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Art Attack: A Brief Cultural History of the Avant-Garde
     

Art Attack: A Brief Cultural History of the Avant-Garde

by Marc Aronson
 

In the army, the advance guard is the first wave of soldiers who rush into enemy territory, risking their lives to map out the terrain. In the arts, the avant-garde consists of people who have devoted their talents, even their lives, to seeing the future and to confronting others with their visions. This intriguing introduction to modern art examines the

Overview

In the army, the advance guard is the first wave of soldiers who rush into enemy territory, risking their lives to map out the terrain. In the arts, the avant-garde consists of people who have devoted their talents, even their lives, to seeing the future and to confronting others with their visions. This intriguing introduction to modern art examines the avant-garde from its nineteenth-century origins in Paris to its meaning and influence today. It presents the visionaries who took the greatest risks, who saw the furthest, and who made the most challenging art-art that changed how we imagine our world. From cubism to pop art and beyond, this is the story not only of those risk takers, but of their creations and of the times in which they lived. Notes, bibliography, index.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Aronson combines traditional art historical narrative with his personal passion for all of the arts to make a convincing case that pop art, surrealism, dadaism, cubism, abstract expressionismand all the other "isms"of convention-defying avant-garde artcan be intelligible to young readers. Ambitious yet accessible, this volume describes virtually every artistic movement challenging the social, political and cultural status quo from the 1830s to the present, each within its historical contextfrom the bohemians of 19th-century Paris to the Generation Xers and cybertechies of today. Scores of excellent black-and-white illustrations emphasize Aronson's points without distracting from the challenging text, and augment the lucid and compelling discussion. The author threads throughout the book suggestions for musical accompaniment ranging from Scott Joplin to Philip Glass and Sinead O'Connor, as well as literary references to Rimbaud and Kerouac, among others, and to the World Wide Web, and subtly portrays a multifaceted artistic movement awaiting the next generation's imprint. Critically acute yet tenderly sympathetic toward adolescent (and adult) curiosities, this survey will amply reward the adventurous, passionate and precocious reader. Ages 11-up. (June) FYI: For more information on the book, check out this Web site: http://freenet.vcu. edu/education/literature/artattack.html. (PW best book of 1998)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Using the Armory Show of 1913 as a fulcrum, Aronson pivots back to early nineteenth-century France, then forward all the way to Warhol, Minimalism, and computer graphics in his exploration of the avant-garde in the arts. Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Nijinsky, even Theremin are introduced to the author's potential high school audience. Aronson uses a mixed media approach, combining the visual arts and literature. He also makes suggestions for the complementary use of musical compositions, dance, and the cinema keyed to each chapter. The end result is a complete course guide for social studies or art history teachers willing to open their students to explosive intellectual thoughts. This book could be a real mind blower.
VOYA - Dawn Stoltzfus
Aronson makes sense of the avant-garde in this self-described "multimedia treasure map" of modern art, including painting, poetry, music, and dance. Placing the major Western artistic movements in their sociopolitical and commercial contexts the author effortlessly guides his reader along a fluid timeline, making wonderful connections throughout. Thorough treatment of the climate surrounding each artistic breakthrough (many of which seem incredibly tame today) enables the reader to understand why these radical events made such an impact and still affect the way we currently view art and the world. Aronson points out that the fearless exploration, rebellion, openness, and provocations of the avant-garde are qualities also shared by teenagers; many avant-garde artists flourish at this age. Bohemianism, impressionism, cubism, and Dada; 1913's legendary Armory show in New York; futurists, expressionists, Communist constructivists; surrealism, jazz, the Beat Generation, and pop art-these are just a few of the many topics covered. The wide range of artists presented varies from Nijinksy, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Duchamp, Malevich, Mondrian, Kerouac, Pollack, Hendrix, and Warhol to the Sex Pistols. The settings include the cafés of nineteenth-century Paris; Greenwich Village salons; the Cabaret Voltaire; St. Petersburg; MoMA; Woodstock; Max's Kansas City; and the computer screen. The author's constant focus is on the (especially young) reader, who is encouraged to do further investigation and is provided with places to start looking; extensive endnotes list many original sources and also provide interesting bits of information. Musical recommendations that vary from Wagner to the Doors accompany the text to help set the tone of each section. Using intelligent, skillful language Aronson takes the confusion out of even some of the most complicated forms of modern expression. Average young readers, other than those already interested in art, make need a little encouragement to pick up this excellent book but will be well rewarded when they do. Index. Illus. Photos. Source Notes. Further Reading.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A deep and thoughtful social history of 20th-century art that rewards readers with an understanding of the historical forces that produced the art of their own times. Through chapters filled with names and events, and illustrated with carefully selected black-and-white artwork, the text weaves together the poetry, music, dance, and painting of Europe and America from 19th-century France through the World War generations to the sea change of the 1960s. The final chapters bring the story into the present age of computers and technology. The book opens with an account of the shock produced in the art world by the Armory Show of 1912. After a look back to the roots of the avant-garde in the bohemianism of 19th-century France, other beacons of change are highlighted, such as Nijinsky's erotic ballet performance in Rite of Spring in 1913 and the breakthrough paintings of Kandinsky and Malevich, Mondrian, and Warhol. The impact of rock and roll, Woodstock, punk, and New Age music are chronicled along with the work of John Cage and the minimalists. In fact, what is unique and appealing in Aronson's cultural history is his placing of experimental and popular music within the art world. At the beginning of each chapter, he suggests music appropriate to the paintings and performances under discussion. Extraordinary connections are offered: Dada and rap, Jackson Pollack and jazz, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Philip Glass. Any reader serious about today's music and interested in modern art can find in the suggested links and descriptions, as well as the notes on each chapter, the guidelines for a serious study of contemporary culture. An exceptional resource.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395797297
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1110L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Marc Aronson is the award-winning author of a wide variety of nonfiction works for younger readers, including Sugar Changed the World and Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado, which received the first Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. He edits and publishes young adult fiction in a special arrangement with Candlewick and lives with his wife and two sons in Maplewood, New Jersey. Visit him at marcaronson.com.

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