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Social Experiments with Modernism

Social Experiments with Modernism

(p.1) Introduction Social Experiments with Modernism
Darby English
University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book focuses two exhibitions that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America and The DeLuxe Show. Of the book's questions, the largest are simply, what did these exhibitions do to color, actually and conceptually? And how did this doing both reflect and affect the ways the larger culture was metabolizing color? The activities studied occurred at the fringes of modernist culture, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and revived a social dimension from which modernism had been almost fully decoupled. As a result they mattered in ways that will have to be reconstructed.

Keywords:   modernist painting, modernist sculpture, late-modernist abstraction, color painting, Contemporary Black Artists in America, The DeLuxe Show, cultural politics, modernism

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