began getting published in a handful of small magazines and literary journals."The Search for the Real in the Visual Arts," "Sculpture," and "Painting and Culture" were all printed in full.The section "Excerpts from the Teaching of Hans Hofmann" was composed of selections from his essays "On the Aims of Art" and "Plastic Creation." The last brief section, "Terms," was gleaned from the other essays, lectures, diagrams, notes, and cryptic memoranda written to himself, headed by one of Hoffman's diagrams.