American Rhapsody

Judith Zilczer

in The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Western Art

Published in print August 2016 | ISBN: 9780199841547
Published online July 2016 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

American Rhapsody

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The opening decades of the twentieth century saw painters renounce mimetic representation for the formal rigors and spiritual transcendence of visual art divorced from reproduction of the visible world. That they chose to do so in no small measure resulted from a profound shift in aesthetic values: music became the paradigm for visual art. While the concept of visual music gained international currency, this seductive aesthetic model had particular resonance in the United States. Between 1910 and 1930, leaders of the American avant-garde, such as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Max Weber, experimented with musical ideas to forge a new abstract art. A comparative case study of the music pictures of these painters and the inter-media installations of contemporary artist Jennifer Steinkamp will illuminate the transformation of the modernist ideal of visual music in the postmodern era.

Keywords: visual music; abstract painting; inter-media installations; American avant-garde; Arthur Dove; Georgia O’Keeffe; Max Weber; Marsden Hartley; Jennifer Steinkamp

Article.  7592 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music and Media ; Musicology and Music History

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