A formal approach to anime rethinks globalization and transnationality under neoliberalism
Anime has become synonymous with Japanese culture, but its global reach raises a perplexing question—what happens when anime is produced outside of Japan? Who actually makes anime, and how can this help us rethink notions of cultural production? In Anime’s Identity, Stevie Suan examines how anime’s recognizable media-form—no matter where it is produced—reflects the problematics of globalization. The result is an incisive look at not only anime but also the tensions of transnationality.
Far from valorizing the individualistic “originality” so often touted in national creative industries, anime reveals an alternate type of creativity based in repetition and variation. In exploring this alternative creativity and its accompanying aesthetics, Suan examines anime from fresh angles, including considerations of how anime operates like a brand of media, the intricacies of anime production occurring across national borders, inquiries into the selfhood involved in anime’s character acting, and analyses of various anime works that present differing modes of transnationality.
Anime’s Identity deftly merges theories from media studies and performance studies, introducing innovative formal concepts that connect anime to questions of dislocation on a global scale, creating a transformative new lens for analyzing popular media.
A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2019
Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat, and other beloved cartoon characters have entertained media audiences for almost a century, outliving the human stars who were once their contemporaries in studio-era Hollywood. In Animated Personalities, David McGowan asserts that iconic American theatrical short cartoon characters should be legitimately regarded as stars, equal to their live-action counterparts, not only because they have enjoyed long careers, but also because their star personas have been created and marketed in ways also used for cinematic celebrities.
Drawing on detailed archival research, McGowan analyzes how Hollywood studios constructed and manipulated the star personas of the animated characters they owned. He shows how cartoon actors frequently kept pace with their human counterparts, granting “interviews,” allowing “candid” photographs, endorsing products, and generally behaving as actual actors did—for example, Donald Duck served his country during World War II, and Mickey Mouse was even embroiled in scandal. Challenging the notion that studios needed actors with physical bodies and real off-screen lives to create stars, McGowan demonstrates that media texts have successfully articulated an off-screen existence for animated characters. Following cartoon stars from silent movies to contemporary film and television, this groundbreaking book broadens the scope of star studies to include animation, concluding with provocative questions about the nature of stardom in an age of digitally enhanced filmmaking technologies.
Long considered "children's entertainment" by audiences and popular media, Hollywood animation has received little serious attention. Eric Smoodin's Animating Culture is the first and only book to thoroughly analyze the animated short film.
Usually running about seven or eight minutes, cartoons were made by major Hollywood studios––such as MGM, Warner Bros., and Disney––and shown at movie theaters along with a newsreel and a feature-length film. Smoodin explores animated shorta and the system that mass-produced them. How were cartoons exhibited in theaters? How did they tell their stories? Who did they tell them to? What did they say about race, class, and gender? How were cartoons related to the feature films they accompanied on the evening's bill of fare? What were the social functions of cartoon stars like Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse?
Smoodin argues that cartoons appealed to a wide audience––not just children––and did indeed contribute to public debate about political matters. He examines issues often ignored in discussions of animated film––issues such as social control in the U.S. army's "Private Snafu" cartoons, and sexuality and race in the "sites" of Betty Boop's body and the cartoon harem. Smoodin's analysis of the multiple discourses embedded in a variety of cartoons reveals the complex and sometimes contradictory ways that animation dealt with class relations, labor, imperialism, and censorship. His discussion of Disney and the Disney Studio's close ties with the U.S. government forces us to rethink the place of the cartoon in political and cultural life. Smoodin reveals the complex relationship between cartoons and the Hollywood studio system, and between cartoons and their audiences.
2004 – Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award — The Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research
Kids around the world love Disney animated films, and many of their parents trust the Disney corporation to provide wholesome, moral entertainment for their children. Yet frequent protests and even boycotts of Disney products and practices reveal a widespread unease with the sometimes mixed and inconsistent moral values espoused in Disney films as the company attempts to appeal to the largest possible audience.
In this book, Annalee R. Ward uses a variety of analytical tools based in rhetorical criticism to examine the moral messages taught in five recent Disney animated films—The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan. Taking the films on their own terms, she uncovers the many mixed messages they purvey: for example, females can be leaders—but male leadership ought to be the norm; stereotyping is wrong—but black means evil; historical truth is valued—but only tell what one can sell, etc. Adding these messages together, Ward raises important questions about the moral ambiguity of Disney's overall worldview and demonstrates the need for parents to be discerning in letting their children learn moral values and life lessons from Disney films.
A ground-level look at the entertainment giant, The Disney Animation Renaissance profiles the people and purpose behind a little-known studio during a historic era.
"A wide-ranging inquiry into an important area of contemporary scholarly interest, and also an engaging, well written and intelligently conceived collection." -Eric Smoodin, author of Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons From the Sound Era
Despite the success of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their Looney cohorts, Warner Bros. animation worked in the shadow of Disney for many years. The past ten years have seen a resurgence in Warner Bros. animation as they produce new Bugs Bunny cartoons and theatrical features like Space Jam as well as television shows like Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. While Disney's animation plays it safe and mirrors traditional cinema stories, Warner Bros. is known for a more original and even anarchistic style of narration, a willingness to take risks in story construction, a fearlessness in crossing gender lines with its characters, and a freedom in breaking boundaries. This collection of essays looks at the history of Warner Bros. animation, compares and contrasts the two studios, charts the rise and fall of creativity and daring at Warner's, and analyzes the ways in which the studio was for a time transgressive in its treatment of class, race, and gender. It reveals how safety and commercialization have, in the end, triumphed at Warner Bros. just as they much earlier conquered Disney.
The book also discusses fan parodies of Warner Bros. animation on the Internet today, the Bugs Bunny cross-dressing cartoons, cartoons that were censored by the studio, and the merchandising and licensing strategies of the Warner Bros. studio stores. Contributors are Donald Crafton, Ben Fraser, Michael Frierson, Norman M. Klein, Terry Lindvall, Bill Mikulak, Barry Putterman, Kevin S. Sandler, Hank Sartin, Linda Simensky, Kirsten Moana Thompson, Gene Walz, and Timothy R. White.
Extensively illustrated with representative images, this unique book illuminates the cultural significance of the highly colorized “linen” postcards that depicted a glowing America in the 1930s and 1940s and that fascinate collectors today.
From the Great Depression through the early postwar years, any postcard sent in America was more than likely a “linen” card. Colorized in vivid, often exaggerated hues and printed on card stock embossed with a linen-like texture, linen postcards celebrated the American scene with views of majestic landscapes, modern cityscapes, roadside attractions, and other notable features. These colorful images portrayed the United States as shimmering with promise, quite unlike the black-and-white worlds of documentary photography or Life magazine. Linen postcards were enormously popular, with close to a billion printed and sold.
Postcard America offers the first comprehensive study of these cards and their cultural significance. Drawing on the production files of Curt Teich & Co. of Chicago, the originator of linen postcards, Jeffrey L. Meikle reveals how photographic views were transformed into colorized postcard images, often by means of manipulation—adding and deleting details or collaging bits and pieces from several photos. He presents two extensive portfolios of postcards—landscapes and cityscapes—that comprise a representative iconography of linen postcard views. For each image, Meikle explains the postcard’s subject, describes aspects of its production, and places it in social and cultural contexts. In the concluding chapter, he shifts from historical interpretation to a contemporary viewpoint, considering nostalgia as a motive for collectors and others who are fascinated today by these striking images.
Searing images of suicide bombings and retaliatory strikes now define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many Westerners, but television and print media are not the only visual realms in which the conflict is playing out. Even tourist postcards and greeting cards have been pressed into service as vehicles through which Israelis and Palestinians present competing visions of national selfhood and conflicting claims to their common homeland.
In this book, Tim Jon Semmerling explores how Israelis and Palestinians have recently used postcards and greeting cards to present images of the national self, to build national awareness and reinforce nationalist ideologies, and to gain international acceptance. He discusses and displays the works of numerous postcard/greeting card manufacturers, artists, and photographers and identifies the symbolic choices in their postcards, how the choices are arranged into messages, what the messages convey and to whom, and who benefits and loses in these presentations of national self. Semmerling convincingly demonstrates that, far from being ephemeral, Israeli and Palestinian postcards constitute an important arena of struggle over visual signs and the power to produce reality.
The Codrus Painter was a painter of cups and vases in fifth-century B.C.E. Athens with a distinctive style; he is named after Codrus, a legendary Athenian king depicted on one of his most characteristic vases. He was active as an artist during the rule of Pericles, as the Parthenon was built and then as the troubled times of the Peloponnesian War began. In contrast to the work of fellow artists of his day, the vases of the Codrus Painter appear to have been created almost exclusively for export to markets outside Athens and Greece, especially to the Etruscans in central Italy and to points further west.
Amalia Avramidou offers a thoroughly researched, amply illustrated study of the Codrus Painter that also comments on the mythology, religion, arts, athletics, and daily life of Greece depicted on his vases. She evaluates his style and the defining characteristics of his own hand and of the minor painters associated with him. Examining the subject matter, figure types, and motifs on the vases, she compares them with sculptural works produced during the same period. Avramidou’s iconographic analysis not only encompasses the cultural milieu of the Athenian metropolis, but also offers an original and intriguing perspective on the adoption, meaning, and use of imported Attic vases among the Etruscans.
Working Space affords a rare opportunity to view painting from the inside out, through the eyes of one of the world’s most prominent abstract painters. Frank Stella describes his perception of other artists’ work, as well as his own, in this handsomely illustrated volume.
Stella uses the crisis of representational art in sixteenth-century Italy to illuminate the crisis of abstraction in our time. The artists who followed Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian searched for new directions to advance their work from beneath the shadow of these great painters. Caravaggio pointed the way. So today, Stella believes, the successors to Picasso, Kandinsky, and Pollock must seek a pictorial space as potent as the one Caravaggio developed at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Stella sees Caravaggio as the pivot on whom painting turns, his consummate illusionism prompting the advance of a more flexible, more “real” space that allows painting to move and breathe, to suggest extension and unrestricted motion. Following Caravaggio, Rubens’ broad vision of fullness and active volume gave painting a momentum that helped propel it into the nineteenth century, where it came to rest in the genius of Géricault and Manet, themselves the precursors of modern painting.
Unfortunately, both contemporary abstract art and figurative painting have become trapped by ambiguous pictorial space and by a misguided emphasis on materiality (pigment for pigment’s sake). Pictorial qualities have given way to illustrational techniques. Abstract art has become verbal, defensive, and critical, caught up in theology masquerading as theory. Stella asserts that painting must understand its past, make use of the lucid realism of seventeenth-century Italy, and absorb a Mediterranean physicality to reinforce the lean spirituality of northern abstraction pioneered by Mondrian and Malevich. Working Space will provoke discussion and argument, not least because Stella offers nontraditional evaluations of the works of giants such as Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo, Picasso, and Pollock, as well as lesser-known figures including Annibale Carracci, Paulus Potter, and Morris Louis. The artist’s powers of discernment and the profusion of his ideas and opinions will dazzle and engage professionals, amateurs, and students of art.
Why have some great modern artists—including Picasso—produced their most important work early in their careers while others—like Cézanne—have done theirs late in life? In a work that brings new insights, and new dimensions, to the history of modern art, David Galenson examines the careers of more than 100 modern painters to disclose a fascinating relationship between age and artistic creativity.
Galenson’s analysis of the careers of figures such as Monet, Seurat, Matisse, Pollock, and Jasper Johns reveals two very different methods by which artists have made innovations, each associated with a very different pattern of discovery over the life cycle. Experimental innovators, like Cézanne, work by trial and error, and arrive at their most important contributions gradually. In contrast, Picasso and other conceptual innovators make sudden breakthroughs by formulating new ideas. Consequently, experimental innovators usually make their discoveries late in their lives, whereas conceptual innovators typically peak at an early age.
A novel contribution to the history of modern art, both in method and in substance, Painting outside the Lines offers an enlightening glimpse into the relationship between the working methods and the life cycles of modern artists. The book’s explicit use of simple but powerful quantitative techniques allows for systematic generalization about large numbers of artists—and illuminates significant but little understood features of the history of modern art. Pointing to a new and richer understanding of that history, from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism and beyond, Galenson’s work also has broad implications for future attempts to understand the nature of human creativity in general.
Early Art and Artists in West Virginia is copiously illustrated with 136 plates accompanying the essays on portraiture and landscape painting, which form the first half of the book. A similar number of smaller illustrations in full color bring life to a biographical directory in the second part of the book, which contains nearly one thousand known painters who worked in West Virginia. Many West Virginians will find their family names in this directory, and some will doubtless locate the information here that they have long sought in order to learn more about a painting in their family's possession. The book is supported by an extensive bibliography on the state's artistic heritage and a full index to both the directory and the essays.
2001 American Graphic Design Awards Winner
Controversial, flamboyant, contentious, brilliant--Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was certainly all of those. Few American artists have stirred so much love and hatred as he did in a career that lasted almost seventy years. Although his painting aroused much controversy, perhaps equally as much was created by his words, for his piercing wit, profane sarcasms, and insightful condemnations were fired off without restraint. In this fiery and provocative autobiography, Benton presents an intriguing records of American art and society during his lifetime.
The first installment of this work was published in 1937, but Benton continued his life story in chapters added to editions published in 1951 and 1968. This new edition includes seventy-six drawings that add much to his narrative, plus a foreword discussing Benton's place in American art and an afterword covering his career after 1968, both written by art historian Matthew Baigell.
Although Benton is most famous as a regionalist painter and muralist, his complex and fascinating career brought him into contact with many of the most important artists and thinkers of the century, including Jackson Pollock, Grant Wood, Julian Huxley, Felix Frankfurter, Eugene Debbs, John Reed, and Harry Truman. While living in New York and on Martha's Vineyard in the 1920s and 1930s, Benton often associated with leading intellectuals and radicals. However, when his evolving principles of art led him away from an interest in Marxism, he was bitterly attacked by many of his former friends, and his account of that time reveals strikingly the fierce critical battles he faced in trying to establish his own artistic vision.
Critics on the Left were not his only opponents, however, and equally revealing are his responses to the moral condemnations heaped on his murals done for the states of Indiana and Missouri and on his realistic nudes of the late 1930s.
Throughout his account, from descriptions of his boyhood in southwest Missouri, his travels, and his career to discussions of specific works of art and other artists, Benton portrays people and events as vividly in words as he does in his paintings.
As an artist, art critic, museum director, and art educator, Jerry Bywaters reshaped the Texas art world and attracted national recognition for Texas artists. This first full-scale biography explores his life and work in the context of twentieth-century American art, revealing Bywaters' important role in the development of regionalist painting.
Francine Carraro delves into all aspects of Bywaters' career. As an artist, Bywaters became a central figure and spokesman for a group of young, energetic painters known as the Dallas Nine (Alexandre Hogue, Everett Spruce, Otis Dozier, William Lester, and others) who broke out of the limitations of provincialism and attained national recognition beginning in the 1930s.
As director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, art critic for the Dallas Morning News, and professor of art and art history at Southern Methodist University, Bywaters became a champion of the arts in Texas. Carraro traces his strong supporting role in professionalizing art institutions in Texas and defendlng the right to display art considered "subversive" in the McCarthy era.
From these discussions emerges a finely drawn portrait of an artist who used a vocabulary of regional images to explore universal themes. It will be of interest to all students of American studies, national and regional art history, and twentieth-century biography.
Throughout the nineteenth-century, itinerant painters traveled the length and breadth of Europe and American in search of patronage. In the company of the his crupulous wife, Emma S. Cameron (1825–1907), the Scots-born James Cameron (1816–1882) sought to fulfill his ambitious dream of becoming an artist.
Working primarily as a landscapist and portraitist—he was also an inventor, a missionary, an ordained minister, a land agent, farmer, clothing merchant, and Sunday school teacher—Cameron produced a small collection of paintings during the ten-year period the couple resided in East Tennessee and the American South. Driven by the wife’s lively journals, correspondence, and Civil War diary, Moffatt’s narrative details the couple’s marriage, their extended honeymoon in revolutionary Italy and, following a brief excursion in the Adirondacks, their subsequent residencies in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville, Augusta, central Mississippi, and New Orleans, between 1856 and 1868. While in Chattanooga, they settled near Col. James A. Whiteside’s fashionable summer resort, Lookout Mountain Hotel, where James reigned as resident artist and Emma, reluctantly, served as the house nurse and social entertainer. In the late 1860s they lived in Maine and, after 1874, in California, where they founded separate Presbyterian churches.
The book emphasizes Cameron’s painting career, the patrons who supported it, and discusses his best-known works, all of which are reproduced here. The study demonstrated how persisted while working under a cultural cloud that often devalued artistic achievement Emma’s journals reveal her to be a perceptive observer of Protestant middle class “life-on-the-run” and yields insight into historic events in the making, including the Italian Risorgimento, the American Civil War, and the settlement of America’s Western frontier. Moffatt’s detailed joint biography provides a valuable contribution to women’s studies, art history, nineteenth-century frontier expansionism, and social history.
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