All posts tagged: museums

Framing the Audience: Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945

Reviewed by Elizabeth Eikmann, Saint Louis University Isadora Helfgott. Framing the Audience: Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015. 326 pages. 21 color plates. The culture wars of the years surrounding the 1930s are known for the many and well-fought domestic battles over high art, popular culture, and consumerism. During this era, the barriers between high and popular art upheld by centuries of tradition came crumbling down as leftist American artists worked to redefine the relationship between art and the greater society. Mass circulation of visual media gave 1930s Americans unprecedented access to art and, as scholars such as Michael Denning have argued, it would be during this decade that art gained a new power to create, challenge, and reinforce ideas about national politics, economy, and identity. While numerous scholars have focused their work on the art produced during this time, Isadora Helfgott’s Framing the Audience: Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945 flips the focus onto the figures behind and beyond the …

Al-Mutanabbi Street: Start The Conversation

Right now al-Mutanabbi street starts somewhere on a small street in Gaza, and in Damascus, on a small street in Beijing, a small street in Tehran. It starts in Baghdad, Beirut, and Cairo, it starts in Dublin, Calgary, Halifax, London, Exeter, and Bristol, and here in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Boston, Los Angeles, Omaha, New York City, Washington D.C.,Cambridge, Mass. or Detroit, Michigan. It starts at the Rochester Central Library, and at Goddard College in Vermont. It starts wherever someone gathers their thoughts to write towards the truth, or where someone sits down and opens a book to read. Wherever the free exchange of ideas is suppressed or attacked, wherever writers and artists are silenced, or risk their lives to speak the truth through their work, there will be a place for them on al-Mutanabbi Street. – Beau Beausoleil, July 2014 In March 2007, a suicide bomber exploded his car in Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq, killing thirty people and injuring more than a hundred. The street, named after Abu at-Tayyib Al-Mutanabbi, a renowned classical …

“The Craft of Modernity” Reviewed: Amelia Pelaez at PAMM

Marañones (Cashews), 1939-40. Courtesy of the Amelia Peláez Foundation The Perez Art Museum of Miami (PAMM) opened to the public in December with two inaugural shows. One is Ai Wei Wei’s expansive “According to What?” which features pieces slightly the worse for wear after a blockbuster 2012-13 North American tour (the 3,000 piled ceramic river crabs that make up He Xie are a short a few legs since I saw them in Toronto in August). The other is “The Craft of Modernity,” a solo show of paintings and ceramics by twentieth century Cuban artist Amelia Peláez. It features both important, beautiful art, and curation gone horribly wrong. But before I get to that, let me say that almost everything else about PAMM is so right. Its Herzog and de Meuron-designed building is both innovative and inviting, a set of textured wood and concrete planes perched on the edge of Biscayne Bay. The new museum is eager to introduce American visitors to the art of Latin America and the Caribbean. Its fledgling permanent collection includes a few stray (though lovely) works by …