Art World Still Divided on Wyeth

Some call him modern; others, 'corny Americana'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 17, 2009 9:32 AM CST
In this image released by the Brandywine River Museum, the painting, "Trodden Weed," by Andrew Wyeth, is shown.    (AP Photo/Andrew Wyeth)
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(Newser) – Andrew Wyeth divided the art community throughout his life, and little seems to have changed with his passing yesterday. While many in the field call him one of the most important 20th-century American artists, others insist his mode of realism makes him more of an illustrator than a serious painter, the New York Times reports, and his work "corny Americana." Those critics see his most famous painting, “Christina’s World,” as simply a “mandatory dorm room poster.”

Early in his career, Wyeth was considered edgy—but the appearance of abstract expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock changed the playing field. Art “politics” played a role, says one expert, as critics began to demand that “only contemporary abstraction be recognized as a viable language for the postwar era.” Still, says another, “I think we are now all grown up enough to realize that there are many roads to modern art, and not just one channel.”