Through the prism of America's most enduring African-inspired art form, the Lowcountry basket, Grass Roots guides readers across 300 years of American and African history. In scholarly essays and beautiful photographs, Grass Roots follows the coiled basket along its transformation on two continents from a simple farm tool once used for processing grain to a work of art and a central symbol of African and African American identity. Featuring images of the stunning work of contemporary basket makers from South Carolina to South Africa, as well as historic photographs that document the artistic heritage of the southern United States, Grass Roots appears at a moment when public recognition of the Gullah/Geechee heritage is encouraging a reexamination of Africa's contribution to American civilization.
Working with basket makers from Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, historian Dale Rosengarten has been studying African-American baskets for over 20 years and brings her research up-to-date with interviews of artists and the results of recent historical inquiry. Anthropologist Enid Schildkrout draws on her research in West Africa and museum collections around the world to explore the African antecedents of Lowcountry basketry. Geographer Judith A. Carney discusses the origins of rice in Africa and reveals how enslaved Africans brought to America not only rice seeds but, just as important, the technical know-how that turned southern coastal forests and swamps into incredibly profitable rice plantations. Historian Peter H. Wood discusses the many skills that enslaved Africans contributed to the settlement of the Old South and at the same time used to resist the conditions of their servitude. John Michael Vlach, a leading authority on African American folk art, discusses the history of visual depictions of plantation life. Fath Davis Ruffins, a specialist on the imagery of popular culture, sheds light on the history embedded in old photographs of African Americans in the Charleston area. Cultural historian Jessica B. Harris explores the tradition of rice in American cooking and the enduring African influences in the southern kitchen. Anthropologist and art historian Sandra Klopper sketches the history of coiled basketry in South Africa, illuminating its evolution from utilitarian craft to fine art, parallel to developments in America. Anthropologist J. Lorand Matory traces the changing meanings of Gullah/Geechee identity and discusses its appearance as a significant force on the American cultural scene today.
A new examination of the art and influence of artist John Graham and his circle, whose works and ideas contributed to the advancement of American modernism in the interwar period
The enigmatic and charismatic John Graham (1886-1961) was an important influence on his fellow New York artists in the 1920s through 1940s. Graham and his circle, which included Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, and Willem de Kooning, helped redefine ideas of what painting and sculpture could be. They, along with others in Graham's orbit, such as Jackson Pollock and David Smith, played a critical role in developing and defining American modernism. American Vanguards showcases about eighty-seven works of art from this vital period that demonstrate the interconnections, common sources, and shared stimuli among the members of Graham's circle.
Three essays by notable scholars investigate the complex relationships among Graham and his New York artist-colleagues during this formative period. William C. Agee positions Graham and his circle within the movement of New Classicism, which drew upon classical and Renaissance examples in an attempt to overcome the devastation of World War I. Irving Sandler focuses on the social, political, and intellectual dynamics among Davis, Gorky, Graham, and de Kooning in the mid-1930s. Karen Wilkin discusses the circumstances that brought these artists together, their common commitment to modernism, and the fascinating artistic cross-fertilization evident in their work. This critical reconsideration sheds new light on the New York School, Abstract Expressionism, and the vitality of American modernism between the two world wars.
Not since the early nineteenth century, when George Catlin and Karl Bodmer thoroughly sketched the area, have the rough-textured Loess Hills of western Iowa been artistically interpreted with any intensity. Now, inspired by this rugged landscape of steep-sided ridges and bluffs, "Land of the Fragile Giants" offers a collaboration of contemporary artists, scientists, and humanists all creating their interpretations of today's Hills. Looking at the natural and the human features of the renowned Hills, personal essays blend with works of art to create a verbal and visual panorama of the Loess Hills and a multidimensional view of a region that makes a deep impression on each visitor.
Working closely with Iowa State University's Brunnier Art Museum, twenty-seven professional artists from Iowa and the Midwest visited the Loess Hills at various times throughout 1993 to gather insight for their projects. The result: a dramatic exhibition of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs that beautifully complement this volume's literary works. The twelve essayists also have strong ties to the Loess Hills. Each author has spent a significant portion of her or his life in the Hills. The scientists reinterpret their research within the framework of their experience; the humanists provide background and context for the scientists; the artists illuminate the whole.
The art and essays in "Land of Fragile Giants" bring a meeting of broadly diverse minds and talents to an appreciation of the multitude beauties of Iowa's premier natural area. This striking and colorful volume will appeal to all those captivated by the Loess Hills and all general readers with interdisciplinary interests.
Green Woods and Crystal Waters examines American landscape painting in the second half of the 20th century through the works of 89 artists. Keeping the city at a safe distance, it focuses on the pastoral views and dramatic wilderness that have provided such a powerful American subject for over two centuries. Formally and expressively diverse, the works range from the objective depiction of the physical appearance of nature to the romantic or mystical use of landscape as a vehicle for poetic and spiritual concerns to the expressionist's reshaping of nature to follow the curvature of interior moods. Each of these very different approaches is central to our visual tradition and has colored our portrayals of the landscape.
This work examines advances in architecture, design, and painting in a region now recognized for its contribution to the Arts and Crafts and Prairie School movements. The work of many well-known American artists is featured, including the architects Cass Gilbert, Harvey Ellis, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Purcell and Elmslie, ceramicist Ernest Batchelder, and the painters Homer Dodge Martin and Alexander Fournier. Illustrated.
Published in conjunction with the major exhibition, 'The Road to Aztlan: Art from a Mythic Homeland' explores the art derived from and created about the legendary area that encompasses the American Southwest and portions of Mexico long before they were separated by an international border. The book and accompanying exhibition view Aztlan as a metaphoric centre and allegorical place of origin for the various peoples of the Southwest and Mexico. Cultural interactions between the two areas span two millennia, beginning with maize cultivation, which spread north from Mexico around BC 1200. The book also investigates the relationship between myth and history as expressed in art and material culture of the region's inhabitants over time and the relationship and continuities of cultural practices over the course of the pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary eras. Crucial to these changing relationships are aspects of tradition and innovation within cultures as people sought to negotiate, maintain, and redefine their identities in the face of social disruption.
An American Point of View 18 the most comprehensive study to date on this collection which holds masterpieces of American art from Colonial Times to World War 11 including artists such as John Singleteton Copley. Frederick Edwin Church, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. Full--colour reproductions are paired with texts describing the works and placing them in a historical context. In addition to informative analyses of individual masterpieces in the collection. the catalogue includes two longer essays and many photographs of the two museums. The first essay explores the philosophy and experiences of Ambassador Daniel J. Terra. the establishment of his collection. and the creation of his two museums in America, The second essay traces the beginnings of the Giverny museum from 1986 to its opening in 1992 to its evolution over the past ten years with special attention given to Terra's goals. With an introduction written by American art specialist Wanda Corn and previously unpublished information on the selected works of art. this catalogue is a useful tool for scholars of American art, Its numerous reproductions and readable text. make it equally enjoyable as a summary of a major collec
When, in 1989, a collection of John Updike's writings on art appeared under the title Just Looking, a reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle commented, "He refreshes for us the sense of prose opportunity that makes art a sustaining subject to people who write about it." In the sixteen years since Just Looking was published, he has continued to serve as an art critic, mostly for The New York Review of Books, and from fifty or so articles has selected, for this richly illustrated book, eighteen that deal with American art.After beginning with early American portraits, landscapes, and the transatlantic career of John Singleton Copley, Still Looking then considers the curious case of Martin Johnson Heade and extols two late-nineteenth-century masters, Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins. Next, it discusses the eccentric pre-moderns James McNeill Whistler and Albert Pinkham Ryder, the competing American Impressionists and Realists in the early twentieth century, and such now-historic avant-garde figures as Alfred Stieglitz, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and Elie Nadelman. Two appreciations of Edward Hopper and appraisals of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol round out the volume. America speaks through its artists. As Updike states in his introduction, "The dots can be connected from Copley to Pollock: the same tense engagement with materials, the same demand for a morality of representation, can be discerned in both." On Just Looking "Some of these essays are marvelous examples of critical explanation, in which the psychological concerns of the novelist drive the eye from work to work in an exhibition until a deep understanding of the art emerges."
--Arthur Danto, The New York Times Book Review "These are remarkably elegant little essays, dense in thought and perception but offhandedly casual in style. Their brevity makes more acute the sense of regret one feels to see them end." --Jeremy Strick, Newsday
Sister Wendy Beckett has been dubbed a "pop star" by the New York Times and "a phenomenon" by the Washington Post. She is certainly one of the world's best-known and best-loved art critics, familiar to millions from her wildly popular art series on PBS.
In Sister Wendy's American Collection, she visits six of America's most prestigious museums: the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Massachusetts), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In each, Sister Wendy chooses a wide variety of artpaintings, sculpture, porcelain figures-and draws attention to the small details of the work, revealing hidden meanings and symbolism. She relates the background of the artist and explains the techniques and the histories behind each work in a straightforward language that speaks to all with humor and insight.
More than 250 full-color illustrations illuminate Sister Wendy's text. Sister Wendy's American Collection is a wonderful tour of six great American museums -- it is also the equivalent of taking a personal tour with Sister Wendy, studying and enjoying her favorite pieces of art, chosen from across the whole breadth of history to the present. It is a fascinating journey, one that can be taken again and again. Sister Wendy's American Collection is soon to be a PBS miniseries.