A Companion to American Art

"A better half to American Art" provides 35 newly-commissioned essays through prime students that discover the method, historiography, and present country of the sector of yankee paintings heritage. positive aspects contributions from a stability of proven and rising students, paintings and architectural historians, and different experts comprises numerous paired essays to stress discussion and debate among students on vital modern concerns in American artwork background Examines subject matters comparable to the methodological stakes within the writing of yank paintings historical past, altering principles approximately what constitutes "Americanness," and the connection of paintings to public tradition bargains a desirable portrait of the evolution and present nation of the sphere of yankee artwork historical past and indicates destiny instructions of scholarship.

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Corbett constructs his argument through thoughtful analysis of works by Childe Hassam, Joseph Pennell, George Bellows, and Edward Hopper, among others. In the chapter that follows, Anthony Lee reflects on how photographs mediated the complex social relationships among immigrants, migrants, and natives in late ­nineteenth- and early twentieth-century San Francisco. He focuses on photographs taken by visitors to Chinatown’s opium dens, which included not only Chinese laborers but also Victorian ladies, journalists, social reformers, health officials, and police (including the nefarious “Chinatown Squad”).

Instead, their writing maintained the aim of uncovering individual and collective expression, however layered, socially mediated, or unconscious. 17 They grouped the essays under the following headings: The Index, Historical Materialism, Critique of Institutions, Psychoanalysis, Rhetoric, and The Body. It is difficult imagine a collection of essays in Americanist art history organized under these theoretical terms, although several of them could certainly be made to apply. The difference perceptible here is a symptom of the kinds of theory at work in the two fields.

Among the topics taken up here are artisanal and artistic identification in the late colonial era and early United States; the gendering of artistic practice in antebellum America; “maleness” vs. “manliness” in neoclassical sculptures of African American emancipation; and the challenges queer subjectivity poses for normative approaches to art-historical interpretation. While the chapters in this section address categories of socio-political difference such as class, gender, race, and sexuality, there is due consideration of subjectivity in other senses, too—from ecocritical polemics about the subjectivity of plants and animals, as well as inorganic objects, to that of the art historian herself.

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