Download Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural by Greg Barnhisel PDF

By Greg Barnhisel

Eu intellectuals of the Nineteen Fifties disregarded American tradition as not anything greater than cowboy video clips and the A-bomb. In reaction, American cultural diplomats attempted to teach that the USA had anything to supply past army could and advertisement exploitation. via literary magazines, touring artwork indicates, traveling musical indicates, radio courses, ebook translations, and meetings, they deployed the innovative aesthetics of modernism to prove--particularly to the leftists whose chilly warfare loyalties they was hoping to secure--that American artwork and literature have been aesthetically wealthy and culturally significant.
Yet by way of repurposing modernism, American diplomats and cultural specialists grew to become the avant-garde into the institution. They remade the as soon as progressive stream right into a content-free choice of inventive recommendations and kinds compatible for middlebrow intake. chilly struggle Modernists records how the CIA, the country division, and personal cultural diplomats reworked modernist artwork and literature into pro-Western propaganda in the course of the first decade of the chilly warfare. Drawing on interviews, formerly unknown archival fabrics, and the tales of such figures and associations as William Faulkner, Stephen Spender, Irving Kristol, James Laughlin, and Voice of the United States, Barnhisel unearths how the U.S. executive reconfigured modernism as a trans-Atlantic move, a joint pastime among American and ecu artists, with profound implications for the artwork that and for the nature of yank identification.

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Generally speaking," he has noted, "modern art repudiates most of the techniques of pleasing devised by the great artists of the past" (Predicament 264). Further, for the new art, "[T]he subject no longer counts," a fact reiterated by Habermas when he located the beginnings of this modernist sensibility in the nineteenth-century work of Baudelaire. Modernist art, Habermas has said, rejected the idea of realist reproduction: "Color, lines, sounds and movement ceased to serve primarily the cause of representation; the media of expression and the techniques of production themselves became the aesthetic object" (10).

These blacks feed our double taste for exoticism and mystery.... We are charmed and upset by them, and most satisfied when they mix something upsetting in with their enchantments" (qtd. in Rose 48). The combination of a mysterious "upsetting" element of blackness mixed with an enchantment that could transport the viewer to another temporal and spatial locale where the present was made less solid. The primitive was a conductor of history that allowed a "practical critique of the imperatives of white civilisation" amidst "the maelstrom of modernity itself" (Schwartz 182).

White negrophile interest in black cultural forms cannot be caricatured as either evidence of interwar metropolitan racism or liberal tolerance. It is not a question of distinguishing the good, or progressive, racial imagery of negtophilie from the bad, or retrogressive; rather the challenge is to recover some of the complicated inscriptions and uses of negtophilie. This critical position does not in any way ignore the underlying violence of the colonial encounter that ideologically and historically underpins the discourse of primitivism at this time.

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