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A Companion to American Art

John Davis (Editor), Jennifer A. Greenhill (Editor), Jason D. LaFountain (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-67102-3 July 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 680 Pages


A Companion to American Art presents 35 newly-commissioned essays by leading scholars that explore the methodology, historiography, and current state of the field of American art history.

  • Features contributions from a balance of established and emerging scholars, art and architectural historians, and other specialists
  • Includes several paired essays to emphasize dialogue and debate between scholars on important contemporary issues in American art history
  • Examines topics such as the methodological stakes in the writing of American art history, changing ideas about what constitutes “Americanness,” and the relationship of art to public culture
  • Offers a fascinating portrait of the evolution and current state of the field of American art history and suggests future directions of scholarship

List of Figures xi

Notes on Contributors xvii

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction: American Art History Now: A Snapshot 1
John Davis, Jennifer A. Greenhill, and Jason D. LaFountain

Part I Writing American Art History 13

Dialogue 15

1 A Conversation Missed: Toward a Historical Understanding of the Americanist/Modernist Divide 17
Joshua Shannon and Jason Weems

2 Response: Setting the Roundtable, or, Prospects for Dialogue between Americanists and Modernists 34
Jennifer L. Roberts

3 A Time and a Place: Rethinking Race in American Art History 49
Tanya Sheehan

Dialogue 69

4 On the Social History of American Art 71
Alan Wallach

5 Response: Our Cause Is What? 85
Robin Kelsey

6 The Maker’s Share: Tools for the Study of Process in American Art 95
Ethan W. Lasser

Dialogue 111

7 The Problem with Close Looking 113
Martin A. Berger

8 Response: Look Away 128
Jennifer A. Greenhill

9 Looking for Thomas Eakins: The Lure of the Archive and the Object 146
Kathleen A. Foster

Dialogue 165

10 The Challenge of Contemporaneity, or, Thoughts on Art as Culture 167
Rachael Z. DeLue

11 Response: Writing History, Reading Art 183
Bryan Wolf

Part II Geographies: Rethinking Americanness 191

12 Teaching Across the Borders of North American Art History 193
Wendy Bellion and Mónica Domínguez Torres

13 An American Architecture? 211
Dell Upton

14 The Pacific World and American Art History 228
J.M. Mancini

15 “Home” and “Homeless” in Art between the Wars 246
Angela Miller

16 Pueblo Painting in 1932: Folding Narratives of Native Art into American Art History 264
Jessica L. Horton and Janet Catherine Berlo

17 US American Art in the Americas 281
Mary K. Coffey

18 Geography Lessons: Canadian Notes on American Art History 299
Frances K. Pohl

19 Only in America: Exceptionalism, Nationalism, Provincialism 317
John Davis

20 Monolingualism, Multilingualism, and the Study of American Art 336
Jason D. LaFountain

Part III Subjectivities 357

21 Painters and Status in Colony and Early Nation 359
Susan Rather

22 Pantaloons vs. Petticoats: Gender and Artistic Identity in Antebellum America 378
Sarah Burns

23 Male or Man?: The Politics of Emancipation in the Neoclassical Imaginary 395
Charmaine A. Nelson

24 Drawing Boundaries, Crossing Borders: Trespassing and Identity in American Art 414
Randall R. Griffey

25 Lookout: On Queer American Art and History 433
Richard Meyer

26 From Nature to Ecology: The Emergence of Ecocritical Art History 447
Alan C. Braddock

27 Art History as Collage: A Personal Approach 468
David M. Lubin

Part IV Art and Public Culture 487

28 Material Religion in Early America 489
Louis P. Nelson

29 Issues in Early Mass Visual Culture 507
Michael Leja

30 Patrons, Collectors, and Markets 525
John Ott

31 Historicism in the American Built Environment 544
Kevin D. Murphy

32 The Painting of Urban Life, 1880–1930 562
David Peters Corbett

33 Photography and Opium in a Nineteenth-Century Port City 581
Anthony W. Lee

34 Value in the Vernacular 599
Leo G. Mazow

35 Realism under Duress: The 1930s 617
Andrew Hemingway

Index 637

"Art historians will greet this stimulating series of companions to art history, of which this volume is the eighth, with enthusiasm." (Reference Reviews, May 2016)