In this highly original study, Jeremy Braddock focuses on collective forms of modernist expressionthe art collection, the anthology, and the archiveand their importance in the development of institutional and artistic culture in the United States.
Using extensive archival research, Braddock's study synthetically examines the overlooked practices of major American art collectors and literary editors: Albert Barnes, Alain Locke, Duncan Phillips, Alfred Kreymborg, Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, Katherine Dreier, and Carl Van Vechten. He reveals the way collections were devised as both models for modernism's future institutionalization and culturally productive objects and aesthetic forms in themselves. Rather than anchoring his study in the familiar figures of the individual poet, artist, and work, Braddock gives us an entirely new account of how modernism was made, one centered on the figure of the collector and the practice of collecting.
Collecting as Modernist Practice demonstrates that modernism's cultural identity was secured not so much through the selection of a canon of significant works as by the development of new practices that shaped the social meaning of art. Braddock has us revisit the contested terrain of modernist culture prior to the dominance of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the university curriculum so that we might consider modernisms that could have been.
Offering the most systematic review to date of the Barnes Foundation, an intellectual genealogy and analysis of The New Negro anthology, and studies of a wide range of hitherto ignored anthologies and archives, Braddock convincingly shows how artistic and literary collections helped define the modernist movement in the United States.
About the Author
Jeremy Braddock is an associate professor of English at Cornell University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Collections Mediation Modernist
1. After Imagisme
The Lyric Year and the Crisis in Cultural Valuation
The Anthology as Weapon
The Others Formation
2. The Domestication of Modernism: The Phillips
Memorial Gallery in the 1920s
Subconscious Stimulation, a Professional Public Sphere
Problems in Collecting Pictures
Akhenaten, Patron of Modernism
3. The Barnes Foundation, Institution of the New Psychologies
A System for the New Spirit
Collection and Institution
The Art of Memory in the Age of the Unconscious
4. The New Negro in the Field of Collections
Sage Homme Noir
Coterie, Movement, Race
The Heritage of The New Negro
Downstairs from the Harlem Museum
5. Modernism's Archives: Afterlives of the Modernist Collection
What People are Saying About This
With his kaleidoscopic analysis of the efflorescence of collecting in the first decades of the twentieth century, Braddock transforms the cartography of transatlantic modernism. His remarkably erudite reading of a wide range of practices demonstrates not only the prevalence of collecting but also its significance as one of the key modes of modernist aesthetics.
Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University
Braddock pieces together a fascinating and important new cultural history of modernism. It is a marvelous achievement, one that will be amply praised for the way it places African American culture at the center of modernism.
Jesse Matz, Kenyon College
Meticulously researched and lucidly written, Collecting as Modernist Practice enriches the conversation about the spread of modernism into mainstream society and its pervasive presence in the West.
John Xiros Cooper, The University of British Columbia
This is a terrific book that will add substantially to general accounts of early U.S. modernism by providing a finely drawn map of the emergence of some key collections. Just as importantly, it will bring into the open what has been hiding in plain sight: the multidimensional, generative role of the collection in modernism.
Janet Lyon, The Pennsylvania State University