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Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850-1890

Robin Kelsey

This imaginative study of American visual culture reveals how the political predicaments of a few small bureaucracies once fostered pictures of an extraordinary style. U.S. geographical and geological surveys of the late nineteenth century produced photographs and drawings of topography, American Indians, geologic features, botanical specimens, and specialists at work in the field. Some of these pictures have long been celebrated for their anticipation of a modernist aesthetic, but Robin Kelsey, in this abundantly illustrated volume, traces their modernistic qualities to archival ingenuity. The technical and promotional needs of surveys, Kelsey argues, fostered the emergence of a taut, graphic pictorial style that imitated the informational clarity of diagrams and maps. As this book demonstrates, these pictures became sites of struggle as well as innovation when three brilliant survey artists and photographers subtly resisted the programs they were hired to serve. Discovering a politics of style behind the modernist look of survey pictures, Kelsey offers a fresh interpretation of canonical western expedition photographs by Timothy H. O'Sullivan and introduces two exceptional but largely forgotten sets of pictures: views of the U.S.-Mexico boundary from the 1850s by Arthur Schott and photographs of the Charleston earthquake of 1886 by C. C. Jones.

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Archives of Asian Art

Vol. 58 (2008) through current issue

Archives of Asian Art is an annual journal devoted to the arts of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. Each issue presents articles by leading scholars and a selection of outstanding works of Asian art acquired by North American museums during the previous year. The editors attempt to maintain a balanced representation of regions and types of art, as well as a variety of scholarly perspectives.

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Argentine, Mexican, and Guatemalan Photography

Feminist, Queer, and Post-Masculinist Perspectives

By David William Foster

Viewing the work of twelve prominent photographers, including Graciela Iturbide, Pedro Meyer, and Marcos López, this first far-ranging analysis of gendered perspectives in Latin American photography demonstrates the importance of this art form within Latin American cultural production.

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The Aries Press of Eden, N.Y.

By Richard Kegler

The Aries Press was an American private press founded by Spencer Kellogg, Jr. in the 1920s. A second-generation millionaire and patron of the arts, Kellogg was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Though little known today, the Aries Press produced fine examples of exceptional printing. Richard Kegler, Director of the Book Arts Program at Wells College, documents its history accompanied by fine illustrations and samples from the Press.

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Art Against Dictatorship

Making and Exporting Arpilleras Under Pinochet

By Jacqueline Adams

This pioneering study of Chilean arpillera folk art and its makers, sellers, and buyers explores the creation of a solidarity art system and shows how art can be a powerful force for opposing dictatorship and empowering oppressed people.

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Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya

Melissa R. Kerin

Sixteenth-century wall paintings in a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan cultural zone of northwest India are the focus of this innovative and richly illustrated study. Initially shaped by one set of religious beliefs, the paintings have since been reinterpreted and retraced by a later Buddhist community, subsumed within its religious framework and communal memory. Melissa Kerin traces the devotional, political, and artistic histories that have influenced the paintings' production and reception over the centuries of their use. Her interdisciplinary approach combines art historical methods with inscriptional translation, ethnographic documentation, and theoretical inquiry to understand religious images in context.

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The Art and Life of Clarence Major

Keith E. Byerman

Clarence Major is an award-winning painter, fiction writer, and poet—as well as an essayist, editor, anthologist, lexicographer, and memoirist. He has been part of twenty-eight group exhibitions, has had fifteen one-man shows, and has published fourteen collections of poetry and nine works of fiction. The Art and Life of Clarence Major is the first critical biography of this innovative African American writer and visual artist. Given the full cooperation of his subject, Keith E. Byerman traces Major's life and career from his complex family history in Georgia through his encounters with important literary and artistic figures in Chicago and New York to his present status as a respected writer, artist, teacher, and scholar living in California.

In his introduction, Byerman asks, “How does a black man who does not take race as his principal identity, an artist who deliberately defies mainstream rules, a social and cultural critic who wants to be admired by the world he attacks, and a creator who refuses to commit to one expressive form make his way in the world?” Tasking himself with opening up the multiple layers of problems and solutions in both the work and the life to consider the successes and the failures, Byerman reveals Major as one who has devoted himself to a life of experimental art that has challenged both literary and painterly practice and the conventional understanding of the nature of African American art. Major's refusal to follow the rules has challenged readers and critics, but through it all, he has continued to produce quality work as a painter, poet, and novelist. His is the life of someone totally devoted to his creative work, one who has put his artistic vision ahead of fame, wealth, and sometimes even family.

A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication.

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Art and Place

Essays on Art From a Hong Kong Perspective

David Clarke

The book brings together a series of essays about art in Hong Kong written over the last ten years, with the intention of offering a personal chronicle of the Hong Kong art world during a time of great change.

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Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community

The Altarpiece of Santiago Atitlán

By Allen J. Christenson

A study of a major piece of modern Mayan religious art.

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Art and the City

Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles

By Sarah Schrank

No longer represented only by Hollywood and the commercial fashion industry, Los Angeles in recent years has received international media attention as one of the world's new art centers. From the appearance of local artists in major European exhibitions to widely reported multimillion-dollar museum endowments, Los Angeles has entered the world cultural stage.

Art and the City: Civic Imagination and Cultural Authority in Los Angeles places this celebrated arrival in the richer context of art controversies and political contests over modern art and art spaces in the twentieth century. The Ferus Gallery's pop-infused "L.A. Look" and "finish-fetish," now synonymous with Los Angeles's postwar modernist aesthetics, emerged from a dispersed art community that struggled in the 1950s to find a toehold in a local scene reeling from the censure of the McCarthy era. The Watts Towers have long faced neglect despite their international fame, while Venice Beach, Barnsdall Park, Griffith Park, and Olvera Street proved highly contentious sites of urban cultural expression.

Challenging historical accounts that situate the city's origins as an art center in the 1960s, Art and the City argues that debates over modernism among artists and civic leaders alike made art a charged political site as early as the 1910s. The legacy of those early battles reverberated throughout the century. Because of a rich tradition of arts education and the presence of Hollywood, Los Angeles historically hosted a talented population of contemporary artists. However, because of the snug relationship between urban aesthetics and capital investment that underscored the booster goals of the civic arts movement, modern artists were pushed out of public exhibition spaces until after World War II. Art and the City uncovers the historic struggles for cultural expression and creative space that are hidden behind the city's booster mythology.

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