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Her Life and Art
Clementine Hunter (1887–1988) painted every day from the 1930s until several days before her death at age 101. As a cook and domestic servant at Louisiana’s Melrose Plantation, she painted on hundreds of objects available around her—glass snuff bottles, discarded roofing shingles, ironing boards—as well as on canvas. She produced between five and ten thousand paintings, including her most ambitious work, the African House Murals. Scenes of cotton planting and harvesting, washdays, weddings, baptisms, funerals, Saturday night revelry, and zinnias depict experiences of everyday plantation life along the Cane River. More than a personal record of Hunter’s life, her paintings also reflect the social, material, and cultural aspects of the area’s larger African American community. Drawing on archival research, interviews, personal files, and a close relationship with the artist, Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead offer the first comprehensive biography of this self-taught painter, who attracted the attention of the world. Shiver and Whitehead trace Hunter’s childhood, her encounters at Melrose with artists and writers, such as Alberta Kinsey and Lyle Saxon, and the role played by eccentric François Mignon, who encouraged and promoted her art. The authors include rare paintings and photographs to illustrate Hunter’s creative process and discuss the evolution of her style. The book also highlights Hunter’s impact on the modern art world and provides insight into a decades-long forgery operation that Tom Whitehead helped uncover. This recent attention reinforced the uniqueness of Hunter’s art and confirmed her place in the international art community, which continues to be inspired by the life and work of Clementine Hunter.
Homespun and Modern India
In Clothing Gandhi's Nation, Lisa Trivedi explores the making of one of modern India's most enduring political symbols, khadi: a homespun, home-woven cloth. The image of Mohandas K. Gandhi clothed simply in a loincloth and plying a spinning wheel is familiar around the world, as is the sight of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other political leaders dressed in "Gandhi caps" and khadi shirts. Less widely understood is how these images associate the wearers with the swadeshi movement -- which advocated the exclusive consumption of indigenous goods to establish India's autonomy from Great Britain -- or how khadi was used to create a visual expression of national identity after Independence. Trivedi brings together social history and the study of visual culture to account for khadi as both symbol and commodity. Written in a clear narrative style, the book provides a cultural history of important and distinctive aspects of modern Indian history.
Iconography and Reception of Athenian Vases in the Age of Pericles
The Codrus Painter was a painter of cups and vases in fifth-century B.C.E. Athens with a distinctive style; he is named after Codrus, a legendary Athenian king depicted on one of his most characteristic vases. He was active as an artist during the rule of Pericles, as the Parthenon was built and then as the troubled times of the Peloponnesian War began. In contrast to the work of fellow artists of his day, the vases of the Codrus Painter appear to have been created almost exclusively for export to markets outside Athens and Greece, especially to the Etruscans in central Italy and to points further west.
Amalia Avramidou offers a thoroughly researched, amply illustrated study of the Codrus Painter that also comments on the mythology, religion, arts, athletics, and daily life of Greece depicted on his vases. She evaluates his style and the defining characteristics of his own hand and of the minor painters associated with him. Examining the subject matter, figure types, and motifs on the vases, she compares them with sculptural works produced during the same period. Avramidou’s iconographic analysis not only encompasses the cultural milieu of the Athenian metropolis, but also offers an original and intriguing perspective on the adoption, meaning, and use of imported Attic vases among the Etruscans.
Writing, for Michael Snow, is as much a form of “art-making” as the broad range of visual art activities for which he is renowned, including the “Walking Woman” series and the film Wavelength. Conversely, many of the texts included in this anthology are as significant visually as they are at the level of content — they are meant to be looked at as well as read. Situated somewhere between a repository of contemporary thought by one of our leading Canadian artists and a history book as it brings to light some important moments in the cultural life of Canada since the 1950s, these texts tell their own story, marking the passage of time, ideas and attitudes.
The works included here, ranging from essays and interviews and record album cover notes to filmscripts and speeches (which, in Snow’s hands, often fall into the category of performance art), are not only “built for browsing,” they offer insights into both the professional and the private Snow. Together, they expand the context of Snow’s work and show the evolution of a great Canadian artist, beginning with his early attempts at defining art, to his emergence and recognition on the international art scene.
This book is one of four books that are part of the Michael Snow Project. Initiated by the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Power Plant Gallery, the project also includes four exhibitions of his visual art and music.
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.
Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity
Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan approaches questions of origin, citizenry, membership, and difference by reconstructing the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated. In doing so, she arrives at a deeper understanding of the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.
Spanning the Porfiriato period from 1867 to 1910, Collecting Mexico illuminates the creation and institutionalization of a Mexican cultural inheritance. Employing a wide range of examples—including the erection of public monuments, the culture of fine arts, and the representation of Mexico at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889—Garrigan pursues two strands of thought that weave together in surprising ways: national heritage as a transcendental value and patrimony as potential commercial interest.
Collecting Mexico shows that the patterns of institutional collecting reveal how Mexican public collections engendered social meaning. Using extensive archival materials, Garrigan’s close readings of the processes of collection building offer a new vantage point for viewing larger issues of identity, social position, and cultural/capital exchange.
Chinese Subjects and American Visual Culture, 1830-1900
Combining aesthetic and political history, explores the influence of Chinese people and objects on American visual culture. In Collecting Objects / Excluding People, Lenore Metrick-Chen demonstrations an unknown impact of Chinese immigration upon nineteenth-century American art and visual culture. The American ideas of “Chineseness” ranged from a negative portrayal to an admiring one and these varied images had an effect on museum art collections and advertising images. They brought new ideas into American art theory, anticipating twentieth-century Modernism. Metrick-Chen demonstrates that efforts to construct a cultural democracy led to the creation of unforeseen new categories for visual objects and unanticipated social changes. Collecting Objects / Excluding People reveals the power of images upon culture, the influence of media representation upon the lives of Chinese immigrants, and the impact of political ideology upon the definition of art itself.
The Organization of Knowledge and Community in Europe
The fourteen essays that comprise Collections in Context: The Organization of Knowledge and Community in Europe interrogate questions posed by French, Flemish, English, and Italian collections of all sorts—libraries as a whole, anthologies and miscellanies assembled within a single manuscript or printed book, and even illustrated ivory boxes. Collecting became an increasingly important activity during the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries, when the decreased cost of producing books made ownership available to more people. But the act of collecting is never neutral: it gathers information, orders material (especially linear texts), and prioritizes everything—in short, collecting both organizes and comments on knowledge. Moreover, the context of a collection must reveal something about identity, but whose? That of the compiler? The reader or viewer? The donor? The patron? With essays by a wide array of international scholars, Collections in Context demonstrates that the very act of collecting inevitably imposes some kind of relationship among what might otherwise be naively thought of as disparate elements and simultaneously exposes something about the community that created and used the collection. Thus, Collections in Context offers unusual insights into how collecting both produced knowledge and built community in early modern Europe.
The Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument
In THE COLUMN OF MARCUS AURELIUS, Beckmann offers a study of the form, content, and meaning of the Column and its sculpture. He also provides full documentation of the Column and its sculpture in the form of complete drawings of the frieze (by the author) and full photographic coverage (using the incomparable German photos of 1896, taken before the worst ravages of modern pollution). No modern drawing of the frieze exists anywhere in any form. The 1896 photographs are extremely rare today, and the author has secured permission to include some of these images in this book.
Challenges for the New South Africa
When the past is painful, as riddled with violence and injustice as it is in postapartheid South Africa, remembrance presents a problem at once practical and ethical: how much of the past to preserve and recollect and how much to erase and forget if the new nation is to ever unify and move forward? The new South Africa’s confrontation of this dilemma is Martin J. Murray’s subject in Commemorating and Forgetting. More broadly, this book explores how collective memory works—how framing events, persons, and places worthy of recognition and honor entails a selective appropriation of the past, not a mastery of history.
How is the historical past made to appear in the present? In addressing these questions, Murray reveals how collective memory is stored and disseminated in architecture, statuary, monuments and memorials, literature, and art—“landscapes of remembrance” that selectively recall and even fabricate history in the service of nation-building. He examines such vehicles of memory in postapartheid South Africa and parses the stories they tell—stories by turn sanitized, distorted, embellished, and compressed. In this analysis, Commemorating and Forgetting marks a critical move toward recognizing how the legacies and impositions of white minority rule, far from being truly past, remain embedded in, intertwined with, and imprinted on the new nation’s here and now.