An interesting read

Some notes on Robert Hughes' book American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America.
It was a very entertaining read. Here are some highlights of the sections I enjoyed most (paraphrasing on the quotes):

Stuart Davis chafing at the neverending complaints of conservative academics artists from the American scene and social realists about the un-pure and unamerican that was latently present in the modernistic embrace of European styles. America was a melting pot, a land of immigrants, why couldn't art be that too?

"I am as American as any other American painter...Over here we are racially English-American, Irish-American, Russian- or Jewish-American - and artistically we are all Rembrandt-American and Picasso-American. But since we all live and paint here we are, first of all, American."

I was also very touched by the Rivera fiasco in the Rockerfellor Centre and disgusted at the over-painting of Brooks' work.

On the uprise of early modernisme in the twenties and on the work of Georgia O'Keefe:

She (O'Keefe) refused to confirm the erotic explenations about her work (the close-up flowers from the twenties). It would be mad to deny the sexual gravitas of a painting as Black Iris (1926). Those who can't see it have got sand in their eyes. O'Keefe was actively involved with the pictures Stieglitz (her husband) made of her and those are the most daring ode to eroticism a photographer has ever created. Her persistent denials can only be seen as a defencer against the army of wet blankets (what in puritain America translates into nearly all Americans), who cannot tell erotica from pornography.


I was surfing the net to see how the book was hailed ten years ago on its publication. I found a really balanced one and a really nasty one. But both worth a read and touching on some interesting points.

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