Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular

Overview

Filmmaker, musicologist, painter, ethnographer, graphic designer, mystic, and collector of string figures and other patterns, Harry Smith (1923-1991) was among the most original creative forces in postwar American art and culture, yet his life and work remain poorly understood. Today he is remembered primarily for his Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)—an idiosyncratic collection of early recordings that educated and inspired a generation of musicians and roots music fans—and for a body of innovative ...

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Overview

Filmmaker, musicologist, painter, ethnographer, graphic designer, mystic, and collector of string figures and other patterns, Harry Smith (1923-1991) was among the most original creative forces in postwar American art and culture, yet his life and work remain poorly understood. Today he is remembered primarily for his Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)—an idiosyncratic collection of early recordings that educated and inspired a generation of musicians and roots music fans—and for a body of innovative abstract and nonnarrative films.  Constituting a first attempt to locate Smith and his diverse endeavors within the history of avant-garde art production in twentieth-century America, the essays in this volume reach across Smith’s artistic oeuvre.

In addition to contributions by Paul Arthur, Robert Cantwell, Thomas Crow Stephen Fredman, Stephen Hinton, Greil Marcus, Annette Michelson, William Moritz, and P. Adams Sitney, the volume contains numerous illustrations of Smith’s works and a selection of his letters and other primary sources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 "The most comprehensive book on the subject to date.”—BookForum

 “This devoutly composed monograph brings one of the avant-garde’s masters to great good light.”—Miami Sun Post

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000207 EndHTML:0000002962 StartFragment:0000002547 EndFragment:0000002926 SourceURL:file://localhost/Volumes/Home/MCrowley/NY%20Media%20Trips/Dec%2010%20NY%20Media%20Trip.doc "This is an excellent, thought-provoking book, one that should appeal to anyone with an interest in the role of the vernacular in the contemporary arts. . . This book comes very close. . . to being a faithful mirror of its fascinating subject and, like its subject, will provoke, educate, and entertain in equal measure."—

"This is an excellent, thought-provoking book, one that should appeal to anyone with an interest in the role of the vernacular in the contemporary arts. . . . This book comes very close . . . to being a faithful mirror of its fascinating subject and, like its subject, will provoke, educate, and entertain in equal measure."—popmatters.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892367351
  • Publisher: Getty Publications
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Series: Issues & Debates Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,408,053
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Perchuk is assistant director of Contemporary Programs and Research at the Getty Research Institute. Rani Singh is senior research associate in Contemporary Programs and Research at the Getty Research Institute as well as the director of the Harry Smith Archives.

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