Synopses & Reviews
"McCloskey builds a complex picture of a market, political, and artistic situation through the lens of Grosz and his social world. This book is an exciting and significant new contribution not only to German art history, but also to the broad cultural analysis of World War II and the Cold War."and#151;Paul B. Jaskot, DePaul University
and#147;McCloskey beautifully employs the idea of Groszand#8217;s exile from Nazi Germany as traumatic yet constitutive of a new, disruptive vision of Cold War universalism and exceptionalism in America. Skillfully interweaving Groszand#8217;s and other exilesand#8217; observations on the growing threats of fascism and war with deeply detailed readings of the artistand#8217;s key works, this narrative of three decades of American and European culture is wonderfully readable."and#151;Marion Deshmukh, George Mason University
"From the African American ghettos of Dallas to the modernist exhibitions of postwar Germany, McCloskey situates Groszand#8217;s artworks and bruised ideals in relation to themes of wartime and postwar culture in both the United States and Germany, and she describes their relevance to present-day globalism and international conflict. These riveting and clear-headed interpretations distinguish McCloskey as one of the most compelling writers of art history working today."and#151;Keith Holz, Professor of Art History, Western Illinois University at Macomb
"Tightly argued and richly contextualized, this long-overdue reassessment of George Groszand#8217;s years in American exile complicates prevailing accounts of postwar modernism in the context of American universalism and argues for the continued relevance of the exilesand#8217; humanistic commitments to contemporary debates on America, democracy, and cosmopolitanism in a globalized world. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written. A major accomplishment."and#151;Sabine Hake, the University of Texas at Austin
and#147;This excellent study of George Groszand#8217;s varied oeuvre over his years of exile reveals the complex textures of his and#233;migrand#233; identity, affiliations, and differences in a period during which he negotiated not only the imperatives of the American art world but also the conflicted cultural politics of the exile community. In her honed articulation of these valences as well as those of Groszand#8217;s reception in postwar Germany, McCloskeyand#8217;s art historical writing is an exemplary model for future research.and#8221;and#151;Shulamith Behr, Courtauld Institute of Art
"In her new work, Barbara McCloskey offers a deeply nuanced, trenchantly argued investigation of one extraordinary artist driven from home by catastrophic events and settled precariously in a fragile transnational field of cultural luminaries, critical intellectuals, and political activists. This book is a model of engaged scholarship, and it makes a crucialand#151;and topicaland#151;contribution not only to the histories of modern art and radical thought, but also to the understanding of the discursive construction and lived experience of emigration and exile."and#151;James A. van Dyke, University of Missouri, author of Franz Radziwill and the Contradictions of German Art History, 1919and#150;1945
and#8220;The book contains a great deal of useful information and will prove a valuable textbook.and#8221;
and#8220;This book offers a straightforward definition of Symbolism as the starting point for investigating a complex and imprecisely understood art movement.and#8221;
and#8220;Of immediate, practical value to young artists today who want to re-establish art as an alternative place in the culture, though her clean prose will also make the book inviting to more casual readers.and#8221;
and#8220;[A] smart new study. . . . Bryan-Wilson applies her numerous insights with care.and#8221;
and#8220;A vivid picture of artistic activism, essential both for the art history of the 1960s and for todayand#8217;s discourse on art and politics.and#8221;
"Superior study.... highly recommended"
and#8220;Tackles the political self-identification of artists with aplomb.and#8221;
and#8220;An extremely nuanced reading of the seminal companyand#8217;s comedy output. . . . Reinvigorates leftist critiques of the American film industry.and#8221;
and#8220;This is a wonderful book.and#8221;
The Exile of George Grosz examines the life and work of George Grosz after he fled Nazi Germany in 1933 and sought to re-establish his artistic career under changed circumstances in New York. It situates Groszand#8217;s American production specifically within the cultural politics of German exile in the United States during World War II and the Cold War. Basing her study on extensive archival research and using theories of exile, migrancy, and cosmopolitanism, McCloskey explores how Groszand#8217;s art illuminates the changing cultural politics of exile. She also foregrounds the terms on which German exile helped to define both the limits and possibilities of American visions of a one world order under U.S. leadership that emerged during this period. This book presents Groszand#8217;s work in relation to that of other prominent figures of the German emigration, including Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht, as the exile community agonized over its measure of responsibility for the Nazi atrocity German culture had become and debated what Germanyand#8217;s postwar future should be. Important too at this time were Groszand#8217;s interactions with the American art world. His historical allegories, self-portraits, and other works are analyzed as confrontational responses to the New York art worldand#8217;s consolidating consensus around Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism during and after World War II. This nuanced study recounts the controversial repatriation of Groszand#8217;s work, and the exile culture of which it was a part, to a German nation perilously divided between East and West in the Cold War.
The Symbolist art movement of the late nineteenth century forms an important bridge between Impressionism and Modernism. But because Symbolism, more than the two movements it links, emphasizes ideas over objects and events, it has suffered from vague and conflicting definitions. In Symbolist Art in Context, Michelle Facos offers a clearly written, comprehensive, and accessible description of this challenging subject. Reaching back into Romanticism for Symbolism's origins, Facos argues that Symbolism enabled artists (including Munch and Gauguin) to confront an increasingly uncertain and complex worldand#151;one to which pessimists responded with themes of decadence and degeneration and optimists with idealism and reform.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, in response to the political turbulence generated by the Vietnam War, an important group of American artists and critics sought to expand the definition of creative labor by identifying themselves as and#147;art workers.and#8221; In the first book to examine this movement, Julia Bryan-Wilson shows how a polemical redefinition of artistic labor played a central role in minimalism, process art, feminist criticism, and conceptualism. In her close examination of four seminal figures of the periodand#151;American artists Carl Andre, Robert Morris, and Hans Haacke, and art critic Lucy Lippardand#151;Bryan-Wilson frames an engrossing new argument around the double entendre that and#147;art works.and#8221; She traces the divergent ways in which these four artists and writers rallied around the and#147;art workerand#8221; identity, including participating in the Art Workers' Coalitionand#151;a short-lived organization founded in 1969 to protest the war and agitate for artists' rightsand#151;and the New York Art Strike. By connecting social art history and theories of labor, this book illuminates the artworks and protest actions that were central to this pivotal era in both American art and politics.
A Best Book of 2009, Artforum Magazine
and#147;It stands to reason that art works are made by art workers, but in this searching account of artistic labor in the 1960s and 1970s, Julia Bryan-Wilson shows us that reason is supplanted by ambivalence and ambiguity as artists grappled with the massive upheavals wrought by feminism, the student movement, and the Vietnam War. The art made in the wake of these social transformations toggles between reform and revolution, and the definition of 'artist' has not been the same since.and#8221;and#151;Helen Molesworth, Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museum
and#147;In this engaging history of the Art Workers' Coalition, Julia Bryan-Wilson considers the dilemmas and contradictions as well as the artistic innovation and activism that resulted when 'artist' and 'worker' were brought into conjunction at a volatile moment in the late 1960s. Carl Andre in blue coveralls, Robert Morris driving a forklift, Hans Haacke polling gallery-goers, Lucy Lippard delivering her art reviews right after delivering her babyand#151;to such iconic images and moments Bryan-Wilson brings her thorough scholarship and keen analysis.and#8221;and#151;Douglas Crimp, author of On the Museum's Ruins
and#147;In Julia Bryan-Wilson's deeply researched and insightful Art Workers, episodes that had seemed familiar and safely filed away take on a new narrative drive, a more profound salience for contemporary art practice, and a greater weight in our historical understanding of a crucial period.and#8221;and#151;Thomas Crow, author of The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent
and#147;This brilliant, vital, and timely study opens up a view of 1960s and 1970s American art that we didn't know we needed until we had it. One by one, the remarkably perceptive chapters of Bryan-Wilson's book converge to form a volume in the best tradition of the intellectual and interdisciplinary freedoms that remain the chief legacy of the period. The political lives of makers and objects have a new champion in Bryan-Wilson.and#8221;and#151;Darby English, author of How to See A Work of Art in Total Darkness
In the 1930s and 40s, Los Angeles became an unlikely cultural sanctuary for a distinguished group of German artists and intellectualsand#151;including Thomas Mann, Theodore W. Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, Fritz Lang, and Arnold Schoenbergand#151;who had fled Nazi Germany. During their years in exile, they would produce a substantial body of major works to address the crisis of modernism that resulted from the rise of National Socialism. Weimar Germany and its culture, with its meld of eighteenth-century German classicism and twentieth-century modernism, served as a touchstone for this group of diverse talents and opinions.
Weimar on the Pacific is the first book to examine these artists and intellectuals as a group. Ehrhard Bahr studies selected works of Adorno, Horkheimer, Brecht, Lang, Neutra, Schindler, Dand#246;blin, Mann, and Schoenberg, weighing Los Angelesand#8217;s influence on them and their impact on German modernism. Touching on such examples as film noir and Thomas Mannand#8217;s Doctor Faustus, Bahr shows how this community of exiles reconstituted modernism in the face of the traumatic political and historical changes they were living through.
"Ehrhard Bahr's sophisticated introduction to the Los Angeles of the and#233;migrand#233;s from Nazi Germany is a quintessential 'Hollywood' book: brilliant in casting, sunny in disposition, with hidden film noir touches. Bahr's reading of the central books of this world, by Bert Brecht, Thomas Mann, Alfred Dand#246;blin, his insights into Fritz Lang's films and Arnold Schoenberg's operas, make this a major contribution to American, German and world culture."and#151;Sander L. Gilman, author of Bertolt Brecht's Berlin
and#147;At long last, and#233;migrand#233; Los Angeles has been interpreted from the inside by an accomplished scholar of modern German culture. Weimar on the Pacific is a study of relevance to California, the nation, and contemporary Europe.and#8221;and#151;Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California
About the Author
Barbara McCloskey is Department Chair and Associate Professor of Modern German Art at the University of Pittsburgh. She has published widely on the relationship between art and politics in German twentieth-century art, the visual culture of World War II, and artistic mediations of the experience of exile in the modern and contemporary eras. Her previous books include Artists of World War II and George Grosz and the Communist Party: Art and Radicalism in Crisis, 1918 to 1936.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
1. The Dialectic of Modernism
2. Art and Its Resistance to Society: Theodor W. Adornno's Aethetic Theory
3. Bertolt Brecht's California Poetry: Mimesis or Modernism?
4. The Dialectic of Modern Science: Brecht's Galileo
5. Epic Theater versus Film Noir: Bertolt Bretcht and Fritz Lang's Anti-Nazi Film Hangmen Also Die
6. California Modern as Immigrant Modernism: Architects Richard Neutra and Rudolph M. Schnidler
7. Between Modernism and Antimodernism: Franz Werfel
8. Renegade Modernism: Alfred Dand#246;blin's Novel Karl and Rosa
9. The Political Battleground of Exile Modernism: The Council for a Democratic Germany
10. Evil Germany versus Good Germany: Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustuc
11. A "True Modernist.": Arnold Schoenberg
Conclusion: The Weimar Legacy of Los Angeles