A pyramid in front of the Louvre. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and
The Rite of Spring. Schoenberg and Shirley Temple. Just as the odd
juxtapositions of Modernism produced a new way of seeing, so now
collage, in the hands of Glenn Watkins, offers a new perspective on
the art of our age. A rich and revealing picture of
twentieth-century music and the arts, Watkins' work shows us what
our present Postmodern aesthetic owes to our Modernist past. Behind
the many guises of Modernism we find an appetite for opposing
impulses: the exotic and the home-grown, high and low, black and
white, the passionate and the cool, the cerebral and the
instinctive. Watkins shows us these oppositions at play in the
music of Stravinsky and Ravel, Debussy and Schoenberg, Ives, Satie,
Hindemith, Ellington, and Gershwin, in the art of Picasso and the
Cubists, Cocteau, Leger, Brancusi and Noguchi, in the anthologies
of Nancy Cunard and Main Locke, in the ballet companies of Sergei
Diaghilev and Rolf de Math, and in the performances of josephine
Baker. Throughout, collage asserts its power to enlighten through
juxtaposition, resist resolution, sponsor pluralism, and promote
understanding of an order that eludes all edicts. The masks of
Oskar Schlemmer, of japanese No drama, and of the commedia
dell'arte, the mythologies attendant to the retrieval of folk
traditions and the emergence of jazz, and the mass relocation of
artists in a time of war-all have a place in this depiction and
assessment of the legacy of Modernism. A heady exploration of
questions surrounding Primitivism, Orientalism, and technology as
they surface at either end of our century, this book exposes the
millennial preoccupations mutually invested in our search for
"first times" and our convictions about "the end of culture"
Harvard University Press
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