A House Divided : American Art since 1955
Anne Middleton Wagner
University of California Pres
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The art of U.S. empire, she argues, is marked by deep dividedness. Painters and sculptors seemed entranced by American symbols, yet used them to enigmatic ends--exuberant, nightmarish, or both. Nor could postwar culture decide if it preserved sites devoted to productive withdrawal--for artists, the special zone called the studio--or simply maintained a margin where numbed subjects rehearsed the rites of vanished self-expression. This book charts the to-and-fro in recent American art between acknowledging the facts of nation and consumerism, and searching for meaningful models. And it shows that this process engages--even structures--national history and the citizen's self.