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Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wallby Allan Antliff
Synopses & Reviews
Cultural Writing. Art. One of the powers of art is its ability to convey the human aspects of political events, from war to revolution to sexual liberation. Art can also transform society, a theme that pervades this fascinating survey on art, artists, and anarchism since the nineteenth century. In this book, Allan Antliff interrogates moments of engagement when artists, poets, philosophers, and critics have confronted pivotal events since the nineteenth century. Exploring art's potential as a vehicle for meaningful social change from an anarchist perspective, he throws new light on what it means to be radical. "A very readable book that brings theory and philosophy together with art, music, history, economics, and politics"--Richard J.F. Day. "Using an approach that combines scholarly rigor with a lively and politically-committed voice, Antliff shows how diverse the connections have been between aesthetic innovation and anarchist activism. An indispensable contribution to the history of art and the field of anarchist studies"--Robyn Roslak.
"The coupling of Anarchist political movements and art is not a topic likely to attract broad interest, yet the issues dealt with by author and art historian Antliff (Anarchist Modernism) in this collection of essays have greater range than the politics of the extreme left. One typically enlivening chapter is devoted to the personal reminiscences of Susan Simensky Bietila, a painter on the scene of the American student movement of the 1960s; among stories of student strikes and absurdist, performance art-like protests, she relates her struggle with art professors at Brooklyn College, who insisted that fine art could not have explicit political content. That debate is central to Antliff's work, and the implications he draws in these eight scholarly essays carry resonance beyond the political questions used to frame it. Bookended by an argument between French 19th century leftists Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Emile Zola and the fall of the Berlin wall (overlapped by the first Gulf War), with stops in 1880s Paris, New York during WWI, post-Revolution Russia and McCarthy-era America, among others. Antliff's latest will prove lively and thought-provoking work for art students and scholars. 16 color plates." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A fascinating study of anarchist artists confronting pivotal historical moments over the past 140 years.
One of the powers of art is its ability to convey the human aspects of political events. In this fascinating survey on art, artists, and anarchism, Allan Antliff interrogates critical moments when anarchist artists have confronted pivotal events over the past 140 years. The survey begins with Gustave Courbet’s activism during the 1871 Paris Commune (which established the French republic) and ends with anarchist art during the fall of the Soviet empire. Other subjects include the French neoimpressionists, the Dada movement in New York, anarchist art during the Russian Revolution, political art of the 1960s, and gay art and politics post-World War II. Throughout, Antliff vividly explores art’s potential as a vehicle for social change and how it can also shape the course of political events, both historic and present-day; it is a book for the politically engaged and art aficionados alike.
Allan Antliff is the author of Anarchist Modernism.
About the Author
Allan Antliff is the Canada Research Chair at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics and the First American Avant-Garde, has written extensively for the anarchist press, and is currently contributing editor to the Alternative Press Review and art editor of Anarchist Studies.
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