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American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America

作    者
Robert Hughes;  
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出版社
Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN-13
9780375703652
ISBN-10
0375703659
出版日期
1999-11
页数
单位
尺寸
4.6 * 25.1 * 19.3
装帧
Paperback
版本
1st

Product Description

Writing with all the brilliance, authority, and pungent wit that have distinguished his art criticism for Time magazine and his greatly acclaimed study of modern art, The Shock of the New, Robert Hughes now addresses his largest subject: the history of art in America.

The intense relationship between the American people and their surroundings has been the source of a rich artistic tradition. American Visions is a consistently revealing demonstration of the many ways in which artists have expressed this pervasive connection. In nine eloquent chapters, which span the whole range of events, movements, and personalities of more than three centuries, Robert Hughes shows us the myriad associations between the unique society that is America and the art it has produced:

"O My America, My New Founde Land"  explores the churches, religious art, and artifacts of the Spanish invaders of the Southwest and the Puritans of New England; the austere esthetic of the Amish, the Quakers, and the Shakers; and the Anglophile culture of Virginia.

"The Republic of Virtue"  sets forth the ideals of neo-classicism as interpreted in the paintings of Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, and the Peale family, and in the public architecture of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Latrobe, and Charles Bulfinch.

"The Wilderness and the West"  discusses the work of landscape painters such as Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, and the Luminists, who viewed the natural world as "the fingerprint of God's creation,"  and of those who recorded America's westward expansion--George Caleb Bingham, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Remington--and the accompanying shift in the perception of the Indian, from noble savage to outright demon.

"American Renaissance" describes the opulent era that followed the Civil War, a cultural flowering expressed in the sculpture of Augustus Saint-Gaudens; the paintings of John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Childe Hassam; the Newport cottages of the super-rich; and the beaux-arts buildings of Stanford White and his partners.

"The Gritty Cities"  looks at the post-Civil War years from another perspective: cast-iron cityscapes, the architecture of Louis Henri Sullivan, and the new realism of Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, the trompe-l'oeil painters, and the Ashcan School.

"Early Modernism" introduces the first American avant garde: the painters Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Joseph Stella, Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, and Georgia O'Keeffe, and the premier architect of his time, Frank Lloyd Wright.

"Streamlines and Breadlines"  surveys the boom years, when skyscrapers and Art Deco were all the rage . . . and the bust years that followed, when painters such as Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Thomas Hart Benton, Diego Rivera, and Jacob Lawrence showed Americans "the way we live now."

"The Empire of Signs"  examines the American hegemony after World War II, when the Abstract Expressionists (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, et al.) ruled the artistic roost, until they were dethroned by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, the Pop artists, and Andy Warhol, while individualists such as David Smith and Joseph Cornell marched to their own music.

"The Age of Anxiety"  considers recent events: the return of figurative art and the appearance of minimal and conceptual art; the speculative mania of the 1980s, which led to scandalous auction practices and inflated reputations; and the trends and issues of art in the 90s.

Lavishly illustrated and packed with biographies, anecdotes, astute and stimulating critical commentary, and sharp social history, American Visions was originally published in association with a new eight-part PBS television series. Robert Hughes has called it "a love letter to America."  This superb volume, which encompasses and enlarges upon the series, is an incomparably entertaining and insightful contemplation of its splendid subject.

About the Author

Robert Hughes was born in Australia in 1938. He has lived and worked in the United States since 1970. He has been art critic for TIME magazine for more than 25 years. His books include monographs on painters Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach, a history of Australian art, Heaven and Hell in Western Art (1969), The Shock of the New (1981), The Fatal Shore (1987), a book of social criticism entitled The Culture of Complaint (1995), Barcelona (1992), and a collection of reviews, Nothing If Not Critical (1990). Hughes is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes for his work, most recently an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Amazon.com Review

Australian-born art critic Robert Hughes, author of the highly acclaimed study of modern art, The Shock of the New has made his home in the United States for the last 20 years. His latest undertaking, which he calls "a love letter to America," is his most massive: a 350-year history of art in America. Published in association with an eight-part PBS series of the same name, this is no scholarly text. With the same voracious wit and opinionated brilliance that have characterized his criticism for Time magazine, this tour-de-force spans three centuries of events, movements, and personalities that have shaped American society and its art. The reproductions are outstanding; 323 out of 365 are in rich, vivid color. Infinitely entertaining and perceptive, this superb book makes readers feel as if they have discovered a truer, hidden America. It seems certain to become one of the most important works in the art-historical canon. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

With American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, Hughes has written a wonderfully readable, tartly opinionated book that not only provides the neophyte with a sweeping portrait of American art but also gives the more seasoned reader a renewed appreciation of art as it has evolved over the last five centuries. -- New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Writing with all the brilliance, authority, and pungent wit that have distinguished his art criticism for Time magazine and his greatly acclaimed study of modern art, The Shock of the New, Robert Hughes now addresses his largest subject: the history of art in America.

The intense relationship between the American people and their surroundings has been the source of a rich artistic tradition. American Visions is a consistently revealing demonstration of the many ways in which artists have expressed this pervasive connection. In nine eloquent chapters, which span the whole range of events, movements, and personalities of more than three centuries, Robert Hughes shows us the myriad associations between the unique society that is America and the art it has produced:

"O My America, My New Founde Land"  explores the churches, religious art, and artifacts of the Spanish invaders of the Southwest and the Puritans of New England; the austere esthetic of the Amish, the Quakers, and the Shakers; and the Anglophile culture of Virginia.

"The Republic of Virtue"  sets forth the ideals of neo-classicism as interpreted in the paintings of Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, and the Peale family, and in the public architecture of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Latrobe, and Charles Bulfinch.

"The Wilderness and the West"  discusses the work of landscape painters such as Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, and the Luminists, who viewed the natural world as "the fingerprint of God's creation,"  and of those who recorded America's westward expansion--George Caleb Bingham, Albert Bierstadt, and Frederic Remington--and the accompanying shift in the perception of the Indian, from noble savage to outright demon.

"American Renaissance" describes the opulent era that followed the Civil War, a cultural flowering expressed in the sculpture of Augustus Saint-Gaudens; the paintings of John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Childe Hassam; the Newport cottages of the super-rich; and the beaux-arts buildings of Stanford White and his partners.

"The Gritty Cities"  looks at the post-Civil War years from another perspective: cast-iron cityscapes, the architecture of Louis Henri Sullivan, and the new realism of Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, the trompe-l'oeil painters, and the Ashcan School.

"Early Modernism" introduces the first American avant garde: the painters Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Joseph Stella, Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, and Georgia O'Keeffe, and the premier architect of his time, Frank Lloyd Wright.

"Streamlines and Breadlines"  surveys the boom years, when skyscrapers and Art Deco were all the rage . . . and the bust years that followed, when painters such as Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Thomas Hart Benton, Diego Rivera, and Jacob Lawrence showed Americans "the way we live now."

"The Empire of Signs"  examines the American hegemony after World War II, when the Abstract Expressionists (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, et al.) ruled the artistic roost, until they were dethroned by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, the Pop artists, and Andy Warhol, while individualists such as David Smith and Joseph Cornell marched to their own music.

"The Age of Anxiety"  considers recent events: the return of figurative art and the appearance of minimal and conceptual art; the speculative mania of the 1980s, which led to scandalous auction practices and inflated reputations; and the trends and issues of art in the 90s.

Lavishly illustrated and packed with biographies, anecdotes, astute and stimulating critical commentary, and sharp social history, American Visions was originally published in association with a new eight-part PBS television series. Robert Hughes has called it "a love letter to America."  This superb volume, which encompasses and enlarges upon the series, is an incomparably entertaining and insightful contemplation of its splendid subject.

From Booklist

It has been 16 years since Hughes' book and PBS series The Shock of the New (1981); now he has returned to that winning combination with this equally sensational history of American art. Determined to answer the question, "What can we say about Americans from the things and images they have made?" Hughes has orchestrated a spectacular integration of facts, observations, and insights in this ambitious, lively, and gloriously illustrated volume. Equally conversant in aesthetics, biography, and history, and utterly fascinated by personality, Hughes charts the evolution not only of American art but also of the American character. Careful to embrace the West as well as the East, Hughes defies convention by beginning his colorful chronicle not in New England but in Florida and the Southwest, and not with the British but with the Spanish. New York, of course, is the focus of much of the book, but the Southwest connection remains vital as Hughes discusses white artists' depictions of Plains Indians and, in the modern era, the work of Georgia O'Keeffe. The contrast between the influence of nature and of the city on American art is the fulcrum of Hughes' entire narrative as he offers vivid portraits of Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, and Arthur Dove as well as Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, and Edward Hopper, who captured both worlds. Hughes' descriptions of paintings are luscious and his analyses of sculptural works are exceptional, but it is his vision of American art as a great chain of inspiration and discovery--forged artist by artist, image by image--that infuses his history with drama and excitement. The PBS series airs this spring. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The ever voluble Hughes tackles 350 years of history with irony and gusto in this eminently readable handbook on American art. We live in a country shaped by colonization and immigration. This means, Hughes argues, that America will always bear a troubled relationship to its history, striving to sublimate alien feelings (and guilt) by fixating on ``identity, origins, and the past, or by the faith in newness as a value in itself.'' The roots of this faith, and of America's cultural production, remain wrapped around a Puritan bedrock, laid with the zealous intention of turning New England into the New Israel. This sense of a spiritual quest, of a constant attempt to transcend the past, surfaces repeatedly in America's great landscape painting, as well as in Jackson Pollock's action paintings, while the Puritanical distrust of the craven image haunts the spartan nature of Minimalism. But after centuries of rich, varied, and fruitful history, Hughes holds, Ronald Reagan's reign had a unique (and calamitous) impact, transforming the world of art into ``the artworld'' as trillions of fictive dollars circulated, producing as an offshoot numbers of status- seeking collectors. The rarity of old pictures, matched with a demand for art, prompted greedy dealers to mine the slew of students being churned out of the art schools, inflating and discarding premature talents. On the heels of that circus, Hughes sees American art on the decline, a thin, wheezing steam pump desperately trying to recycle past successes in order to make a buck. His readings of three centuries of both art works and trends are lively, detailed, and persuasive (though perhaps a bit too harsh regarding recent art), and his ultimately pessimistic take is expressed with great clarity. A meaty and illuminating excavation, full of vigor and punch, to accompany a spring PBS series. (330 illustrations and photos, not seen) (First printing of 100,000) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

O MY AMERICA, MY NEW FOUNDE LAND


I have lived and worked in the United States of America for a little more than a quarter of a century now, without becoming an American citizen. For reasons that have nothing (and everything) to do with this book, I remain an Australian citizen, and thus have the status of a resident alien, a green-card holder. We resident aliens -- the very term suggests a small Martian colony -- have therefore missed out on one of the core American experiences, that of officially becoming someone else: becoming American, starting over, leaving behind what you once were. Nearly everyone in America bears the marks of this in his or her conscious life, and carries traces of it deep in ancestral lore and recollection. For everyone in America except American Indians, the common condition is being, at one's near or far origins, from somewhere else: England or Ireland or Africa, Germany, Russia, China, Italy, Mexico, or any one of a hundred other places that have contributed to the vast American mix. (And the anthropological evidence suggests that even the American Indians were immigrants too, having made their way across the Bering Strait from eastern Asia some 10,000 to 14,000 years ago -- though this is vehemently disputed by the Indians themselves.)

It is this background which gives a particular cast to the encyclopedic museums of America, of which the greatest is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a place I have visited perhaps thirty times a year for twenty-five years and still not come to the end of. One thinks of its nearest English equivalent, the British Museum, as being (at its origins) a vast repository of imperial plunder, brought from the four corners of the earth to confirm and expand the sense of Englishness. The conventional left-wing view of the Met, in the 1970s, was similar: it was seen as the imperial treasure-house into which the sacred and secular images of other cultures -- European, African, South American, Oceanian, Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern -- had been hoovered by the prodigious suction of American capital, to confirm American greatness. There is some truth in this, but not the whole truth. In its seventeen acres of exhibition space, let alone its storage, the Met keeps millions of objects, from New Guinean wooden totems to five-ton black basalt Egyptian sarcophagi, from Mantegna prints to carved human femurs, from an entire Spanish Renaissance courtyard to Yoruba helmet-masks and George Stubbs horses. Anything made with esthetic intentions by anyone, anywhere, at any time, falls within its purview. As a result, it is an extraordinary crystallization of the variety of American origins: there can be few Americans who can't find some example of the art of their ancestors in it. Somewhere inside the American museum there is always a small buried image of the immigrant getting off the boat with his luggage, a bit of the Old World entering the New: boots, a Bible -- or twenty-seven Rembrandts. The fact of immigration lies behind America's intense piety about the past (which coexists, on other levels, with a dreadful and puzzling indifference to its lessons); in America the past becomes totemic, and is always in a difficult relationship to America's central myth of progress and renovation, unless it can be marshaled -- as in the museum -- as proof of progress.

Along with this, because the New World really was new (at least to its European conquerors and settlers), goes a passionate belief in reinvention and in the American power to make things up as you go along. Both are strong urges, and they seem to grow out of a common root: the inextricably twined feelings of freedom and nostalgia which lie at the heart of the immigrant experience and are epitomized in America, to this day, as in no other country. A culture raised on immigration cannot escape feelings of alienness, and must transcend them in two possible ways: by concentration on "identity," origins, and the past, or by faith in newness as a value in itself. No Europeans felt about the Old in quite the same way Americans came to, and none believed as intensely in the New. Both are massively present in the story of American art, a story that begins weakly and derivatively in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and acquires such seemingly irrefutable power by the end of the twentieth. In this way, the visual culture of America, oscillating between dependence and invention, tells a part of the American story; it is a lens through which one can see in part some (not all) of the answers to Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's well-known question, posed in the eighteenth century: "What, then, is the American, this new man?"

Until quite recently, most Americans believed that the colonial culture of North America began when the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, in 1620. Others know that there was an earlier settlement attempted in 1607 at Jamestown, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay -- the so-called Virginia Colony. But the emphasis on these events stems from an English Protestant prejudice. As Walt Whitman wrote in 1883, "Impress'd by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States have been fashion'd from the British Islands only . . . which is a very great mistake."

The Spanish were in North America long before the English, and the United States of America was a multiethnic society right from the start. (At the zenith of its American influence, the Spanish Empire claimed or actually governed about half the total area of what is now the United States.) Christopher Columbus never saw the American mainland, but it is possible that the coast of southern Florida was glimpsed by Spanish mariners as early as 1499, and the first recorded arrival there was made in 1513 by Juan Ponce de León (who had led the conquest of Puerto Rico five years earlier). Like all other Spaniards who followed the track of Columbus into the Caribbean and later to Mexico, he was looking for slaves and gold, not (as legend persistently has it) the mythical Fountain of Youth. The wooden forts and settlements that sixteenth-century Spanish colonists left all over Florida and Louisiana have long since vanished, and the names they gave to places have often been Anglicized -- Key West, for instance, was once Cayo Hueso, "Bone Key." The oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States is not in Massachusetts but in Florida: St. Augustine, where the frowning, symmetrically planned stone walls of the Castillo de San Marcos were erected by Spaniards in 1565.

The Spanish did not bring artists with them on these military entradas. As far as is known, the earliest surviving painting done by a European artist in North America is a watercolor  by Jacques Le Moyne, a cartographer from Dieppe who went with an expedition of French Huguenots (Protestant followers of John Calvin) in 1564 to form a settlement about forty miles to the north of St. Augustine. Done in a delectably stylized manner that reminds one of a Mannerist court masque, it shows René de Laudonnière, the leader of the expedition, being welcomed to Florida by a group of lily-white Indians and their lord, Chief Athore; a votive plinth bearing the three heraldic lilies of France is surrounded by the products of native husbandry: gourds, fruit, and the all-important but (to a Frenchman) completely novel Indian corn. The settlement hardly lasted a year; in 1565 the Spaniards from St. Augustine attacked this tiny outpost of Protestant heresy in the New World and slaughtered nearly all its colonists, though Le Moyne himself narrowly escaped with his life and his watercolors; these, along with the more anthropologically accurate watercolors made by John White in Virginia c. 1587-88, became the basis of the Frankfurt publisher Theodore de Bry's numerous and equally fanciful engravings in his ten-part America, 1591-95. De Bry, a Protestant, had a vested interest in portraying the Spaniards in America as monsters of cruelty -- although, knowing that readers liked to have their blood curdled, he also harped on the supposed cannibalistic habits of Indians. Consequently his engravings of conquistadorial frightfulness  did much to implant la leyenda negra, the "Black Legend" of Spanish atrocities in the New World.

Long before de Bry's work was published, the Spaniards had created a frontier in the southern part of North America. They did so by pushing west from Florida and north from Mexico, which had been subjugated by Hernán Cortés in 1521. The extraordinary moment when the two linked up came in 1536, when a party of Spaniards hunting for Indians to enslave in the north of Mexico saw a strange foursome stumbling toward them, a black man and three whites, clad in ragged garments, with six hundred Indians following behind. The black was an African slave called Esteban and the leading white was an Andalusian named Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, survivor of a disastrous entrada into Florida whose members were routed by Indians near Tallahassee. Cabeza de Vaca and the remaining Spaniards then made a voyage westward on improvised rafts, along the whole southern coast of America to present-day Galveston, Texas, where they were captured and enslaved by Indians. Cabeza de Vaca, a man of incredible resourcefulness, managed to convince his captors that he was a medicine man, won a degree of freedom, and in 1534 set out with his companions -- by now the sole survivors of an original force of three hundred -- to reach Mexico City. On the way they accumulated a retinue of Indians by posing as holy men, curanderos. Over two years' walking west they became a traveling cult, and entered history as the first Europeans to cross the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, almost 250 years before Lewis and Clark.

Unfortunately for the future of the Indians of Southwestern America, Esteban took to boasting, and Cabeza de Vaca to hinting, that they had ...

From Library Journal

Art critic for Time magazine and an influential author (e.g., The Culture of Complaint, LJ 3/15/93), Hughes has written an indispensable guide, covering the sweep of art and architecture in America from the earliest Spanish works in New Mexico to contemporary art done in the late 1990s. All media are covered, as are the American incarnations of important movements such as Cubism, Impressionism, Minimalism, and more. Though Hughes has strong opinions on the relative importance of most artists or works in their oeuvre, his critiques are well founded, and he never simply omits an artist. A major flaw is the lack of footnotes and a bibliography, though, writes Hughes, this was purposely done in emulation of Kenneth Clark's Civilization and Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. Ultimately, this is an excellent introduction to art in America for the novice and will provide a handy reference for more advanced researchers. Written as the companion to a PBS series, this title is sure to be in demand. Highly recommended for all libraries.
-?Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.