At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Dijkstra, Bram. American Expressionism: Art and Social Change 1920-1950. Abrams, $60.

Tikkun: “captures the sweep and tensions of the period more effectively than any written text…sheds light on a wide range of interconnected political and sociological issues…not only fills a major gap in the historical record by resurrecting the currently unfashionable social realists, but also in the process conveys in a broad range of imagery the capacity for dissent through visual expression.” Library Journal: “In this landmark study…cultural historian Dijkstra…liberates American Expressionism from the long shadow cast by its successor, abstract Expressionism…Dihkstra’s argument is carefully conceived and thoroughly argued, and the book features many important but underrecognized artists and their works…Because this book compellingly recasts and revitalizes the social realist period of American art, it will prove a valuable addition to all comprehensive art libraries.” Black Issues Book Review: “insightful and handsome” Choice: “Like many great works, this book is thoroughly fascinating—and totally infuriating. At one level, it reads like a predictable neo-Marxist screed; at another, it is a brilliant fusion of perversity and intellectual provocation. Dijkstra’s [thesis] is hardly original…What is new, and a significant contribution to art history, is the rediscovery of numerous nearly forgotten examples of native pictorial ‘expressionism’ from the era of the Great Depression…Lacking here is any hint of discrimination concerning aesthetic quality…Highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly: “Although Dijsktra pads the case with some sentimental choices—noble sharecroppers and grungy smelting factories and the like—his case stands as a convincing rebuff to the exhausted narratives of contemporary advanced art. Moreover, it resonates interestingly with the sources and practices of emerging artists in the post-conceptual era. This is a provocative, important book.”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home