A Companion to American Art

"A better half to American Art" provides 35 newly-commissioned essays through prime students that discover the technique, historiography, and present country of the sector of yankee paintings heritage. positive factors contributions from a stability of demonstrated and rising students, artwork and architectural historians, and different experts comprises numerous paired essays to stress discussion and debate among students on vital modern concerns in American artwork heritage Examines issues akin to the methodological stakes within the writing of yank artwork historical past, altering rules approximately what constitutes "Americanness," and the connection of artwork to public tradition bargains a desirable portrait of the evolution and present nation of the sphere of yank paintings background and indicates destiny instructions of scholarship.

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Louis Nelson’s chapter addresses church architecture and associated objects, including memorial sculpture and organs, from the late seventeenth century through the early nineteenth century, to demonstrate the importance of material things to early American Protestants, a population long assumed to be allergic to material belief. The scholarship on such buildings and objects remains primarily concerned with their formal qualities and the lives of their makers. As a result, the field of American art history has persistently overlooked what is, according to Nelson, a very productive category of analysis: material religion.

Rather than attempting to transcend the constraints under which individual artists lived and labored, he delineates those constraints with as much precision as possible. To model what he is advocating, Meyer looks at episodes from the lives and careers of Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and George Platt Lynes. In his chapter, Alan Braddock demonstrates how an ecocritical approach can enhance the study of the history of American art. According to Braddock, “ecocriticism emphasizes ecological interconnectedness, sustainability, and environmental justice in cultural interpretation.

In the dialogue that follows, Alan Wallach and Robin Kelsey discuss the social history of art as it has been practiced over the past forty years, with an eye to accounting for its successes and failures within the American art field. Wallach focuses on the “Marxist” social history of American art, supplying a summary of its history while at the same time distinguishing it from “Marxian” social histories of art. ” Ethan Lasser’s chapter looks at how the study of processes of making might productively contribute to the history of American art.

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