Visualizing Labor in American Sculpture: Monuments, Manliness, and the Work Ethic, 1880-1935

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Overview

This book focuses on representations of work in American sculpture, from the decade in which the American Federation of Labor was formed, to the inauguration of the federal works project that subsidized American artists during the Great Depression. Restoring a group of important monuments to the history of labor, gender studies and American art history, this book analyzes key monuments and small-scale works in which labor was often constituted as "manly" and where the work ethic mediated both production and reception.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dabakis' study illuminates the contributions of both public monuments and genre sculptures to contemporary understandings of the value of labor. It is important and innovative in its insistence that constructing meanings for these works was a historically mediated and at times ideologically combative process that actively engaged patrons, artists, and also viewers." Helen Langa, The Journal of American History

"...engaging, provocative, and beautifully designed book. This book's signal achievement is its effective melding of the traditional strengths of art history...For public historians, Dabakis opens up sources and approaches that enrich our consideration of the ways that public memory is expressed, shaped, and contested." The Public Historian

"a sophisticated combination of social and art historical analysis." American Historical Review

"Dabakis has done an extraordinary job researching each of these monumenting to discern the evolving and intertwing discourses about gender, work, and politics that surround each sculptural project...provides helpful historical background" Winterthur Portfolio 36:1

"Offering a refreshing thematic approach to a study of American sculpture, this book connects the subject of American labor in both large- and small-scale sculpture to the context of history, gender roles, and even the dynamics of labor-management." Choice

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 From Craftsman to Operative: The Work Ethic Ideology and American Art 10
2 Martyrs and Monuments: The Haymarket Affair 35
3 The Spectacle of Labor: The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 62
4 The Erotics of the Laboring Body: Douglas Tilden's Mechanics Fountain 83
5 A Museological Tribute to the Work Ethic: The Constantin Meunier Exhibition 105
6 The Stoker, the Ragpicker, and the Striker: American Genre Sculpture in the Progressive Era 127
7 Icons of Labor: Capitalism, Communism, and the Politics of Sculpture, 1917 to 1935 174
Conclusion: Organized Labor and the Politics of Representation: The Samuel Gompers Memorial 212
Notes 225
Bibliography 273
Index 287
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