Art of engagement : visual politics in California and beyond by Peter Selz, Susan Landauer

By Peter Selz, Susan Landauer

Artwork of Engagement takes the 1st entire examine the foremost function of California's paintings and artists in politics and tradition because 1945. Tracing the remarkably fertile confluence of political agitation and passionately engaged artwork, Peter Selz leads readers on a trip that starts with the Nazi demise camps and strikes in the course of the Bay Area's loose Speech flow of 1964, the start of Beat and hippie countercultures, Read more...

summary: paintings of Engagement takes the 1st complete examine the foremost position of California's paintings and artists in politics and tradition for the reason that 1945. Tracing the remarkably fertile confluence of political agitation and passionately engaged paintings, Peter Selz leads readers on a trip that starts with the Nazi demise camps and strikes throughout the Bay Area's unfastened Speech flow of 1964, the delivery of Beat and hippie countercultures, the Chicano hard work circulation within the San Joaquin Valley, the start of the Black Panther celebration in Oakland, and a few of the main radical manifestations of the women's flow, homosexual lib

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In the past fifty years California artists have shown again and again just how such an art is possible. AGAINST WAR AND VIOLENCE CHAPTER 1 war has been a major subject of western art and poetry since before the time of Homer. Most representations of war have glorified the heroes of battle, lionizing the warriors who, we are told, gave their lives for their countries and ignoring the reality that those countries’ armies took the lives of mostly reluctant, involuntary victims. Yet other voices have always been heard, including those of Aristophanes and Virgil, who were rather ambiguous about lauding war.

10 What was true of fifteenth-century Florence applies perhaps even more to twentiethcentury California. In choosing the works discussed in this book, I was concerned more with subject matter, with what the artist had to say, than with any particular style or medium. Edward Kienholz’s Back Seat Dodge ’38 (1964, p. 95) and Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison’s Meditations on the Condition of the Sacramento River . . (1977, p. 227) may appear quite disparate, but both clearly deal with political problems, whether censorship or the debasement of the environment.

Along the same lines, some critics have contended that the true subject of film is its cinematic character, or that a print should primarily convey its specific technique, be it woodcut or intaglio. That, I believe, is far too limited a view. Even formalist critics tend to depict modernism as an assault on the dominant bourgeois culture, as a break with convention establishing a “tradition of the new”1 through experiment and transformation— a characterization that, to my mind, clearly makes political art an essential aspect of modernist art.

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