In this book, art historian Darby English explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.
1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic,” these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists—among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas—rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.
The wild innovations of the early twentieth-century avant-garde have been widely celebrated for their influence on the course of experimental drama but rarely examined closely and systematically. Through an exploration of the plays from Germany, France, and England, The Aesthetics of Disturbance discusses modernism and the avant-garde, the relationship of drama to art movements such as expressionism, dada, and surrealism, and the interactions of visual, literary, and performance art.
Beginning with a survey of the history and theory of avant- garde art, David Graver critically juxtaposes important competing interpretations of the avant-garde, establishes basic distinctions between forms of avant-garde art, compares the aesthetic interests of the avant- garde to those of modernism, and discusses the relationship between the avant-garde and drama. Then, through close readings of the works of five preeminent avant-garde playwrights and visual artists- Oskar Kokoschka, Gottfried Benn, Raymond Roussel, Roger Vitrac, and Wyndham Lewis- he examines the innovations in dramatic literature carried out by these visionaries and finally relates them to the innovations in theater articulated by Brecht and Artaud. Graver argues that anti-art principles, most noticeable in the confrontational tactics of dada performance, can also be found within literary dramatic texts, where they create an "aesthetics of disturbance" that destabilizes the integrity of the work without allowing it to self-destruct.
"A corrective to the oft-repeated, over-simple idea that anti-art consists of the same destructive gesture repeated in different forms. This is a useful book that fills a gap, both conceptually and in terms of the figures discussed." --Philip Auslander, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Original, important, well- done."--Anthony Kubiak, Harvard University
David Graver is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.
Seldom recognized, yet contributing significantly to the structure of early American modernism is a group of women who were once the art students of the popular and perhaps most influential American art teacher of the twentieth century, Robert Henri (1865-1929). Henri encouraged an art that was expressive of personal emotions and experience and that was grounded in life. He preached equality among different media and approaches to art. Giving heed to his teachings, his women students engaged in a wide variety of artistic production. Collectively, the stunning variety and power of their work in painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, decorative arts, and furniture broadens our understanding of American modernism and illuminates the role of women artists in shaping it. Yet, these women have remained largely unstudied, and virtually unknown, even among art historians.
The seven new essays included in this volume move beyond the famed Ashcan School-the small group of Henri's male students who worked in a narrow range of urban realist subjects-to recover the lesser known work of his women students. The contributors, who include well-known scholars of art history, American studies, and cultural studies demonstrate how these women participated in the "modernizing" of women's roles during this era; how gender controlled their art, productivity, sales, and reception; how their many styles, media, and subjects enrich our understanding of modern American art; and how the work of modern women artists relates to women's involvement in other areas of modern American society and culture, including labor and social reform, patronage, literature, dance, and music.
Lavishly illustrated and complemented by short biographies of more than 400 of Henri's students, this delightful collection adds a long-ignored but deserving dimension to an expanded story of American modernism and to women's contributions to the arts.
In this landmark collection, world-renowned theorists, artists, critics, and curators explore new ways of conceiving the present and understanding art and culture in relation to it. They revisit from fresh perspectives key issues regarding modernity and postmodernity, including the relationship between art and broader social and political currents, as well as important questions about temporality and change. They also reflect on whether or not broad categories and terms such as modernity, postmodernity, globalization, and decolonization are still relevant or useful. Including twenty essays and seventy-seven images, Antinomies of Art and Culture is a wide-ranging yet incisive inquiry into how to understand, describe, and represent what it is to live in the contemporary moment.
In the volume’s introduction the theorist Terry Smith argues that predictions that postmodernity would emerge as a global successor to modernity have not materialized as anticipated. Smith suggests that the various situations of decolonized Africa, post-Soviet Europe, contemporary China, the conflicted Middle East, and an uncertain United States might be better characterized in terms of their “contemporaneity,” a concept which captures the frictions of the present while denying the inevitability of all currently competing universalisms. Essays range from Antonio Negri’s analysis of contemporaneity in light of the concept of multitude to Okwui Enwezor’s argument that the entire world is now in a postcolonial constellation, and from Rosalind Krauss’s defense of artistic modernism to Jonathan Hay’s characterization of contemporary developments in terms of doubled and even para-modernities. The volume’s centerpiece is a sequence of photographs from Zoe Leonard’s Analogue project. Depicting used clothing, both as it is bundled for shipment in Brooklyn and as it is displayed for sale on the streets of Uganda, the sequence is part of a striking visual record of new cultural forms and economies emerging as others are left behind.
Contributors: Monica Amor, Nancy Condee, Okwui Enwezor, Boris Groys, Jonathan Hay, Wu Hung, Geeta Kapur, Rosalind Krauss, Bruno Latour, Zoe Leonard, Lev Manovich, James Meyer, Gao Minglu, Helen Molesworth, Antonio Negri, Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, Nikos Papastergiadis, Colin Richards, Suely Rolnik, Terry Smith, McKenzie Wark
Following India’s independence in 1947, Indian artists creating modern works of art sought to maintain a local idiom, an “Indianness” representative of their newly independent nation, while connecting to modernism, an aesthetic then understood as both universal and presumptively Western. These artists depicted India’s precolonial past while embracing aspects of modernism’s pursuit of the new, and they challenged the West’s dismissal of non-Western places and cultures as sources of primitivist imagery but not of modernist artworks. In Art for a Modern India, Rebecca M. Brown explores the emergence of a self-conscious Indian modernism—in painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, film, and photography—in the years between independence and 1980, by which time the Indian art scene had changed significantly and postcolonial discourse had begun to complicate mid-century ideas of nationalism.
Through close analyses of specific objects of art and design, Brown describes how Indian artists engaged with questions of authenticity, iconicity, narrative, urbanization, and science and technology. She explains how the filmmaker Satyajit Ray presented the rural Indian village as a socially complex space rather than as the idealized site of “authentic India” in his acclaimed Apu Trilogy, how the painter Bhupen Khakhar reworked Indian folk idioms and borrowed iconic images from calendar prints in his paintings of urban dwellers, and how Indian architects developed a revivalist style of bold architectural gestures anchored in India’s past as they planned the Ashok Hotel and the Vigyan Bhavan Conference Center, both in New Delhi. Discussing these and other works of art and design, Brown chronicles the mid-twentieth-century trajectory of India’s modern visual culture.
The Asian American Avant-Garde is the first book-length study thatconceptualizes a long-neglected canon of early Asian American literature and art. Audrey Wu Clark traces a genealogy of counter-universalism in short fiction, poetry, novels, and art produced by writers and artists of Asian descent who were responding to their contemporary period of Asian exclusion in the United States, between the years 1882 and 1945.
Believing in the promise of an inclusive America, these avant-gardists critiqued racism as well as institutionalized art. Clark examines racial outsiders including Isamu Noguchi, Dong Kingman and Yun Gee to show how they engaged with modernist ideas, particularly cubism. She draws comparisons between writers such as Sui Sin Far and Carlos Bulosan with modernist luminaries like Stein, Eliot, Pound, and Proust.
Acknowledging the anachronism of the term “Asian American” with respect to these avant-gardists, Clark attempts to reconstruct it. The Asian American Avant-Garde explores the ways in which these artists and writers responded to their racialization and the Orientalism that took place in modernist writing.
In this acclaimed revisionist study, Erika Doss chronicles an historic cultural change in American art from the dominance of regionalism in the 1930s to abstract expressionism in the 1940s. She centers her study on Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock, Benton's foremost student in the early thirties, charting Pollock's early imitation of Benton's style before his radical move to abstraction. By situating painting within the evolving sociopolitical and cultural context of the Depression and the Cold War, Doss explains the reasons for this change and casts light on its significance for contemporary culture.
"A welcome addition to the growing body of literature that deals with the art and culture of the depression and cold war eras. It is a pioneering work that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of a puzzling conundrum of American art—the shift from regionalism to abstract expressionism."—M. Sue Kendall, Winterthur Portfolio
"An important scholarly contribution. . . . This book will stand as a step along the way to a better understanding of the most amazing transition in the art of our tumultuous century."—James G. Rogers, Jr., Art Journal
"A valuable and interesting book that restores continuity and political context to the decades of depression and war."—Marlene Park, American Historical Review
The great modernist eccentric Alexei Remizov was a “writers’ writer” whose innovative poetic prose has long since entered the Russian literary canon. Gradually expanding his working methods to make drawing an integral part of the writing process, during the 1930s and 1940s, Remizov created hundreds of albums that combined texts with collages and india ink and watercolor illustrations. In Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism, Julia Friedman provides the first extensive examination of the dynamic interplay between text and image in Remizov’s albums, revealing their coequal roles in his oneiric and synaesthetic brand of storytelling. A participant in the Russian symbolist movement, an intellectual ally of many futurists, and during his émigré years, a collaborator of the surrealists, Remizov had unique insight into artistic cultures of the European avant-garde. His reinterpretation of the medieval illuminated manuscripts carries forward the traditions of symbolist mysticism and
This long-overdue examination of Remizov’s visual art addresses modernism’s key theoretical questions surrounding the relationships between image and text. Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism introduces a generous sampling of Remizov’s graphic work, much of which is currently held in private collections.
Blanche Lazzell went from Maidsville, West Virginia, to the leading edge of twentieth-century American art. A member of the prominent art communities of Paris and Provincetown, MA during the '20s and '30s, Lazzell was always on the fringe of important developments in the modern art world. Her studies in Paris led her to adopt the techniques of modernism as well as other emerging styles. Among her groundbreaking works were some of the first examples of abstraction in America. Blanche Lazzell: The Life and Work of an American Modernist is a significant contribution to the history of twentieth-century American art.
Know primarily as a Provincetown printmaker, Lazzell’s full life and career are presented here, generously accompanied by color reproductions of her work, showing the breadth of her accomplishment in painting, printmaking, and hooked rugs. Lazzell's true contribution to American art history was never fully appreciated during her lifetime. A renewed interest in the artist has developed over the past fifteen years, due mostly to the critical appreciation of her color wood block prints. She is worth remembering not only for her own work, but also for her role as a translator of the achievements of the European modernists for her colleagues in America. In Blanche Lazzell: The Life and Work of an American Modernist, nine essays and hundreds of full-color illustrations bring this incredibly talented and influential artist's work to life.
Annette Michelson’s contributions to art and film criticism over the last three decades have been unparalleled. This volume honors her unique legacy with original essays by some of the many scholars who have been influenced by her work. Some continue her efforts to develop theoretical frameworks for understanding modernist art, while others practice her form of interdisciplinary criticism in relation to avant-garde and modernist art works and artists. Still others investigate and evaluate Michelson’s work itself. All in some way pay homage to her extraordinary contribution.
Drawing on a broad foundation in the history of nineteenth-century French art, Richard Shiff offers an innovative interpretation of Cézanne's painting. He shows how Cézanne's style met the emerging criteria of a "technique of originality" and how it satisfied critics sympathetic to symbolism as well as to impressionism. Expanding his study of the interaction of Cézanne and his critics, Shiff considers the problem of modern art in general. He locates the core of modernism in a dialectic of making (technique) and finding (originality). Ultimately, Shiff provides not only clarifying accounts of impressionism and symbolism but of a modern classicism as well.
Chicago is a city dedicated to the modern—from the skyscrapers that punctuate its skyline to the spirited style that inflects many of its dwellings and institutions, from the New Bauhaus to Hull-House. Despite this, the city has long been overlooked as a locus for modernism in the arts, its rich tradition of architecture, design, and education disregarded. Still the modern in Chicago continues to thrive, as new generations of artists incorporate its legacy into fresh visions for the future. Chicago Makes Modern boldly remaps twentieth-century modernism from our new-century perspective by asking an imperative question: How did the modern mind—deeply reflective, yet simultaneously directed—help to dramatically alter our perspectives on the world and make it new?
Returning the city to its rightful position at the heart of a multidimensional movement that changed the face of the twentieth century, Chicago Makes Modern applies the missions of a brilliant group of innovators to our own time. From the radical social and artistic perspectives implemented by Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Buckminster Fuller to the avant-garde designs of László Moholy-Nagy and Mies van der Rohe, the prodigious offerings of Chicago's modern minds left an indelible legacy for future generations. Staging the city as a laboratory for some of our most heralded cultural experiments, Chicago Makes Modern reimagines the modern as a space of self-realization and social progress—where individual visions triggered profound change. Featuring contributions from an acclaimed roster of contemporary artists, critics, and scholars, this book demonstrates how and why the Windy City continues to drive the modern world.
Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) was a colossus of twentieth-century American art, achieving a degree of authority almost unimaginable for a critic today. For more than thirty years he was both lionized as a proponent of formalism and criticized for his perceived dogmatism. In the postwar period Greenberg used his position of influence to advocate the importance of abstract expressionism and color-field painting and to establish the careers of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, and Willem de Kooning. With the coming of pop art, performance and conceptual art, and postmodernism, however, Greenberg found his position increasingly challenged.
Edited with an introduction by critic Robert C. Morgan, Clement Greenberg, Late Writings is the first collection from the period 1970 to 1990, and the only comprehensive resource for Greenberg’s thought during the last third of his life. While earlier works have covered Greenberg’s early and middle career, this volume spans his mature period, during which he reevaluates and refines many of his earlier tenets in some of his most carefully crafted and engaging work. Exploring a surprising breadth of issues and mediums and demonstrating a depth of aesthetic and philosophical insights, in these relatively unknown works Greenberg incites a new direction for modernism beyond the twentieth century.
This essential volume includes five interviews from the end of his life in which Greenberg revisits some of the concerns of his formative years, illuminating the progression of his thought. Late Writings is an integral resource as issues of quality and significance in the dynamic world of art continue to be redefined.
Clement Greenberg was the most influential art critic of the postwar period. He was the author of numerous books, and his essays appeared in art magazines as well as such publications as Partisan Review, Commentary, and The Nation.
Robert C. Morgan is the author of The End of the Art World and of a monograph on the optical painter Vasarely. In addition to his work as a critic, artist, art historian, and curator, he is visiting professor of art at Hunter College in New York City.
Even a decade after his death, Clement Greenberg remains controversial. One of the most influential art writers of the twentieth century, Greenberg propelled Abstract Expressionist painting-in particular the monumental work of Jackson Pollock-to a leading position in an international postwar art world. On radio and in print, Greenberg was the voice of "the new American painting," and a central figure in the postwar cultural history of the United States.
Caroline Jones's magisterial study widens Greenberg's fundamental tenet of "opticality"-the idea that modernist art is apprehended through "eyesight alone"-to a broader arena, examining how the critic's emphasis on the specular resonated with a society increasingly invested in positivist approaches to the world. Greenberg's modernist discourse, Jones argues, developed in relation to the rationalized procedures that gained wide currency in the United States at midcentury, in fields ranging from the sense-data protocols theorized by scientific philosophy to the development of cultural forms, such as hi-fi, that targeted specific senses, one by one. Greenberg's attempt to isolate and celebrate the visual was one manifestation of a large-scale segmentation-or bureaucratization-of the body's senses. Working through these historical developments, Jones brings Greenberg's theories into contemporary philosophical debates about agency and subjectivity.
Eyesight Alone offers artists, art historians, philosophers, and all those interested in the arts a critical history of this generative figure, bringing his work fully into dialogue with the ideas that shape contemporary critical discourse and shedding light not only on Clement Greenberg but also on the contested history of modernism itself.
The Forces of Form in German Modernism charts a modern history of form as emergent from force. Offering a provocative alternative to the imagery of crisis and estrangement that has preoccupied scholarship on modernism, Malika Maskarinec shows that German modernism conceives of human bodies and aesthetic objects as shaped by a contest of conflicting and reciprocally intensifying forces: the force of gravity and a self-determining will to form. Maskarinec thereby discloses, for the first time, German modernism's sustained preoccupation with classical mechanics and with how human bodies and artworks resist gravity.
Considering canonical artists such as Rodin and Klee, seminal authors such as Kafka and Döblin, and largely neglected thinkers in aesthetics and art history such as those associated with Empathy Aesthetics, Maskarinec unpacks the manifold anthropological and aesthetic concerns and historical lineage embedded in the idea of form as the precarious achievement of uprightness.
The Forces of Form in German Modernism makes a decisive contribution to our understanding of modernism and to contemporary discussions about form, empathy, materiality, and human embodiment.
This collection reconsiders the life and work of Emile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789–1863), presenting him as a crucial figure for understanding the visual culture of modernity. The book includes work by senior and emerging scholars, showing that Vernet was a multifaceted artist who moved with ease across the thresholds of genre and media to cultivate an image of himself as the embodiment of modern France. In tune with his times, skilled at using modern technologies of visual reproduction to advance his reputation, Vernet appealed to patrons from across the political spectrum and made works that nineteenth-century audiences adored. Even Baudelaire, who reviled Vernet and his art and whose judgment has played a significant role in consigning Vernet to art-historical obscurity, acknowledged that the artist was the most complete representative of his age. For those with an interest in the intersection of art and modern media, politics, imperialism, and fashion, the essays in this volume offer a rich reward.
In Senghor’s Shadow is a unique study of modern art in postindependence Senegal. Elizabeth Harney examines the art that flourished during the administration of Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegal’s first president, and in the decades since he stepped down in 1980. As a major philosopher and poet of Negritude, Senghor envisioned an active and revolutionary role for modern artists, and he created a well-funded system for nurturing their work. In questioning the canon of art produced under his aegis—known as the Ecole de Dakar—Harney reconsiders Senghor’s Negritude philosophy, his desire to express Senegal’s postcolonial national identity through art, and the system of art schools and exhibits he developed. She expands scholarship on global modernisms by highlighting the distinctive cultural history that shaped Senegalese modernism and the complex and often contradictory choices made by its early artists.
Heavily illustrated with nearly one hundred images, including some in color, In Senghor’s Shadow surveys the work of a range of Senegalese artists, including painters, muralists, sculptors, and performance-based groups—from those who worked at the height of Senghor’s patronage system to those who graduated from art school in the early 1990s. Harney reveals how, in the 1970s, avant-gardists contested Negritude beliefs by breaking out of established artistic forms. During the 1980s and 1990s, artists such as Moustapha Dimé, Germaine Anta Gaye, and Kan-Si engaged with avant-garde methods and local artistic forms to challenge both Senghor’s legacy and the broader art world’s understandings of cultural syncretism. Ultimately, Harney’s work illuminates the production and reception of modern Senegalese art within the global arena.
In this collection, outstanding historians and theorists explore the representation of heterosexual masculinity embodied in modernist art.
Examining such major European modernists as Cézanne, Caillebotte, Matisse, Wyndham Lewis, and Boccioni, these writings offer a history of how artists sought to shape their sexuality in their work. In turn, the essays also show how the artists were shaped by the historical shifts in the gender order and by the exchanges between sexualities occurring in their social worlds. For example, the piece on Wyndham Lewis shows how he subscribed to an exaggerated masculinism, while the essays on Boccioni and Matisse bring out the efforts by these men to understand feminine sexuality.
In the theoretical essays, Bernard Smith questions modernism itself as a style category. And Richard Shiff and W.J.T. Mitchell trace the consequences for art theory of recognizing the physical presence of modernist artworks and the agency of imagery in our encounter with contemporary art.
The years before World War I were a time of social and political ferment in Europe, which profoundly affected the art world. A major center of this creative tumult was Paris, where many avant-garde artists sought to transform modern art through their engagement with radical politics. In this provocative study of art and anarchism in prewar France, Patricia Leighten argues that anarchist aesthetics and a related politics of form played crucial roles in the development of modern art, only to be suppressed by war fever and then forgotten.
Leighten examines the circle of artists—Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, František Kupka, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees Van Dongen, and others—for whom anarchist politics drove the idea of avant-garde art, exploring how their aesthetic choices negotiated the myriad artistic languages operating in the decade before World War I. Whether they worked on large-scale salon paintings, political cartoons, or avant-garde abstractions, these artists, she shows, were preoccupied with social criticism. Each sought an appropriate subject, medium, style, and audience based on different conceptions of how art influences society—and their choices constantly shifted as they responded to the dilemmas posed by contradictory anarchist ideas. According to anarchist theorists, art should expose the follies and iniquities of the present to the masses, but it should also be the untrammeled expression of the emancipated individual and open a path to a new social order. Revealing how these ideas generated some of modernism’s most telling contradictions among the prewar Parisian avant-garde, The Liberation of Painting restores revolutionary activism to the broader history of modern art.
Robin Veder’s The Living Line is a radical reconceptualization of the development of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American modernism. The author illuminates connections among the histories of modern art, body cultures, and physiological aesthetics in early-twentieth-century American culture, fundamentally altering our perceptions about art and the physical, and the degree of cross-pollination in the arts. The Living Line shows that American producers and consumers of modernist visual art repeatedly characterized their aesthetic experience in terms of kinesthesia, the sense of bodily movement. They explored abstraction with kinesthetic sensibilities and used abstraction to achieve kinesthetic goals. In fact, the formalist approach to art was galvanized by theories of bodily response derived from experimental physiological psychology and facilitated by contemporary body cultures such as modern dance, rhythmic gymnastics, physical education, and physical therapy. Situating these complementary ideas and exercises in relation to enduring fears of neurasthenia, Veder contends that aesthetic modernism shared industrial modernity’s objective of efficiently managing neuromuscular energy. In a series of finely grained and interconnected case studies, Veder demonstrates that diverse modernists associated with the Armory Show, the Société Anonyme, the Stieglitz circle (especially O’Keeffe), and the Barnes Foundation participated in these discourses and practices and that “kin-aesthetic modernism” greatly influenced the formation of modern art in America and beyond. This daring and completely original work will appeal to a broad audience of art historians, historians of the body, and American culture in general.
Machine Art, 1934
Jennifer Jane Marshall University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress N8222.M27M37 2012 | Dewey Decimal 700.4112
In 1934, New York’s Museum of Modern Art staged a major exhibition of ball bearings, airplane propellers, pots and pans, cocktail tumblers, petri dishes, protractors, and other machine parts and products. The exhibition, titled Machine Art, explored these ordinary objects as works of modern art, teaching museumgoers about the nature of beauty and value in the era of mass production.
Telling the story of this extraordinarily popular but controversial show, Jennifer Jane Marshall examines its history and the relationship between the museum’s director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., and its curator, Philip Johnson, who oversaw it. She situates the show within the tumultuous climate of the interwar period and the Great Depression, considering how these unadorned objects served as a response to timely debates over photography, abstract art, the end of the American gold standard, and John Dewey’s insight that how a person experiences things depends on the context in which they are encountered. An engaging investigation of interwar American modernism, Machine Art, 1934 reveals how even simple things can serve as a defense against uncertainty.
Making Modernism Soviet provides a new understanding of the ideological engagement of Russian modern artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, and Vera Ermolaeva with the political and social agenda of the Bolsheviks in the chaotic years immediately following the Russian Revolution. Focusing on the relationship between power brokers and cultural institutions under conditions of state patronage, Pamela Kachurin lays to rest the myth of the imposition of control from above upon a victimized artistic community. Drawing on extensive archival research, she shows that Russian modernists used their positions within the expanding Soviet arts bureaucracy to build up networks of like-minded colleagues. Their commitment to one another and to the task of creating a socially transformative visual language for the new Soviet context allowed them to produce some of their most famous works of art. But it also contributed to the "Sovietization" of the art world that eventually sealed their fate.
In this ambitious book, Terry Smith chronicles the modernist revolution in American art and design between the world wars—from its origins in the new industrial age of mass production, automation, and corporate culture to its powerful and transforming effects on the way Americans came to see themselves and their world. From Ford Motor's first assembly line in 1913 to the New York World's Fair of 1939, Smith traces the evolution of visual imagery in the first half of America's century of progress.
Mapping Modernisms brings together scholars working around the world to address the modern arts produced by indigenous and colonized artists. Expanding the contours of modernity and its visual products, the contributors illustrate how these artists engaged with ideas of Primitivism through visual forms and philosophical ideas. Although often overlooked in the literature on global modernisms, artists, artworks, and art patrons moved within and across national and imperial borders, carrying, appropriating, or translating objects, images, and ideas. These itineraries made up the dense networks of modern life, contributing to the crafting of modern subjectivities and of local, transnationally inflected modernisms. Addressing the silence on indigeneity in established narratives of modernism, the contributors decenter art history's traditional Western orientation and prompt a re-evaluation of canonical understandings of twentieth-century art history. Mapping Modernisms is the first book in Modernist Exchanges, a multivolume project dedicated to rewriting the history of modernism and modernist art to include artists, theorists, art forms, and movements from around the world.
Contributors. Bill Anthes, Peter Brunt, Karen Duffek, Erin Haney, Elizabeth Harney, Heather Igloliorte, Sandra Klopper, Ian McLean, Anitra Nettleton, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Ruth B. Phillips, W. Jackson Rushing III, Damian Skinner, Nicholas Thomas, Norman Vorano
Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates and reveals how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy. Mansoor refuses to read the singularly striking formal and procedural violence of Fontana's slit canvasses, Burri's burnt and exploded plastics, and Manzoni's "achromes" as metaphors of traumatic memories of World War II. Rather, she locates the motivation for this violence in the history of the medium of painting and in the economic history of postwar Italy. Reconfiguring the relationship between politics and aesthetics, Mansoor illuminates how the monochrome's reemergence reflected Fontana, Burri, and Manzoni's aesthetic and political critique of the Marshall Plan's economic warfare and growing American hegemony. It also anticipated the struggles in Italy's factories, classrooms, and streets that gave rise to Autonomia in the 1960s. Marshall Plan Modernism refigures our understanding of modernist painting as a project about labor and the geopolitics of postwar reconstruction during the Italian Miracle.
Modernism and Hegemony was first published in 1990. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In Modernism and Hegemony, Neil Larsen exposes the underlying political narratives of modernist aesthetic theory and practice. Unlike earlier Marxist critics, Larsen insists that modernist ideology be approached as a "displaced politics" and not simply as an aesthetic phenomenon. In this view, modernism is broadly ideological project comprising not only the literary-artist canon but also a wide array of theoretical discourses from aesthetics to philosophy, culture, and politics. Larsen gives postmodernism some credit for the apparent breakup of modernism, and for exposing the philosophical and political nature of its aesthetic stance. But he parts company with its ideological and epistemological notions, proposing to change the terms, and thus the framework, of the debate.
For Larsen, modernism is intimately linked to a crisis of representation that affected all aspects of life in the late nineteenth century - a period when capitalism itself was undergoing transformation from its "classical" free market phase into a more abstract, monopolistic and imperialistic stage. Larsen finds the resultant loosening of ties between individuals and society - the breakdown of social and historical agency - behind the growth of modernism. He employs speculative cross-readings of key texts by Marx and Adorno, an examination of Manet's "The Execution of Maximilian," and an analysis of modernism in a Third World setting to explain why modernism made special claims upon the aesthetic, and how it ultimately ascribed historical agency to "works of art."
Modernism and Masculinity argues that a crisis of masculinity among European writers and artists played a key role in the modernist revolution. Gerald Izenberg revises the notion that the feminine provided a premodern refuge for artists critical of individualism and materialism. Industrialization and the growing power of the market inspired novelist Thomas Mann, playwright Frank Wedelind, and painter Wassily Kandinsky to feel the problematic character of their own masculinity. As a result, these artists each came to identify creativity, transcendence, and freedom with the feminine.
But their critique of masculinity created enormous challenges: How could they appropriate a feminine aesthetic while retaining their own masculine idenitites? How did appropiating the feminine affect their personal relationships or their political views? Modernism and Masculinity seeks to answer these questions. In this absorbing combination of biography and formal critique, Izenberg reconsiders the works of Mann, Wedekind, Kandinsky and semonstrates how the cirses of masculinity they endure are found not just within the images and forms of their art, but in the distinct and very personal impulses that inspired it.
Modernist Art in Ethiopia
Elizabeth W. Giorgis Ohio University Press, 2019 Library of Congress N7386.G56 2019 | Dewey Decimal 709.630904
If modernism initially came to Africa through colonial contact, what does Ethiopia’s inimitable historical condition—its independence save for five years under Italian occupation—mean for its own modernist tradition? In Modernist Art in Ethiopia—the first book-length study of the topic—Elizabeth W. Giorgis recognizes that her home country’s supposed singularity, particularly as it pertains to its history from 1900 to the present, cannot be conceived outside the broader colonial legacy. She uses the evolution of modernist art in Ethiopia to open up the intellectual, cultural, and political histories of it in a pan-African context.
Giorgis explores the varied precedents of the country’s political and intellectual history to understand the ways in which the import and range of visual narratives were mediated across different moments, and to reveal the conditions that account for the extraordinary dynamism of the visual arts in Ethiopia. In locating its arguments at the intersection of visual culture and literary and performance studies, Modernist Art in Ethiopia details how innovations in visual art intersected with shifts in philosophical and ideological narratives of modernity. The result is profoundly innovative work—a bold intellectual, cultural, and political history of Ethiopia, with art as its centerpiece.
Between 1940 and 1960, many Native American artists made bold departures from what was considered the traditional style of Indian painting. They drew on European and other non-Native American aesthetic innovations to create hybrid works that complicated notions of identity, authenticity, and tradition. This richly illustrated volume focuses on the work of these pioneering Native artists, including Pueblo painters José Lente and Jimmy Byrnes, Ojibwe painters Patrick DesJarlait and George Morrison, Cheyenne painter Dick West, and Dakota painter Oscar Howe. Bill Anthes argues for recognizing the transformative work of these Native American artists as distinctly modern, and he explains how bringing Native American modernism to the foreground rewrites the broader canon of American modernism.
In the mid-twentieth century, Native artists began to produce work that reflected the accelerating integration of Indian communities into the national mainstream as well as, in many instances, their own experiences beyond Indian reservations as soldiers or students. During this period, a dynamic exchange among Native and non-Native collectors, artists, and writers emerged. Anthes describes the roles of several anthropologists in promoting modern Native art, the treatment of Native American “Primitivism” in the writing of the Jewish American critic and painter Barnett Newman, and the painter Yeffe Kimball’s brazen appropriation of a Native identity. While much attention has been paid to the inspiration Native American culture provided to non-Native modern artists, Anthes reveals a mutual cross-cultural exchange that enriched and transformed the art of both Natives and non-Natives.
"The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 brings together the history and the critical reaction to the new developments in art and design, places them in the context of conservative yet innovative Chicago at the turn of the century, and explores the tensions between tradition and innovation. The individual essays present the best in specialized current research, yet one can clearly understand the impact of modernism on the broader intellectual and cultural life of the city. I eagerly await as cohesive and thorough an analysis of the subject for New York."—David Sokol, University of Chicago
"This is fresh and fascinating research about the ups and downs of modernism in Chicago, a city where art students reportedly once hung Matisse in effigy. Regional studies like this one broaden our understanding of how the art world has worked outside of New York and gives depth to a story we know too narrowly. Applause all the way around."—Wanda M. Corn, Stanford University
Since the last century, the relationship between vanguard and self-taught artists has been defined by contradiction. The established art world has been quick to make clear distinctions between trained and untrained artists, yet at the same time it has been fascinated by outliers whom it draws selectively and intermittently into its orbits. For a new exhibition launching at the National Gallery of Art, curator Lynne Cooke explores shifting conceptualizations of the American outlier across the twentieth century, drawing on the inherent sociality of the exhibition in her installation of these works. This companion catalog, Outliers and American Vanguard Art, offers a fantastic opportunity to consider works by schooled and self-taught creators in relation to each other and defined by historical circumstance.
The art works in Outliers and American Vanguard Art come from three distinct periods when the intersections between mainstream and outlier artists were most dynamic and productive, ushering in exhibitions of art based on various degrees of co-existence, inclusion, and assimilation. Works by such diverse artists as Charles Sheeler, Christina Ramberg, and Matt Mullican are set in conversation with a range of works by such self-taught artists as Horace Pippin, Janet Sobel, and Henry Darger. Cooke also examines a recent increase of radically expressive work that challenges what it means to be an outlier today. She reveals how these distinctions have been freighted with a particularly American point of view as she investigates our assumptions about creativity, artistic practice, and the role of the artist in contemporary culture.
Outliers and American Vanguard Art is the most comprehensive show ever to examine outliers in dialogue with their established peers. It is sure to inspire vigorous conversation about how artists and the work they make are represented.
In the fateful year of 1913, events in New York and Paris launched a great public rivalry between the two most consequential artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. The New York Armory Show art exhibition unveiled Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, a “sensation of sensations” that prompted Americans to declare Duchamp the leader of cubism, the voice of modern art. In Paris, however, the cubist revolution was reaching its peak around Picasso. In retrospect, these events form a crossroads in art history, a moment when two young bohemians adopted entirely opposite views of the artist, giving birth to the two opposing agendas that would shape all of modern art. Today, the museum-going public views Pablo Picasso as the greatest figure in modern art. Over his long lifetime, Picasso pioneered several new styles as the last great painter in the Western tradition. In the rarefied world of artists, critics, and collectors, however, the most influential artist of the last century was not Picasso, but Marcel Duchamp: chess player, prankster, and a forefather of idea-driven dada, surrealism, and pop art. Picasso and the Chess Player is the story of how Picasso and Duchamp came to define the epochal debate between modern and conceptual art—a drama that features a who’s who of twentieth-century art and culture, including Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol. In telling the story, Larry Witham weaves two great art biographies into one tumultuous century.
"In this passionate, erudite, and far-ranging book, Kroeber renews for our multi-cultural age a fundamental argument: the stories we tell, hear, read, and see make a difference to the lives we read."--Jonathan Arac, University of Pittsburgh
In this highly readable and thoroughly original book, Karl Kroeber questions the assumptions about storytelling we have inherited from the exponents of modernism and postmodernism. These assumptions have led to overly formalistic and universalizing conceptions of narrative that mystify the social functions of storytelling. Even "politically correct" critics have Eurocentrically defined story as too "primitive" to be taken seriously as art. Kroeber reminds us that the fundamental value of storytelling lies in retelling, this paradoxical remaking anew that constitutes story's role as one of the essential modes of discourse. His work develops some recent anthropological and feminist criticism to delineate the participative function of audience in narrative performances.
In depicting how audiences contribute to storytelling transactions, Kroeber carries us into a surprising array of examples, ranging from a Mesopotamian sculpture to Derek Walcott's Omeros; startling juxtapositions, such as Cervantes to Vermeer; and innovative readings of familiar novels and paintings. Tom Wolfe's comparison of his Bonfire of the Vanities to Vanity Fair is critically analyzed, as are the differences between Thackeray's novel and Joyce's Ulysses and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Other discussions focus on traditional Native American stories, Henry James's The Ambassadors, Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, and narrative paintings of Giotto, Holman Hunt, and Roy Lichtenstein. Kroeber deploys the ideas of Ricoeur and Bakhtin to reassess dramatically the field of narrative theory, demonstrating why contemporary narratologists overrate plot and undervalue story's capacity to give meaning to the contingencies of real experience. Retelling/Rereading provides solid theoretical grounding for a new understanding of storytelling's strange role in twentieth-century art and of our need to develop a truly multicultural narrative criticism.
During the early twentieth century, Shanghai was the center of China's new media culture. Described by the modernist writer Mu Shiying as "transplanted from Europe" and “paved with shadows,” for many of its residents Shanghai was a city without a past paradoxically haunted by the absent past’s traces. In Shadow Modernism William Schaefer traces how photographic practices in Shanghai provided a forum within which to debate culture, ethnicity, history, and the very nature of images. The central modernist form in China, photography was neither understood nor practiced as primarily a medium for realist representation; rather, photo layouts, shadow photography, and photomontage rearranged and recomposed time and space, cutting apart and stitching places, people, and periods together in novel and surreal ways. Analyzing unknown and overlooked photographs, photomontages, cartoons, paintings, and experimental fiction and poetry, Schaefer shows how artists and writers used such fragmentation and juxtaposition to make visible the shadows of modernity in Shanghai: the violence, the past, the ethnic and cultural multiplicity excluded and repressed by the prevailing cultural politics of the era and yet hidden in plain sight.
Following World War I, a new artistic-social avant-garde emerged with the ambition to engage the artist in the building of social life. Through close readings of the works of Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and László Moholy-Nagy whose careers covered a broad range of artistic practices and political situations, Victor Margolin examines the way these three artists negotiated the changing relations between their social ideals and the political realities they confronted. Focusing on the difficult relationship between art and social change, Margolin brings important new insights to the understanding of the avant-garde's role in a period of great political complexity.
"An ambitious effort. This book puts the masters of European Modernism into perfect focus as inventors, propagators, and practitioners of a visual language that continues to hold sway over contemporary graphic style."—Steven Heller
"Worth the wait. . . . Margolin usefully presents what he calls the 'failed hope' of this movement in this valuable effort."—Publishers Weekly
In Translating Modernism Ronald Berman continues his career-long study of the ways that intellectual and philosophical ideas informed and transformed the work of America’s major modernist writers.
Here Berman shows how Fitzgerald and Hemingway wrestled with very specific intellectual, artistic, and psychological influences, influences particular to each writer, particular to the time in which they wrote, and which left distinctive marks on their entire oeuvres. Specifically, Berman addresses the idea of "translating" or "translation"—for Fitzgerald the translation of ideas from Freud, Dewey, and James, among others; and for Hemingway the translation of visual modernism and composition, via Cézanne.
Though each writer had distinct interests and different intellectual problems to wrestle with, as Berman demonstrates, both had to wrestle with transmuting some outside influence and making it their own.
While critics have long disparaged commercial television as a vast wasteland, TV has surprising links to the urbane world of modern art that stretch back to the 1950s and ’60s During that era, the rapid rise of commercial television coincided with dynamic new movements in the visual arts—a potent combination that precipitated a major shift in the way Americans experienced the world visually. TV by Design uncovers this captivating story of how modernism and network television converged and intertwined in their mutual ascent during the decades of the cold war.
Whereas most histories of television focus on the way older forms of entertainment were recycled for the new medium, Lynn Spigel shows how TV was instrumental in introducing the public to the latest trends in art and design. Abstract expressionism, pop art, art cinema, modern architecture, and cutting-edge graphic design were all mined for staging techniques, scenic designs, and an ever-growing number of commercials. As a result, TV helped fuel the public craze for trendy modern products, such as tailfin cars and boomerang coffee tables, that was vital to the burgeoning postwar economy. And along with influencing the look of television, many artists—including Eero Saarinen, Ben Shahn, Saul Bass, William Golden, and Richard Avedon—also participated in its creation as the networks put them to work designing everything from their corporate headquarters to their company cufflinks.
Dizzy Gillespie, Ernie Kovacs, Duke Ellington, and Andy Warhol all stop by in this imaginative and winning account of the ways in which art, television, and commerce merged in the first decades of the TV age.
From its dissonant musics to its surrealist spectacles (the urinal is a violin!), Modernist art often seems to give more frustration than pleasure to its audience. In Untwisting the Serpent, Daniel Albright shows that this perception arises partly because we usually consider each art form in isolation, even though many of the most important artistic experiments of the Modernists were collaborations involving several media—Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a ballet, Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts is an opera, and Pablo Picasso turned his cubist paintings into costumes for Parade.
Focusing on collaborations with a musical component, Albright views these works as either figures of dissonance that try to retain the distinctness of their various media (e.g. Guillaume Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tirésias) or figures of consonance that try to lose themselves in some total effect (e.g. Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung). In so doing he offers a fresh picture of Modernism, and provides a compelling model for the analysis of all artistic collaborations.
Untwisting the Serpent is the recipient of the 2001 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship of the Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University.