Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 2001 - Art - 289 pages
The relationship of the anarchist movement to American art during the World War I era is most often described as a "tenuous affinity" between two distinct spheres: political and artistic. In Anarchist Modernism, Allan Antliff reveals that anarchism was the formative force that lent coherence and direction to modernism in the United States between 1908 and 1920. Modernists participated in a wide-ranging movement that encompassed lifestyles, language, literature, and art, as well as politics. Antliff examines anarchism's influence on a telling cross-section of modern artists such as Robert Henri, Elie Nadelman, Man Ray, Adolf Wolff, and Rockwell Kent. He also traces the hitherto overlooked interactions among anarchist thinkers, critics, and cultural figures of the period including Emma Goldman, Alfred Stieglitz, John Weichsel, Walter Pach, Ezra Pound, and Ananda Coomaraswamy. In doing so, Antliff draws on a wealth of previously unknown materials, such as interviews and reproductions of lost works.

During the early twentieth century, anarchism generated a distinctive oppositional modernism and a cultural legacy that was largely forgotten once communism became established as the primary leftist discourse in American political life. By situating American art's evolution in the politics of the time, Antliff offers a richly illustrated history of the anarchist movement and also revives the creative agency of those who shaped and implemented modernism for radical ends.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Modernists against the Academy 190812
11
The Armory Show Debate
39
Cosmism or Amorphism
53
Man Rays Path to Dada
73
Hippolyte Havel and the Artists of Revolt
95
A New Internationalism
123
Nietzschean Matrix
145
Anarchist Unanimism
167
The Denouement of Anarchist Modernism
183
Conclusion
215
Notes
217
Bibliography
265
Index
281
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Allan Antliff is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Bibliographic information