Picturing the City: Urban Vision and the Ashcan School
"Zurier vividly locates the Ashcan School artists within the early twentieth-century crosscurrents of newspaper journalism, literary realism, illustration, sociology, and urban spectatorship. Her compassionate study newly assesses the artists' rejection of 'genteel' New York, their alignments with mass media, and their innovative ways of seeing in the modern city."—Wanda M. Corn, author of The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-35
If the Ashcan School brought a special and embracing eye to the city, Rebecca Zurier in her richly contextual and impressively interdisciplinary book explains and evokes that historically specific urban vision in all its richness. Finally, in Picturing the City, we have the study these painters have long deserved. And we gain new and delightful access to New York City at the moment of its emergence as a compelling embodiment of metropolitan modernity."—Thomas Bender, Director, International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University
"Picturing the City is both meticulous and wide-ranging in its assessment of the Ashcan artists and their passionate efforts to represent New York. It charts their pleasures and problems, warmth and prejudices, generosity and differences, originality and formula. It takes seriously their habits as journalists and provides the most complete sense of their immersion in a world of urban spectatorship and vision. Rebecca Zurier has written a wonderful, timely book that will be a benchmark for any future discussions of them."—Anthony W. Lee, author of Picturing Chinatown: Art and Orientalism in San Francisco
"Rebecca Zurier takes us on an intellectually exhilarating and breathtakingly beautiful visual voyage through turn-of-the-century New York City as the Ashcan painters saw it. As we watch them learn a new way of looking in the commercially dynamic, sensual New York of a century ago, we too see that time and place with fresh eyes. Inevitably, thanks to Zurier, the way we look at city life today will change as well."—Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
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