Since '45 by Katy Siegel
America and the Making of Contemporary Art

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Synopsis

For the USA, 1945 was a victory not only over the Axis powers, but also over the hegemony of European power and culture. This book explores how, since that time, American social and artistic history has shaped what we know as contemporary art, and how American art has responded to the unique cultural conditions of the time. For fifty years following World War II, New York was the centre of world art, influencing artists well beyond the USA. And, as Katy Siegel argues, since America lacked the European traditions underlying art, American art instead responded to extreme social conditions native to the country. Artists’ preoccupations ranged across a broad spectrum that encompassed issues of race, mass culture, the individual, suburbia, apocalypse and nuclear destruction, and Since ’45 discusses how these themes came to find their place in artworks. From Rothko’s planes of colour to Warhol’s serial silkscreens, from Richard Prince’s cowboys to Faith Ringgold’s Black Light series, Since ’45 examines artists and artworks within the broader spectrum of American society. Siegel’s narrative moves fluidly from discussion of artists’ works, art museums and galleries over the decades, to cultural influences and momentous historical events. In addition, rather than arguing on nationalist grounds, or viewing American culture as representative of a now-devalued nation, she explores how US culture dominated not only America’s artists, but created conditions that now, after the full globalization of the art world, affect artists worldwide. Lucidly argued and readable, combining aesthetic and social concerns, Since ’45 sheds light on the complexities of American art over half a century and more. It will interest all readers engaged in post-war and contemporary art in the USA and beyond.
 

About Katy Siegel

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Katy Siegel is associate professor of art history at Hunter College in New York. She is a contributing editor at Artforum and the editor-in-chief of Art Journal.
 
Published March 28, 2013 by Reaktion Books. 224 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Arts & Photography.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Since '45

Blouin Artinfo

Throughout “Since ‘45″ Siegel, a professor of art history at Hunter College and the editor of the College Art Association’s Art Journal, advocates for examining art within the context of a broader social history, to re-weight how we think of art history to emphasize ‘history’ at least as much as ...

Apr 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Since '45: America and the Ma...

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