Unfortunately, until the machine age, culture was the exclusive prerogative of a society that lived by the labor of serfs or slaves. They were the real symbols of culture. For one man to spend time and energy creating or listening to poetry meant that another man had to produce enough to keep himself alive and the former in comfort. In Africa today we find that the culture of slave-owning tribes is generally much superior to that of the tribes that possess no slaves.
Profoundly historicist, Greenberg’s method conceives the field of art as at once timeless and in constant flux. That is to say that certain things, like art itself, or painting and sculpture, or the masterpiece, are universal, transhistorical forms.Minimalist objects were understood as neither painting nor sculpture, and now Krauss was defending them as neither landscape, nor architecture. She was choking Greenberg with his own neither/nor.
The art that came in the wake of minimalism was even more mixed up and eclectic, very much akin to Jameson's "theory." Krauss would write that, "Over the last ten years rather surprising things have come to be called sculpture: narrow corridors with TV monitors at the ends; large photographs documenting country hikes; mirrors placed at strange angles in ordinary rooms; temporary lines cut into the floor of the desert. Nothing, it would seem, could possibly give to such a motley of effort the right to lay claim to whatever one might mean by the category of sculpture. Unless, that is, the category can be made to become almost infinitely malleable."
Krauss's reformulating of sculpture as "not-architecture” as a positive justification for the “quasi architectural integers” of minimalist art was an elegant rhetorical turn, but it has to be seen for what it was: a rhetorical weapon aimed back at her disapproving mentor.
Clement Greenberg, I like to image, whistling past Jeff Wall's, Flooded Grave (1998)