Jonathan Fineberg

A Personal Account
of My Career
One of my early mentors, the painter Robert Motherwell, once said that the task of modern art “was to find a language that would be closer to the structure of the human reflect the nature of our understanding of how things really are.” The particular art theory that has been evolving in the corpus of my writing over some forty years is a social history of art grounded in psychoanalysis as a means of understanding the dynamics of creativity and how societies use and interact with works of art. This inquiry drew me to the study of child art, where I could see the mechanisms of visual thinking and its uses in a simpler form. My limited foray into computer science helped me think about the languages of systems and how they structure what we see and think. Neuroscience, which I have only begun to investigate, has helped me begin to understand the physiological mechanisms of vision, memory, and cognition. Meanwhile, I have always maintained a personal creative practice first in sculpture, then in film and writing, and continue to undertake creative projects like the PBS film Imagining America and the Center for the Study of Modern Art at The Phillips Collection.
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