Synopses & Reviews
Much-loved British painter L. S. Lowry (1887and#150;1976) made the industrial city the focus of his career. This book, published to accompany a retrospective at Tate Britain, shows how Lowry depicted the public rituals of working-class urban life: football matches and protest marches; evictions and fistfights; workers going to and from the mill. He was also a landscape painter, and he sought to show the effects of the industrial revolution. Written by groundbreaking art historians T. J. Clark and Anne M. Wagner, this is a fresh approach to the study of this popular painter
"With originality and impressive breadth, Clark examines modernism as a historical phenomenon. Moving from the French Revolution forward, he uses art historical movements and moments as a springboard for discussing the ways in which they were reactions to and reacted with the larger social and historical context of the times. This sets the stage for dark's main theme: that modernism was a reactionary phenomenon that was born and died with socialism. Lucidly written, Clark is a master of contextual detail and at effortlessly moving the discussion between larger historical frameworks and the specific moments. Equal to Clark's work is the book's lovely production with 92 color and 160 b/w illustrations." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
In this intense and far-reaching book, acclaimed art historian T. J. Clark offers a new vision of the art of the past two centuries, focusing on moments when art responded directly, in extreme terms, to the ongoing disaster called "modernity".
In this intense, far-reaching, and poignant book--a book that sums up the work of a lifetime--the acclaimed art historian T. J. Clark rewrites the history of modern art. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, he explains, the project called socialism may have come to an end at roughly the same moment as modernism. Did modernism and socialism depend on each other for their vitality--for their sense of the future and their wish to live in a fully material world? Have they died? Aware of modernism's foibles and blind spots, but passionately attached to the movement's wildness, Clark poses these fundamental questions in Farewell to an Idea.
Modernism, Clark argues, was an extreme answer to an extreme condition--the one Max Weber summed up as "the disenchantment of the world." Clark focuses on instances of maximum stress, when the movement revealed its true nature. The book begins with Jacques-Louis David, painting at the height of the Terror in 1793, then leaps forward to Pissarro a hundred years later, struggling to picture Two Young Peasant Women in a way that agreed with his anarchist politics. Next the author turns in succession to Cezanne's paintings of the Grandes Baigneuses and their coincidence in time (and maybe intention) with Freud's launching of psychoanalysis; to Picasso's Cubism; and to avant-garde art after the Russian Revolution. Clark concludes with a reading of Jackson Pollock's tragic version of abstraction and suggests a new set of terms to describe avant-garde art--perhaps in its final flowering--in America after 1945. Shifting between broad, speculative history and intense analysis of specific works, Clark not only transfigures our usual understanding of modern art, he also launches a new set of proposals about modernity itself.
About the Author
T. J. Clark is professor emeritus of modern art at the University of California, Berkeley. Anne Wagner is professor emerita of modern and conand#173;temporary art, University of California, Berkeley.