The relationship of the anarchist movement to American art during the World War I era is most often described as a "tenuous affinity" between two distinct spheres: political and artistic. In Anarchist Modernism—the first in-depth exploration of the role of anarchism in the formation of early American modernism—Allan Antliff reveals that modernists participated in a wide-ranging movement that encompassed lifestyles, literature, and art, as well as politics. Drawing on a wealth of hitherto unknown information, including interviews and reproductions of lost works, he examines anarchism's influence on a telling cross-section of artists such as Robert Henri, Elie Nadelman, Man Ray, and Rockwell Kent. He also traces the interactions between cultural figures and thinkers including Emma Goldman, Alfred Stieglitz, Ezra Pound, and Ananda Coomaraswamy.
By situating American art's evolution in the progressive politics of the time, Antliff offers a richly illustrated chronicle of the anarchist movement and also revives the creative agency of those who shaped and implemented modernism for radical ends.
Alan Nadel provides a unique analysis of the rise of American postmodernism by viewing it as a breakdown in Cold War cultural narratives of containment. These narratives, which embodied an American postwar foreign policy charged with checking the spread of Communism, also operated, Nadel argues, within a wide spectrum of cultural life in the United States to contain atomic secrets, sexual license, gender roles, nuclear energy, and artistic expression. Because these narratives were deployed in films, books, and magazines at a time when American culture was for the first time able to dominate global entertainment and capitalize on global production, containment became one of the most widely disseminated and highly privileged national narratives in history. Examining a broad sweep of American culture, from the work of George Kennan to Playboy Magazine, from the movies of Doris Day and Walt Disney to those of Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock, from James Bond to Holden Caulfield, Nadel discloses the remarkable pervasiveness of the containment narrative. Drawing subtly on insights provided by contemporary theorists, including Baudrillard, Foucault, Jameson, Sedgwick, Certeau, and Hayden White, he situates the rhetoric of the Cold War within a gendered narrative powered by the unspoken potency of the atom. He then traces the breakdown of this discourse of containment through such events as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, and ties its collapse to the onset of American postmodernism, typified by works such as Catch–22 and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. An important work of cultural criticism, Containment Culture links atomic power with postmodernism and postwar politics, and shows how a multifarious national policy can become part of a nation’s cultural agenda and a source of meaning for its citizenry.
Cultural Democracy explores the crisis of our national cultural vitality, as access to the arts becomes increasingly mediated by a handful of corporations and the narrow tastes of wealthy elites. Graves offers the concept of cultural democracy as corrective--an idea with important historic and contemporary validation, and an alternative pathway toward ethical cultural development that is part of a global shift in values.
Drawing upon a range of scholarship and illustrative anecdotes from his own experiences with cultural programs in ethnically diverse communities, Graves explains in convincing detail the dynamics of how traditional and grassroots cultures may survive and thrive--or not--and what we can do to provide them opportunities equal to those of mainstream, Eurocentric culture.
The Culture of Spontaneity is the first comprehensive history of the postwar avant-garde, integrating such diverse moments in American culture as abstract expressionism, bebop jazz, gestalt therapy, Black Mountain College, Jungian psychology, beat poetry, experimental dance, Zen Buddhism, Alfred North Whitehead's cosmology, and the antinuclear movement. Daniel Belgrad shows how a startling variety of artistic movements actually had one unifying theme: spontaneous improvisation.
"A compelling narrative, putting living flesh on shorthand intuitions that connect North Beach to Black Mountain College, Fenollosa to Pollock, Jackson Lears's No Place of Grace to Todd Gitlin's The Sixties."—Joel Smith, Boston Review
"An invaluable introduction to postwar modernism across the arts."—Thomas Augst, Boston Book Review
"Belgrad's extensive probing of the artists and movements with their profound sociological roots is timely as well as comprehensive....A major contribution for serious scholars."—Choice
Art Simon Temple University Press, 1996 Library of Congress NX652.K45S56 1996 | Dewey Decimal 700
Association of American University Presses Book Jacket Award, 1996
"Beginning with a description of a poster for a punk band and ending with a critique of the movie JFK, this work marshals an impressive array of cultural information in attempting to provide an overall history of the genre. Simon closely examines images and films, relating them to the continuing struggle over the authoring and interpretation of the story of Kennedy's death."
The assassination of John F. Kennedy provoked intense public debates and focused the world's attention on the recorded details of the event in still and moving images. Intense scrutiny of the testimony and images became a national obsession. Dangerous Knowledge argues that the very currents that powered the debates also prompted a crisis in interpretation that profoundly affected American culture.
From 1963 to the present day, amateur sleuths have proposed compelling theories of who was responsible for Kennedy's death and why. In the process they entered into an ongoing struggle centered in questions of authority: Who has access to evidence and the power to interpret history? What is the relation of photographs and films to the writing of history? To show how this struggle literally changed history and figured in the avant-garde's artistic production, Art Simon considers a wide range of cultural work shaped by the assassination.
Simon reveals the influence of the assassination theorists on commercial films such as JFK and Parallax View and shows how the images that blanketed the media resurfaced in Andy Warhol's silk screens, work and underground film of Bruce Conner, and other 1960s artists where they become vehicles for challenging the truth value of photographs or the public's endless fascination with celebrities.
"This history of the representation of the JFK assassination makes a terrific contribution to film studies and indeed to cultural studies generally. Moving with wit and erudition across political history, avant-garde film, serigraphy, journalism, and mass-market film, Simon transcends the banalities of the high culture/low culture binary to produce a study of exemplary range and insight."
--David E. James, School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California
Fifty years ago, the assassination of John F. Kennedy shocked the world and focused attention to the 8mm footage shot by Abraham Zapruder. The event fueled conspiracy theories and repeated viewings of Zapruder's film as seemingly everyone in the world searched for motive and conclusive proof of a single gunman.
In his new Preface to this edition of Dangerous Knowledge, Art Simon discusses public fascination with celebrity deaths and recent assassination-related media-from documentaries to scholarly books to the scandalous video game JFK Reloaded-to show that the assassination continues to inspire writers, artists, and filmmakers.
Dangerous Knowledge examines the seminal works of art associated with the assassination, including Andy Warhol's silk screens, the underground films of Bruce Conner, and provocative Hollywood films like The Parallax View and JFK. Simon's investigation places assassination art and images within a historical context-one that helps us understand what the assassination has meant to American culture.
Out of the core of experience, these essays began as obsessions. Whether founded in some strongly lived moment, deeply held conviction, long-term interest, or persistent and unanswered question, these essays reveal the writer’s voice—personal, often passionate, full of conviction, certainly unmistakable. Marianna Torgovnick has drawn together writings by leading contemporary scholars in the humanities, representing fields of literary criticism, American and Romance studies, anthropology, and art history. Eloquent Obsessions presents cultural criticism at its thoughtful and writerly best.
This collection explores a wide range of issues at the intersection of personal and social history—from growing up in the South to exploring a love for France or Japan, from coming of age as a feminist to mapping the history of National Geographic, from examining the cultural "we" to diagnosing class structures in Israel or showing how photography deals with AIDS. The authors here bring writerly genres—autobiography, memoir, or travel narrative—to intellectual tasks such as textual readings or investigating the histories of institutions. Continuing a tradition of cultural criticism established by writers such as Samuel Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Edmund Wilson, Hannah Arendt, or Raymond Williams, these essays seek to make a difference, to have an impact, and are based on the fundamental premise that writers have something to say about society. Simply put, this collection offers models for writing eloquently about culture—models that are intellectually and socially responsible, but attuned to the critic’s voice and the reader’s ear.
Aimed not just at academics but also at a more general audience alive to the concerns and interests of society today, Eloquent Obsessions, a revised and expanded version of a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (Winter 1992), will extend beyond the academy contemporary ways of writing about culture.
Contributors. Jane Collins, Cathy N. Davidson, Virginia R. Dominguez, Mark Edmundson, Gerald Graff, Richard Inglis, Aldona Jonaitis, Alice Yaeger Kaplan, Catherine Lutz, Nancy K. Miller, Linda Orr, Andrew Ross, Henry M. Sayre, Jane Tompkins, Marianna Torgovnick
In the long decade between the mid-fifties and the late sixties, jazz was changing more than its sound. The age of Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, and Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was a time when jazz became both newly militant and newly seductive, its example powerfully shaping the social dramas of the Civil Rights movement, the Black Power movement, and the counterculture. Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't is the first book to tell the broader story of this period in jazz--and American--history.The story's central figures are jazz musicians like Coltrane and Mingus, who rewrote the conventions governing improvisation and composition as they sought to infuse jazz with that gritty exuberance known as "soul." Scott Saul describes how these and other jazz musicians of the period engaged in a complex cultural balancing act: utopian and skeptical, race-affirming and cosmopolitan, they tried to create an art that would make uplift into something forceful, undeniable in its conviction, and experimental in its search for new possibilities. Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't considers these musicians and their allies as a cultural front of the Civil Rights movement, a constellation of artists and intellectuals whose ideas of freedom pushed against a cold-war consensus that stressed rational administration and collective security. Capturing the social resonance of the music's marriage of discipline and play, the book conveys the artistic and historical significance of the jazz culture at the start, and the heart, of the sixties.
The year was 1963 and from Birmingham to Washington, D.C., from Vietnam to the Kremlin to the Berlin Wall, the world was in the throes of political upheaval and historic change. But that same year, in New York's Greenwich Village, another kind of history and a different sort of politics were being made. This was a political history that had nothing to do with states or governments or armies--and had everything to do with art. And this is the story that Sally Banes tells, a year in the life of American culture, a year that would change American life and culture forever. It was in 1963, as Banes's book shows us, that the Sixties really began. A leading writer on cultural history, Banes draws a vibrant portrait of the artists and performers who gave the 1963 Village its exhilarating force, the avant-garde whose interweaving of public and private life, work and play, art and ordinary experience, began a wholesale reworking of the social and cultural fabric of America. Among these young artists were many who went on to become acknowledged masters in their fields, including Andy Warhol, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Yvonne Rainer, Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepard, Brian de Palma, Harvey Keitel, Kate Millet, and Claes Oldenburg. In live performance--Off-Off Broadway theater, Happenings, Fluxus, and dance--as well as in Pop Art and underground film, we see this generation of artists laying the groundwork for the explosion of the counterculture in the late 1960s and the emergence of postmodernism in the 1970s. Exploring themes of community, freedom, equality, the body, and the absolute, Banes shows us how the Sixties artists, though shaped by a culture of hope and optimism, helped to galvanize a culture of criticism and change. As 1963 came to define the Sixties, so this vivid account of the year will redefine a crucial generation in recent American history.
American popular culture is everywhere. All over the world, kids wear Levis, radios blare rap songs, television stations broadcast American programs, and Hollywood movies draw huge audiences. Does this massive "Americanization" of the globe represent some sinister form of cultural imperialism? Alternatively, do audiences and consumers in the importing countries accept American movies, music, and television programs because they match local trends and desires? Do receiving communities transform these products to fit their own needs, to the point where they are no longer "American" but in fact have become indigenous? And who is in charge of all of this, anyway? Is it Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the Pentagon, the CIA, or Hollywood? Is it, at least partly, local economic and political elites in the receiving countries? Or is it simply "the people," nationalities be damned? These are the questions at the heart of the essays collected in "Here, There and Everywhere." Essays by 23 authors from 14 countries cover topics from Japan to Spain, Nigeria to Russia, and from West Germany to East Germany (a distance that seemed to be further than travelling to the moon, yet was covered by rock 'n' roll most easily, despite the wall). In five sections, they examine the historical background, the impact of Hollywood, the power of American popular music from jazz to rock 'n' roll and rap, and the popularity of as well as resistance to American popular culture in particular countries.
The harmonies of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the measured brush strokes of painter Lloyd Branson, the intricate basket weaving of Maggie Murphy, the influence of the Agrarian literary movement, and the theater barnstorming of actor-manager Sol Smith—such are the sounds, images, and expressions of Tennessee’s arts legacy.
Through its interlocking themes of tradition and innovation, A History of Tennessee Arts: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons traces the story of the arts in Tennessee from its formal, more academic side to its vernacular expressions of culture, self, and community. Both the formal and the vernacular contribute to an understanding of what the arts mean to Tennesseans and, in turn, what Tennesseans have to offer the culture of the state, the region, and the nation. A history of the arts in the Volunteer State becomes, then, an evolving barometer of not only where we have been as a culture, but also how we have matured as a society.
This richly illustrated book, cosponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Tennessee Historical Society, covers the varieties of art in Tennessee in five parts. The visual arts and architecture section includes chapters on vernacular and high style architecture, sculpture, painting and photography, while the section on craft arts celebrates folk arts such as woodcraft, silversmithing, pottery, and textiles. The section on Tennessee’s rich literary history includes such writers as James Agee, Robert Penn Warren, and Evelyn Scott, while the performing arts are represented by a wealth of storytellers along with two centuries of stage history. Finally, Tennessee is home to—and originator of—much of the music that we know as distinctively American. Contributors to the music section examine gospel, blues, rock, soul, and, of course, country music.
From prehistoric cave paintings to the “cow punk” of Jason and the Scorchers, from the elegant capitol building of William Strickland to Ballet Memphis, and from the unique cantilevered barns of East Tennessee to the chronicles of Alex Haley, the arts in Tennessee truly celebrate traditions and strive to expand our horizons.
The Editor: Carroll Van West is director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University and senior editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
Long Suffering productively links avant-garde performance practices with religious histories in the United States, setting contemporary performances of endurance art within a broader context of prophetic religious discourse in the United States. Its focus is on the work of Ron Athey, Linda Montano, and John Duncan, American artists whose performances involve extended periods of suffering. These unsettling performances can disturb, shock, or frighten audiences, leaving them unsure how to respond. The book examines how these artists work at the limits of the personal and the interpersonal, inflicting suffering on themselves and others, transforming audiences into witnesses, straining social relations, and challenging definitions of art and of ethics. By performing the death of self at the heart of trauma, strategies of endurance signal artists’ attempts to visualize, legitimize, and testify to the persistent experience of being wounded. The artworks discussed find their foundations in artists’ early experiences of religion and connections with the work of reformers from Angelina Grimké to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who also used suffering as a strategy to highlight social injustice and call for ethical, social, and political renewal.
Loss within Loss: Artists in the Age of AIDS
Edited by Edmund White; In Cooperation with the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, a project of the Alliance for the Arts University of Wisconsin Press, 2002 Library of Congress NX180.A36L67 2001 | Dewey Decimal 700.87
When an artist dies we face two great losses: the person and the work he did not live to do. Loss within Loss is a moving collaboration by some of America's most eloquent writers, who supply wry, raging, sorrowful, and buoyant accounts of artist friends and lovers struck down by AIDS. These essayists include Maya Angelou, Alan Gurganus, Brad Gooch, John Berendt, Craig Lucas, Robert Rosenblum, and eighteen others. Many of the subjects of the essays were already prominent—James Merrill, Paul Monette, David Wojnarowicz—but many others died young, before they were able to fulfil the promise of their lives and art. Loss within Loss spans all of the arts and includes portraits of choreographers, painters, poets, actors, playwrights, sculptors, editors, composers, and architects.
This landmark book is published in association with the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, a national organization that preserves art works created by artists living with HIV or lost to AIDS. Loss within Loss stands as a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on the arts community and as the first real survey of that devastation. Though these accounts are often intensely sad, Loss within Loss is an invigorating, sometimes even exuberant, testimony to the sheer joy of being an artist . . . and being alive.
The Nuyorican Poets Café has for the past forty years provided a space for multicultural artistic expression and a platform for the articulation of Puerto Rican and black cultural politics. The Café’s performances—poetry, music, hip hop, comedy, and drama—have been studied in detail, but until now, little attention has been paid to the voices of its women artists. Through archival research and interview, Nuyorican Feminist Performance examines the contributions of 1970s and ’80s performeras and how they challenged the Café’s gender politics. It also looks at recent artists who have built on that foundation with hip hop performances that speak to contemporary audiences. The book spotlights the work of foundational artists such as Sandra María Esteves, Martita Morales, Luz Rodríguez, and Amina Muñoz, before turning to contemporary artists La Bruja, Mariposa, Aya de León, and Nilaja Sun, who infuse their poetry and solo pieces with both Nuyorican and hip hop aesthetics.
Off Limits is the first examination of the Rutgers group, artists who came together on the Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus during the 1950s and revolutionized art practices and pedagogy. Based on interviews with artists, critics, and dealers from the period, the book connects the initiation of major trends such as Happenings, Pop Art, and Fluxus to the faculty, students, art curriculum, and events at the university. It is the first book to look not only at the work of individual artists, but to consider how interactions between these artists influenced their groundbreaking work.
Rutgers was clearly the place to be for experimental artists during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Allan Kaprow’s first Happening was presented at Rutgers. Roy Lichtenstein’s first Pop paintings, George Segal’s earliest figurative tableaux, Lucas Samaras’s radical exploration of media, and proto-Fluxus events by Robert Watts and George Brecht all took place on and around the campus. The innovative group rejected Abstract Expressionism for art based on the immediate experience of urban and industrial life, creating startling new artforms which remain startling and provocative.
Led by the theoretical writings and art practice of Kaprow, the group created a New Art—art beyond the limits of the conventional and predictable, even beyond accepted notions of progressive trends. Lichtenstein recalls in an interview, “Kaprow showed us that art didn’t have to look like art.” Along with Lichtenstein, Kaprow, Segal, and Watts taught at Rutgers and challenged one another to take art “Off Limits” — beyond the limits of the conventional, the predictable — even beyond the progressive, as defined by Abstract Expressionist gesturalism. Their art incorporated the gritty environs, the technological, the everyday, making art radical, outrageous, disturbing, and humorous.
The Romance of Commerce and Culture is a lively and provocative history of how art and intellect formed an alliance with consumer capitalism in the mid-twentieth century and put Aspen, Colorado, on the map.
Americans were enthralled by the Shakers in the years between 1925 and 1965. They bought Shaker furniture, saw Shaker worship services enacted on Broadway, sang Shaker songs, dressed in Shaker-inspired garb, collected Shaker artifacts, and restored Shaker villages. William D. Moore analyzes the activities of scholars, composers, collectors, folklorists, photographers, writers, choreographers, and museum staff who drove the national interest in this dwindling regional religious group.
This interdisciplinary study places the activities of individuals—including Doris Humphrey, Charles Sheeler, Laura Bragg, Juliana Force, and Edward Deming Andrews—within the larger cultural and historical contexts of nationalism, modernism, and cultural resource management. Taking up previously unexamined primary sources and cultural productions that include the first scholarly studies of the faith, material culture and visual arts, stage performances, and museum exhibitions, Shaker Fever compels a reconsideration of this religious group and its place within American memory. It is sure to delight enthusiasts, public historians, museum professionals, furniture collectors, and anyone interested in the dynamics of cultural appropriation and stewardship.
This book focuses on the integral, interdisciplinary, and intermedial "compositions"—verbal, visual, musical, theatrical, and cinematic—of the avant-gardes in the period following World War II. It also considers the artistic politics of these postwar avant-gardes and their works. The book’s geographical span is primarily the United States, although in its more extended reach, it comprehends an international context of American postwar cultural hegemony throughout what was once referred to as "the free world."
The works and the artists Miller takes up are those of the so-called "neo–avant-garde" with its inherent contradiction: an avant-garde whose newness is defined by its seeming reiteration of an earlier historical formation. Concentrating on the rhetorical, contextual, and performative characteristic of neo–avant-garde practice, including its relation to politics, Miller emphasizes the centrality of the example in this practice. John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Gilbert Sorrentino, David Tudor, Stan Brakhage, and Samuel Beckett are among the artists whose exemplary works feature in Singular Examples. Miller’s key readings of these major artists of the period open up some of the most difficult texts of the neo–avant-garde even as they contribute to an eloquent argument for "artistic politics." Underlining the relation between material particulars and their thematic implications, between particular works and larger theoretical claims, between avant-garde aesthetics and formalist analysis, Singular Examples is exemplary in its own right, revealing the ultimate shape and direction of a postwar avant-garde contending with the historical predicaments of radical modernism.
As critic for the Soho Weekly News and the Village Voice during the 1970s and 1980s, Sally Banes enjoyed an incomparable perspective on the development of what she describes as "the mongrel, elusive, indefinable genre of performance art." In fact, Banes was present during a crucial point in that development, when a previously marginalized form took, quite literally, center stage and emerged as the preeminent form of avant-garde activity.
Her reviews and articles explore the work of established artists such as Meredith Monk, Robert Wilson, Ping Chong, and Joan Jonas; events by the Bread and Puppet Theater, Robert Whitman, Charlotte Moorman, and Chris Burden; revivals of classic avant-garde performances; and the emergence of famous (and some notorious) performers such as Anne Bogart, Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Steve Buscemi, Tim Miller, and Whoopi Goldberg. The depth and breadth of Banes's criticism realizes not only the continuing growth and development of American performance, but also the complex and sometimes surprising intersection of performance with the "other side" of the art/life divide, the "paratheater" of Japanese tea ceremonies, cat shows, circuses, art exhibits, and amateur nights at the Apollo.
Banes's work recognizes the crucial importance of the critic as a situated self that must understand not only the concepts and techniques of avant-garde art, but the rich textures of the community spaces in which that art occurs. Much as her earlier book Greenwich Village 1963: Avant-Garde Performance and the Effervescent Body captured the elusive artistic communities of America's postwar avant-garde activity, Subversive Expectations revels in the invigorating energies of Soho.
The author's approach to this complex matrix of art, community, and culture is as interdisciplinary as performance itself, drawing on the histories and theories of painting, photography, dance, theater, and folklore. Her vivid descriptions of ephemeral events and her provocative interpretations fill a gap in the history of contemporary performance, when the avant-garde met the mainstream.
Sally Banes is Marian Hannah Winter Professor of Theatre and Dance History, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
That the Romantic movement was an international phenomenon is a commonplace, yet to date, historical study of the movement has tended to focus primarily on its national manifestations. This volume offers a new perspective. In thirteen chapters devoted to artists and writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, leading scholars of the period examine the international exchanges that were crucial for the rise of Romanticism in England and the United States.
In the book's introduction, Andrew Hemingway—building on the theoretical work of Michael Lowy and Robert Sayre—proposes that we need to remobilize the concept of Weltanschauung, or comprehensive worldview, in order to develop the kind of synthetic history of arts and ideas the phenomenon of Romanticism demands. The essays that follow focus on the London and New York art worlds and such key figures as Benjamin West, Thomas Bewick, John Vanderlyn, Washington Allston, John Martin, J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Cole, James Fenimore Cooper, George Catlin, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Herman Melville. Taken together, these essays plot the rise of a romantic anti-capitalist Weltanschauung as well as the dialectic between Romanticism's national and international manifestations.
In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Matthew Beaumont, David Bindman, Leo Costello, Nicholas Grindle, Wayne Franklin, Janet Koenig, William Pressly, Robert Sayre, William Truettner, Dell Upton, and William Vaughan.