Catalogue


Assembling art : the machine and the American avant-garde /
Barbara Zabel.
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2004.
description
xxvii, 202 p.
ISBN
157806595X (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2004.
isbn
157806595X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5103514
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Barbara Zabel is a professor of art history at Connecticut College.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
An examination of early modernism's revolutionary alliance with the machine
Flap Copy
An examination of early modernismÂ’s revolutionary alliance with the machine
Flap Copy
An examination of early modernismÂ's revolutionary alliance with the machine
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-10-01:
The importance of the machine to modernists has often been discussed, but seldom in such depth. Zabel (Connecticut College) focuses on four key topics: the automaton, still life, portraiture, and jazz. Each receives two chapters: a survey of the American artists involved and the intellectual themes they grappled with, and a chapter that concentrates on a single artist. For automata, the artist is Man Ray, whose innovative Rayographs are placed in the larger context of X-rays, with stress on how "new perceptions of the body, gender, and cultural identity interact with scientific knowledge." "The gendering of still life" is explored through Stuart Davis's tobacco pictures, in which the artist engaged in "seeking out and privileging" a "male-coded subject." Zabel examines Calder's wire portraits of Josephine Baker in light of current enthusiasms for both the machine and the primitive, skillfully illuminating the complex interactions between these contradictory impulses as avant-garde culture flowed between New York and Paris. "Transatlantic exchange" forms an important theme in all chapters, including the final ones on jazz as perceived by American expatriates, including Gerald Murphy. Zabel's language is often that of contemporary theory, but her writing is nonetheless clear and accessible. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students; faculty. W. B. Maynard Johns Hopkins University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2004
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Summaries
Main Description
As the machine age roared at full tilt in the early twentieth century, avant-garde artists saw opportunities to buck the past. In welcoming the new technologies, they created the art we now identify as modernist. "Assembling Art gives a vivid account of this American avant-garde revolution in the production of art. Challenged by unprecedented technological advancement, artists embraced collage, montage, and the striking juxtaposition of incongruent materials and ideas. By appropriating disparate icons from visual and material culture--the skyscrapers of New York or the body of the black entertainer Josephine Baker or cigarette packaging--artists re-conceived and revitalized the relationship between art and life. There was no particular "school" of early American moderns. The artists' approaches were diverse, ironic, and individualistic. However, one phenomenon does seem to inform much of the work produced in this era: the pervasiveness and power of machine technology. This book focuses on the automaton, still life, portraiture, and jazz to illuminate machine-age art. Case studies of four artists' work in a range of media exemplify these--Man Ray's rayographs, Stuart Davis's tobacco paintings, Alexander Calder's wire sculptures of Josephine Baker, and Gerald Murphy's avant-garde ballet "Within the Quota. These show how the machine played a crucial role in the formation of American modernism and how the American avant-garde devised new identities to suit radically changed realities. By interweaving biography and art history and by synthesizing a wide spectrum of approaches from cultural and gender studies, "Assembling Art offers provocative insights into the ways this art registerstensions between genders and races, between elitist and popular cultures, and between transatlantic national cultures.
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Assembling Art' offers an account of the American avante-garde revolution in the production of art that created what we know as the modernist style. The focus is on the automaton, still life, portraiture, & jazz.
Main Description
Art history -- Art criticism -->As the machine age roared at full tilt in the early twentieth century, avant-garde artists saw opportunities to buck the past. In welcoming the new technologies, they created the art we now identify as modernist.Assembling Artgives a vivid account of this American avant-garde revolution in the production of art. Challenged by unprecedented technological advancement, artists embraced collage, montage, and the striking juxtaposition of incongruent materials and ideas.By appropriating disparate icons from visual and material culture-the skyscrapers of New York or the body of the black entertainer Josephine Baker or cigarette packaging-artists re-conceived and revitalized the relationship between art and life. There was no particular "school" of early American moderns. The artists' approaches were diverse, ironic, and individualistic. However, one phenomenon does seem to inform much of the work produced in this era: the pervasiveness and power of machine technology.This book focuses on the automaton, still life, portraiture, and jazz to illuminate machine-age art. Case studies of four artists' work in a range of media exemplify these-Man Ray's rayographs, Stuart Davis's tobacco paintings, Alexander Calder's wire sculptures of Josephine Baker, and Gerald Murphy's avant-garde ballet Within the Quota. These show how the machine played a crucial role in the formation of American modernism and how the American avant-garde devised new identities to suit radically changed realities.By interweaving biography and art history and by synthesizing a wide spectrum of approaches from cultural and gender studies,Assembling Artoffers provocative insights into the ways this art registers tensions between genders and races, between elitist and popular cultures, and between transatlantic national cultures.Barbara Zabel is a professor of art history at Connecticut College. Her work has appeared in such periodicals asArchives of American Art Journal,Smithsonian Studies in American Art,American Art, andArts Magazine, as well as in the edited volumesWomen in Dada and Modernism, Gender, and Cultureand in the exhibition catalogMaking Mischief: Dada Invades New York.
Main Description
As the machine age roared at full tilt in the early twentieth century, avant-garde artists saw opportunities to buck the past. In welcoming the new technologies, they created the art we now identify as modernist. Assembling Artgives a vivid account of this American avant-garde revolution in the production of art. Challenged by unprecedented technological advancement, artists embraced collage, montage, and the striking juxtaposition of incongruent materials and ideas. By appropriating disparate icons from visual and material culture-the skyscrapers of New York or the body of the black entertainer Josephine Baker or cigarette packaging-artists re-conceived and revitalized the relationship between art and life. There was no particular "school" of early American moderns. The artists' approaches were diverse, ironic, and individualistic. However, one phenomenon does seem to inform much of the work produced in this era: the pervasiveness and power of machine technology. This book focuses on the automaton, still life, portraiture, and jazz to illuminate machine-age art. Case studies of four artists' work in a range of media exemplify these-Man Ray's rayographs, Stuart Davis's tobacco paintings, Alexander Calder's wire sculptures of Josephine Baker, and Gerald Murphy's avant-garde ballet Within the Quota. These show how the machine played a crucial role in the formation of American modernism and how the American avant-garde devised new identities to suit radically changed realities. By interweaving biography and art history and by synthesizing a wide spectrum of approaches from cultural and gender studies, Assembling Artoffers provocative insights into the ways this art registers tensions between genders and races, between elitist and popular cultures, and between transatlantic national cultures. Barbara Zabel is a professor of art history at Connecticut College. Her work has appeared in such periodicals as Archives of American Art Journal, Smithsonian Studies in American Art, American Art, and Arts Magazine, as well as in the edited volumes Women in Dada and Modernism, Gender, and Cultureand in the exhibition catalog Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: The Mechanical Musep. xi
Automata
The Avant-Garde Automatonp. 3
Stripped to the Core: Man Ray's X-ray(ted) Automatap. 23
Still Life
The Gendering of Still Life in the Machine Agep. 45
Stuart Davis's "Tobacco Pictures"p. 63
Portraiture
The Constructed Self: Machine Age Portraiturep. 87
Expatriate Portraiture: Alexander Calder and Josephine Baker in Parisp. 109
Jazz
The "Jazzing" of the American Avant-Gardep. 133
Expatriates of the Jazz Age: Gerald Murphy, Cole Porter, and the Ballets Suedoisp. 152
Epilogue: Transatlantic Exchangep. 170
Notesp. 182
Bibliographyp. 188
Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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