Imagining America: Icons of 20th-century American Art

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Yale University Press, 2005 - 206 pages
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An innovative and dynamic look at 20-century American art, focusing on its relationship to the nation's evolving identity and ambitions.

How did artists of the twentieth century use their work to respond to their unique personal experiences and moment in history? This provocative question is explored in this engaging new book on American art. By focusing on broad, defining themes, embodied in the work of such pivotal artists as Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, the authors look at how art provided a means for re-imagining America, visualizing what it had become, and where it might go in a century of turbulent change.
Richly illustrated with 400 color images, Imagining America is organized around three main themes: nature and the ways diverse artists responded to the transformation of the landscape from pastoral to industrial; how artists as different as Thomas Eakins and Jackson Pollock demonstrated the perpetual inclination to reinvent both personal and national identity; and the ways that key artists like Stuart Davis, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat taught us to understand the media and popular culture on a deeper level. The authors also provide a context of social history and parallel developments in American music and film.

With an innovative design, a fabulous selection of iconic images, and an engaging juxtaposition of visual themes, Imagining America presents American art and artists in a completely new light.

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Imagining America: icons of 20th-century American art

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Published as a companion to a PBS film, this book takes readers from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Cindy Sherman in under 200 image-filled pages. Focusing on the biggest names in 20th-century art-O'Keefe ... Read full review

About the author (2005)

John Carlin is an independent writer and curator. He is also chief executive officer of Funny Garbage, a premier media developer in New York City. Jonathan Fineberg is Gutgsell Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and author of the critically acclaimed textbook Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being.

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