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.
In the mid-20th century, ceramics evolved from a utilitarian craft or therapeutic hobby into a well-recognized fine art that continues to occupy a place in today's art world. In this pioneering study, leading scholar Martha Drexler Lynn explores how and why this shift occurred by examining the pivotal period for the maturation of American studio ceramics. Lynn traces critical developments in ceramics education, exhibition, patronage, and technology from 1940 to 1979, as magazines dedicated to the practice appeared, institutional support flourished, audiences grew, and star artists emerged.
The most in-depth history of American studio ceramics to date, this book is the first to fully explore the works of art alongside the societal trends that shaped them and the organizations that propelled the movement. Lynn considers the movement's fluctuation across geographic regions as well as stylistic responses to advances in technology and cultural influences from across the United States and abroad. Key patrons and practitioners such as Aileen Osborn Webb, Glen Lukens, Peter Voulkos, and Robert Arneson are featured alongside lesser-known figures. This groundbreaking volume illustrates how studio ceramics came to define itself and challenged the boundaries between fine art and craft. It will be a definitive resource on the movement for years to come.
The first major account of how American artists responded to World War IWorld War I had a profound impact on American art and culture. Nearly every major artist responded to events, whether as official war artists, impassioned observers, or participants on the battlefields. It was the moment when American artists, designers, and illustrators began to consider the importance of their contributions to the wider world and to visually represent the United States' emergent role in modern global politics. World War I and American Art provides an unprecedented consideration of the impact of the conflict on American artists and the myriad ways they reacted to it. Artists took a leading role in chronicling the war, crafting images that influenced public opinion, supported mobilization efforts, and helped to shape how the appalling human toll was mourned and memorialized. World War I and American Art features some eighty artists--including Ivan Albright, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, Violet Oakley, Georgia O'Keeffe, Man Ray, John Singer Sargent, and Claggett Wilson--whose paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, posters, and ephemera span the diverse visual culture of the period to tell the story of a crucial turning point in the history of American art. Taking readers from the home front to the battlefront, this landmark book will remain the definitive reference on a pivotal moment in American modern art for years to come.
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.
Porcelain has been made in Worcester since 1751 and the factory's products are still amongst the most keenly collected English porcelain today. Unlike many other porcelain factories established in Britain from the mid-eighteenth century, Worcester produced a wide range of domestic and ornamental pieces, catering to an elite market of aristocrats and landowners, many of whom were newly wealthy and keen to display their prosperity.This beautiful book showcases over 100 of the most important and attractive pieces of eighteenth-century Worcester porcelain in the collection of the British Museum. They date from the period 1751-83, from the factory's founding by Dr. John Wall to a few years after his death in 1776. Its particular strengths are its dated pieces, as well as many decorated in London at the famous Soho workshop of James Giles. It also includes early pieces closely based on Chinese and Japanese porcelains, examples of the charming blue and white painted or printed wares, and many of the characteristic and sought-after pieces painted with flowers and birds against a dark blue ground. Many of the pieces are fully illustrated in color here for the first time. A concise overview of the Worcester factory and its production methods in the eighteenth century is followed by superb illustrations and informative texts, including new research about each of the featured pieces, making this book both an enlightening introduction to the subject for the non-specialist and an essential reference for the collector.
For the first time in its 40-year history, the American Folk Art Museum is able to present a significant selection of masterworks from its renowned collection, including major new acquisitions. American Anthem, which accompanies the show, is a chronological consideration of American folk art from the colonial period to the present. Unlike past surveys, the artworks will not be arranged by medium or theme, but rather through contextual settings in a visually powerful mix of materials, demonstrating the aesthetic ideas that were commonly held in a particular period and that received different interpretations across mediums. For example, the imposing portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, attributed to early Connecticut artist Reuben Moulthrop, will be considered along with a stunning late-18th century bed rug and superb examples of painted furniture of the period. Approximately one-third of the volume will be devoted to self-taught artists of the 20th century, placing this artistically and culturally diverse field in an historical continuum with traditional folk art for the first time. In every period, past and present, American folk artists have responded to common impulses: patriotism
Loring Coleman's voice as a storyteller is full of his humor and sense of wonder as he tells us about his life and then gives us the tales behind the beauty and mystery of over 50 of his paintings, most of which are reflections of a disappearing life in New England. He begins by describing the moment when his eyesight failed, and he learned that after seven decades as an artist, he might never paint again. His creation of this book became his response. With spirited memories of the intriguing characters who affected his life, Loring describes his upbringing in the tough Chicago of the 1930s, his discovery of idyllic rivers in Concord, Massachusetts, and his adventures as a motorcyclist and young student of great art teachers. He tells of marrying his wife Katinka the day before Pearl Harbor, entering the military, and quickly finding himself commanding the U.S. Army's largest World War II art department. He then traces his energetic years as a teacher, traveling art historian, and lover of Bavaria and Austria. In the context of his rich personal life, Loring shows us his paintings, as he reveals the many amusing, exasperating, and provocative experiences surrounding the artistic choices he made as he became one of New England's most revered artists.
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
The painted books of ancient Mexico constitute a particularly important chapter of world literature. The work of the tlacuilo, or scribes, goes back thousands of years before the Spanish Conquest; their exquisite manuscripts were written and drawn on native paper or skin and, later, on European paper. The vast majority of these codices were destroyed during the invasion; a precious few have survived. About twenty of the finest of these are in British collections and Professor Brotherston has undertaken a close study of them, comparing them with Mexican books in America and elsewhere.
Besides being beautiful works of art in their own right, the codices offer invaluable insights into the history, religion and legends of the ancient civilisations of Mesoamerica: the Olmec, Maya, Chichimec and Mexica (Aztec). The books meticulously record wars, conquests, dynastic disputes and the biographies of great rulers like the Mixtec king Eight Deer. Complex ritual calendars give a framework for the religious observances of these peoples and offer testimony to their obsession with dates and record-keeping; maps record the spread of the Mexica, Chichimec and Mixtec across Mesoamerica. After the Conquest most of the 'pagan' books were burned, but the book-making tradition continued and retained many of the old forms and conventions. Post-Conquest legal documents, for example, give stark evidence of the rapacity and brutality of the invaders.