This new book brings to life the material-culture heritage of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. In Backcountry Makers, Betsy K. White expands on her previous study of the region’s rich decorative arts legacy, Great Road Style, to offer a closer look at the individual artisans responsible for the diverse works that constitute that legacy.
Beautifully illustrated with some 230 photographs, most of them in color, this volume includes biographical sketches of seventy-five makers—potters, weavers, spinners, quilters, embroiderers, cabinetmakers, metalsmiths, clocksmiths, gunsmiths, and artists—who worked in the region from the earliest eighteenth-century settlement days to the late twentieth century. The entry for each artisan is accompanied by one or more images of a signed or marked work, or, in a number of instances, an unmarked work with certain provenance.
These vignettes offer a fascinating glimpse of the people behind the various pieces, describing their background, family life, and where they learned their trade. Using census records and other documentary evidence, White has traced the earliest of these artisans from their origins in such places as Europe and Philadelphia down through the Great Valley of Virginia to their ultimate destinations in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. Along with the photos displaying the products of their craftsmanship, the book also includes a number of evocative images of the artists and their homes and towns, thus giving the reader a fuller sense of the region where these gifted people lived and worked.
One of the few studies to addresses handmade objects in this locale—and one of the even fewer works to focus on the artisans
themselves— Backcountry Makers will be of great value not only to scholars of material culture and the arts in Appalachia but also to those who collect regional antiques and crafts and want to know more about the individuals who made them.
Traces a tradition of ironic and irreverent environmentalism, asking us to rethink the movement’s reputation for gloom and doom
Activists today strive to educate the public about climate change, but sociologists have found that the more we know about alarming issues, the less likely we are to act. Meanwhile, environmentalists have acquired a reputation as gloom-and-doom killjoys. Bad Environmentalism identifies contemporary texts that respond to these absurdities and ironies through absurdity and irony—as well as camp, frivolity, irreverence, perversity, and playfulness.
Nicole Seymour develops the concept of “bad environmentalism”: cultural thought that employs dissident affects and sensibilities to reflect critically on our current moment and on mainstream environmental activism. From the television show Wildboyz to the short film series Green Porno, Seymour shows that this tradition of thought is widespread—spanning animation, documentary, fiction film, performance art, poetry, prose fiction, social media, and stand-up comedy since at least 1975. Seymour argues that these texts reject self-righteousness and sentimentality, undercutting public negativity toward activism and questioning basic environmentalist assumptions: that love and reverence are required for ethical relationships with the nonhuman and that knowledge is key to addressing problems like climate change.
Funny and original, Bad Environmentalism champions the practice of alternative green politics. From drag performance to Indigenous comedy, Seymour expands our understanding of how environmental art and activism can be pleasurable, even in a time of undeniable crisis.
Believing that artistic expression can and does play an important role in changing the way we perceive our relation to the world we live in, art critic John Grande takes an in-depth look at the work of some very unusual environmental artists in the United States, Canada, and -Europe.
Dealing with everything from materials to the politics of curatorship, from the permanence of art works to the artist's role as cultural critic, Balance Art and Nature takes theory into action as it critically examines the works of Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Armand Vaillancourt, Bill Reid, Carl Beam, Kevin Kelly, Ana Mendieta, James Carl, Patrick Dougherty, Keith Haring, and others. What emerges is a viable socio-environmental framework for evaluating contemporary art and insights into art's actual and potential roles.
"Grande's commentaries represent an important contribution to the theory of art."--Claude Levi-Strauss
"A call to reawaken creativity in this time of alienation."--Antony Gormley
"Encourages us to rethink what it means to be an artist in a time of global eco-crisis."--Suzi Gablik, The Re-enchantment of Art
"Makes unexpected connections giving new insights into contemporary art."--Public Art Review
"Grande's book contains a lot of ideas, all of which are thought-provoking."--Globe and Mail
"Details makes this book convincing."--Books In Canada
"Grande's ideas and style are fresh, sincere, intuitive, lively and compelling."--Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
"Offers interesting parallels between different aspects of public art."--Espace Sculptur
Writer and art critic John Grande's reviews and feature -articles have been published in art magazines and catalogues internationally. He is author of Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books), Nils-Udo: Art with Nature (Wienand Verlag), and Art Nature Dialogues (SUNY Press).
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Art, Modern -- 20th century.