American Century: Art and Culture, 1950-2000

Overview

Shortly after the Second World War a group of American artists moved away from representation and realism toward a completely nonrepresentational style which became known as abstract expressionism. Led by Jackson Pollock, Willem DeKooning, and others, it was the first truly American painting style, and it quickly moved the United States into the forefront of innovation. A succession of other movements followed, including Pop Art, and adherents like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein; the performance art of John ...

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Overview

Shortly after the Second World War a group of American artists moved away from representation and realism toward a completely nonrepresentational style which became known as abstract expressionism. Led by Jackson Pollock, Willem DeKooning, and others, it was the first truly American painting style, and it quickly moved the United States into the forefront of innovation. A succession of other movements followed, including Pop Art, and adherents like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein; the performance art of John Cage and others; video art, led by Nam Juin Paik; and installation art of grand proportions.

In this expansive volume Lisa Phillips explains the excitement and inventiveness of American artists in the context of the varied and sometimes turbulent social environment as well as the expanding economy of postwar America. Essays by experts in related fields illuminate parallel and diverse developments in architecture, dance, music, literature, painting, sculpture, cinema, and design.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The second installment in the Whitney museum's primer on 20th-century American art fairs somewhat better than the first volume, covering 1900-50 (LJ 6/1/99), thanks to the superiority of the art here. Given the ascendance of the Abstract Expressionists and the continued dominance of American artists through much of the second half of the century, Phillips can more easily maintain the unerringly American focus throughout the narrative (though the rigid marginalization of certain key non-Americans seems all the more chauvinistic). Like its predecessor, however, the volume suffers from a compulsion to contextualize that is both less needed in coverage of these recent years and more problematic in addressing a fractured contemporary art world. Aside from the subjectivity of many of the pronouncements ("The arts...thrived during Carter's administration, in no small part thanks to Joan Mondale"), one wonders at the constant stress on national events and the deemphasis of community politics and changes in the marketing of art. Academic art libraries will want this volume as documentation of a major show, but public libraries can wait and purchase as demand warrants.--Eric Bryant, "Library Journal" Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Phillips (director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY) focuses on the avant-garde artists who propelled American art after World War II and who continually challenge basic assumptions about what art is and what the role of the artist should be within the current turbulent social atmosphere. Sidebar essays by a variety of experts in related fields highlight the broad cultural context<-->from rock 'n' roll to underground film to postmodern dance<-->in which vanguard American art flourished. Extensively and attractively illustrated in color and b&w. Oversize: 9.75x11.5<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874271232
  • Publisher: Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Pages: 398

Meet the Author

Lisa Phillips was a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art for fourteen years, and is currently director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
The American Century: Art & Culture 1950-2000
America Takes Command: 1950-1960
Redefining the American Dream: 1950-1960
New Frontiers: 1960-1967
America at the Crossroads: 1964-1976
Restoration and Reaction: 1976-1990
Approaching the Millennium: 1990-2000
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
Acknowledgments
Index
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