Alfred H. Barr, Jr.: Cubism and Abstract Art: Painting, Sculpture, Constructions, Photography, Architecture, Industrial Art, Theatre, Films, Posters, Typography (1936)

16 September 2016, dusan

The catalogue of the first MoMA’s retrospective of modernism, held 2 March-19 April 1936, laid the theoretical foundation of the museum. Its jacket contains a notorious chart of modernist art history, the Diagram of Stylistic Evolution from 1890 until 1935.

“The catalogue remains an important historical document (as does that for Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism). It set abstraction within a formalist framework that—ignoring the intellectual byways of French symbolism, German idealism, and Russian Marxism of the previous thirty years—was shaped by the scientific climate that had started a century before. … The exhibition together with the widespread dissemination of its influential catalogue, established Cubism as the central issue of early modernism, abstraction as the goal.” (Sybil Gordon Kantor, 2003)

The exhibition later traveled to another 7 cities: San Francisco, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Baltimore, Providence, and Grand Rapids.

Publisher Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1936
249 pages
via MoMA

Commentary: Meyer Schapiro (Marxist Quarterly, 1937), Susan Noyes Platt (Art Journal, 1988), Astrit Schmidt Burkhardt (Word & Image, 2000).

Publisher (incl. master checklist and press releases)
WorldCat

PDF (47 MB)

Serge Guilbaut (ed.): Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris, and Montreal 1945-1964 (1990)

7 August 2016, dusan

“These essays reopen the case of postwar abstraction. They constitute a dialogue among historians, critics, painters, and art historians that allows not only new readings of specific art works but also a new understanding of the reception of art in the postwar Western world.

Reconstructing Modernism takes up the complex relationship between art and politics in the postwar years, debating the reasons for the simultaneous development in Paris, Montreal, and New York of a type of ‘hot’ expressionist painting–variously called abstract expressionism, abstraction lyrique, automatisme–and its replacement by neodada and neocold abstraction in the early 1960s. Well-known works by Pollock, Warhol, Soulages, Fautrier, Rauschenberg, and Gabo are reassessed, and their meaning is reappraised according to the larger international artistic and political discourse.

The contributions cover a wide range of issues. Timothy J. Clark, Thierry de Duve, Constance Naubert-Riser, and Thomas Crow focus on specific works of major artists of the period. Laurie J. Monahan, Serge Guilbaut, and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh look at art production in relation to particular aspects of the Cold War. Jean Baudrillard and François-Marc Gagnon discuss the effects of the international situation on the arts in general. John Franklin Koenig describes the experience of an American artist working in Paris after the war. John O’Brian relates the impact and the reception of Matisse’s work in New York, and Lary May discusses the transformation of Hollywood during the McCarthy era.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1990
ISBN 0262570920, 9780262570923
418 pages

WorldCat

PDF (146 MB)

Richard J. Powell: Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century (1997)

5 May 2016, dusan

“The African diaspora—a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade and Western colonialism—has generated a wide array of artistic achievements in our century, from blues to reggae, from the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner to the video installations of Keith Piper. This study of 20th-century black art is the first to concentrate on the art works themselves, and on how these works, created during a major social upheaval and transformation, use black culture both as subject and as context.

From musings on the “the souls of black folk” in early twentieth-century painting, sculpture, and photography to questions of racial and cultural identities in performance, media, and computer-assisted arts in the 1990s, the book draws on the works of hundreds of artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Wifredo Lam, Jacob Lawrence, Spike Lee, Archibald Motley, Jr., Faith Ringgold, and Gerard Sekoto; biographies of more than 160 key artists provide a unique and valuable art historical resource.

Richard Powell discusses the philosophical and social forces that have shaped a black diasporal presence in 20th-century art. Placing its emphasis on black cultural themes rather than on black racial identity, this book is an important exploration of the visual representations of black culture throughout the twentieth century.”

Publisher Thames & Hudson, London, 1997
World of Art series
ISBN 0500202958, 9780500202951
256 pages

Reviews: Deborah Kempe (Art Documentation 1997), Steven Nelson (Art Journal 1998), Kymberly N. Pinder (Art Bulletin 1999), Elizabeth Harney (Nka 1999), Donna Seaman (Booklist).

Author (2nd ed.)
Publisher (2nd ed.)
WorldCat

PDF (59 MB, no OCR)