Download A Companion to American Art by John Davis, Jennifer A. Greenhill, Jason D. LaFountain PDF

By John Davis, Jennifer A. Greenhill, Jason D. LaFountain

A spouse to American Art offers 35 newly-commissioned essays by means of leading scholars that discover the method, historiography, and present nation of the sphere of yank paintings history.

  • Features contributions from a stability of verified and rising students, artwork and architectural historians, and different specialists
  • Includes numerous paired essays to stress discussion and debate among students on very important modern concerns in American artwork history
  • Examines subject matters comparable to the methodological stakes within the writing of yank artwork background, altering rules approximately what constitutes “Americanness,” and the connection of paintings to public culture
  • Offers a desirable portrait of the evolution and present kingdom of the sphere of yank artwork historical past and indicates destiny instructions of scholarship

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Berger traces the “ascendance of close looking” in the field during the 1980s and analyzes the writings of Jules Prown, whom he credits with codifying this approach as a methodology. ” In her response, Greenhill fleshes out Berger’s account of Prown’s legacy, bringing his methods into conversation with newer work in affect theory and critical approaches to “surface reading” in scholarship on literature. She argues that “intense engagement” is a better way to describe Prown’s practice than “close looking,” and endeavors to demonstrate how much scholars would miss if they ­ adopted Berger’s conception of “the visual”—what it is, how it works, where it is located, and how it might be perceived by interpreters.

The Americanist and modernist clusters are both fundamentally left traditions, each in its way heavily influenced by the intellectual legacy of Marxism. For the generation that saw the explosive growth of Americanist art history thirty years ago, however, readings of Marx mingled with interests in Pragmatism, social reform, and the legacies of New Deal liberalism, as epitomized, for example, in the writings of John Dewey. Civil rights was perhaps the most indelible chapter of recent history. Such progressive values as free speech, equal rights, and public health are centrally important in Americanist accounts of the past.

Humanism (and Its Rejection) It seems to us that the single most significant difference keeping Americanists and modernists from engaging in conversation is this: while mainstream modernist art history is poststructuralist, most Americanist scholarship is humanist. This distinction is not absolute, of course, but it certainly separates the broad centers of the two disciplines from one another. To make clear what we mean by this distinction, let us begin by making a pair of comparisons. Each sets an Americanist historiographical essay against a modernist one.

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