In An American Lens, Jay Bochner looks at a series of milestones in the development of the American avant-garde that capture a pivotal period in artistic consciousness. He focuses on the multiple roles of Alfred Stieglitz -- as influential gallery owner, photographer, and impresario of the emerging art scene -- at a series of significant moments in his career. These close-ups offer a more intense and expanded understanding of the subject than the familiar long view.Bochner uses these scenes to recreate for today's readers the birth of modernism in America--what it was like to be an audience for the art of the early avant-garde. Moving from frame to frame, he shows us, for example, a single photograph by Stieglitz of a snowy night in 1893 and a short description by Stephen Crane of just such a snowfall; the preparation, the reception, and the aftermath of the famous Armory Show of modern art in 1913; Gertrude Stein's portraits in prose; New York at the dawn of Dada, with Paul Strand, Francis Picabia, and others; and the intersecting paths of Mina Loy, William Carlos Williams, and Marcel Duchamp in 1917. Bochner also examines Stieglitz's three great photographic series: his photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe, of clouds, and of skyscrapers. These sections of the book include many Stieglitz photos, including some rarely seen portraits of O'Keeffe.Stieglitz as impresario and artist achieved an almost mythical status, which some recent critics have worked to deflate -- casting him, for example, as Svengali to Georgia O'Keeffe's spellbound Trilby. Engaging in neither idolatry nor demolition, Bochner looks instead for the truth about the man and the myth. The scenes from American art in An American Lens create a new version of Stieglitz's biography, allowing us to reread his life and the life of his times by focusing intently on what is visible and not so visible in the art he left behind.
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Jay Bochner is Professor of English at the University of Montreal.Review:
"Bochner's study of Alfred Stieglitz and American modernism demonstrates intellectual intensity, cultural sensitivity, and archival rigor. In this richly detailed and often poetic account Bochner examines the cultural significance of key modernist exhibitions as both historical events and aesthetic formats, which he views 'through the lens' of the series, the fragment, and the unprecedented 'life force' that collectively characterize Stieglitz's vision of Secessionist modernism. The author's unique approach to the subject matter, the depth of his thinking, and the intensity of his focus make this book unlike anything else in the extant scholarly or popular literature."--Marcia Brennan, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, Rice University
"I'm sure Bochner is a fine scholar and critic, but he also has that indispensable talent of storytellers: he gets us interested in what fascinates him through what he chooses to describe and narrate. So out of this collection of anecdotes, observations, critiques, forgotten or obscure historical moments that seem formed as responses to unknown interlocutors, emerges an entertaining book and, by the way, an absorbing and gallant portrait of the life and times and undervalued accomplishments of Alfred Stieglitz." William Kowinski
"This is a multilayered study that sheds light on contemporary critical analysis as well as on the birth of modernism." R. K. Dickson The Bloomsbury Review
"[Bochner] gives us effusiveness backed by keen research and seasoned looking.... [U]ltimately, the book is a return to an 'expressive' form of scholarly writing. It may even be a bellwether of a revival of the monograph." Susan Elizabeth Ryan Bookforum
"I'm sure Bochner is a fine scholar and critic, but he also hasthat indispensable talent of storytellers: he gets us interested inwhat fascinates him through what he chooses to describe and narrate.So out of this collection of anecdotes, observations, critiques,forgotten or obscure historical moments that seem formed asresponses to unknown interlocutors, emerges an entertaining bookand, by the way, an absorbing and gallant portrait of the life andtimes and undervalued accomplishments of Alfred Stieglitz." William Kowinski
"An impressively researched biography about the most startling Dada woman personality ever to explode on the avant-garde scene in New York, Philadelphia, Berlin, and Paris, this book offers a new and invaluable perspective on several sides of that scene. The strong odor of scandal, far removed from many watered-down emulations of it, permeates every page. Crossing every erotic boundary, this Dada-gothic phenomenon called the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven lived the heartbreaking existence of a woman more than on the edge."--Mary Ann Caws, Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, Graduate Center, City University of New York
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Descripción Cumberland, Rhode Island, U.S.A.: Mit Pr, 2005. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng. Nº de ref. de la librería EE131
Descripción The MIT Press, 2005. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110262025809