Dance and American Art: A Long Embrace

Dance and American Art: A Long Embrace

by Sharyn R. Udall


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From ballet to burlesque, from the frontier jig to the jitterbug, Americans have always loved watching dance, whether in grand ballrooms, on Mississippi riverboats, or in the streets. Dance and American Art is an innovative look at the elusive, evocative nature of dance and the American visual artists who captured it through their paintings, sculpture, photography, and prints from the early nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. The scores of artists discussed include many icons of American art: Winslow Homer, George Caleb Bingham, Mary Cassatt, James McNeill Whistler, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Edward Steichen, David Smith, and others.
    As a subject for visual artists, dance has given new meaning to America’s perennial myths, cherished identities, and most powerful dreams. Their portrayals of dance and dancers, from the anonymous to the famous—Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, Josephine Baker, Martha Graham—have testified to the enduring importance of spatial organization, physical pattern, and rhythmic motion in creating aesthetic form.
    Through extensive research, sparkling prose, and beautiful color reproductions, art historian Sharyn R. Udall draws attention to the ways that artists’ portrayals of dance have defined the visual character of the modern world and have embodied culturally specific ideas about order and meaning, about the human body, and about the diverse fusions that comprise American culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299288006
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 06/19/2012
Edition description: 1
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sharyn R. Udall is an art historian, author, and independent curator who has written, taught and lectured widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art. She is the author of six previous books, as well as the editor of many catalogs and scholarly articles. Her scholarly interests include women in the visual arts, American modernism, and the creative connections among visual artists, performing artists, and writers. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Table of Contents





Part One. Art, Dance, and American Consciousness

1 Expressing the Real or Imagined Heritage of a Nation

2 African American Dance and Art: A Confluence of Traditions from Minstrelsy to the Harlem Renaissance

Part Two. Dance and the Legacies of Romanticism in American Art

3 Revisiting Arcadia: America's Longing for the Natural, the Pagan, and the Passionate

4 Romantic Imports: American Art's Love Affair with European Dance

5 The Ballets Russes and the "Exotic" East: Folklore and Modernist Primitivism Invade American Art

Part Three. "The Complete Actual Present": Dancers and Visual Artists Explore the Immediate Cultural Moment (Expressions of Modernity)

6 Loïe Fuller, Art Nouveau, and the Technological Present

7 Social Dance: Visual Artists Take the Pulse of Twentieth-Century America

8 American Vernacular: Visual Art and the Dancing Mechanized Body

Part Four. Terpsichore Transformed: Dance, the Liberated Body, and America's Artistic Revolutions

9 Class, Vice, and the Revolt against Puritanism

10 Dance, Visual Art, and America's Countercultures





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