Framing America: A Social History of American Art

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Hardcover New For more than a generation, critics and scholars have been revising and expanding the customary definition of American art. A tradition once assumed to be mainly ... European and oriented toward painting and sculpture has been enriched by the inclusion of other media such as ceramics, needlework, and illustration, and the work of previously marginalized groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Now, in a brilliant combination of original scholarship and synthesis, Frances Pohl's Framing America provides the first comprehensive survey of this new, enlarged vision of American art. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY 2002 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. No Priority in this item. (Ac) Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 560 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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2002 Hardcover New 0500237921. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--560 pages, 665 illustrations; 4to.

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Overview

For more than a generation, critics and scholars have been revising and expanding the customary definition of American art. A tradition once assumed to be mainly European and oriented toward painting and sculpture has been enriched by the inclusion of other media such as ceramics, needlework, and illustration, and the work of previously marginalized groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Now, in a brilliant combination of original scholarship and synthesis, Frances Pohl's Framing America provides the first comprehensive survey of this new, enlarged vision of American art.

Here are the many strands of North America's history and visual culture: the first contacts of the Spanish with the Aztecs and other Native Americans; the post-Revolutionary definition of nationhood; the visionary feeling for landscape and nature; the images of social and military conflict of the nineteenth century; and the tempering of the twentieth century's heady plunge into modernism by the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the culture wars.

Pohl's account is an adroitly inclusive fusion of many themes. Her discussion of the early definition of nationhood includes the traditional painters of the grand manner: West, Copley, Trumbull, and Stuart. But Stuart's portraits of George Washington, for instance, are also discussed in relation to portrayals of Washington in wood, marble, and embroidery, and the vogue for "mourning pictures" after Washington's death, which create a domestic counterpoint to the more institutional portrayals. Pohl's description of the great landscape tradition of Cole, Durand, and Church shows how the optimistic assertion of a sublime sense of the American nation was accompanied by a sense of loss as the nation expanded westward.

As our appreciation of the rich cultural diversity of American life has grown, our sense of American art—its sources, its motives, its possibilities—has also become more varied. Fresh and contemporary, Framing America embraces what our history can tell us about our art and what our art can tell us about our past and present. 665 illustrations, 337 in color.

Author Biography: Frances K. Pohl is Professor of Art History at Pomona College.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even if the ultimate outcome of the culture wars is still in some dispute, it is clear that revisiting art's "greatest hits," from America or anywhere else, is not sufficient for a basic understanding of art history. Framing America's focus is determinedly and liberatingly inclusive, showing how popular and vernacular arts have had just as great cultural and inspirational impact as the work of trained artists. Pohl, professor of art history at Pomona College, proves her case again and again with revealing juxtapositions and inspired close readings, from the objects plundered by Cort s to those fabricated by Jeff Koons. Native art, folk art and "Outsider" art, as well as many previously neglected female artists and artists of color are present in Pohl's narrative, never as victims of special pleading but as essential components in a vibrant mosaic. An examination of depictions of the Old West introduces to great effect drawings of startling iconic simplicity done by some of the victors of the Battle of Little Big Horn; an account of the construction of the Statue of Liberty is viewed against the Haymarket riot and trials; the Tilted Arc controversy leads to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. And if the section dealing with recent developments is somewhat more cautious than the rest, Pohl at least steers clear of millennial pronouncements. Written less as a series of static tableaux than as a set of provocations for discussion and exploration, this large, satisfying and beautifully produced volume, with 665 illustrations (half of them in color), will be of value not only to students and scholars, but to anyone interested in the contradictory forces at the heart of American life. (Oct. 28) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Eschewing the conventional genesis story of American art, one that locates its origins in the portrait work of anonymous colonial itinerants, Pohl (art history, Pomona Coll.; In the Eye of the Storm: An Art of Conscience 1930-1970) reaches further into history than previous surveys. In order to locate a more authentic foundation for American art, she investigates the cultural production resulting from interactions between Native Americans and several exploratory European groups. Also unprecedented is Pohl's exploration of crafts, utilitarian objects, and curiosities to further illuminate the development of society in America. She incorporates artists previously excluded, such as Japanese American internment camp inmates, whose art powerfully relates their experience. Her survey lucidly conveys the key concepts of each period and communicates the significance of seminal tracts like Clement Greenberg's 1939 essay Avant-Garde & Kitsch. A timeline concludes the book, providing a valuable chronological overview of both art and history, including formerly uncited yet significant historical events. With 665 illustrations (337 in color), this volume is recommended as the most up-to-date American art textbook available. It is essential for all academic and large public libraries. Savannah Schroll, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kristin Schwain
“Examines how cultural encounters of all kinds—between ethnic, religious, and regional groups; the natural world and technological developments; and individual and political ambitions—have shaped American history.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500237922
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances K. Pohl is the Dr. Mary Ann Vanderzyl Reynolds Professor of Humanities and Professor of Art History at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Since moving to Pomona in 1985, she has taught a wide variety of courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century North American art. Her work has focused on the art of the United States, in particular the work of Ben Shahn, about whom she has written two books, and the relationship between the visual arts and working-class culture. Professor Pohl has taught in the United States for many years, but her Canadian origins give her a unique continental perspective on American art.
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Table of Contents

Preface 9
1 Art and Conquest 13
The Spanish and the Aztecs 16
The Northern Territories of New Spain 22
France Bringing the Faith: the Northeast 41
The Exploration of the Mississippi and Mississippian Culture 49
A Protestant Presence in America 54
The Art and Architecture of the Northern British and Dutch Colonies 58
Products of the Needle and the Chisel 66
Foreign Wars and Domestic Unrest 69
2 Defining America 73
Representing the Revolution and Its Aftermath 74
Presidential Poses: Images of George Washington 83
Architectural Symbols of a New Nation 93
An Architecture of Discipline 98
Nationhood and Native Americans 104
The Schooling of the Nation's Artists: Samuel F. B. Morse and the National Academy of Design 112
The Entrepreneurial Spirit and the Production of American Culture 118
3 Nature and Nation 129
Nature and the Sacred in Native American Art 131
God, Nature, and the Rise of Landscape Painting 134
Thomas Cole, Federalism, and The Course of Empire 139
Edward Hicks and The Peaceable Kingdom 144
Landscape Painting at Mid-Century: Frederic Edwin Church and the Luminists 146
Native Americans as Nature 152
Depicting the "Looks and Modes" of Native American Life 155
Nature Transformed: Settling the Landscape 163
Woman as Nature: The Nude, the Mother, and the Cook 171
Nature Morte: Still Life and the Art of Deception 175
4 A Nation at War 185
The War between the United States and Mexico 186
Mexican Culture as American Culture 191
Prelude to the Civil War: Representing African Americans and Slavery 197
Race and the Civil War 204
Images of Reconstruction 211
Monuments to Freedom 217
Native Americans in the Popular Press: Harper's Weekly and the Washita River Massacre 224
Encyclopedias of Experience: Native American Ledger Art 226
The End of the Ghost Dance 232
The Hampton Institute and Lessons in American History 236
5 Work and Art Redefined 239
One Hundred Years of Independence: Taking Stock of America at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition 242
Images of Workers 245
Celebrating the New Male Professionals: Portraits by Thomas Eakins 252
The Female Body and the Rights of Women: the "Declaration of Sentiments" and Hiram Powers's The Greek Slave 258
Domestic Culture and Cultural Production 260
The Feminine Ideal and the Rise of Aestheticism 269
Images of the Particular: Portraiture and "Trompe l'Oeil" Painting 275
The Battle over Public Space 282
The End of a Century: Art and Architecture and the World's Columbian Exposition 288
6 The Machine, the Primitive, and the Modern 301
Realism and the Ashcan School 304
Modernism and the Avant-Garde 317
World War I and the Art of Reproduction 322
Modernism, Gender, and Sexuality 327
Escape to Mexico 337
Mexico in America: Imaging the American Southwest 343
The Harlem Renaissance 350
7 Art for the People, Art Against Fascism 363
A New Deal for Art 365
Modernist Architecture, Domestic Design, and Planned Communities 378
Alternative Visions: Urban Life and the Industrial Worker 381
Alternative Visions: The Corporate View of Industrial America 391
Alternative Visions: Women at Work in the City 399
Alternative Visions: Rural America 404
Art Against Fascism: The Popular Front and the American Artists' Congress 413
The War at Home: Japanese American Internment and American Patriotism 416
Social Surrealism, Abstraction, and Democracy 419
8 From Cold War to Culture Wars 429
Gestures of Liberation: Abstract Art as the New American Art 432
Pastiche and Parody: Another Take on the Real 445
Minimal Forms 456
Popular Art, Pop Art, and Consumer Culture 464
An Art of Protest: The Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War 473
The Personal is Political: Feminist Art of the 1970s 483
Public Art and Public Interest 491
Is Less More? Re-evaluating Modernism in Architecture 496
Postmodernism and Art 502
The Culture Wars 512
Timeline 521
Bibliography 526
Websites 541
Acknowledgments for Illustrations 542
Index 546
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