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Collecting as Modernist Practice

Jeremy Braddock

Publication Year: 2012

In this highly original study, Jeremy Braddock focuses on collective forms of modernist expression—the art collection, the anthology, and the archive—and their importance in the development of institutional and artistic culture in the United States. Using extensive archival research, Braddock's study synthetically examines the overlooked practices of major American art collectors and literary editors: Albert Barnes, Alain Locke, Duncan Phillips, Alfred Kreymborg, Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, Katherine Dreier, and Carl Van Vechten. He reveals the way collections were devised as both models for modernism's future institutionalization and culturally productive objects and aesthetic forms in themselves. Rather than anchoring his study in the familiar figures of the individual poet, artist, and work, Braddock gives us an entirely new account of how modernism was made, one centered on the figure of the collector and the practice of collecting. Collecting as Modernist Practice demonstrates that modernism's cultural identity was secured not so much through the selection of a canon of significant works as by the development of new practices that shaped the social meaning of art. Braddock has us revisit the contested terrain of modernist culture prior to the dominance of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the university curriculum so that we might consider modernisms that could have been. Offering the most systematic review to date of the Barnes Foundation, an intellectual genealogy and analysis of The New Negro anthology, and studies of a wide range of hitherto ignored anthologies and archives, Braddock convincingly shows how artistic and literary collections helped define the modernist movement in the United States.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Series: Hopkins Studies in Modernism

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

The earliest thinking for this project began with the inspiration of two remarkable teachers, Phil Harper and Tim Morton. The work took shape under the brilliant guidance of Jean-Michel Rabaté, who first listened to my inchoate effusions about the Barnes Foundation and The New Negro (responding with “collecting!”) and then spent many hours in conversation with me as the project evolved. ...

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Introduction: Collections Mediation Modernism

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pp. 1-28

A study of the central role of the collection within modernism might simply start by observing how many modernist artworks themselves resemble collections. We could begin by pointing to the citations and quotations that mark Ezra Pound’s Cantos and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and, following Marjorie Perloff , connect these strategies to the collage aesthetics of futurist painting, synthetic ...

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1 After Imagisme

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pp. 29-70

By the time Ezra Pound’s anthology Des Imagistes appeared in London, it had already circulated in New York in two forms. It was published as the February 1914 issue of Alfred Kreymborg and Man Ray’s journal the Glebe, and in early March the same sheets were bound as a book appearing under the imprint of Albert and Charles Boni, the same publishers who would ...

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2 The Domestication of Modernism: The Phillips Memorial Gallery in the 1920s

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pp. 71-105

By the 1920s, and particularly after the Quinn auction, collectors of modern art in the United States were loosely cooperating in a general project of popularizing modernism, as well as competing for influence over the mode of its reception—competing, in other words, for the meaning of modernism itself. Of all of these collectors, it was Duncan Phillips who most successfully anticipated the dominant cultural position that modern art would ...

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3 The Barnes Foundation, Institution of the New Psychologies

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pp. 106-155

As of 2011, the Phillips Collection and suburban Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation were the only two private modern art collections of the American 1920s still housed in their original buildings. Both collections became institutionalized in the context of American civic museums’ recalcitrance toward modernist painting, and the collections commanded special authority because of the absence of such museums ...

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4 The New Negro in the Field of Collections

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pp. 156-208

In Paris, December 1923, Albert Barnes met Alain Locke, professor of philosophy at Howard University, the first African American Rhodes scholar, and friend to Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and Jean Toomer—young writers soon to be claimed as principal poets of the New Negro Renaissance. The following month, Barnes wrote Locke to ask for his assistance in identifying “negro poets, writers, thinkers, musicians ...

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5 Modernism’s Archives: Afterlives of the Modernist Collection

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pp. 209-228

The New Negro was both a paradigmatic and an exceptional modernist anthology of the 1920s. It exceeded the poetic anthology form in a way that few collections have since attempted, but it also reclaimed the anthology’s collectivist and interventionist mode and made the form available for subsequent rearticulations. In the late 1920s, the anthology remained a, if not the , dominant textual form for the circulation of African American writing. ...


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pp. 229-278


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pp. 279-299


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pp. 301-319

E-ISBN-13: 9781421406640
E-ISBN-10: 1421406640
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421403649
Print-ISBN-10: 1421403641

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 26 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Hopkins Studies in Modernism