A concept associated with modernism, especially by the British critics CLIVE BELL (1881-1964) and ROGER FRY (1886-1934), and the American CLEMENT GREENBERG.
In response to a developing interest in non-European art in the first decades of the 20th century, Fry and Bell attempted to formulate a semi-scientific system in which visual analysis of the formal characteristics of art took precedence over the artist’s intentions and its social function.
Formalist approaches were also applied to post-World War II criticism, particularly by Greenberg, in relation to abstract expressionism. By the 1960s its importance as a critical concept gave way to alternative methodologies.
Formalism may refer to:
- Form (disambiguation)
- Formal (disambiguation)
- Legal formalism, legal positivist view that the substantive justice of a law is a question for the legislature rather than the judiciary
- Formalism (linguistics)
- Scientific formalism
- Formalism (philosophy), that there is no transcendent meaning to a discipline other than the literal content created by a practitioner
- Religious formalism, an emphasis on the ritual and observance of religion, rather than its meaning.
- Formalism (philosophy of mathematics), or mathematical formalism, that statements of mathematics and logic can be thought of as statements about the consequences of certain string manipulation rules.
- Formalism (art), that a work’s artistic value is entirely determined by its form
- Formalism (music)
- Formalist film theory, focused on the formal, or technical, elements of a film
- Formalism (literature)
- New Formalism, a late-20th century movement in American poetry – sometimes called simply “Formalism”
- Russian formalism, school of literary criticism in Russia from the 1910s to the 1930s
- New Formalism (architecture), a mid-20th century architectural style, sometimes abbreviated to Formalism