Anne Monahan — Horace Pippin (1888-1946) painted two self-portraits in the 1940s on his way to becoming the decade’s most successful black artist. Both evince an indifference to illusionistic perspective in line with modern aesthetics, even as his self-taught pedigree appealed to those wary of avant garde styles and politics.
My development as an art historian has been profoundly shaped by the legacy of modernism and its relationship to decoration, craft, and design. In chronological order, here are five books that have motivated my thinking on the importance of applied arts in the conceptualization of modernism. Mark Wigley, White Walls,
Art history may have or be an archive (even a canon!), but it is also a process of translation, remediation, and remaking. Here are five nodes in a network: Robert Wood’s Palmyra (1753): a transfer from architecture to print. In 1751, funded and accompanied by slave-owner and planter James “Jamaica”
In thinking about writing that has been important to me, I chose publications that did not simply tell me something previously unknown but rather shaped my conceptual framework by opening new ways of thinking about issues. These stand out: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind”, translated by Carleton Dallery, in The
Susan A. Phillips talks about her deeply researched study of Los Angeles graffiti that includes marks made by hobos, prisoners, pachucos, surfers, punks, grips, taggers, seafarers, and more. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud
Nicholas Adams– At times, writing about the architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909–1990), former chief designer for the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), was like writing about a sulky teenager. Architects, of course, have lots of ways of talking. Philip Johnson was garrulous––people liked to say that he talked a
Here is my selection of five books that have defined and redefined urbanism since 1850… Camillo Sitte, City Building according to artistic principles (1889) As an arts and crafts educator in Vienna in the 1880s, concerned about what he saw as the soulless and mechanical extensions of European cities, Sitte
Here are five books that shaped the study of women printmakers active in the twentieth century. James Watrous, A Century of American Printmaking, 1880-1980 (1984) Watrous’s well-researched survey of American printmaking was the first book I accessed on the subject as an undergraduate, when writing my senior thesis at Georgetown.
Books can amuse, provoke, and uplift. The best ones are also, just a bit, like CRISPR technology. That breakthrough allows biochemists to edit genomes. Potent, lasting books reedit our minds. For me, CRISPR works are not the writings that made a difference to Western art historians. Richard Stone and
British artist Eileen Hogan, Yale Center for British Art curator Elisabeth Fairman, and Artists’ Lives oral historian Cathy Courtney have a wide-ranging conversation about painting, exhibitions, gardens, poetry, and more. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud